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Sara Rue has played a lot of varied characters throughout her 24-year career. She played a wise-cracking trailer park kid in the ‘90s sitcom Grand. She was a bad influence on the sitcom Phenom. And she portrayed the eternally optimistic assistant on Less Than Perfect. But these days she’s taken on a whole different type of role on the Reba McEntire comedy Malibu Country. In a recent exclusive interview, Sara talked about playing yet another personality in primetime.
Sara plays Kim, Reba’s cheery, nosy and opinionated neighbor. She explained that although she sees very little similarities between herself and her onscreen persona, she did connect to her on one level.
Sara remarked, “The thing that is so wonderful about Kim is that she never means any harm. She’s the least malicious person on the planet and I’d like to think that I’m like that.”
Still there’s another side to her small screen alter ego that’s very different. Sara noted, “The other side of Kim is that she has absolutely no filter and that’s part of what makes her who she is as a character. I tend to pick and choose my words really carefully. If I said half the things off the cuff that are off the top of my brain like Kim does I would get in trouble all the time. So we’re very different in that way.”
One person that Sara can relate to is her teen co-star, Juliette Angelo, who plays Reba’s teenage daughter June. Having started in the business when she was just nine, Sara admitted that she felt a connection to the young actress. She revealed, “It’s been really fun with me actually, especially to work with Juliette. She’s 13 and it reminds me so much of my experience at her age.”
And to top it all off, shooting Malibu Country is a homecoming of sorts for Sara. “We’re actually shooting on the same sound stage that I shot my first show on. The show was called Grand and we were on after Cheers for two years. And we shot on this lot on the same stage.”
It all adds to the connection that Sara feels with Juliette. She acknowledged, “Here I am the adult, shooting on this lot on the same stage with a 13-year-old and she reminds me of myself in some ways. She’s from New Jersey. She’s a Broadway kid. And we have a very similar background. And so it’s been really fun for me to get to spend some time with her because I feel like I’ve come full circle somehow. It’s really wild.”
Still Sara said she tries not to recount too many of her own experiences as lessons for her teen co-star. She conceded, “I’ve given a little advice here and there. I try not to be that person that’s like, ‘Now, listen kid,’ because that’s annoying. I did my first TV show from the ages of 11 to 13 and Juliette who plays June is 13. So we had a girl’s day and I took her to the movies.”
She added, “I try not to give her advice because when I think about what I responded to when I was her age and on set was being treated as an equal and being treated as a peer with the other actors on stage. And I always liked the actors that treated me like that and didn’t talk down to me. So I always try to be really careful. If I do have any advice or anything, I try to sneak it in there without being too obvious about it.”
Watch Malibu Country on Friday nights at 8:30 p.m. EST/7:30 p.m. Central on ABC.
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