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Q+A: Portia de Rossi Talks About 'Development' Movie, Hair Care and Why She Loves Her Wife So Much


Portia de Rossi is back on primetime in the new comedy "Better Off Ted." She spoke with Nicki Gostin.

Is it weird going back to work on another series?
No, it's great. I really love it. I couldn't work on any old series, because it wouldn't be worth it to me after "Arrested Development" and "Ally McBeal," you know, shows that are pretty great, so this show, it's really easy for me to be there 12 hours a day, because it's really fun to do and I think it's pretty clever.

You play a sort of bitchy character.
Well, I'm trying to avoid the word "bitchy" because I think Veronica is more insensitive than she is bitchy. I think she's very business-like, ambitious and controlling. To be bitchy, she'd have to be aware of the fact she's hurting people, but she's completely unaware.

Weren't your characters on "Ally McBeal" and "Arrested Development" a little "insensitive?"
What are you saying about me?
 
Nothing about you, but why do you think you keep getting cast as "insensitive" gals?
I think because I'm Australian and I grew up watching the BBC and John Cleese and Monty Python, I'm just more attracted to characters that are kind of absurd and [that have] this edge to them. It's really liberating to play these people who really don't care how they come off, or if they're liked. In real life, I'm really conscious of what I'm saying and if it could hurt people's feelings.
 
So if your agent came to you with a remake of "Little House on the Prairie," you’d turn it down?
I don't only want to play characters like that, but I have to say in comedy, especially for TV, ["insensitive" characters] seem to be the punchiest, most fun for me to play. I don't really like playing sweet in a comedy.
 
Are you exhausted from working 12 hours a day?
I'm definitely exhausted at times, but it's a good kind of exhaustion.
 
Do you do anything during your downtime? Scrabble or knitting?
I paint.
 
Are you good at it?
No!
 
Do you do paint by numbers?
No, I do proper painting. I took a bunch of canvases, some paints and a little portable easel in to work.
  
Please tell me you've signed up for the "Arrested Development" movie.
Yes! But there's a little caveat; let's just say I'm signed up if there is a movie.
 
You have fabulous hair. Do you wash it every day?
I do.
 
Isn't that bad for it?
I think it is, actually. I’m 36 now; probably by 40 it'll all fall out. I'm not a clean freak, but I don't feel clean unless my hair is washed.
 
Does it ever get frizzy?
No, it just gets a little bigger than I would like it to be.
 
I haven't really read much about your personal life. What's going on?
Ha, you're funny. Well, you know I did [my wife] Ellen's show on Monday. It was really fun. It's so hard for me to talk about my personal life in a fresh and interesting way because Ellen talks about it on the show practically every day.
 
Have you ever said to her, "Do you mind not telling people that?"
Um, well, she did a monologue on how I snored, and I think I mentioned something to her about that.
 
Watching you on "Ellen" actually made me a little verklempt. Could you have imagined being out 10 years ago?
It was a pretty emotional moment for me, too. If you just knew my history of coming over from Australia and really struggling with my sexuality and having my close friends accept me for who I am, but most people telling me to be very quiet about it because I would never work if the public knew I was gay. And when you have a mortgage and when you really love acting, and that's what you want to do, it's a pretty scary prospect to think that if I told people who I was, and told the truth and lived my life openly, all of this could be taken away from me. So yeah, I really struggled for many years with that. So just to be able to sit on that show opposite my wife, getting interviewed by her, to have people respond in such a positive way, was pretty overwhelming.
 
I might embarrass you with this, but I think you and Ellen would make great parents.
Do you have any [kids]?
 
I have one.
Do you like him?
 
I do, actually. You can't believe how much fun it is.
Really? Yeah, well, I have no doubt it is. It would have to be or else people wouldn't have them. I love kids. We'll take it up under advisement.

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