Last week, I was extremely fortunate to get in touch with the talented actress and 24 star Missy Crider who plays Rita on the current season. She was kind enough to answer 24 questions for me on my website 24headquarters about the show, her life and career. She’s also been in a number of blockbuster films including Powder, Frailty, Gigli, Mullholland Drive, and her new indie film Seclusion. Read the whole interview after the jump and don’t be afraid to leave comments that Missy herself hopefully will come over to read!
1. Hi Missy, thank you so much for doing this interview! I know the readers are dying for juice about 24, but first tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a southern girl, though I’ve lived in LA since ’92. I still need the country and love certain aspects of a big city life as well. As long as I keep my soul connected to some deeper aspect of life, like taking time to immerse myself in nature, kayaking down rivers, and the like, then I seem to have something to offer. Well, I began my life in the arts as a singer in a stage-show as my regular job and I started acting when I first played Angelica Huston’s daughter in the original miniseries “Lonesome Dove”. I lived in the south all of my life and made a permanent move to Los Angeles when I was 18 years old. Yikes.
2. Being from South Carolina, do you have a Southern accent that you hide for 24?
Nahhh, I’ve been out heahhhh far, far too long, Sugahhh, to have that sweet melody of the lovely S.C. still readily flowin’ off my tongue, honey-pie… ;0}~ On the ‘accent subject’, I remember I used to ‘study’ the flight attendant’s ‘accent’ (or lack of one) when i would board a plane to L.A. when I was younger. Either that, or I would phone a local flower shop of any city I needed to understand the accent for. Those were my quick remedies. I’m a singer, so accents and looping have thankfully always come quite naturally for me for whatever reason.
3. For anyone who doesn’t know, can you tell us a bit about your character on 24?
Hmmm. SHHHHH!!. That’s what Jack told me to say. Shhhhhhhhhh. I can tell you that my name is ‘Rita’. That’s about it for now. My life could be in jeopardy, if I spilled any beans… Ya know. PS: Beginning tomorrow night, Feb. 5th, the next 2 weeks/hours 12pm and 1pm get VERY intense, I am excited to add.
4. On IMDB it has your character’s name listed as “Sue” on 24. Is this just a mistake or are we going to find out you’re working under an alias?
Hmmm. Ya know, I don’t know where imdb gets half of their information. Mine is usually incorrect. My CORRECT information can be found, as well as my demo reel, photos, etc., at: http://www.nowcasting.com/missycrider & http;//www.myspace.com/missycrider. I’ve seen a LOT of silly nonsense at that imdb.
5. Did you watch 24 before you took on your role?
Sure. I’m a huge fan. Huge. I also have a great respect for the writers, directors, and producers on the show. Smart. Kind. Cool people. Michael Klick has been especially gracious to me, as he allowed for me to work on a pilot with John Heard at night, during my day work schedule on his set. Thank you, Michael!! Working on “24” has been one of the immense professional joys of my career so far. The cast and crew are so comfortable to work and to laugh with. I am honored to be a part of this show. I’m so grateful. I can’t say enough about my gratitude regarding this amazing opportunity for me.
6. Is Kiefer as hot in person as he is on TV?
Well, I have a boyfriend and choose not to comment about that, thank you VERY, very much. Keifer—What a guy and an intensely great talent. He’s the real deal. We all know this.
7. Did you do anything special for the Season premiere of 24 and for your debut on the show?
I had just returned from Berlin to catch the premiere and I became completely addicted to this season after seeing the first 4 hours. I watched it from my sofa in the south while it was snowing. It was a very memorable duo.
8. Can you tell us how many episodes of 24 you’ve signed on for? And when you signed up for the show did they tell you how many episodes you’d be filming?
No. No. & Noooooo.
9. Some fans are speculating that you’ll be the one who will turn in McCarthy to the authorities. Care to comment?
10. How much of the filming of 24 was actually in LA and not on Sound stages?
They do a great deal on the stages and we were in Korea town and in North Hollywood for some exteriors. I know they use many L.A. spots for exteriors. Their set decorators are amazing and being on one of the sound stages is such a treat. As an actor, it surely transports you to another real place. Top-of-the-line, those people. I always appreciate a great crew so, so much. They are surely the silent heroes. Thank you guys! You rock.
11. Have you been to the CTU headquarters set and what is it like?
I can’t tell ya that! Come on, now, sister! I need my job.
12. Your boyfriend on the show McCarthy seems like a real jerk. What is David Hunt like in real life?
David Hunt and his wife Patricia, are amazing people. One day his 4 boys–yes 4–came for a set visit. I loved, loved, loved having that family around me. David is a friend, the kindest, coolest guy, and a pleasure to work with. He & Patricia produced a great new film called “Coal Queens” that can be bought at amazon.com! It has been garnering wonderful reviews and feels a bit akin to a Christopher Guest film. I hope you check it out.
13. Is the filming of the show as fast paced as the show itself? Is it shot in REAL TIME?
Mmmm. Great question. The answer is YES. Filming it is SO efficient. I think their writers and directors are very secure people and don’t dally around with indecision. They know what they want and the camera teams are so great that things usually get done pronto.
14. How did you get the role on 24? Was it a long auditioning process?
Well, I went in and auditioned and found out a week later that I had landed that role. It was a blessed day, let me tell you. I only went in once to audition and did not know if I was even still in the loop one week later.
15. What’s it like working with such an amazing cast?
Every actor’s dream. That’s really what it felt like. When you work with people who are so dedicated to the story and their surroundings, it becomes like playing…not working. I really enjoyed working with Carlo Rota. He’s an amazing actor and friend. We had a lot of fun.
16. Being a star yourself, do you still get star struck over certain actors you’ve worked with?
Awww, seriously? A star, huh? I’ll have to absorb that one. Thank you. I have been star-struck twice in my life. I met Jodie Foster once and couldn’t breathe. I played Matthew McConoughey’s wife in “Frailty” and couldn’t breathe either. My brain just left the place. Occupational hazard. I think the reason we humans feel ‘struck’ by someone’s presence is due to respect and admiration. I have much respect and admiration for Jodie and Matthew, for sure.
17. Other than 24, what other TV shows do you watch?
You’re gonna laugh, but that’s alright…Here ya go: “Wheel of Fortune”. I loved “Huff”– I’m sad Showtime cancelled that amazingly quirky, real show. I miss it. It was a place where the misfits fit and I like that kind of place. ;0} “Weeds”. “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. “American Idol”. I watch CNN, Bill Maher, and Suze Ormon. Yes. World News, bold opinions, and money-management. Yep. That keeps me busy enough. I much prefer TiVo, I must say. It gives you freedom, so that you’re not enslaved to the tube all of the time.
Hugh Laurie was a pleasure on “House”. That character was a ‘sex-somniac’ (which I wasn’t aware existed)… Billy Petersen is an old friend of mine. I played his daughter many years ago for three months in Australia and got to work with him again in the second season’s premiere of “CSI” in Vegas and LA. It was truly a blast. I liked playing that annoying character on “CSI”. I flew down to Miami to work on “CSI: Miami” on their show for a few days. That was fast work, then back to L.A.
19. What was Hugh Laurie like in person?
Really kind and funny…handsome, charming. Everything you’d expect.
20. You’ve also been in quite a few great movies including “Powder” which was what I saw on my very first date! What can you tell us about filming that and other movies?
Awww. Your very first date? How sweet is that? What a tear-jerker for your very first date, huh? That makes me happy. Smiling now. You know, I wish to work on films more that have messages like “Powder” did for us. I strongly and deeply believe that our society needs more of that kind of influence in these turbulent times in the world. I really feel I am here to work on films or television projects that have a spiritual theme, no matter what that may be. We all need to be enlightened. That’s why we are here.
21. You recently starred in an Indie thriller called Seclusion that’s now out on DVD. What can you tell us about the movie and your role?
My character, Corin Matthews, was a fun blend of things to play for me. ‘Seclusion’ is a complicated political story that focused on the unraveling of a politician’s mind. Corin is certainly a ‘temptress’, as well as a very respected advisor to Robert Hamilton, who is running for U.S. Senate. Throughout the story, her past dealings with Robert’s father remain a haunting mystery and further mystify her to his son, as she helps him to prepare his speech for the election in a secluded cabin away from the press. We worked up in Colorado in the middle of the woods for most of the shoot. It’s more of a psychological thriller of sorts. Christopher Stapleton (http://www.myspace.com/cstapleton ) is a wonderful actor and has become a dear friend. I hope to work with Chris again and again. We’re actually looking into doing something together very soon. Check out their page with links to buy the film at: http://www.myspace.com/seclusionthemovie
Seclusion’s Tag line:
A politician’s adulterous trip to a secluded mountain cabin is spoiled when his mistress disappears mysteriously and his wife shows up.
To prepare for the biggest speech of his life, Congressman Robert Hamilton (Christopher Stapleton, NCIS, The X-Files) travels to a secluded mountain retreat with his two top campaign advisors: the beautiful and enigmatic Corin Matthews (Missy Crider, Frailty, Mulholland Dr.) and the über- efficient Mike Donahue (Jefferson Arca, Throttle). As the night progresses, Corin seduces Rob into a spiral of debauchery that drives Rob beyond his boundaries. The next morning, the trip is spoiled when it appears that Corin has mysteriously disappeared, her husband Glenn (Chris Gann, xXx) shows up, and Robs wife Emily (Catherine Sheehan) arrives.
22. Looking at your resume it’s apparent that you’ve worked in a number of mediums, TV, indie film and big screen blockbusters. Which do you prefer?
ALL. I enjoy working on different projects for different reasons at different times in my life. Sometimes you must pay the rent and sometimes you get to help to tell a story you are really passionate about for a number of reasons.
23. You were in JLo’s film Gigli. Can you tell me how to pronounce the name phonetically? And more importantly, what was it like working with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez?
“Gigli”. Pronounced: “Jeely”…Rhymes with ‘really’. They were lovely to me. They were very professional and personable. Ben was very funny. He made the set feel nice and easy. I find that the most successful people I work with are usually this way. They have a kind regard for others and don’t take everything so seriously. I have a lot of respect for those two. Before the film was even released, it was dogged about. The tabloids put them through a certain kind of personal and public hell, it would seem. I had a great time playing that crazy character, though.
24. And finally, out of all your film and TV roles, which was your favorite and why?
Well, I would imagine that would be like asking a person which child were their fave… I just can’t. I did like my role in “Powder”, because it was about human connection and exploring each other’s souls without judgment. There’s a winsome concept that I’d love to see more of in film, and very, very soon. A budget is really a factor in the pace and/or ease of filmmaking. When you have more of a budget with which to work, things seem a little “roomier”–more breathable– and there is a feeling of being relaxed and having fun, in lieu of a tight budget, that makes you scurry and hope you got something good in the editing room. I really enjoyed a role I played in a film called “Sins of The Mind” years ago because it was a true story we were bringing to life and I felt a sense of duty, as well as the creative choices you regularly make, to do the best job I could to truly bring this girl’s story to life. I like that kind of responsibility. It makes me excited to go to work every day.
Thank you SO much Missy and we look forward to watching you tonight on 24!