Monday, January 17, 2011

Kathy Bates and David E. Kelley on the Harry’s Law Cast of Characters

Photo by Matthias Clamer/NBC 

Kathy Bates has become a familiar face on TV in recent years, most notably for her role as printer company magnate Jo Bennett on The Office. But with the new David E. Kelley series Harry’s Law, Bates will be the full-time star of a series for the very first time. In a recent conference call interview with Bates and Kelley, they discussed the cast of characters on the new legal drama.

Bates is excited to be working with her co-stars, especially Aml Ameen, she revealed, “I’m really taken with this young man, who’s from the UK… He’s a wonderful young actor. And we’ve had a lot of terrific scenes together and I’ve enjoyed so much the chemistry between the two of us.”

She described how Harry and Ameen’s characters were introduced to each other. “He plays Malcolm who… actually falls on her from out of the sky in a botched suicide attempt. And she gets to know him. He’s the first guy in the neighborhood that she gets to know. And he’s got a third strike drug charge against him and she’s trying to get him off the hook. And she succeeds and he goes on probation and he begins to work for her as he continues his college courses and they begin a friendship.”

Nate Corddry is another up-and-coming actor on the series. Bates explained his part. “[He] plays Adam Branch… the young kid that hits [Harry] with the car. He comes in and… we’re working on cases sort of in tandem. So we don’t have quite that many scenes together. Although when we do get together we have a… contentious relationship a bit, which is fun to play.”

As for her third young co-star Bates gushed, “And then of course, Brittany Snow who’s playing Jenna Backstrom, she’s a doll. She’s a lovely young actress, very funny, wonderful little comedian.”

Best of all Kathy says she’s connecting with her own character, “I'm relating pretty well to this role here of Harriet on Harry's Law. I'm having a terrific time playing this character and investigating her in every new episode.”

Kelley couldn’t agree more, “I love Harry. I enjoy writing this character because she's complicated and complex and she's different from any character I've written before… So many of the characters I get to write maybe 60, 70 episodes of and I just hope I have that opportunity with Harry because there's a lot of layers to this character and I'd love the time to explore them.”

All the good will has meant a wonderful atmosphere on the set and the hopes of great success. Bates remarked, “The four of us get along really well and enjoy working on the show. We just hope it runs and runs.”

But as Kelley explained, getting audiences to warm to a character like Harry isn’t always easy. “The ones that are grumps and curmudgeons and aren't politically correct, those are a little more difficult because you still want the audience to care about them and yet you want to be true to their lack of political correctness or who the character — and Harry would be one… This is a character who struts through the door and dares people to dislike her. I mean she has no problem saying no. She does not care whether anyone likes her or finds her to be a popular person.”

He continued, “You want to be true to that part of her and yet at the same time you want that character to be popular. It's a difficult trick. And the best way to pull off that trick is with an accomplished actor. And I've certainly got one here. So if it doesn't work you can lay it on me.”

No doubt that audiences will warm to Bates. To see her in action tune in to the series premiere of Harry’s Law on Monday, January 17, at 10 p.m. EST/9 p.m. Central on NBC.

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