is an animated, half-hour comedy that revolves around the spy agency
known as the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS) and
the lives of its employees.
Although their work of espionage, reconnaissance missions, wiretapping
and undercover surveillances is daunting and enigmatic, every covert
operation and global crisis are actually unmitigated occasions for
the ISIS staff to undermine, sabotage and betray each other for
personal gains, pleasures and prosperity.
Jessica Walter is the voice of Archer's domineering mother
and the rapacious CEO of ISIS, 'Malory Archer'.
PCM had a chance to speak with Jessia about Archer, Arrested Development,
and her long, amazing career!
Q: We were interested in hearing about how you initially
got involved with Archer.
JW: You know it was funny my agent told me, my voice over
agent, I was in New York and she was in L.A., and she said, "I
just got some copy here for people to audition for this new animated
show that's coming on FX. In the copy it says, the character's name,
Malory and it has in parenthesis, think Jessica Walter, Arrested
Development." So she said, "Are you interested?"
She sent me the whole overview of it and it looked great. The picture
actually, of the character it looked so much like me, it was a little
scary. I said, "Yes, I'm very interested." So she called,
she said, "I represent Jessica Walter," she called the
FX people, "and she'd love to do it," and that's how it
Q: Obviously there are similarities between Lucille Bluth
and Malory Archer. What attracts you to that kind of character?
JW: I don't know that I'm-well attracted to them because
they're juicy characters to play, but I don't know why I always
get those roles. I think it's interesting. However, I think it's
great because if plain is vanilla ice cream, your basic nice gal,
is really boring.
Q: Really since Arrested Development, you've had this resurgent,
but like Betty White always says, she never really went away. Do
you think Arrested Development really opened some new doors, another
side of you?
I definitely do. I had always been working before then, but something
about that show I think was a renaissance, as they say, for me and
for some other people too. For Jason Bateman, for instance, I think
it was totally renaissance for his career. He'd been doing so well,
but that part, sort of I think led him into the parts in films that
he's doing now.
Q: When reading the script for Archer and the things that
you have to say, do you ever think, "Are they really going
to let me say this and get it on the air?"
JW: Interesting you should bring that up because just today,
I had the recording session for number 12, Episode 12, and I did
say that. Adam, he reads the other parts with me by satellite. I
said, "Adam, where do you think up these things? Oh, my God."
There was only one time I had ever questioned it because we're there
to serve the writer.
It's not us, it's the character speaking, but there was one thing
I questioned once it was a thing with Jackie Kennedy and little
John John saluting at JFK's funeral. They were using that image
or something and I did question it and they assured me it was satirical,
etc. and I agreed when I finally understood it because I would never
do anything against the Kennedy's, ever. But that was the only thing
in all these episodes that I've ever questioned.
Q: What makes Malory different from other characters you've
played in the past? Specifically, what makes her different from
Lucille, I mean besides the whole running as spy agency thing?
JW: Well, first of all, this may sound trite but Lucille
would never let her hair go gray. Malory has gray hair. I don't
know how comfortable she is about herself, but she let her hair
grow gray and that says a lot about a person. They are very similar.
They really are very similar. They even sort of dress in a similar
fashion, with the suits, but I had nothing to do with that, the
little flowers and the broaches on the lapel and the suits.
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