Oscar winner Kathy Bates turned down many TV roles through the years before accepting the lead in NBC's Harry's Law. Just like her character, Harriet Korn, a tough-talking attorney who tussles with gang members and smokes marijuana, the 62-year-old Bates proves she's not at all what you might expect.
TV Guide Magazine: Congratulations! Your show's a hit. Any worries about being typecast as Harriet Korn?
Bates: I think I have been typecast with Misery (her Oscar-winning role in 1990), and I don't think I'll ever outlive that.
TV Guide Magazine: Your TV career could have started over 30 years ago when you auditioned for the role of Janet on Three's Company.
Bates: I don't know that I would have had a career. I was very young and learning my craft. After I auditioned, I remember praying that I didn't get that part because I wanted to do more serious things.
TV Guide Magazine: What are you hearing from fans about Harry's Law?
Bates: I've been reading the blogs, and people are excited that they have something to laugh and cry about at the same time. [But] we did not do well with the critics — including your magazine!
TV Guide Magazine: Well, fans love you. And you apparently enjoy connecting with them across America in your RV.
Bates: Yes. Last summer I drove cross-country with a friend to my hometown of Memphis. What's really fun is stopping at a Cracker Barrel where people come and sit down at the table just like they are friends and relatives. Then the thing to do at the resorts is walk up and down and ogle other people's campers to see how they've decorated. It's a chance for me to keep my relationship with normal people.
TV Guide Magazine: Harry's not thrilled to be working in a law office that doubles as a shoe store. Are you a worshipper of high-heel designer shoes?
Bates: I prefer a good handbag. I would hesitate to say just how many I have, but over the years I've sold some on eBay and probably will weed out some more.
TV Guide Magazine: As the series continues, what facets of Harry would you like to see further explored?
Bates: I would like to see her use her expertise as a patent attorney in solving a case. And I've always wanted to see her smoking more pot on the show, but I guess on network TV you can't really do a lot of that. It would be fun, though, to see her get in some trouble.
Harry's Law airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.