Brooke Elliott – the bubbly star of television’s Drop Dead Diva — is as effervescent as an uncorked bottle of champagne. Never mind that playing Jane – a brilliant attorney carrying around the soul of a deceased model named Deb inside of her – could drive a lesser thespian to drink, the 35-year-old Broadway musical vet is juggling song and dance routines on the show while cooing over Deb’s former beau who could have eyes for Jane – some day. Elliott’s fingers are crossed.
How do you keep those dueling divas in line?
In some ways it’s easier because I’ve lived with them longer, and in other ways it’s challenging because Deb’s not new anymore into Jane’s body. The first season was a lot of news and firsts and a lot of things were happening to Jane. Now it’s challenging to keep her moving and keep her interesting and to keep her developing and keep the audience still wanting to see that.
Well what fans really want to see is Jane with Grayson (played by Jackson Hurst).
I hope it happens! (laughs)
So, you’re rooting for them, too?
I aaam! I aaam! Well, partly because I play Deb-Jane, so I know how it feels. (laughs) I know how much Deb loves Grayson.
It’s one of the things that I believe is a huge crux for Deb. She came from such a shallow place and such a place of judgment on people who didn’t look a certain way. Now that she doesn’t fit what her mind believes is perfect, that’s a huge thing to change the way you think about something — and Grayson’s going to have to develop in the same way for (he and Jane) to actually really belong together in the end.
From the very beginning, the show has had plenty of A-list guest stars. Was there anyone who left you star struck?
I was really star struck with Liza Minnelli, and yet she was so warm that that kind of like came down very quickly and I was astounded that I was just sitting there talking to Liza Minnelli like I would talk to anybody! And Delta Burke, I was a little bit like, Delta Burke! With all of them I’ve been a little star struck I have to admit. Gregory Harrison was so fun, and I used to have the biggest crush on him when he was Trapper John MD. We were sitting in the hair and make-up trailer, and I was like, I was really in love with you when I was ten. (laughs)
Your background is in musical theater. How different is it doing song and dance numbers for TV?
It’s been incredibly different because in theater you rehearse and rehearse and rehearse and rehearse and rehearse and rehearse, and then you put up that show polished. In TV it’s so funny the little rehearsal time. At first I was like, Oh nooo, we rehearse and rehearse and rehearse and rehearse and rehearse! (laughs) But it’s been fun to learn the differences.
Actually, I do hold very strong opinions about what she wears, and there are certain places where I want her to be sexier and so we lower the cut on things. On her blazers, I like little ruffles on the skirts. We have this one, I call it the kicky skirt, and it’s got a little billowing thing in the back — I looove my kicky skirt! And I like her to have those little embellishments that make her Deb in Jane’s body, and not just Jane because Jane was rather plain in her choices and so while I still need to wear suits because I’m a lawyer, I like Deb’s influence on that.
And your fashion influence as well?
I’ll admit I am a girly-girl. I like my makeup and my hair things and my fun little girl thing. So that’s a part of Deb that I’m completely one-on-one with.
Catch Brooke as Jane with Deb’s soul in Drop Dead Diva; it airs on Thursdays at 11:00pm. Live love and love life as the show takes you on a journey called life!