Kathy Bates

About Schmidt

Interviewed by Alec Cawthorne

She won best actress for her psychotic turn in "Misery" and scared the bejeezus out of you playing Adam Sandler's 'gator-boiling mom in "The Waterboy". In "About Schmidt" she gets mad and maternal once again, this time over Dermot Mulroney.

What drew you to this story?

I thought it was funny, real and poignant, and I was very moved by the end of the piece. I had seen (writer/director) Alexander Payne's earlier pictures and I thought, This is terrific, I want to do it. It's always wonderful to play a character like Roberta, who has no boundaries, no holds barred, and you can just have a blast.

It was also wonderful to have the prospect of playing with Jack Nicholson. It was a terrific part, a terrific script, with Alexander Payne and Jack Nicholson. You can't get any better than that!

There's one scene which you should just get an award for daring to do - the nude scene with Jack in the hot tub. How difficult was that? We hear you had a little help...

I had a Cosmopolitan before I did the scene to help me relax just a little bit. Just the one! And beforehand I negotiated with Alexander over what I felt comfortable with.

There was just a small crew and Jack made it very comfortable for me on the set. We'd met socially before but never worked together. You know, he's very professional, very disciplined and he's always prepared and knows his lines.