Last night, Don Cheadle won a Golden Globe for his House of Lies role, and the timing couldn't have been better since season two launched just as the awards show wrapped up, giving fans the perfect post-show celebration destination.
And now that you've seen the season premiere, you've gotta check out my post-mortem with Cheadle and his pregnant co-star Kristen Bell, who rubbed her burgeoning baby bump throughout our chat. Not only did I find out what the future holds for Marty and Jeannie, but Bell shared the secret to reveling in, and concealing, her pregnancy.
ETonline: David Nevins, Showtime's President of Entertainment, said that House of Lies is "on fire" this season. Do you agree?
Don Cheadle: I do.
Kristen Bell: I do as well. It's not a comparison to season one at all, it's simply that this season is really, really, really good. It's very, very funny and it goes a lot deeper into the emotional dynamics between all the characters.
Cheadle: I'm having more fun this year. I like that we're not having to pay off so much about the procedural elements of season one: "Will they crush it? Oh they crushed it." Very early on, I was pushing back on that. [Nevins] very much wanted to make sure the audience knew who these people were, what they did and what this environment was. Now that we're completely sure of what this world is, we can completely jump off the ledge. That's what this season is all about.
ETonline: We got some drunken flashbacks to "that night" in the season premiere. First things first, your dueling takes on The Running Man -- scripted or improv?
Bell: Well, the words "The Running Man" were scripted. We were given the parameters of our dance, but the execution was on the day.
Cheadle: But no one could imagine what would have happened in that alley. Kristen's Running Man was more Nordic Track in style.
Bell: Yes, I applied some Nordic Track ski slope vibe to my dance. We had so much fun in that alley.
ETonline: Jeannie remembered telling Marty "I love you," but he doesn't remember ... yet. What follows that revelation for her?
Bell: Initially, it takes her to a very closed-off place, simply for her own survival because she's so embarrassed. At first it's about, "What happens when you tell your boss you love him?" But eventually the question that dawns on her is, "What happens when you tell the man you love that you love him?" I don't know which one is worse. So there's this tip-toe around Marty because she remembers exactly why she said she loves him -- because she does love him.
Cheadle: But so what?
Bell: Right. And what's more devastating: That he might not say it back or that he might not ever know she feels that way? Jeannie has not been a-plus at showing her actual emotions, so to have been that vulnerable is a big deal and creates a dynamic shift in the first few episodes.
Cheadle: In the macrocosm of what they do, being vulnerable is anathema to anything you want to be. You don't want to give up that kind of power, or let anyone see your weaknesses. For these two, surrendering that ... well, you might as well put your head on the block.
Bell: You might as well walk into the room with your pants down.
Don: Actually, you'd rather walk into the room with your pants down than have someone know they've got your number.
ETonline: I might be reading into this, but in the final scene of last night's episode, all the guys are drinking, while Jeannie is sipping a water. Was that a hint she might be pregnant?
Bell: No, you're definitely reading into that. Although I did attempt to pitch it using this [rubs belly].
ETonline: So you'll be shooting around the pregnancy?
Bell: You bet. We have three episodes left and I love it. Let me tell you something, to have a crafty cart, a full-time food service following me around ... if I'm being honest, I don't know how other women survived their pregnancies without craft services. I've been lucky in that I think having worked from the very beginning, I've never slowed down, I've never felt like slowing down. We're shooting around it. I'm holding things, I'm reading a lot on my laptop, which comes up to my eyes, and walking behind people a lot.
Cheadle: And look at this punim [pinches Bell's cheek].
Bell: Nah, it looks like I've gotten a lot of filler, or something.
ETonline: Luckily Jeannie loves a big purse.
Bell: Jeannie loves a big bag!
Cheadle: She's starting to carry small animals. Like, "Where did you find that sheep?"
Bell: [laughs] Yeah, "Let me carry that for your guys, give me all your bags." I'm just super helpful this season.
ETonline: I kind of feel like you'd actually like to carry a sheep around, Kristen.
Bell: 100 percent. Oh, there's a ferret in an upcoming episode, and I'm thinking about showing up that day even though I'm not in the scene. See, animal wranglers always have other animals in the car! Those animal wranglers ... I love them.
ETonline: Given the pregnancy and ferret combination, I fear you might spiral out of control given your well-documented emotional scale.
Bell: Oh man, you know what, you're right. It might be better that I don't test it out. I might go into early labor on the set. Just, "boom," on sight.
House of Lies airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on Showtime -- watch a sneak peek of next week's episode!
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