“The show is so tremendous, I just pinch myself,” says iconic actress Pam Grier about being a part of the new ABC comedy “Bless This Mess,” premiering April 16.
The fish-out-of-water premise stars the engaging Dax Shepard and Lake Bell as newlyweds leaving the big city to try life in the rural Midwest.
Grier portrays Constance Turner — the town sheriff, theater director, lumberyard operator and hardware store owner.
”She’s the country side of me,” said the star of 1970s hard-boiled films like “Coffy,” “Foxy Brown,” “Friday Foster,” and later Quentin Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown.”
“My great-grandmother and grandfather were Cheyenne, Wyoming sugar beets farmers. They taught all of us girls how to hunt, fish, shoot and to be resourceful. Those kind of management skills helped me to have 50 years in the film industry.”
Growing up as a military brat, Grier, who now lives in southern Colorado, was exposed to rural and urban environments, which helped guide her as a liberated woman embracing her femininity, while allowing her to learn how to fix things and speak John Deere.
“When I went to prepare for this role, I had chores that morning,” she told Tasty Clips. “I was on my tractor raking my pastures with my leather gloves in the back of my jeans. You know how women wear Spanx to look skinnier? I took mine off. I wanted to have my badunkadunk showing. They wanted me to be authentic, so I smelled and looked the part.”
When asked if this show has any similarities to a popular 1969 television series based in the fictional Hooterville, Grier said, “It’s a brown acre. When I talk grits and biscuits and gravy and stuff, they didn’t do that in ‘Green Acres.’ I try to bring culture to my work. I reach deep into my creative to bring a culture to my character.”
The brand ambassador for the Brown Sugar streaming service is currently having meetings on turning her memoir “Foxy: My Life in Three Acts,” into a feature film.
“I’d love to have Idris Elba play Daddy Ray, my grandfather, and Jay Pharoah to play [former boyfriend] Richard Pryor. We don’t know who’s going to play me because I’ve had traumatic experiences in my life that are in the screenplay. There are some actresses who had similar events but may not want to play that. So they would back out.”
One role that she coveted and pitched to several studios in the past was that of Mary Fields, the first stagecoach driver for the mail route in Montana in 1868.
“They just said no one’s going to believe a black stagecoach driver that’s a woman and it didn’t get made,” she said of her efforts. “I [even] tried to get to certain black actresses who were very prominent at the time and their agents blocked it. It will get done when it gets done.”
Grier revealed that she had an interchange on social media with recently slain activist/rapper Nipsey Hussle about helping gang members neutralize themselves and get into the workforce.
“It’s very difficult when many of them had felonies at the age of 15, because they can’t be insured or bonded,” she said. “So how do they start their own companies? We talked about that. He was doing great things and was always saying something very witty and philosophic.”
“It’s very sad that one of his friends, someone he knew, was his assassin,” Grier added. “That’s what’s so bizarre to me. He felt safe with this man coming around him. He knew this person. He was in pictures with him. It’s such a waste. I get very, very quiet on Twitter when there’s a huge tragedy. I still haven’t gotten over Trayvon Martin.”
CLIPPETTES: D.L. Hughley begins a two-night stand at the Brea Improv Comedy Club on April 12; as the L.A. Dance Festival kicks off at The Luckman Fine Arts Complex; and Compton writer/director Billie King’s autobiographical “Billie: The Stage Play — This Ain’t No Billie Jean King Story” is staged through April 13 at the Barnsdall Gallery Theater. It features YoYo, DJ Rogers Jr. and Alijah Kai, the daughter of actress Tichina Arnold, making her theatrical debut. Visit www.BillieThePlay.com for details …
Record Store Day, which independent shops celebrate with all kinds of premiere vinyl and limited-edition releases like Prince’s rare mixtape “The Versace Experience and “John Lennon’s Imagine – The Ultimate Collection,” arrives April 13. For a listing of the rarities and events, check www.recordstoreday.com …
New York Times best-selling author Tayari Jones (“An American Marriage”) and President Barack Obama’s top advisor Valerie Jarrett (“Finding My Voice”) are among the authors participating at the L.A. Times Festival of Books at USC April 13. Jarrett also will join activist and CNN commentator Angela Rye In Conversation at the Wallis Annenberg Center April 14 …
Ella Mai of “Boo’d Up” and “Trip” fame is presenting her songbook April 17 at The Novo; where Kaytranada performs April 18 …
When the fourth season of OWN’s “Queen Sugar” returns June 12, it will be with a new guest star — David Alan Grier (“The Cool Kids,” “In Living Color”).
TC ON TV: April 12 – “The Real” (Syn): Regina Hall and Marsai Martin promote their new movie “Little” opening this day. “Coachella 2019” (YouTube): The livestreaming will be on for two weekends this year featuring sets by Janelle Monáe, J Balvin, Lizzo, Pusha T, Wiz Khalifa, YG and headliner Childish Gambino; who as Donald Glover will be unveiling his new film “Guava Island” with Rihanna and Letitia Wright (“Black Panther”) reportedly the next night. Visit www.youtube.com/user/coachella to watch live as well as peeping the debut Coachella Curated content with one of the festival DJs Idris Elba! Fingers are crossed for them to also stream Kanye West’s Easter “Sunday Service.”
April 13 – “The Resurgence: Demarcus Cousins” (Showtime): An up-close and extremely personal journey of the NBA player’s rehabilitation from a torn Achilles to free agency and signing with the world champion Golden State Warriors.
April 14 – “Game Of Thrones” (HBO): So who will end up in the Iron Throne in this eighth and final season? Bookies are touting young Three-Eyed Raven Bran Stark as the frontrunner while losing faith in the Mother of Dragons, Queen Daenerys Targaryen. The Tasty Clips favorite is Arya Stark, she of the many faces. “Autopsy: The Last Hours Of…” (Reelz): Michael Clarke Duncan. “Les Miserables (PBS): Victor Hugo’s masterpiece comes to television in a six-part adaptation starring Dominic West as fugitive Jean Valjean, with David Oyelowo as his pursuer Inspector Javert and Lily Collins as the luckless single mother Fantine. The distinguished British cast also includes Academy Award winner Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”). “Unsung” (TV1): Kenny Lattimore “Uncensored” (TV1): Naturi Naughton
April 15: “Late Night” (NBC): Tracy Morgan
April 16 – “30 For 30” (ESPN): “Seau” remembers all-star San Diego Chargers footballer Junior Seau while illuminating circumstances surrounding his untimely death. “Reconstruction: America After The Civil War” (PBS): Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. explores the rise of Jim Crow and the undermining of Reconstruction’s legal and political legacy. Followed by the season finale, which looks at African Americans in the 1900s using artistic expression against revisionist history and racism.
April 17 – “Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé (Netflix): Queen Bey’s iconic Coachella set from last year’s festival, complete with Jay-Z, Solange, her Destiny’s Child mates and a rollicking HCBU marching band is presented in documentary form with behind-the-scenes bells and whistles.
April 18 – “The Twilight Zone” (CBSAA): Sanaa Lathan and “Snowfall” lead Damson Idris star in “Replay,” written by Selwyn Seyfu Hinds.
FOR THE FINAL SEASON SET: The Weeknd, Travis Scott, SZA, A$AP Rocky, Chloe X Halle, Joey BadA$$ and Mumford & Sons are some of the artists featured on the historic new soundtrack “For The Throne (Music Inspired by the HBO Series Game of Thrones).”
The first-time partnership between the network and Columbia Records is available for pre-order in various vinyl configurations: each house crest, one color variant with fire and ice colored vinyl, and one standard. The curated soundtrack is set to release worldwide April 26.
TASTY QUIP: “If you’re not true to yourself, then who are you true to? What I’m learning, as I get older, is that you’re never going to be done figuring it out.” – KEVIN HART to Vulture
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @tastyclips.