Megyn Price talks about getting behind the director’s chair on “Rules of Engagement”

Megyn_PriceMegyn Price is best known for her TV roles like Claudia Finnerty on “Grounded for Life” and currently Audrey Bingham on “Rules of Engagement”. “Rules of Engagement” is gearing up to end its seventh season and hit 100 episodes. Megyn is getting a chance to set behind the director’s chair this season to direct her first episode, “Timmy Quits”, which airs on April 29th. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Megyn about the episode and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: Let’s talk about the episode “Timmy Quits”, what made you step behind the director’s chair?
Megyn Price: It was something I have wanted to do for several years now. It started looking into it a few years ago to see if it would be possible with our show. The thing is with acting, you can get a little tiny acting job to start out. But there are NO tiny directing jobs [laughs]. It is the big kahuna or nada! So I was backed by CBS, Sony, my bosses and it was fantastic that I got this episode to direct. Not many people get their first directing gig on a prime-time sitcom on a major network. It was huge.

MG: What was your biggest challenge directing and starring in the episode?
MP: I had done a ton of homework on the directing side. I had shadowed a lot of different TV comedy directors. I had seen a lot of different styles and I felt like I needed to learn how to do it. After working on over 200 episodes of television throughout my career in front of the camera, it is just so comfortable to me, like being on a bicycle. It makes total sense in my brain since I have lived on a TV set for 20 years of my life. That part of it, I kept waiting to feel nervous about the directing but it didn’t happen. I never felt nervous or out of control. The thing that was very challenging though was not being a crappy actor, when I was directing. That was not the problem that I expected. I can act with one eye open and two hours of sleep [laughs]. I found myself thinking about the set and the way it was being shot and that the opposite way to think to be a good actress. You need to just stay in moment when you are acting. So when I was in my director’s head and then trying to rehearse as an actor, I was the worst [laughs]. So I talked with one of my friends, who is a director, and he gave me this tip to make up some move or sentence that clicks your brain over back to acting mode before you rules-season7step onto the set. When we were getting ready to shoot, I put our hand on our assistant director’s shoulder and I said “Ok Carlos, you are calling action and cut”. Just saying that to him made it easy for me just to focus on acting. I didn’t want to ruin the one episode I was directing by with crappy acting [laughs].

MG: No pranks or hijacks from the cast and crew?
MP: You know what, they were all so sweet. I think they thought that I was nervous, so they were all really nice to me. I showed up the first day with a riding crop and acted all bossy on purpose [laughs]. So they thought that was funny.

MG: How did it come about for you to direct this specific episode this season?
MP: It is always the producers who chooses. I felt very fortunate though. A lot of the episodes of “Rules” are just about being funny. This was a script has something actually real happens in it. This was a little scary for me having to go serious there for a minute, then pop back to being funny. It was really interesting for me since I am much more interested in doing comedy that has reality in it. You want to care about these characters each week. So I felt really lucky that I got one of the scripts that really has some sincerity in it along with being very funny and well written. It was very interesting experience…which is such a boring word but it was! I was so excited getting up and going to work every day.

MG: Any plans to direct more in other projects as well?
MP: Absolutely! Hopefully someone will let me [laughs]. This experience has really lit this fire for me. I felt like a million bucks and felt very creative again doing this. I have been on a couple of shows that have gone on for many years and it is almost impossible not to get a little complacent in your job over that time. You have this steady job for seven years and are doing the same thing over and over. So doing this took me out of that comfortable position and made me inspired. I swear to God, I started writing again. It just woke me up. I wrote a TV project and I am in the middle of writing a feature. So it really energized me in my career and I have felt since. Also I feel like having lit this fire right when the series was ending was so beneficial for me with what is happening next, which I have no clue what that may be.

The Five ThingsMG: After seven seasons, what is your secret for keeping straight against Patrick Warburton?
MP: I don’t know. We have such a great relationship outside of work. He and I both love that couple so much and we love their fights. We don’t laugh because we are so in love with what we are saying. The interactions between them are just great. Sometimes I also do laugh at him on-screen though, which is something I had to fight for. My point is that when your husband is being funny you can laugh at him! I laugh at my real husband when he is being an idiot during fights. Actually we can’t even have fights since we just start laughing at each other. So it makes it a little more real.

MG: How was it shooting the 100th episode of the series?
MP: If everyone looks like them have been crying…that is because they had been [laughs]. It was a little rough, since as a cast and human beings we have gone through a lot in seven years. Most of it all was great. There have been babies being born, marriages, divorces, and more marriages. There has been a lot of life that has happened in seven years. So as a cast, we became incredibly close on a deep level. Oliver (Hudson) and I had our first kids within a month of each other. I remember I was holding my one month old baby and his wife was in my dressing room asking me how she would know if she was in labor [laughs]. When you go through stuff like that with your friends it changes you. So we were looking back on the past seven years and it was hard.

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