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.
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.
Chauncé 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
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!
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
the part of someone who's still alive sounds like a lot of pressure.
Mary: 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.
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.
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.
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.
was your initial reaction after hearing Howard Stern on the radio for the
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.
you think that was funny?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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: 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
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
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.
©1997 The K.O.A.M.
Newsletter. All Rights Reserved.
©1997 Steppin' Out Magazine. All Rights Reserved.