Zap2it: Though “Bad Teacher” is your first starring television series, were other shows pitched to you as your prominence in movies started to rise?
Ari Graynor: Last year, I had a few offers … but when I hear those things like, “We’ve wanted to work with you for such a long time,” I think, “Really?”
I think I just wasn’t sure how much I wanted to open that door. A few years before, I probably didn’t know if people were interested because I had the door closed completely and said, “I just don’t want to do TV.” I didn’t read anything; I just wasn’t interested. Then I thought, “You know what? It feels silly to be saying ‘no’ to a whole world of possibility. Let’s see what’s out there.” I thought this show was a really special opportunity, and I’m just so glad I did it.
Zap2it: How have you found being perceived as someone who specializes in sassy, humorous characters?
Ari Graynor: I’ve been doing a lot of comedy, which is wonderful, but I never set out to do comedy. Lately, I’ve felt a little locked into that world, since people forget that actors who do funny things can also do not-funny things.
The most exciting thing about film or plays or TV is to take a situation or a character or a world and just show it from a slightly different place. “Celeste and Jesse Forever” is a movie that sort of changed my life, in terms of the people that I met making it … phenomenal actors who also are creating their own stuff. That’s the new way of the world.
“Bad Teacher” airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.