Harris at the April 2007 Tribeca Film Festival
|Born||Rachael Elaine Harris
January 12, 1968
Worthington, Ohio, US
|Other names||Rachel Harris|
|Alma mater||Otterbein College|
As much as I don't want to admit it, I really am a people pleaser. If I throw a party at my house, it's hard for me to relax. I'm too obsessed with whether everyone's having a good time.
I love Frances McDormand so much. I love her career. And I think it's fun because she gets to do comedy as well as drama.
See, that's the thing: I'm not one of those actors who thinks, 'God, I've got to improvise and make it my own.' No, my first job as an actor is to take what's written and make it work. And then, if they want me to improvise, I'll do that.
I wanted to go to New York and be a stage actress, doing things like Chekhov. None of that happened, and then I went to L.A. and an agent said, 'I think you belong in commercials and TV.' So I did that and got some opportunities that I absolutely love.
I told my agent which women I aspire to have a career like: Frances McDormand, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney and Emma Thompson – character actresses who have something to say. I also said that I loved Madeline Kahn and Jessica Lange.
I don't have this weird, natural funny bone that constantly comes out. It's not like my every instinct is to be funny, and I'm always having to dampen that down.
I told my agents that I love Holly Hunter and Frances McDormand and all of these women that are good at doing comedies as well as dramas.
Jeff Kinney is tall and has a great smile, but don't be fooled, he's as slick as they come. A real player. And how he came up with a book that appeals to kids ages 8-13 baffles me. He's an unbelievably kind man with a great family.
Whatever the situation at hand, that's what I'm dealing with and trying to be true to it in that moment.
I love doing sitcoms. I love doing comedy. I love the whole shooting match.
It's funny, because when I was in college, all my professors said, 'You should do comedy.' And I was like, 'No! No!' But I was able to get my foot in the door through comedy. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to do it.
I feel like I work on scripts for comedy as well as dramatic stuff the same.
In my early 20s, I didn't even know what the Groundlings was. I had no idea. But I know how to break down a script and work on the character.
When I moved to New York out of college, that was my goal. To be a stage actress. And to do dramatic works. Like 'Madea', and 'Night, Mother', and 'Sam Shepard', and all that kind of stuff. That's what I really wanted to do.
I come from the place of thinking, 'Whatever works for people' – and if you haven't been exposed to anything else, you really don't know better.
I grew up in a suburb of Ohio, in a small town, and I resonated with that small-town feeling where everybody knows your business.
I really wanted to do things that weren't comic. It felt like finding people who can see this other side to me.