Photo by Neil Jacobs/NBC
It’s been a couple of years since Anne Heche’s last TV series, Hung, went off the air. But she obviously had faith that she’d return to the small screen and now that’s come to pass with her new comedy about a mid-Western woman who starts to talk to God when she hits rock bottom. In a recent conference call interview the Emmy-nominated actress talked about what drew her to the role in Save Me and striking the right tone on the new show.
Anne explained what attracted her to the script in the first place, “I believe that we get second chances in life. And Beth, my character, is in a situation; she's an Ohio housewife, I'm from Ohio. That's the first of many things that Beth and I have in common. She’s a housewife and she hasn't done it very well. She's not a great mom, she's not a great wife, she drinks too much, she plays too hard and she hasn't really been responsible. And by the time we come in to meet her and she's choking on a hoagie, her life isn't great. And she gets a second chance to do it again.”
No stranger to suffering from the lows of living a public life, Anne seemed to be able to rate to the need to start with a clean slate. As she confessed, “I've been so blessed with many chances in my life that I get really excited by being able to play women that get to do it all again.”
She also wanted to explore the more esoteric themes of the show. “We do come to points in our life where we need something to believe in,” the Men in Trees star acknowledged, “And whether or not we believe, or wherever we get our strength from, we have so much courage, everybody, to walk through this life and try to make it right.”
The 43-year-old actress continued, “That's really all Beth is trying to do. She wants to do it right and she wants to make people happy along the way. And I like that. She's a really positive person. And this message, this connection that she has with God has filled her with the joy of life. And she wants to give it to everybody like a gift.”
But of course, that ability to communicate with a higher power is fraught with conflict, too. Heche noted, “When you have that big of a gift, sometimes people don't want it. So it doesn't always work out perfectly for her, but she is really trying to figure it out in a positive way. And I love all that about her. And she's a goofball. She's a total goofball, and so am I, so I love that I get to make people giggle.”
Yet, Anne admitted that the humor is the most challenging aspect of her new series.
She acknowledged, “I always want it to be something that people understand and can relate to. When you're playing a person who talks to God, you want to be sure that people believe that's actually really happening. So that's kind of the balance that we're trying to strike all the time in the show, that you really believe in Beth, that that it's not so far in a realm that we don't understand. She's a girl just like us and it's not really difficult to do that, but that's what we wanted to do. We want to stay grounded, too.”
If they manage to strike the right tone, Anne and her bosses might be around for quite sometime. For now, she conceded that she’s just happy to be back in primetime. “At this point in my life I find it so extraordinary that people are still asking me to be on TV. It amazes me sometimes because I go, ‘Wow, really? You want me to go be in this show that I think is so hilarious and so awesome?’ And I'm amazed that people keep coming up with new ideas, let alone new ideas that they want me to be in. But I love to work. And if I could have shaped a show or an idea or a sense of humor for myself, I would have come up with this. I did not create this show for myself but I'm happy — thrilled — that I'm a producer on it. So when NBC approached me about it I couldn't believe it. The blessings of my life are extraordinary. And this is one that I'm thrilled that they asked me to do.”
Tune in to Save Me every Thursday night at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. Central on NBC.