On TV's Murder One, Mary McCormack works with a company of
very serious artists, but such is not the case with her big
screen role opposite the unpredictable and controversial Howard
Stern in the surprise hit comedy Private Parts, based on Stern's
autobiography. The actress, in New York for a play, spoke to PAUL
Before Mary McCormack landed the role of Howard Stern's wife
Allison in Private Parts she was not one of his biggest fans.
"I'd never heard his radio show, oddly, but I knew of him by
reputation having seen him on talk shows and things. So when I
got the script, it sat on my kitchen table for 2 weeks, and I
really had no intention of going in on it or even reading
it", 28-year old McCormack confesses.
"When I got the
script, it sat on my kitchen table for 2 weeks,"
Then her agent encouraged her to check it out. "She kept
on telling me what a wonderful part it was, and how terrific the
director was. As soon as I read it, I wanted to do it."
While Private Parts has clearly re-established McCormack as a new
leading lady, she's been acting for quite some time. An
accomplished stage actress, McCormack made her feature debut in
John Hughes' 1994 remake of "Miracle on 34th Street".
She also appeared opposite Robert Mitchum in the forgettable 1995
spoof "Back Fire!" (inspired by Ron Howard's
"As soon as I read it,
I wanted to do it."
The attractive McCormack scored better on TV in the legal
department: she appeared in small roles in "Law and
Order" and "The Wright Verdicts" before landing
the role of the tough, dedicated lawyer Justine Appleton in the
Seven Network's "Murder One".
The role of Mrs. Howard Stern is her first leading film role
and it's one that gave McCormack an opportunity to display warmth
and her comic side - something her TV series left untapped. After
having worked with Stern in this funny and unexpectedly
warm-hearted film adaptation of Stern's best-selling book, she
has become a Stern convert.
"I listen to him
constantly on the radio because he's terrific and
"Now I'm a huge Stern fan. I listen to him constantly on
the radio because he's terrific and unpredictable."
McCormack's screen character Allison, goes through (and continues
to go through) an enormous amount. "She clearly has a great
sense of humour, which she'd have to. She's also so smart which
you can tell by the way that she deals with the unique
relationship she has with him, a relationship that nobody else
really knows about. She married this neat guy who might paint
women's breasts in a radio studio one day but then be totally
different later on, so she has managed to put everybody else's
judgement to one side."
"She married this neat
guy who might paint women's breasts in a radio studio one day
but then be totally different later on"
McCormack met the real Alison, but because she's playing her
in the past, what she "tried to get from meeting her, was
what attracted her to HIM, just to try and decipher what her life
was like when they met, because it was so different to what it's
like NOW, as well as what they share, as opposed to trying to
play her as she is now."
Though Stern is very much an unknown quantity outside America,
McCormack believes that Private Parts is broader in appeal than
that. "It's also a funny love story. Once audiences get to
see it, they'll really enjoy it and laugh at all the right