April Bowlby has
somehow latched onto a very odd specialty as an actress. It was
nothing she was looking for or planning to pursue, it just sort of
The former model
has become noticed for playing sweetly naïve and just slightly
stupid beauties. It is a time-honored Hollywood type, going back to
Gracie Allen, but it was not really one the Bowlby was looking to
specialize in. However, she is so good and sympathetic in the role,
it has kind of stuck.
The first notice
came when Bowlby took a recurring role as the gold-digging but sweet
short-lived wife of Alan (Jon Cryer) in the popular sitcom Two
and a Half Men. She followed up with a recurring arc as one of
the trusting-but-slow romantic conquests of Barney Stinson (Neil
Patrick Harris) in How I Met Your Mother.
This led to her
current role as Stacy on the hip Lifetime series Drop Dead Diva.
The story tells of a former model that is mistakenly taken to heaven
when she has not yet dead, only to have to take over the body of a
heavy-set, emotionally fragile but very competent lawyer. That
character is played by theatrical actress Brooke Elliott and Bowlby
plays her best friend from before the accident, a beautiful (but
sometimes dim) woman who is the only one who knows the secret.
“I love April!”
her Drop Dead Diva co-star Elliott says. “She’s really
great. She’s really funny and every supportive. She’s always there
for you 100% and I love that about April. She’s a great person.”
About a week
before the second season debut of Drop Dead Diva and the
release of the first season on DVD, Bowlby was nice enough to give
us a call to talk about her series, her career, why she thinks she
is a little typecast (but in a good way) and what to absolutely not
do on a first date.
How did you first
get into acting?
Well, I was real
lucky. I started modeling and I moved to LA. My modeling agency
had a commercial agency connected, so I started doing commercials
and then I got into acting classes. Once I started acting classes,
I was in love with it, because it was such a freeing, beautiful art
that I had never experienced before. I was like, fun! Got
to do it.
Though now you
are known mostly for comic roles, early on in your career you did
dramas like guesting on
CSI, CSI: New
York, the TV movies Sands of Oblivion and All Roads
Lead Home. Do you prefer comedy or drama? Is there one you find
easier or harder?
I don’t have a
preference. I like them both. But, I feel like comedy is a little
easier for me. I don’t know why, (laughs) it just is. I
like to move. I like to keep it going. It’s hard for me to keep
still and get focused. So that might be why.
The roles you
have been known for most so far are beautiful but kind of dumb
women. You are very good at that kind of role, but you went to
college and have done a lot of studying over the years. You are
probably a very smart woman. How did this kind of specialty come
I think it just
kind of happened that way. Maybe I’m successful at it because they
are a little dumb… obviously yes, that’s what they are… but when I
play it, I don’t play it like they are dumb. I just play it like
they really just want the best and just don’t quite grasp the
difficulty of things. They are just naïve, I think. So, I guess I
play that okay. (laughs)
Do you ever hope
to totally break that mold and play a nuclear
physicist or a MENSA member?
Well, yes. I
would love to! (laughs)
The first role
you did that people really noticed was probably your recurring role
as Alan’s short-lived wife Kandi on
Two and a Half
Men. How did that role come about and how exciting was it as a
young actress to get such a significant recurring role on a hit
It was so
amazing. The role… I had just read for one episode and I got it,
which was amazing and exciting for me. I was like, yay! Then I
went and did a good job and then maybe, I think a month and a half
later, they had me come back and I lost my mind because I was so
excited. Then two weeks later they had me come back again. I was
just very blessed with writers who felt like they could use me and
they did, so it became this beautiful experience that I could have
never had guessed would have happened when I walked in and did my
four lines the first day.
You also did a
recurring role on one of my favorite series,
How I Met Your Mother.
Mother you have worked closely with two of the best actors on
sitcoms today – Jon Cryer and Neil Patrick Harris. What were they
like to work with?
Amazing. I love
them both so much! They are just incredible. They are kind and
they are helpful and completely there. If you have a question they
are approachable, so you’re never afraid of them. They were just
lovely, lovely human beings, and completely beyond talented. They
mistreated Meg in
giving a fake name, address and eventually getting her and her
family arrested. So what is the biggest jerk move that a guy has
ever done to you or someone you know?
Let me think….
Oh, I will tell you! (laughs) I just remembered. I went on
a date with a man and for some reason his manager was there, which I
thought was a little strange. Then his publicist arrived, too,
which I thought was odd as well. But, that was okay. But what
really bothered me was he got up in the middle of dinner and left.
Like, disappeared. (laughs again) So, I was sitting at the
table with his representatives. Like, wow!
Yeah, that sounds
right? (chuckles) So, men, please don’t do that. Ever. To
One of the great
Drop Dead Diva
is while it is a very funny show it also has some very dramatic
moments. Is it fun to get back in a role where you can show range
Yes. It’s really
lovely. Stacy is so well written, because she has the naïveté and
she has the super-bubbly personality, which can kind of make her
seem a little dense. But then she has these moments of genius where
she literally solves the case without even realizing it. She’s got
Jane in her life. That can be a great thing or it can be – just
like with human beings, we don’t get along all the time. So we get
our little tiffy scenes where we fight and cry and be girls and
emotional, which is really lovely to have that option and that color
interviewed Brooke a couple of days ago. What is she like to work
so talented. She cares about the quality of her work so much… and
the quality of the shows. She’ll fight for it. She’ll really get
in there and figure out the problems and work it out. Beyond
talented and a joy to work with. She’s really funny. She can laugh
at herself, which I think is extremely important in this business.
The show is
obviously strongly about the shallowness of using attractiveness as
a human barometer about people’s worth. Coming from sort of the
other side, you are obviously a very attractive woman. Do you find
that people sometimes treat you differently because of that?
Umm, I guess. I
don’t know, because I only have my [own] experience. Yeah, I’m sure
that there are probably [people who are] maybe nicer to me. But, sometimes people
have the opposite effect. Sometimes people just brush me aside,
because, “Oh, there’s that girl who…” whatever their ideas of me
are. So I think it goes both ways. I think I probably get some
nice attention and I think I probably get some bad attention.
Do you think that
the show helps to sort undo some of the stereotypes about beauty
that are out there in the world?
I think that is a
possibility. I think that if people are conscious of it and our
show presents it in a fun way, but also a real lovely way, it’s
possible. I say, why not?
If you had the
opportunity come back as anyone, what would you like to come back
Oh boy, that
would be something, wouldn’t it? (laughs) Maybe, I think a
man. I’d like to be in a man’s body, just to see what it’s all
about, see how you guys really think.
I just asked that of Brooke the other day and she gave me the same
(laughs) That’s really funny. It is a curious thing though. I
wonder about you guys.
Well, we wonder
about ourselves sometimes, too…
Drop Dead Diva
is your first show on a cable network, Lifetime. Obviously you had
worked on CBS for Two & a Half Men and How I Met Your
Mother. Why do you think that some of the most adventurous
series on TV are showing up on cable now? Does working on a cable
series give you more artistic freedom than a network show?
Oh, yeah, I think
so, for sure. I think we are really lucky to be on our network,
because we don’t need the massive amounts of viewers to get a second
season. They actually let us get a following. We have time to
attract people to our show and bring people in without having to get
13 million viewers in the first two weeks – if we’re not we have to
stop production. We get to grow as a show each year and hopefully
our numbers will grow. Lifetime gives us opportunities to do that.
Also, they are very open to ideas and if we don’t understand
something, they help us. It’s just a very creative forum for us,
which is nice. It’s not a giant machine, but it’s a little
machine. There’s still room for growing and playing in our little
What kind of
interesting developments can we expect for your character – and the
series in general – in season two?
Yes, well, Fred
the Angel comes back, which is very exciting. I get a love
interest. Stacy gets a love interest. I invent something. Brooke
gets several love interests – a bunch of men loving her. It’s
exciting. Oh my gosh, we get to meet Harrison from Harrison and
Parker. That’s a big reveal. It’s growing. Our characters are
growing into dimensional, lovely characters.
Beyond the new
Drop Dead Diva
starting, the first season is coming out on DVD. Did you do
anything special for DVD extras, or do you know anything they are
I have no idea.
I hope there are some bloopers in there, though, because that’s my
favorite part. I love those blooper reels.
I just recently
saw you in the movie
Salmon with Cobie Smulders from How I Met Your Mother,
as well as the Broken Lizard troupe. What was that experience
like? Is movie acting different than TV?
Oh boy, it was so
much fun. Those boys, those Broken Lizard boys, are amazing. It
was like a party. Every day at work was like a party. Film and TV
– I found that film to be obviously super mellow with great
chemistry and comedy and funny and slapsticky, but you get to take
your time in film. In our show, it’s an eight day shooting
schedule, so it’s very regimented. There are certain things that
must take place within the week. So there are those constraints.
On Broken Lizard, we just got to play. (chuckles)
What would people
be surprised to know about you?
Oh, well that my
favorite food is a French fry. (laughs) I guess I love junk
food. I don’t think it’s a good thing. I’m trying to be more
healthy and food conscious.
Looking back at
your career how would you like people to see your work?
I think I would
like for them to look at it and when they watch, be inspired in some
way and just be like, “Wow, that girl, she’s real talented.” That’s
what I would like.
Are there any
misconceptions you’d like to clear up?
I don’t know.
Who’s saying something? I don’t know if there are any
misconceptions. But if there are, I will definitely address them.
CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT CO-STAR
BROOKE ELLIOTT HAD TO SAY TO US ABOUT DROP DEAD DIVA!
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