You can’t help but want Catherine Keener to be your best friend—the veteran actress gives zero fucks and is fearless in the roles she takes on.
Whether she is taking Steve Carnell’s virginity in The 40 year Old Virgin or scaring the pants off you in last year’s breakout hit, Get Out, her quirky versatility makes her one of the most interesting actresses in Hollywood today.
With back-to-back projects, the Oscar nominee works constantly.
“I never sleep,” she told the Irish Times earlier this year. “I love daytime. I was off yesterday after shooting nights, and I literally slept all day, which is unusual for me. But of course, I got up at one o’clock in the morning to do laundry.”
A Comedic Take on Devastation
During the Television Critics Press Tour, Nexttribe.com talked to Keener, who is 58, as she was heading off for a brief break. “I am going to North Carolina to hang out with my family and a lake. I can’t wait; all I want is a tree!”
Keener was on a Showtime panel for her latest dramedy series, “Kidding,” which deals with Jeff, a cheerful, famous Mr.-Rogers-type children’s TV show host, known as Mr. Pickles, (Jim Carrey) who suddenly has to deal with the loss of his son.
Keener plays the sister of Jim Carrey’s character, who loses his son.
Keener plays Carrey’s sister, Deidre, who is the head puppet artist on the children’s show. Both are grieving in their own way. “It’s a comedic take on devastation,” she acknowledged.
Fans of Being John Malkovich, one of Keener’s most-loved films, may feel a kind of similarity with Kidding, which is equally whimsical at times.
Her character also has to navigate the tension with Carrey’s wife, Jill, played by Judy Greer.
“We have very different views about childrearing, and I think that we’ve been kind of disconnected for a while. Deirdre has her own experience with this death. It touches everyone, and Jeff is the focus of this,” Keener said. “I think that there’s discord as a result. You know, when something happens, you kind of question where you are in your life, and things can get volatile and violent. And things just break, but they say that when a heart is broken, it’s also cracked open.”
‘I love the idea of being brother and sister. I have three brothers I’m very close to.’
She added, “Someone whose son had died, ironically said that. People can be so generous in the … most challenging parts of their lives.”
About the complicated relationship her character has with Jeff, Keener said, “To me, Jeff was always the precious one … as his older sister, I really wanted to preserve his innocence and purity and creativity. … I love the idea of being brother and sister. I have three brothers I’m very close to, and so I liked just that kind of setup in terms of a story.”
September is one busy month for Keener—you can also see her with Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph in Forever, an Amazon comedy series set to premiere on September 14.