Anne Dudek is playing another strong female character on ‘Corporate.’ She talks about the show’s ‘interesting parallel’ to what’s going on in the world, how it’s helped her grow as an actor, and more!
Anne Dudek shines in her latest role as Kate on Comedy Central’s new workplace comedy Corporate. The show, created by co-stars Jake Wiseman and Matt Ingebretson, takes a closer look at the employees of Hampton DeVille, a massive corporation that seeks to exploit everything from wars to protestors. While Corporate is dark, it is downright hilarious. Kate is a hilarious, power hungry, mean boss to two junior level employees.
HollywoodLife.com chatted EXCLUSIVELY with Anne about her new role. Anne has been on practically every show — Bosch, The Flash, You’re The Worst, House, Mad Men — but working on Corporate has been such a rewarding learning experience for her. During our conversation, we talk about everything from how a side ponytail helps get her into character to being a part of a show that’s incredibly relevant, given how workplace issues are at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Check out our Q&A below!
This show takes a closer glimpse into the corporate world. I’ve never really seen anything like it!
Anne Dudek: I’m so glad that you’re saying that because so many people have asked me if I have ever had a corporate job. Does this come from some real life experience? I’ve never worked specifically in a corporation, but now that this show has aired, I’ve heard a lot of feedback from strangers, friends, and people who’ve worked in this environment. Everyone is just amazed at how accurately it’s portraying their reality and just the small details of corporate life are shown so accurately. It’s so great to get that feedback. What I like about our show is it’s all those bunch of secret, evil thoughts that you’re having in your head are actually said out loud.
What appealed to you about about this show and this character?
Anne Dudek: First of all, the writing was incredible. I got the script in a stack of pilot scripts two years ago. I thought the dialogue, the observations, the quality of the script alone was hilarious and smart. Like you said, it was a little different than anything I had seen. It was so frank and dark and truly hilarious. I wanted to be involved in something like that and particularly Kate appealed to me because I think there’s traces of Kate in other characters I’ve really enjoyed playing. When I was on House, my character Amber was a very hyper-competitive, by the rules, power hungry doctor. In Big Love, I was sort of on the periphery of this power hungry crazy wife trying to work her way up. There’s something that I love about a woman who has just gone to the extreme of power and intensity in a male-centered world and what that does. I think what’s funny about Kate and relatable about her is that she’s surrounded by men in a super masculine, corporate environment, and it’s made her go a little insane and I relate to why. So that was really fun, and it’s to juicy to play that in a comedic context. I hadn’t done comedy in a long time, and in the past I just loved the idea of being funny and just having that kind of hilarious experience. We just had so much filming it. It was a super enjoyable work environment.
Workplace environments are such a relevant topic right so the fact that the show is on when it is must be pretty surreal. How do you feel about that?
Anne Dudek: I know! There’s sort of this moment of truth in this specific female landscape of what women have specifically had to put up with in terms of dealing with men in the workplace. It is so universal. It is being talked about by everybody, and I think there’s a lot of dissatisfaction with the way our capitalist culture has pushed things, and that’s exactly the center of this show’s comedy. Look how absurd our lives have become that we’re putting up with this. We’re putting up with terrible treatment and a terrible environment and we’re asked to do things that are evil and against each other, and we’re all supposed to smile and accept it. It’s such an interesting parallel to the specific experience of women in the workforce that’s really come into the cultural zeitgeist right now.
What’s it like getting into the character of Kate?
Anne Dudek: Well, what I love is that we have such a phenomenal hair and makeup and wardrobe team. So much of Kate’s look really helped me feel who she was. In every episode but the pilot, I wear this signature side ponytail. It’s kind of an absurd hairdo, but it’s so specific and never deviates. It’s her protocol for her hair. I just love the idea that this character has decided on one hairstyle. She’s analyzed it, and this is the one. She’s not going to deviate. She’s not going to experiment. This one works, and that’s the end of it. She wears all these power suits and super high heels. In my own life, I have no reason to dress up. I’m a casual person. I always find that wardrobe is a really useful tool for an actor. I’m in a pretty competitive career as well, so I can maybe relate to the frustrations of being a woman in the workforce. She’s been sort of taken to a frantic, crazy level that I hope I never reach [laughs].
In playing this role within the corporate world, what’s something that you’ve found surprising?
Anne Dudek: I think surprising would be just the protocols involved and just the idea that you’re solely responsible for doing things in a pre-destined way. Everything that you’re doing has to follow a certain set of rules. As an actor, that’s kind of the opposite mentality that you have. Your creativity is important, your unique take on something is important. They’re hiring you specifically because of what you can bring and not somebody else.
You’ve done so many dramas in the past, so what appealed to you about doing comedy?
Anne Dudek: In a way, comedy is a lot more precise. It’s something that I find pretty difficult, and if I feel like I’ve succeeded it’s a little bit more rewarding because I don’t feel like it’s not natuarally something I feel confident and secure about as an actor. I started out in high school doing Shakespeare plays, thinking I was going to be this really dramatic actress and found so much joy in making people laugh. It was the most satisfying thing in the world. I just find it so rewarding to do something that I think is really hard. Most of the other cast members except for Lance Reddick come from the standup world and their lives revolve around comedy. I was really intimidated to work with all of them. I feel like I’m learning a lot from them. Although I’ve done sitcoms and comedic movies, I’ve never been thrown into a world of being able to understand comedy from people who truly specialize in it. It’s been a learning experience for me.
Do you want to see a Kate standalone episode?
Anne Dudek: I would love that. All of these characters, you reach the surface of what their place is in the company, and there’s some many things to explore about a corporation within each person’s world. I think there would be so much material to look at with Kate.
You’ve been on so many great shows off the years — House, Mad Men, etc. — would you consider doing reboots or revivals?
Anne Dudek: Definitely! I think in the film realm it’s like when a film is successful, now we’re going to write a sequel to create a whole new story with these people. But television is so much more open anyway. The shows that I’ve been involved in that ended have had definitive, final episodes. With television, you’re following these characters for years, if it’s a good show. I think that, in a way, leaves itself more open to picking up with them later because it wasn’t just one story that was told. I think television just as a medium lends itself to revivals.
HollywoodLifers, have you been watching Corporate? Let us know!