Checking in with RETTA
Retta’s current TV stardom is downright criminal. And she doesn’t mind.
Though her comedy became well-known on “Parks and Recreation,” she’s effecting an image change by staying with NBC for “Good Girls,” the seriocomic show that begins its second season Sunday, March 3. She resumes her role as Detroit waitress Ruby, who has turned to crime – in tandem with her friends, sisters Beth and Annie (Christina Hendricks, Mae Whitman) – to fund her daughter’s treatment for kidney disease.
“When I read the pilot, I knew exactly who she was,” the pleasant Retta says of Ruby, “so I felt that (series creator-producer) Jenna (Bans) had painted such a picture of who Ruby Hill was that it was easy for me, personally. Once I started working on it, when my ‘kids’ come on set ... they’re really cute. They’re super-sweet. And that Lidya Jewett is super-, super-smart; when she starts to talk to me, I fall in parental mode.
“I didn’t meet Reno (Wilson) until the table read, so I didn’t know how I felt about him playing my husband. And when we sat down at the table read, he was so warm – and he’s like that with everyone, and he calls everybody ‘Baby.’ He’s just so loving that I knew exactly what that relationship was going to be on screen. So, for me, it was the script, and then the people that play my family.”
Retta also has learned a trick that helps with the range of emotions she has to display, and frequently, on “Good Girls.”
She recalls she discovered it while filming the pilot, when “I realized I hadn’t drank any water. So, that’s how I prep for my crying scenes. I drank some water, and I was like, ‘Oh, I got this. This is my lane.’ And then usually, when I read the script, I get triggered by it and by what is happening. I’ll cry when I read it, so when I go to shoot it, the dialogue triggers me.”
Birthdate: April 12, 1970
Birthplace: Newark, N.J.
Current residence: Los Angeles Marital status: Single
Other television credits include: “Pinky Malinky,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce,” “Kroll Show,” “Key & Peele,” “Drunk History,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Rodney,” “Freddie,” “$5.15/Hr.”
Movie credits include: “Father Figures,” “Where’s the Money,” “The Lego Ninjago Movie” (voice only), “Band Aid,” “To the Bone,” “Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life,” “Operator,” “Other People,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip,” “Sex Ed,” “First Sunday,” “Sex and Death 101,” “Fracture,” “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star,” “Slackers,” “Ringmaster”