Smashing Interviews Magazine

Compelling People — Interesting Lives



July 2016



Cheryl Hines Interview: "Curb Your Enthusiasm" Star on Legendary Show's Return

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Image attributed to Cheryl HInes

Cheryl HInes

Cheryl Hines is known for her role as Larry David’s wife on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, for which she was nominated for two Emmy Awards. She also starred on the ABC sitcom Suburgatory. Other TV appearances include Suddenly Susan, Friends, Scrubs, In the Motherhood, Brothers & Sisters, Hollywood Game Night, The Crazy Ones and The Middle.

Films include Along Came Polly, Cake, RV, The Grand, Space Chimps, Hannah Montana, Love Bites, Life After Beth and Think Like a Man 2. On September 25, 2016, Son of Zorn, a live-action animated sitcom, premieres on Fox and stars Hines, Jason Sudeikis, Johnny Pemberton and Tim Meadows. Hines is married to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, son of former New York Senator Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy and nephew of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

“I am pretty used to working without a script. Larry is such an amazing comedic force that he knows what he wants and what works. With him at the helm, I never worried or panicked that the scene wasn’t going to turn out the way it was supposed to.”

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Cheryl, I just saw you on the Match Game revival!

Cheryl Hines: Yes, I know! I just did Match Game. I actually did two episodes, so there’s another one coming soon, I think.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Several of the vintage game shows have made a comeback this summer. What do you think is behind their enduring appeal?

Cheryl Hines: I think there are a lot of serious things going on in the world, and people like to take a moment to have a little levity in their lives. These game shows are a fun way for people to just unwind for a few minutes.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How are the celebrities chosen for the games?

Cheryl Hines: (laughs) That’s a good question. It depends because Jane Lynch is a friend of mine, and when she started Celebrity Game Night, she basically reached out to me. I wanted to do it because Jane’s a friend and because it sounded like fun.

It was the same with Alec Baldwin for Match Game. Alec is a friend, and it sounded like fun. For me, sometimes there’s a personal connection, and then sometimes, people see you on one game show, and they think, “Oh, she must really like to play games, so we should invite her on our show.” There are all kinds of different ways it happens.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Alec is a super game show host!

Cheryl Hines: I know. He’s so cute, isn’t he?

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): He certainly is. Let’s talk a few minutes about Curb Your Enthusiasm. You’re heading for season nine, and you’ve said that you and Larry have texted back and forth.

Cheryl Hines: Yeah (laughs). I still haven’t talked to him. But, Larry’s a really good friend of mine. I know that he likes to keep things very close to his vest, so he will, I’m sure, tell me what I need to know when he thinks I need to know it.

From what I understand, he’s working on the stories and the outlines. Other than that, I don’t know when or where or what it’s about or anything like that. So, I guess I’ll know when it’s time to know (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Your last appearance on Curb was at the beginning of season 8?

Cheryl Hines: I don’t even remember. I feel like I have to go back and watch it. I can’t even remember if we’re married or not. I think we’re not (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Larry’s character is described as an over-the-top version of himself. Are you basically Cheryl, the voice of reason and an advocate of environmental issues?

Cheryl Hines: Well, yes, I definitely play the voice of reason on the show. I’m not playing a version of his real ex-wife, but at the same time, Larry draws from real life situations, so he is involved in environmental issues. Some of the storylines are inspired from some of his experiences. It’s art imitating life imitating art.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): There’s just a general plotline and no script, so was that difficult for you to adjust to in the beginning?

Cheryl Hines: For me, it wasn’t difficult only because I have a background in improve and sketch comedy. I am pretty used to working without a script. Larry is such an amazing comedic force that he knows what he wants and what works. With him at the helm, I never worried or panicked that the scene wasn’t going to turn out the way it was supposed to.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You began acting in high school, so was it drama or comedy that truly became your passion?

Cheryl Hines: Most of my acting classes were pretty serious which was good because they teach you how to work with a script, the nuts and bolts, how to stay focused and all of that. Then, when I moved to Los Angeles, I went to my first Groundlings show on Melrose, which is a sketch and improve comedy show. That’s when I felt really inspired because that was really the first time that I saw comedy … I felt like I needed to be a part of it. I felt like I wanted to learn what they were teaching there, and I felt like that’s where I wanted to be.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Tell me about Son of Zorn, which is a live-action and animated series.

Cheryl Hines: (laughs) It’s interesting because, once again, I’m involved in a show that is doing something that nobody else has done before, the hybrid show. There’s one animated character, Zorn, who is an animated warrior from another country (laughs). I play his ex-wife and we have a son together. Zorn has been out of our lives for ten years, then he decides to show up and wants to be a part of his son’s life again, and it doesn’t go that smoothly.

So, Zorn comes to Orange County and tries to fit in, and he does not. He’s a shirtless warrior that carries a sword and thinks violence is the answer to every problem. It’s very smart actually and it’s really well written. It’s really fun, but just something that people haven’t seen before on television, and I think they’re going to be really excited to watch it.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I don’t think I should question the dynamics of having a child with an animated character (laughs).

Cheryl Hines: Yeah. It gets complicated. My friends are still trying to figure that part out. I keep telling them not to overthink it (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Jason Sudeikis, who voices Zorn, is very talented.

Cheryl Hines: He is very funny, yeah.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You also have a cat movie called Nine Lives with Christopher Walken, which will be released August 9. Christopher has played his share of creepy characters.

Cheryl Hines: I know, and he will not disappoint you in this movie either.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Who do you play?

Cheryl Hines: I’m playing a lot of ex-wives these days. I play Kevin Spacey’s ex-wife and Jennifer Garner’s friend. I don’t know that Kevin has been turned into a cat, but I just know that the cat does not like me for some reason. My character is a little bit prickly, and she drinks too much and has two yappy dogs that don’t get along with this cat (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): (laughs) You are doing some interesting things.

Cheryl Hines: I really am.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Have you directed anything since Serious Moonlight in 2009?

Cheryl Hines: I directed a web series called We Need Help on Yahoo that’s really funny. That was a lot of fun, but that’s all I’ve directed since Serious Moonlight.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you enjoy being behind the camera?

Cheryl Hines: Directing is very stressful. There are a lot of moving parts, and you’re responsible for everything and everybody. So, it has to be just the right project because you are in it, and there’s not much room in your life for other things when you’re in the middle of a project like that. It would have to be something that, while you’re doing it, you’d be happy to sacrifice everything else for a little while.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine):  Is it exciting being in a political family during a presidential election year?

Cheryl Hines: (laughs) Oh, it is exciting. Yeah, it’s exciting. There’s never a dull moment, and the dinner conversations are always interesting (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): That’s a pretty large family.

Cheryl Hines: It is a large family.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is that something you had to get used to?

Cheryl Hines: Well, I come from a pretty big family, and I’m very close to my family, so I’m used to that dynamic, sort of the organized chaos and sometimes unorganized chaos. I fit right into it.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I’m sure you’ve got some interesting Hollywood stories to tell. Would you ever want to write a tell-all memoir?

Cheryl Hines: (laughs) Who knows? I don’t know that I would ever call the book a “tell-all.” That’s part of the unwritten code in Hollywood. You know a lot of people’s secrets, the ways that they work, and that’s part of your career and part of an honor code that we all live by out here. So, I don’t know that I would ever write a tell-all about other people. Who knows? Maybe one day, I’ll write about my experiences. You never know.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What are your favorite TV shows?

Cheryl Hines: I’m looking forward to Ray Donovan. That’s pretty dark, but my husband and I like to watch it. To take our minds off of real problems, we like to watch other people’s horrible problems. You know, it has been fun watching Bloodline, and of course, Veep is always fun to watch. 

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I would’ve expected more comedies (laughs).

Cheryl Hines: I know. It’s funny how many dramas I watch when I’m actually in the comedy business. But yeah, I need to sit down and watch more TV. I just haven’t had time.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Any other news, Cheryl?

Cheryl Hines: No. Actually right now, I’m just focused on Nine Lives that’s coming out and Son of Zorn that comes out on Fox in September. Those are my two main focuses right now.

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  1. Darrell Hagen

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