Thursday, June 20, 2013

INTERVIEW: Melinda Page Hamilton Previews The First Season Of DEVIOUS MAIDS

New York City native Melinda Page Hamilton's star has been on the rise with memorable recurring roles on hit shows including MAD MEN, BIG LOVE as JJ’s wife Malinda, and sexy nun Sister Mary Bernard in DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. A veteran of the theater, Hamilton starred in a run at The Old Globe Theatre, playing the title role of Cornelia in the original play "Big Love," on which the hit HBO series was based. She has had starring roles at many of the country’s best regional theaters. Her other credits include MODERN FAMILY, TRUE BLOOD, GREY'S ANATOMY, PRIVATE PRACTICE and many other hit primetime series. She was also the star of Bobcat Goldthwait’s comedy feature, Sleeping Dogs Lie, which was selected in the main drama competition at the Sundance Film Festival.

On DEVIOUS MAIDS, which premieres Sunday, June 24 on Lifetime, Hamilton plays Alejandro's militant house manager from Russia, Odessa Burakov. We Love Soaps recently spoke with the talented actress to find out more about her career and hilarious new role in DEVIOUS MAIDS. Read our exclusive interview below.

WE LOVE SOAPS: You played a nun on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. Did that connection with Marc Cherry help lead you to DEVIOUS MAIDS?
MELINDA PAGE HAMILTON: I don't know for sure. I think probably the fact that on that show I got set on fire and had a catfight in a church may have hinted to him I'm pretty much up for anything. [Laughs] I think they wanted to do a lot of fun stuff with this [DEVIOUS MAIDS] character, so I hope it did.

WE LOVE SOAPS: I've screened the first two episodes of DEVIOUS MAIDS so far and it's wonderful. And you are hilarious. Is doing comedy just as easy for you as doing drama? Do you have a preference?
MELINDA PAGE HAMILTON: I don't really have a preference. I actually think comedy is harder. But I think this role is written is such a way that makes it a little bit of easier. This character, in combination with the other characters in the household makes for the comedy.

WE LOVE SOAPS: How would you describe the character of Odessa? She's rather hard-nosed from what I've seen.
MELINDA PAGE HAMILTON: She's a pretty driven taskmaster. She is the housekeeper in the household of Alejandro Rubio (DAYS OF OUR LIVES alum Matt Cedeño), and she rules the roost with an iron fist. She's incredibly savvy about spotting people's agendas, and she spots Carmen's (former AS THE WORLD TURNS actress Roselyn Sanchez) agenda almost immediately and is pretty much determined to thwart her at every turn.

WE LOVE SOAPS: I know you can't give too much away, but will the show address Odessa's background and how she came to be the way she is this season?
MELINDA PAGE HAMILTON: Yes. You're going to find out a lot more about Odessa's past. And I think you're going to see the relationship with Carmen, played by Roselyn Sanchez, evolve in a surprising direction. It will be fun.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Was the Russian accent something easy for you to pick up?
MELINDA PAGE HAMILTON: It was fairly easily, although I did have the help of a dialect coach. For the audition I just drew on some training I had in grad school, but when I finally got the job we decided I needed to pull it back a little bit. So I had some help with that.

Melinda Page Hamilton and Roselyn Sanchez at the DEVIOUS MAIDS
premiere event.
WE LOVE SOAPS: I'm amazed at how well the show manages to service so many characters and stories in an hour. What has your interaction been like with the rest of the cast?
MELINDA PAGE HAMILTON: Really the only time we see the people we don't work directly with is during the table read which was always so much fun because we have this extraordinary group of actors. Susan Lucci would say something and we'd be belly laughing, and would have to stop for five minutes to collect ourselves. It's pretty exciting and we have a lot of talented people. It's a phenomenal opportunity to get to work with everyone.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Which role do you get most recognized from?
MELINDA PAGE HAMILTON: It would probably be a tie between MAD MEN and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. I think those two roles for whatever reason kind of hit a sweet spot in terms of getting recognized. But hopefully this one might rival the other two.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Oh definitely, even after the first episode!
MELINDA PAGE HAMILTON: Are you the Russian maid? You know who you look like? [Laughs]

WE LOVE SOAPS: We Love Soaps is located in the heart of the Theater District in New York. Might we see you in a play here at some point?
MELINDA PAGE HAMILTON: I would do it in a heartbeat. I miss New York and miss the theater tremendously. If there were an opportunity I would jump on it for sure.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Do you sing? Do you perform in musicals?
MELINDA PAGE HAMILTON: I have the aesthetics for musicals, I just don't have the chops. [Laughs] I love them. My father was an actor and did a musical called "Brigadoon" many years ago. I was sitting backstage and it was the greatest high in the world. I certainly would love to cultivate the chops for something like that but don't come by it innately.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Do you have any other projects in the works? Maybe a new film?
MELINDA PAGE HAMILTON: Not at the moment. I'm a fairly new mom so I'm taking a little bit of time between jobs to be a full-time mommy which is kind of great.

WE LOVE SOAPS: If you could go back to the beginning of your professional career and give yourself a piece of advice, knowing what you know now, what would you tell yourself?
MELINDA PAGE HAMILTON: Enjoy it. In fact, that's probably still something I need to say. Don't stress so much about the outcome, just enjoy the process and let it be. Because you have no control over any of it anyway.

DEVIOUS MAIDS premieres on Sunday, June 24 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.

- Susan Lucci previews DEVIOUS MAIDS for WE LOVE SOAPS TV

Roger Newcomb is a producer and writer in New York City. Aside from co-hosting WE LOVE SOAPS TV, he has written and produced a full-length indie film, Manhattanites, and two radio soap operas, SCRIPTS & SCRUPLES and ROCKLAND COUNTY. He has also made acting appearances in indie web series IMAGINARY BITCHES and EMPIRE. He has consulted on numerous indie soaps, worked as a producer on the first two seasons of Emmy-nominated THE BAY, and is executive producer on the indie short May Mercy Lie, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals. He appeared in FRANCOPRHENIA and the documentary SOAP LIFE in 2012.

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