Fran Drescher: “People say they can’t believe that this is my real voice.”
Your television series The Nanny was a huge favourite here during its run in the ’90s, and is still a popular rerun. What do you think accounts for the love from Australians? It’s really not different from any other country that embraced it – but especially in a country that shares the same language, you get to appreciate the real voice. It’s not dubbed, it’s not subtitled. All of that begins to erode the spontaneity and specialness of the piece. Plus she was so much fun – and exciting to look at. You were diagnosed with uterine cancer not long after the show ended its run, wrote about it for your 2002 memoir Cancer Schmancer and now have a foundation of the same name. How did the diagnosis change you – and now, at age 60, do you fear a recurrence? Well, I feel like I got famous, I got cancer and I lived to talk about it. So I talk – all the time. And I truly believe in what I’m doing to prevent it happening again. I don’t live in fear it’s going to come back. [Three days ago] marked 18 years well. Sometimes I’m fearful of potential violent crime… that sort of haunts me in a way that’s harder to shake than the fear of cancer coming back. On that note, as a sexual-assault survivor [in 1985, Drescher was raped when two armed robbers broke into the home she shared with her then-husband Peter Marc Jacobson], you have long advocated on behalf of women who have been victims of violent crime. What has it been like to watch the #Metoo movement take hold? I was raped at gunpoint by a man who was on parole. That’s not to say I have never encountered predatorial men within the workplace, and I don’t think there is a woman alive that doesn’t have some story to tell. It doesn’t have to be high-profile or celebrity men. So I feel encouraged. I think it’s a silver lining of the [Trump] administration – this building groundswell of frustration blew the lid off the closeted oppression of women. There’s strength in numbers as long as we remain in solidarity across the board. I mean, look at this [racism scandal] with Roseanne Barr. It had nothing to do with sexual assault, but it’s unacceptable. Society is saying no. We have to sensitise ourselves more to making kindness and compassion our compass. Your work in the animated Hotel Transylvania films is purely voice-over. Do you just rock up to the studio in your pyjamas, hair undone? Oh, I wish. I always thought before I got into voiceover work that I could. But when you’re a celebrity doing a big animated film, they’re always videotaping you for promo reels. So most of the time I actually have to look like Fran Drescher – the persona. Your Transylvania character Eunice is described as “brash and sassy”. Would you call that typecasting? I think I’ve always sort of been the hooker with the heart of gold. And Eunice has that quality, too: she seems crusty on the outside, but she has a soft underbelly. Given you’re so famous for your voice, is it hard to do a grocery run or consult with a girlfriend in a department-store dressing room and remain incognito? Without question. People tell me, “Just don’t speak!” But if I so much as say “Uh-huh” then it’s all over. Not that I’m complaining. People say they can’t believe this is my real voice and all I can say is, “Who could make this up?”
Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation is in cinemas on Thursday.