Carlease Burke is dominating the big and small screen this year. She guest starred on the new hit series. She guest starred on the new hit series “Shamless” as Roberta, whose visit turns the Gallagher family upside down. On the big screen she was featured in the family hit “Hop” and will be seen in the new Disney film “Prom”.
Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your role as Rhoda Wainwright in Disney’s “Prom”?
Carlease Burke: The film is very adorable. It is about these students going to the prom and the angst they have around the it. There are characters that can’t get a date to save their lives. There are love stories. There are real life decisions that people at that age are actually making at that point in their lives. I play Rhoda Wainwright who is the assistant to the principal. She is basically one of the adults that is trying to keep the kids in line. She has a firm grip but also has a soft side as well. The kids love her but they know they can’t get away with anything with her.
MG: What was the best part for you working on the film?
CB: The best part was really the kids. It is about the kids…it is about high school life and culture. I thought I would be the old fuddy-duddy on set and I would be in my trailer reading or something but the kids were wonderful. The whole cast and crew as well were great. The director, Joe Nussbau and his team of people was great. Everyone was just very accommodating. I felt like they really wanted me to be a part of this experience. It could have easily been just about the kids but I felt like part of the family. I learned how to tweet and how to keep my facebook page updated properly [laughs].
MG: What was your favorite film while you were growing up?
CB: I remember growing up my favorite film was “The Wizard of Oz”. Once I got over the fear of the house falling on the witch, it became my favorite movie.
MG: You recently had a role in “Hop”, how was it working on that film?
CB: Oh that was fun. It was short and sweet though, I played a receptionist at a toy company that James Marsden was looking for in. It was fun.
MG: Tell us about your guest starring role on the new hit series “Shameless” as Roberta?
CB: I just want to say it was one of my most amazing experiences in my acting career. It is an amazing show to be on and has amazing talent. Once again, not just working with William H. Macy, whom I have been a fan of for many years. Also meeting Emmy Rossum, her work is brilliant. Here we go again with the kids, there are younger people on the show all the way down to 9 years old. Again I was embraced like one of the family. I went to New York recently and I hung out with Shanola (Hampton) and I was invited to dinner by Debbie (Gallagher) who is all of 11 years old. She tweeted me when she found out I was in town and wanted to do dinner. These are the most talented and amazing people. Of course, Cameron (Monaghan) who plays Ian is also in “Prom” and plays Cory. It is great to have worked together on different projects and to see each other around town.
MG: Besides acting tell us about your production company?
CB: It is called Bits N Pieces Productions and right now it is all about my comedy. I do stand-up comedy. I produce and host a show once a month at Hot Java Coffee House in Long Beach, CA called ‘Laugh-a-Latte’. I just started another comedy show called ‘The Real Comedians of Long Beach’. I do not even live in Long Beach but they love me down there. So that and my solo show ’50, It Doesn’t Look Good on Everybody’ is also under there.
MG: You are also writing your first book which will be an how-to guide for fellow actors/comedians, tell us about that?
CB: The book is for people that want to get into the entertainment industry. I get asked questions on a daily basis from people wanting to know how they can do it. After 26 years of being here in Hollywood, I am definitely qualified to help someone cut out some of the steps I had to take. I had no mentor and I had no guidance. I had to figure it out on my own. If I am able to help anybody cut out a few of those steps, I feel that it would be a great service to offer.