Mary McCormack Exposed!
The "Private Parts" Interview

Fresh from the pages of Steppin' Out Magazine, the New York area's best local entertainment magazine, comes another exclusive interview by Chauncé Hayden, this time with Mary McCormack. The interview also took took place during a round-table sit down with the press during the "Private Parts" press junket at the Rihga Royal Hotel in New York City about 2 weeks before the release of the movie.

Steppin' Out Actress Mary McCormack, 27, plays Howard Stern's wife, Alison. McCormack's film credits include roles in "Miracle on 34th Street" and "Backfire"; on television in the recurring role of Junstine Appleton, the bold and caluclating attorney in the critically acclaimed courtroom drama "Murder One," as well as "Law & Order" and "The Wright Verdicts"; and on the New York stage in "A Fair Country."

Born in New Jersey, McCormack began her acting career performing in Menotti's opera, "Ahmal and The Night Visitors" at 12. She attended Trinity College, did regional theatre in New Jersey, and has worked in many New York Theatres, including The Atlantic Theater Company and Alice's 4th Floor and Naked Angels.

Mary McCormackChauncé Hayden: So how are you holding up considering the fact that you're not only putting in long hours on "Murder One" but you're also in the middle of one of the biggest movie promotions in Hollywood history?

Mary McCormack: Thank God I'm right in the middle of "Murder One." At least that's what I think. I've never done anything as large or anywhere near the scope of promotion that Howard [Stern] does. So, this is all a new experience for me. That's why I think it helps to have "Murder On." Because for me it's like a home. I'm here so many hours out of the day that the crew becomes like a family. I'm so busy that my mind stays right here rather then worry about anything else.

Chauncé: With all the extra attention you're getting I would think there might be some slight hint of professional jealousy from some of the "Murder One" cast. However it sounds like everyone's been supportive.

Mary: Yeah they really have. In fact they can't wait to see the film. Everyday I'll get an update from some of the crew members, they'll say, "Howard was talking about you again today." I have a bunch of spies working for me. (Laughs) Even if I miss the show I don't miss the show!

Chauncé: Okay, the world wants to know, describe the experience of what it was like playing Howard Stern's wife?

Mary: It was so much fun. It was delicious. And since she's still alive I didn't want her to look at my performance and puke.

Chauncé: Playing the part of someone who's still alive sounds like a lot of pressure.

Mary Mc#2Mary: Well it was but only because I have a fear of failing. Actually it was done so that it would be very safe. First of all, Alison was really helpful and Howard was tremendously supportive. He was really helpful with me throughout the project in terms of how Alison reacted to different experiences in her life. And ["Private Parts" Director] Betty Thomas was wonderful and really helpful to me as well. It was scary. Betty is so perfect. She has the perfect balance of leaving people alone and giving guidance when it's needed. She's just right and she's got a great sense of humor. The whole set was fun. There were no egos which was also great.

Chauncé: I would imagine a great sense of humor from the director would be critical in order to pull a movie like this off.

Mary: Yeah, I think so. You need someone who shares a sense of humor with Howard, which she does. Also, she was great with us, specifically Howard in terms of letting us improvise when we needed to. When Howard needed to just go with the role and be free, Betty was really open to that.

Chauncé: Is it true you never listened to the Howard Stern show before being being picked for the film?

Mary: Yes. Isn't that odd. I never once heard the show.

Chauncé: That's amazing.

Mary: I know, I just wasn't a radio person. I never commuted or anything so I just never listened to the radio in the morning. Of course I've seen Howard and I knew who he was. I've seen him on Letterman once or twice but that was it.

Chauncé: What was your opinion of Howard Stern prior to meeting him?

Mary: I thought he was a jerk. But I just assumed that. I just listened to what everyone else had said about him like every other idiot in the world.

Chauncé: What was your initial reaction after hearing Howard Stern on the radio for the first time?

Mary: The first time I listened to his show was the morning I was to fly out to meet him. He was on the air painting a women's breast like an Easter egg.

Chauncé: Did you think that was funny?

Show Us Your Tits#2Show Us Your Tits#3!Mary: Yes, it cracked me up! I was laughing out loud, I thought it was great! In fact it made me want to do the movie more. The funny part about it was not that he was painting the women's breast-it was what happened afterwards. The women had been brought by her boyfriend and after they had left the studio Howard made fun of the boyfriend for bringing her to begin with. Instead of it being just about big titties there was a secondary joke. What kind of idiot brings his girlfriend in to have her tits painted? Which is the tongue and cheek side to his humor. I think that secondary humor is even more funny then the joke itself.

Chauncé: How well did you get to know the real Alison Stern?

Mary: Fairly well. She was very helpful in our discussions. I also listened to a bunch of tapes of the two of them together having conversations on the air which was the most helpful of all. Listening to those tapes helped me understand their relationship and why they are together.

Chauncé: Was playing Alison Stern a huge character stretch for you?

Mary: In some ways it was. I play Alison from age twenty to around age forty. So it was hard in the sense that I had to figure out what this women was like at the age of twenty. The Alison I play at twenty is not the same women you see today. Her life is just so different today then it was when they first met at Boston College. Back then it was a normal young love affair. He wasn't Howard Stern "The King Of All Media" he was just a young guy who had a great sense of humor. And she loved him for that. So you can imagine the changes that Alison went through over the past twenty years.

Chauncé: Besides the real Alison, nobody knows the answer to this next question better then you. How challenging would you say it is to be married to Howard Stern?

Mary: Well there are difficulties. The biggest one being the fact that their most private moments are shared with millions of listeners. But there is also a lot of pluses. I say that from knowing Howard-not Howard the radio personality. Alison has two different husbands. There's a husband for 4 hours in the morning who she puts in one pocket of her brain. She deals with that by saying over and over, "It's an act, it's an act, it's an act. Then there's Howard the husband who comes home from work and who is a great father and her best friend. So we're talking about two different people. I think that is how she does it. That is the answer to your question.

Chauncé: Most would agree that at times Howard Stern the radio personality has been known to treat the women who come on his show in a very chauvinistic manner. With that in mind have other women or conservative women's groups given you a hard time for doing the film?

Mary: No one has really given me a hard time. I think some people think that. And I guess I thought that to. I think most people who think that Howard is like that haven't really heard the show. If you listen to the show carefully you'll see that it's just satire. I think seeing the E! [The television version of the Howard Stern Show aired on the E! Channel] show it all becomes more clear because after he says the thing that might be offense you get to see his six year old smile and that tongue and cheek way about him. Basically you get the idea that he's joking. But to tell you the truth Chauncé I'm all for nudity. If you want to get nude get nude. If you want to show your titties show them. I think if that's what you want to do, then you should do it.

Chauncé: Do you agree that because you weren't familiar with the show till recently you make a terrific spokesperson for people who have never heard the Howard Stern Show and who most likely have a negative opinion based on what they read and hear.

Mary: Yeah, I do. Because I came into this with some preexisting idea's to which were totally unfounded. I think literally the opposite of that now. I think what the film accomplishes on some level is that it's not what people expect. It's not "Butt Bongo Fiesta" ["Butt Bongo Fiesta" is one of several outrageous video's put out by Howard Stern] it's like a love story. You actually get to see Howard Stern's private parts (laughs) in terms of the part that he doesn't show very often. Which is just Howard Stern, not Howard Stern Kind Of All Media. You know what I mean?

Chauncé: With that in mind what would you say is the biggest misconception of Howard Stern?

Mary: That he's a jerk. He's actually very compassionate and kind and incredible smart. I think that is the biggest thing of all. How incredibly smart Howard is. He's also very generous.

Chauncé: As a seasoned actress were you ever unsure if you could work so closely with Howard since he has no professional training as an actor?

Mary: Oh yeah. I would say before I met him that was a thought. I thought to myself, "What if he can't act." But as soon as I met him and read with him I knew that he could act. He's so bright. Even in the scenes that we did while I was auditioning he was good. Which was kind of scary. Then through out the film, especially by week two, he was phenomenal.

Chauncé: Have you seen the film yet?

Mary: No. (Writers note to Paramount: Hint, hint.) I hope you get to see it soon. He's so good it's scary. He's such a good actor he makes me look like a jerk. He's that good!

Chauncé: How do you suppose people in Hollywood are going to respond to Howard's performance?

Mary: I think it's going to drive them nuts! I can't wait to see their reaction! It's really neat that he's so good. I mean, yes he's playing himself, but some people say that it's actually harder to play yourself. And he's playing himself through so many ages. You actually see the difference. You get to see the boy grow into a man. It's really neat.

Chauncé: During the making of the film, was there anything that Howard did that got under your skin. Like a little quirk for instance, that just drove you insane?

Mary at the NY PremiereMary: Howard is such an avid learner. Which is actually a positive and a negative. His thing is saying something new off the top of his head every single minute all day long. So in the movie sometimes that would work. Some of the best stuff in the film would come out of him unrehearsed and then once in a while during my close up new lines would still be coming out of his mouth. I'd be like, "Howard you at least have to say the same thing you just said a minute ago!" And he would say, "But why, I'm trying to keep it fresh for you?" (Laughs) But he was endearing because he was trying to help!

Chauncé: Is there a love scene between you and Howard?

Mary: Yeah there is! On our first date we sort of mess around.

Chauncé: Describe the experience of doing a love scene with Howard Stern?

Mary: It was great! I had never done one before so I was very nervous. It was weird doing that with a film crew standing around.

Chauncé: Neither one of you had ever done a love scene.

Mary: Yeah, it was the first time for both of us so you can imagine we were both scared shitless. I think he was more scared then I because he was shaking. He made it easier though by saying self defacing things like, "Hey, can we bring in a bag for over my head so Mary doesn't puke?" At one point we were rolling around on the bed on our first date making out and Howard thought he was rubbing his leg on my leg. (Laughs) But actually he was rubbing his leg on the cameraman's leg. So this guy named Mitch got a real good feel from Howard. You might want to call him and ask what it was like to have Howard seductively rub his leg against him!

Chauncé: On a scale from one to ten how would you rate Howard Stern as a kisser?

Mary: A ten! He's a very good kisser. I mean what I'm I going to say? (Laughs) If I say a five I'm fucked!

Chauncé: Be honest!

Mary: No really he's a ten. He was a very good kisser! Hell he ought to be, he's kissed every women in the world! He better be good at this point!

Chauncé: Is there any concern on your part that this film might so big that you become stereo-typed as Alison Stern?

Mary: Gosh, I guess there is always a fear of that. I don't know? I hadn't actually thought about it. I hope not. What do you think Chauncé?

Chauncé: I don't know I haven't seen the film yet. But from I understand the acting is so good and you do such a good job as Alison Stern that I wonder if you might be forever labeled the women who played Howard's wife.

Mary: I don't know if that will happen. But if it does so what, because it's such a good movie. And you know what? I was hesitant about doing it before I actually met Howard and Betty. But the reason I finally agreed to except the role was because it was such a great part. Everyone ask the same questions. [referring to Alison Stern] How does this women live like that? How does she live with her husband always talking about her vibrator on the air? How does she make sense of all that? So that question interested me enough to say to myself, "Hell, this is really a great acting part." Also, I get to play a role that takes place over twenty-years and I get to fall in love and have fights. Which is something most young actresses don't get to do in a big film like that. So in the end it's just a really juicy role.

Chauncé: You always hear about Hollywood romances where the leading lady falls in love with their leading man. During the filming did you ever develop a crush on Howard?

Mary: (Laughs) Yes, we had a torrid affair! (Pause) UmNo. But we are very good friends. What a question!

Chauncé: Finally, what advice would you give to someone who doesn't want to see "Private Parts" because he or she isn't a Howard Stern fan?

Mary: Well oddly enough it's a love story. You see the side of Howard that you always wonder about plus you will definitely laugh. It's very funny. It's smart funny. Betty Thomas kind of funny. It's totally unexpected. It's just this strange little funny movie that is coming out of left field. I know everyone, whether you're a fan of Howard Stern or not, will enjoy it.

Chauncé: Well judging by what everybody is saying about this film I have a suspicion your career is about to explode.

Mary: Gosh Chauncé marry me!


If you would like a copy of Steppin' Out Magazine featuring interviews and pictures with Mary McCormack, Howard Stern and Baba Booey, please send $5.00 to Steppin' Out attn: Chaunce Hayden, 381 Broadway, Westwood, N.J. 07675 or call 201-358-2929. (Don't forget to include your name and address) or you can E-Mail Chaunce Hayden direct at Chayden196@aol.com

Special Thanks To Steppin' Out Magazine, Chauncé Hayden, Larry Collins and Collins Communications.

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©1997 Steppin' Out Magazine. All Rights Reserved.