If Brooklyn Decker was seeking a model role as an actress, “Friends With Better Lives” has come along at the right time.
The “star” of Sports Illustrated’s 2010 swimsuit-issue cover has done the occasional screen role in movies (“Battleship,” “Just Go With It”) and television (“New Girl,” “Royal Pains”), but she commits fully as an ensemble-cast member of the CBS sitcom “Friends With Better Lives,” premiering Monday (March 31).
There’s little question Decker understands her new character well, since the newly engaged Jules is an ex-model and aspiring actress. “When we were shooting the pilot, it was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been going into a job,” the engagingly friendly performer tells Zap2it. ‘I was shaking and sweating, and my teeth were chattering.
“The theater I had done, it was in North Carolina doing ‘Winnie the Pooh.’ It wasn’t anything on such a massive scale as filming a multi-camera show in front of a crowd, which is something I’m learning and navigating. What you learn is that you get to trust the audience; they help you figure out what’s funny, and you get your groove. It’s a good litmus test for what’s going to work on-air.”
“Friends With Better Lives” debuts immediately after the series finale of “How I Met Your Mother,” with TV veterans James Van Der Beek (“Dawson’s Creek”), Kevin Connolly (“Entourage”) and Majandra Delfino (“Roswell”) also in the cast. Decker has no illusions about the new group of sitcom pals supplanting the one that’s leaving CBS’ Monday lineup, at least not right away.
“It’s good and bad,” she reasons of the premiere’s scheduling. “It’s exciting because it means the network is behind us. I’m a fan of ‘How I Met Your Mother,’ so to be attached to their finale is a huge honor. However, they have set the bar so high, it’s going to be really difficult for us. I think the fact that we’re getting that audience for our first show will make for a really special night, though.
“I don’t know that we’re trying to fill ‘How I Met Your Mother’s’ shoes, by any means,” Decker adds. “We’re not trying to be any other show.”
The wife of retired tennis champ (and current Fox Sports 1 host) Andy Roddick, Decker still keeps an eye on Sports Illustrated, deeming the magazine her “launching pad. They supported me from the get-go and made sure I had as many opportunities as I could. They’re kind of a family to me, and while I don’t really work with them anymore, I feel I’ll always have a loyalty to them.”