Judy Greer talks “Jeff, Who Lives At Home” and the return of Kitty Sanchez in “Arrested Development”


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For as far back as we can remember, Judy Greer has been busy stealing scenes in every project she’s been in. Whether she’s been wearing her hair down and glasses off in “Arrested Development” or playing a heartbroken wife who confronts the comatose woman who her husband was cheating on her with in “The Descendants,” Greer always puts a memorable spin on her characters.

The same can be said for her role in the new Duplass brothers film, “Jeff, Who Lives At Home.” IFC recently caught up with the actress to talk about her shift from comedic to dramatic roles and also find out the latest scoop on the “Arrested Development” movie. Read on to find out what she had to say, but beware because some spoilers for “Jeff” do lie ahead.

IFC: You have been in some unhappy relationships in movies recently. Why are you doing this to yourself?

JUDY GREER: Yeah, I think it’s kind of cathartic. I stopped going to therapy. I don’t have to do that anymore because now I can just go to work. [laughs] It’s been fun to do something different. For me, you know, I guess I was sort of thinking of the coincidence just this weekend and doing press for the movie because I wasn’t really considering that, but I did spend some time in my career playing the sidekick role, so at one point I said to my agent and managers, you know, I’d love to maybe, instead of being the friend, be like the wife for a while, so they were like, “Awesome.” So now I’m like the wife now, so that’s good. But at least my wife characters, they have some stuff going on. I’m not just like, “So when are you coming home?” I’m like having [moments].

IFC: You’re mostly known for your comedic roles, so has it been a conscious effort on your part to make the switch to drama?

JG: Yeah, but I don’t feel like that’s the only thing I want to do now. It just was more of I kind of wanted to be challenged, and I feel like I wanted to explore that. I mean, I was going to audition for these roles; if I didn’t get them, then I wouldn’t have done them, you know what I mean?

I mean, “Jeff, Who Lives At Home” I got offered, thankfully, by the Duplass brothers. They were kind of thinking of me for the role from the beginning, but some of the other parts I’ve done that are more dramatic lately, that I’ve auditioned for, I feel like if I audition and I get it, you know, that’s good, right? Then that’s maybe what I should be doing right now.

IFC: Would you ever want to go front and center?

JG: Well, yeah. I don’t know anyone who would be like, “I don’t want to star in a movie.” Sure, yeah, in fantasy land I’d love to be in a romantic comedy where I get to be the girl who, you know, is not getting the guy until the very end when of course she gets the guy and lives happily ever after. I’m also not at all unhappy with the way my career has gone thus far and I feel like I’m really fortunate in that I get to work with awesome people. I get to do great roles and have these great moments in great movies, but I can also, you know, go to Target whenever I want. It’s nice. I feel like I have the best of both worlds.

IFC: What was it about “Jeff, Who Lives At Home” that drew you to it?

JG: I loved the script and then I met [the Duplass brothers] for dinner when we were talking about me doing it and I loved them. Like, they’re just cool guys. They’re just the kind of guys that you want to be in business with forever. I think of them like, if I could make instead of like a theater company a movie-making company, I would love for them to be the in-house writer/directors, and I could be the in-house girl, one of them, and I don’t know. They’re just really good people.

IFC: Was there something about the script itself or something about the character in particular that you were attached to?

JG: Well, I love the idea of fate and sort of destiny, finding signs from the universe and sort of slowing down. I love when [Jason Segel] says to close your eyes and take a deep breath and what do you see? I love that message. I love the message of how every day should be your best day, and I love the relationship between my character and Ed [Helms]‘s character even though it’s very sad and it seems like it’s kind of fallen apart.

I feel like I have seen that happen a lot with people I know and so I thought it was an important story to tell. Like, look how bad it can get. The beginning of the breakdown of communication is the end of your relationship. Once you stop putting in the effort and the time and take each other for granted, you have to really work hard to get it back after that. And so I was interested in that.

IFC: Was it nice to be offered a role outside of your norm?

JG: Yeah, definitely. For me it was, and it was fun to work with [Segel and Helms] because I felt like in a way we were all doing roles that we hadn’t gotten a chance to really do before, so it was cool that we were all doing it together. Like all of us were like, “Here we go, doing something completely different!”

IFC: It seems like you have a pretty even split between your film roles and your TV roles. Do you prefer one over the other?

JG: Not really. I don’t know, it used to be like years ago when you used to have to pick one, and obviously you don’t anymore. There’s things I like about both. I have never been — besides “Arrested Development,” and it was like so tenuous if we were ever coming back or not, and I wasn’t a series regular on that show — but I’ve never been in a real hit show. I’ve never seen what that’s like. And so I feel like there’s a lot of things about being on a successful television show that I’d love to experience, like a little bit of job security, like putting some money in the bank, that kind of stuff. Working with the same people every day, watching a character grow and evolve, and having some say in that.

But, you know, making movies is so awesome. It’s like summer camp. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel, so you feel like you can always throw yourself into a role because it’s going to end in one to three months, depending. I love being in another city for a chunk of time, because you really get to learn cities and people and that’s interesting and informative. But, you know, sometimes the hustle can get tiring and because of the economy and because the business is changing and because of the Internet, the roles are getting fewer and the people who want them, the group is getting bigger.

Whereas before I would audition for a part and get it and my competition would be other actresses like me, now my competition is like movie stars want parts. You know what I mean? They’re just not making as many small movies, they’re just not making as many movies period, and we just don’t know what’s happening and the direction the business is going to go in.

Especially with television, too. The Internet, you don’t have to watch television shows on TV anymore, you can watch them on Hulu and it’s like, who knows? It’s an interesting time, but I think it’s important to kind of be doing both.

IFC: It’s interesting you say that because “Arrested Development” is coming back, but it’s going to be on Netflix. Are we going to see Kitty Sanchez again?

JG: I mean, fingers crossed. I don’t know.

IFC: You haven’t heard anything yet?

JG: I heard probably, but I don’t know, until I’m watching the movie and I’m in it onscreen, I never count on anything.

IFC: What would she be doing now?

JG: I’d like for her to take the whole family down. I feel like Kitty Sanchez should come back with all the secrets and take down the Bluths. But, I probably shouldn’t put it out there, because then they’ll be like, “Well, now we can’t do that!”

Do you plan on checking out “Jeff, Who Lives At Home”? What do you think Kitty Sanchez has been up to? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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