Amy Landecker has a quickly rising career, having starred on the Paul Reiser Show on NBC. [Note: The station recently cancelled the program.] She had an unforgettable performance on the Coen brothers' flick A Serious Man and many guest appearances on television shows such as Mad Men, Medium and Law & Order. Nunn had a one on one lunch with the Chicago actress recently at Hub 51.
Windy City Times: Hello, Amy. What brings you back to your hometown?
Amy Landecker: I am doing some voiceover work. Voice work have always been my nichewell, that and theatre.
WCT: Do you get back here a lot?
Amy Landecker: All the time. But there are so many people from Chicago that live in L.A. It is almost like a little mini-Windy City. I [was] a guest star on House last week. Walter Jacobson is the newsperson on Channel 2 and the father of Peter Jacobson, who stars on House as a series regular. He plays one of the doctors. He was wearing his Parker jacket and that is where I went to school for 15 years here at Francis Parker. People from the Midwest do well in places like L.A.
WCT: Well, people seem to like the weather out there better.
Amy Landecker: I know! I moved there eight years ago. When I got out of this climate it is really intense. But I don't think there is any city in the world better than Chicago. Where else do you get that combination of culture, art and community?
WCT: Did you study acting here?
Amy Landecker: I did an internship at Steppenwolf. I became an assistant to Eric Simonson, who is the artistic director there. I got to know so many people in the Chicago theatre community. I wound up doing a show downtown called Coyote Ugly.
WCT: I was in that show in college!
Amy Landecker: Really? I played Penny. Who did you play?
WCT: Red the redneck.
Amy Landecker: Such a great play! We got rave reviews the next day. I was stunned by it. When I received that approval from the press then I decided to do more acting. I just fell into it and Steppenwolf Theatre carried me through.
WCT: Do people compare your looks to Courtney Cox?
Amy Landecker: They used to. I get Cheryl Hines and when my hair is lighter I get Lauren Hutton. Before when I was in Chicago people would yell at my across the street thinking I was Courtney. Even on the L. Would Courtney really be riding the L at rush hour? I don't think so! [Laughs]
WCT: You were on the television show Early Edition.
Amy Landecker: I was. That was my first on camera job. For Chicago actors we don't get a lot of on camera time because not a lot shoots here. The little jobs are such huge jobs for you. My first job on the show was a reporter at a press conference with one line. I was so nervous. I was at an event for a Serious Man and Kyle Chandler from Early Edition was there. I told him that I was on the show and he had no idea who I was. To me, it was big deal but to him it was episode number eight thousand.
WCT: I was an extra for Early Edition and trapped in the Field Museum all night.
Amy Landecker: Oh, no! The longest hours I ever worked were on that show. We went into "golden time." It is like triple overtime. I was so broke at the time and just said, "Bring it on!"
WCT: How was it working with Paul Reiser?
Amy Landecker: He's the best. It's not a joke to say that I go to work everyday and don't know how I got the job. He is so lovely, funny and adorable. I am just in heaven every minute of that job. I was having a meltdown at a photo shoot the other day and he was so supportive and sweet. I hope people give this show a chance. It had a really difficult slot. It was the second half of American Idol being on at the same time and post Community.
A Serious Man opened up a comedy world to me that I was not a part of before. I was doing drama with Law & Order and now back to House. Man wasn't a broad comedy but certainly has those elements that the Coen Brothers always have. It was a small part but resonated in some way. After that in Hollywood if a funny guy needed a girl, Mrs. Samsky got on the list! I need to play a Jewish, stoner, naked girl more often. I will get hired more. I got the call from Paul with that and it was like that all year. I got to do Curb Your Enthusiasm and the Louis CK show.
WCT: You got some mileage off that one!
Amy Landecker: It was so much fun. Why did I ever do drama? They pay me now to watch a brilliant guy make me laugh. What was I thinking playing Charla in Killer Joe? Do you want a chicken bone rammed down your throat or do you want to go hang out with Paul Rieser?
WCT: You have done a lot of [shows], such as Mad Men.
Amy Landecker: Yes, that was my first job in L.A. It was amazing even though it was not a huge role. Matt Weiner was very hands-on and kind to me. It was a "full circle," as Oprah likes to say, as Matt was at the same luncheon and was able to congratulate me on A Serious Man.
See? They remember me. I don't know what Kyle's problem was. [Both laugh.]