The prolific writer-producer who gave us Ally McBeal, The Practice and Boston Legal invites you tonight at 9 pm/ET to spend some time with The Wedding Bells, a Fox series about three sisters who labor to help couples find their "happily ever after" — at least until they reach the catering hall's parking lot. KaDee Strickland (The Grudge), the Southern belle who plays middle sis Annie Bell, shared with TVGuide.com a preview.
TVGuide.com: Did you hear about the toasters? As part of the PR push, Fox sent toasters to reporters, wrapped up as wedding gifts.
KaDee Strickland: That's perfect! I hope you enjoy your toaster.
TVGuide.com: No, I'm totally going to regift this — though I hear it has a Wedding Bells logo on the side.
Strickland: Well, you can send it to me. I got married [to Grudge costar Jason Behr] in November, and I didn't get one....
TVGuide.com: How are you describing Annie Bell to people?
Strickland: Annie is a middle child through and through. An overachiever, the glue that holds the sisters [Jane, Annie and Sammy] together.... And she's quite good at what she does, except for her personal life. That she needs some work on.
TVGuide.com: In the Charlie's Angels scheme of things, who's the brains, who's the beauty, and who's the butt-kicker?
Strickland: I think it's an amalgamation of all three. We hand the baton very evenly, depending on whatever needs to show up at the time.
TVGuide.com: Now, you're not your usual blonde for this role....
Strickland: Not any more! You're officially talking to me the day after they made me blonde again.
TVGuide.com: Really? Do they address it on the show?
Strickland: That's why I did it — it's part of the plot! You get a script and the next day you're in the salon. But yes, the dark hair was deliberate, but now suddenly I'm blonde again.
TVGuide.com: What kind of David E. Kelley trademarks are you seeing on The Wedding Bells? I mean, you're not lawyers....
Strickland: The trademark we see here, I think, is an incredible capacity to have a sense of humanity in a very crazy world. David pulls out the most extraordinary elements of true human character and drama, the funniest things from people's faces and body language. He just creates a world where anything can be expressed and it's safe, because it doesn't come from a mean place. [And just as he does with] all that lawyer dialogue, he shows both sides of a conversation. You can't leave one of his shows and not understand both points of view. People do crazy stuff when they get married, and whether it's the guy getting cold feet, or the woman getting cold feet, or the mother of the bride... David is a master at capturing that behavior.
TVGuide.com: How are you liking your sisters, Teri Polo (Meet the Parents) and Sarah Jones?
Strickland: We were spoiled, because we had a rehearsal period prior to the show to create and improvise and make a history between ourselves, which you don't get with a film. By the time we showed up for the first day of shooting, we'd seen each other good, bad, right and wrong, and laughed along the way the entire time. They're just wonderful women with true, good character. I'm having a blast.
TVGuide.com: Sammy, the "bimbo sister," is a riot. Are we going to see at some point that she uses condoms during her casual wedding-planning indiscretions?
Strickland: I will say that she changes.... You get to see a real growth in her. Everyone gets to really explore different aspects of themselves, which is probably why I'm [now] a blonde. Maybe I'll get wild!
TVGuide.com: Are we going to have "wacky guest stars" showing up as, like, clergymen and such...?
Strickland: Oh, maybe Alex Rocco from The Godfather? Maybe Academy Award winner Cloris Leachman? Delta Burke, Missi Pyle (now a series regular), Pamela Adlon... I could just rattle for days, honey. Fyvush Finkel, Renée Taylor... we've just been blessed.
TVGuide.com: This is a fun show to watch for anyone who has ever planned a wedding, because certain things will undoubtedly ring true. You will recognize squabbles and points of contention....
Strickland: That's the truth. Obviously most people know someone who is married, has gotten married or is planning on getting married, and that stuff is sort of all across the board, and that makes it very universal. It's not heavy-handed towards women. It's not "romantic comedy for chicks." It certainly is wonderful for women to watch, but he balances it out with what the guys are feeling. You get to feel everyone's point of view.
TVGuide.com: As you said earlier, you just got married last fall. Were you like, "The last thing I need is more wedding planning!"?
Strickland: No, when I went in to meet the producers, I was so caught up in the wonder of what that was for me, because for me it was a beautiful, perfect experience. I love it. I mean, getting to go to work and plan weddings, or "perform surgery," or "be a cop".... I love that I do this.
TVGuide.com: You met Jason Behr during filming of The Grudge. Nothing sets the mood like a horror film set, eh?
Strickland: I tell you, that was one of the craziest experiences. He and I, as individuals, love Japan and always had an affinity for it, and neither of us knew the other person's work, but when I met him we pretty much became instant best friends because we would run off and explore anything. We were a little obsessive about the culture! The foundation of that interest developed over time, and here we are, I'm a very happy bride!
TVGuide.com: Regale me with a fun anecdote from the set of Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid.
Strickland: If I really tell it to you, you might vomit. If you've seen the movie, you know that I fell into a pit of snakes, a scene which I shot in Fiji, with a full moon, in the middle of the night, and there was oil and local dirt in that water. So let's just say... a girl loses some weight the next day. You get sick. That's my favorite anecdote because no matter whether I want to forget it or not, no therapist could take that memory out of my mind.
TVGuide.com: Before we go, tell me about The Flock, the film you have coming up with Richard Gere, Claire Danes and... Avril Lavigne?
Strickland: Yeah, Avril Lavigne's in it, as well. Basically, I play a female sex offender — the antithesis of a wedding planner! For me, it was a really important story to tell because culturally, we need to be accountable for the way we look at sex offenders and that whole culture — how we're responsible and how we're not. There's nothing particularly unique about the subject, because every time you walk down the street, chances are you encounter someone much like my character. It was a real opportunity to look at a counterculture that's actually not counter at all, it's very real, very next door to you. I can't wait to see it, because it is a very raw, intense drama.
TVGuide.com: How did Avril do?
Strickland: I have to tell you, she was wonderful. She was perfectly cast, for one....
TVGuide.com: Oh, what sort of character is she playing?
Strickland: You'll have to watch the movie to see! I will say that as I walked on set while they were filming her stuff, I thought she was really perfectly placed in that role. She's luminous, actually.