Actress NeNe Leakes agreed to her role on 'New Normal' without even seeing a script
When the creator of “The New Normal” asked NeNe Leakes to play the role of Rocky on the comedy series, she offered him a resounding, yes!
But when asked what drew her to the role, she laughs and tells CTV.ca, “Nothing!”
“I knew nothing about the show. I’d never seen a script.”
But she did know show creator Ryan Murphy, having worked with him previously. “He’s such a great guy, bringing me to Hollywood. He really gave me my start,” Leakes says. “He’s like my fairy godmother.”
The writers shaped the character for Leakes, transforming the comedic voice to match her own, and she jumped in with two (well heeled!) feet.
In the show, the characters of Bryan and David (played by Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha,) enlist Goldie, a Midwestern single mother (Georgia King), as their surrogate baby mama.
Looking to escape her dead-end life and small-minded grandmother (played by Ellen Barkin), Goldie moves to L.A. with her precocious 8-year-old daughter, Shania (Bebe Woods).
Even though Nana and Rocky don’t see eye-to-eye on…just about anything, Leakes says she and Barkin get along famously.
“She and I have the best time. She’s very much like me – she’s outspoken and she does her own thing. I love her for that,” says Leakes.
“When you work on sets, you hear about all these stories of actors not getting along on set, that they’re having problems, but we all really get along.
“We’ve really become family and it’s one of the best things ever.”
On the show, Shania already had a fake wedding, and Goldie is pregnant, but what’s in store for Rocky?
“I think that my character will find love – now that is going to be something!” Leakes says. “And I think you’ll see my family and meet my mother and father!”
Only six episodes in, the show has made a niche for itself by going straight to the heart of political subjects that are often shied away from on sitcoms, including racism and gay rights.
“I think Ryan wanted people to look outside of the box and show the world what it’s like to have two lead male actors playing gay characters. It’s not something everyone wants to talk about, but gay couples – male and female – want to love and want to marry and have children,” says Leakes.
“We’re all still human at the end of the day. We all want to be loved and want to laugh.”
“The New Normal” airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET on CTV. Full episodes are also available online at CTV.ca.
About Lindsay Zier-Vogel
Lindsay Zier-Vogel has been working for CTV.ca since 2008. Lindsay’s highlights include interviewing the famed American choreographer Bill T. Jones and Canadian prima ballerina Karen Kain, as well as covering the Juno Awards. Follow her on Twitter!