A seasoned and versatile performer, Rules of Engagement’s Megyn Price has seemingly done it all – except direct. But come Monday night that will all change as Price makes her directing debut with the episode, “Timmy Quits,” fulfilling what has been the actress’ dream for almost as long as she’s been a part of the television world.
In anticipation of the episode’s airing, Price spoke exclusively with us about her double duty experience as an actor and director on one of TV’s hottest comedies, and what she was most excited about viewers seeing:
I know directing is something you wanted to do for a long time…can you tell me a little bit about the process – how it came about, and your experience?
“I was asking to do it for a long time, because it was something that has always felt normal to me. I’m a writer as well, so I tend to look at scenes and shows more from the outside than the inside…even when I’m acting, I tend to assess things and make my decisions based on an outside-in perspective. So I’ve been asking for a long time, and it’s a really tough thing t get because there are no tiny directing jobs – you have to have someone take a chance on you and give you a whole show [laughs]. So our producers last year said, ‘we’ll talk about it’ and then I went and studied with basically every sitcom director, and I shadowed them at work and kept pleading my case to show I was serious about it. Because it’s something I really want to do in the future as part of my career. They finally called me after this season started and said, ‘hey, you got your shot!’
I kept waiting to feel nervous when I started, and it never happened. I never felt nervous. I always felt that I’ve known how to do it for a really long time, because it’s storytelling. When you’re directing it seems more complicated than it really is, but you’re telling a story and then you do everything that has to be done to tell the story and make it funny.”
Would you say it’s almost a different experience in comparison to the first time you got in front of a camera?
“I was nervous the first time I got in front of the camera – and it showed! I was very nervous the first time I was acting on camera, plus I thought I had to please everyone around me, and it’s crazy nervy. But directing, I really felt like I knew what I was doing. Plus, our crew was incredible – our camera crew, our lighting crew…I’ve known them forever because some of them even worked on Grounded For Life. They were so supportive. Our cast was incredibly focused – like, we are not usually that focused!” [Laughs]
I was going to say – I think you guys have way too much fun to be focused!
“We do! But really, I sent them an email after our first rehearsal and said, ‘ok, I know no one in our cast is comfortable with expressions of emotion, but I have to tell you, I was so moved how much everyone brought their A-game. And they were all like, ‘shut up, you’re a sap!’ [Laughs]
For people watching the episode, if you had to tell the one thing you were excited abut them seeing – or something to watch out for – what would you say?
“The thing that I thought was really cool about the episode I got to direct is that it didn’t feel like every other episode of our show to me. I mean, there’s kind of big plot developments that happen. It’s kind of out of David [Spade] and Adhir [Kalyan]’s comfort zone to go real for a minute and then go back to a joke. But I think what’s fun is that David’s character at this point can almost get away with anything. So I think what’s great is it’s really about the interaction between characters, which I think has always been the biggest strength of our show – these are people you want to hang out with.”
Exactly. And just from knowing how you all get along, you do have a lot of fun and I don’t think you see that a lot in shows. You can tell you all have a special rapport.
“It’s funny, we’ve been through a lot. Just personally, we’ve been through so much. Oliver [Hudson] and I both had kids on the show for the first time, that was crazy. Bianca [Kajlich] got married, divorced and married again, over seven years…big stuff happened in our lives and we went through all that together. There was a lot of life that happened in seven years, and it was an eventful seven years for all of us. It’s just so nice to have shared that with them.”
On a personal level, what’s the most fun you’ve had with this season so far?
“Really more than anything this season, the directing to me was such a revelation of how much I love this business because it’s just a difficult business to work in, and people like to focus on the negative. And what was really incredible to me was that this year, I feel like I flexed creative muscles that I never got to flex. Being behind the camera, for me, reinvigorated every bit of ambition I had about working in television and film. And it was such a nice way to go out, feeling like a rock star – like I can do anything. I don’t know how many people can say that about their job.”
Do you have plans for hiatus?
“I’ve been writing. I wrote a television project and I’m working on a feature right now and hopefully will do some directing in the future.”
Catch Megyn’s episode tonight at 8:30pm EST on CBS!