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Interview: Parker Posey on Jezebel James, Runway, and More


Parker Posey doesn't speak in sentences; she speaks in stories. Ask her a question, and her incredibly detailed response will often start with the line "So I was doing this play in New York . . . " and then dart all over the place before ultimately reaching the answer.

I had the chance to chat with Posey last summer at the TCA press tour, when she was first promoting The Return of Jezebel James. The show, which co-stars Lauren Ambrose of Six Feet Under and was created and written by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, finally premieres Friday night on Fox. So, I figured it was time to share Posey's thoughts on her new co-star, her move to the small screen, and even her path to becoming a Project Runway guest judge a couple of seasons back. Here were highlights:

  • On becoming a fan of Ambrose through Six Feet Under: "I was a huge fan of her in the show. I was hooked. [Tells long story about breaking her finger doing a play in New York and renting the first season's DVDs while she was recuperating.] I had Monday off. I watched the entire first season, high on Vicodin, crying and eating lasagna from takeout somewhere, and I was like, 'This is the greatest time ever. I'm working on this play, I had one day off, I'm watching the best TV ever.'"
  • On learning Ambrose would be cast as her sister: "It just made sense. . . . When I met her, she really reminded me of my cousin, so I knew there was something about us. I don't know her that well, but there's something about us that's relatable."

More from Posey about her move to TV and the ProjRun connection, so read more.

  • On why she'd move to TV right now: "I read [the script] and I liked it. It makes sense to me. . . . It mostly was the writing and the ease of the writing and how much I could hear the voice. It was so inhabited, it flew off the page and just soared. I loved how classy it was. It was classy and clean and sweet and smart. . . . It reminded me of Family Ties, family sitcoms. I think that's the demographic right there."
  • On finally getting to live in New York full time: "I had a whole tub of sweaters that I had forgotten about because I had been traveling around so much. Now I can be really grounded, live and work — that will be normal for me."
  • On how she came to guest-judge Project Runway's first-season finale: "I was doing a play in New York called Hurly Burly . . . It's about the movie business and they're all coked out and crazy. I played a fashion photographer who's kind of in love with the bad guy. Our dark days were Sundays, and that's when the Project Runway marathons were on Bravo. That's how I would wind down — I'd watch the entire marathon. So then I got a call, and it was my publicist, and he said, 'Would you like to be a guest judge on Project Runway?" I was like, "That's weird, I'm totally obsessed with it!"

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