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Q&A With Harry’s Law Kathy Bates

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I don’t even like to think about the prospect of having to start all over and I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m so grateful to have this job. I know a lot of people my age are having to start over and I don’t know what I would begin to do. I think I would probably try to get a job involving animals, something more quiet and less public._Kathy Bates: Harriet “Harry” KornHarry’s Law


Kathy Bates: Harriet “Harry” KornHarry’s Law
Oscar winner | Actress

Credits: Titanic | P.S. I Love You | Fred Claus | Failure to Launch | Little Black Book | Dragonfly | American Outlaws | The Waterboy | The War at Home | Dolores Claiborne | A Home of Our Own | Prelude to a Kiss | Shadows and Fog | At Play in the Fields of the Lord | Dick Tracy | Men Don’t Leave | Come Back to the Five | Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean | Straight Time | Taking Off | My Sister’s Keeper | 3rd Rock from the Sun | Six Feet Under
By: Daedrian McMaughton/Premier Guide Media

HARRY’S LAW airs Wednesday’s at 9pm on NBC

Oscar winner Kathy Bates stars on NBC’s drama “Harry’s Law” as Harriet “Harry” Korn, a curmudgeonly ex-patent lawyer who is recently fired from her cushy job and forced to search for a fresh start.

Congrats. You’re back for another season. It shows that David has done something right. Would you agree?

Kathy Bates: I hope so. I think we have a wonderful audience base that watched us last year and I’m thrilled to be back.

You’ve built a comfortable life for yourself and you’ve done so well in your career, what would you do if you had to start all over again at your age?

Kathy Bates: Oh my Lord. I don’t know. I don’t even like to think about the prospect of having to do that and I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m so grateful to have this job. I know a lot of people my age are having to start over and I don’t know what I would begin to do. I think I would probably try to get a job involving animals, something more quiet and less public.

Has the Emmy nomination boasted the spirits of Harry’s Law team?

Kathy Bates: Absolutely. It was a real surprise and I love the fact that Paul McCrane was also nominated. And I realize that means that people aren’t just watching the show to see me, they’re seeing other people in the show as well and that’s a real excitement even though we just we just got the 12 episodes. And I’m hoping that his year they’ll give us a chance to do a back nine and stick around for a while.

From your past roles, what helped you to prepare for this show?

Kathy Bates: Nothing helped me prepare. I don’t mean to complain. But it is quite a workout physically, mentally, emotionally to be ready to work every day at 7, 7:30 in the morning. I’m not a morning person at all. And so that’s a bit of a challenge for me. And as I said before, learning that amount of dialogue and making it really real and natural and of the character and it was a steep learning curve last year but I’m really enjoying it this year. I feel like I’ve got the momentum under my belt and I really enjoy going into work every day.

Are you enjoying this role on Harry’s Law?

Kathy Bates: Absolutely. I’m very happy to have a job every day and it’s what I’ve come to love to do. I’m not expressing myself very well this morning. I enjoy acting. I’ve always enjoyed it and I’m really enjoying working on this particular character and the challenge of also putting in the hours that we do for television and it’s been difficult but a pleasure. I like getting up in the morning and going to work. I can’t believe I’d say that but I do.

What do you find impressive or surprising about Harry?

Kathy Bates: Well I love playing someone. I think all of us have been in situations where we’ve maybe had a confrontation with someone and we walk away from it and then maybe a few minutes later or even a day later we think, “Oh, I wish I had said that. I wish I had been clever enough to say exactly this to that person.” And I think that’s one of the things that Harry has is that ability that we all wish we had to say in the moment eloquently and forcefully exactly what’s on our mind and what even makes the best argument at a given moment. And it’s fun to be able to play someone that has that almost superhuman ability to express themselves in that way. And I love playing a character who’s blunt, who’s irritable, who doesn’t get along with everybody, who doesn’t make any secret of her feelings and yet at the same time she’s complex and we don’t really understand everything that’s going on with Harry at the moment and things are revealed in time. And I enjoy playing that complex character.

Any interests in directing on Harry’s Law, this season?

Kathy Bates: Not this season certainly. I have been thinking about it a little bit. Paul McCrane who has come back to the show this season has directed one and did a beautiful job and it’s made me think about it but it would have to be an episode where or the previous episode I would be lighter in the episode so I could prep.

What is the drawback?

Kathy Bates: I did a film for Lifetime called Ambulance Girl that I both acted in and directed so that isn’t so much the problem, it’s the time to really prep the show and that would require being in an episode less than I normally am.


Do you miss Malcolm and Jenna?

Kathy Bates: I really miss Brittany and Aml. I was very close to Aml especially last year and I miss very much having him on the show. I wish that he was still there.And I think both with Karen and with Mark who I already adore working with, Harry’s got some issues with Mark’s character, Ollie, he doesn’t always rub her the right way. And I think with Karen’s character, she’s becoming a bit of a mentor. At first she’s very blunt with Cassie and doesn’t treat her very well but in the later episodes I’m discovering she’s beginning to have a mentor relationship with her which is something that Harry detests doing but I think she’s beginning to embrace more in her old age. But I sure do miss Aml and miss Brittany and I’m hoping that they’ll be back at some point.

Do you know Malcolm’s current status?

Kathy Bates: Malcolm is said to be off studying at school.

There is chemistry between Harry and Tommy Jefferson. Will there be any romance between the two?

Kathy Bates: There is definitely a chemistry between the two but I think it has to do with something a bit more basic and that is of all the people in the office, he’s the one that understands her dilemma with getting older and how she looks at life. And he’s the only one that kind of can commiserate. But I think Tommy has demonstrated on more than one occasion that he has a thing for the younger ladies and he usually pays to have a companion. So I doubt that they would have a romantic fling. I think he goes more for the younger ones.

Will Harry have a love interest this season?

Kathy Bates: I don’t know whether Harry would have a romantic interest. I think it would have to be somebody who would put up with how prickly she is certainly.

What is your biggest challenge on the show?

Kathy Bates: Learning lines every day and every weekend. Takes up a lot of time and a lot of energy and a lot of focus and just making peace with that and realizing that that comes along with the job and that I have to just get the work done and not complain about it. That’s been my biggest challenge. And not just learning the lines, but absorbing the lines and digesting them so that the lines disappear and Harry takes their place.

Will there be any surprising reveals about Harry, this season?

Kathy Bates: Well there are a couple of things that are revealed about her that I don’t want to reveal now. But and it’s always a surprise to me. David is very much the creator of the show and so I have little to no input about what happens to Harry. Although we do have some discussion at times if there’s a question I have about where she’s going in a particular scene or that I need help with. But he’s very much in the driver’s seat for the show so I’m always finding out along with everybody else what’s actually going on with Harry.

Initially you were portrayed as a gun-totting attorney. Will you get the chance to use the gun, this season?

Kathy Bates: I haven’t used the gun this year but I’m hoping there will be an opportunity.

Would you consider Harry to be a role model for women?

Kathy Bates: Well I think she’s a professional woman. I think she’s a woman who’s probably given a lot for her profession and I’m very curious about Harry’s background. I know she’s been married a couple of times and you never know with David whether a prodigal child will show up at some point or not. And so I don’t know that she’s necessarily a role model for women. I mean I think she is certainly a woman who speaks her mind and tries to stand up for those causes that she believes are right. And she certainly speaks eloquently in the courtroom and she’s a smart woman. She’s not particularly affectionate I don’t think. I think she’s got a heart of gold underneath all of that but she’s pretty blunt and pretty straightforward. I guess I don’t know that I think of her as a role model for women except for the fact that she is a strong woman and that she has made her way certainly in a world that is very difficult for women which is the law I think.

What are some of your style secrets to looking great at your age?

Kathy Bates: I have a lot of help certainly on the show. We have a wonderful costumer, Lisa Eisler, and she’s worked a lot, especially this last year we’ve worked a lot with Marina Rinaldi. They have beautiful suits for women and that’s what I’ve been chosen to wear this year for Harry. And so I have a lot of help in that I have somebody to go and shop for me. I don’t have to go shop for the show. And I have wonderful makeup and hair people, Kelly Kline, and Jori Jenae Murray. She does the makeup for the show and she’s very conscious about skin care. And at the end of every day she cleans all the makeup off and sort of gives me a mini-facial and gives me products to use at home to keep my face soft and supple and because it gets a lot of wear and tear on the set.

Do you have any issues with aging/getting older?

Kathy Bates: Yes, I do think about aging certainly as I get older. And I’m happy that the show requires me to walk a lot. It forces me to get a lot of exercise whether I want to or not so that’s a good thing. There are things that I can’t do as well as I used to and but being a cancer survivor I’m just really glad to be here. I guess that’s the bottom line.

Rosie O’Donnell said she gets mistaken for you. Do you experience the same?

Kathy Bates: No. I don’t get mistaken for her but I know she’s told me that on occasion so I think especially when we were younger. I think I look a bit older now since I’ve let my gray hair go.

If you have a particular issue with your character, is it easy for you to discuss it with David E Kelley?

Kathy Bates: Yes. I mean I think there are times when I think maybe she wouldn’t be quite as loveable. And if I have problems like that I usually go to David and talk to him about it and see if we can make some kind of an adjustment or vice versa. And I try to respect his wishes as the writer and the creator of the show and sometimes there are directions that he is going in that I don’t particularly know yet why we’re going that direction until it’s been written about in the next episode.

Has making this show changed in any way your personal perception of lawyers or the legal profession?

Kathy Bates: Well it certainly has been a wonderful pretend for me. You know, my mother, God rest her, born in 1907, wanted to be a lawyer and I think there were so very few choices available to her when she was coming along. And when I got the script for Harry’s Law I thought about my mother and I thought, “Well this is I guess as close as she’ll get.” And it’s a bit of a nostalgic trip for me at times imagining what kind of lawyer she would’ve been because she was awfully smart and blunt herself. And so I feel like she’s the Harry Korn in my life.


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