'Desperate Housewives' Vanessa Williams: Renee is 'not the force that Wilhelmina was'

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If you're like us, then  the ABC promos and previews of former "Ugly Betty" star Vanessa Williams touching down on "Desperate Housewives" has you in a frenzy. Williams would like to manage your expectations of her new character, Renee.

"I think the expectations are probably a little bit bigger than what Renee actually is," Williams tells Zap2it. "She's not the force that Wilhelmina Slater was, for sure. She's not intimidating or diabolical. Renee is much more passive-aggressive."

We think Williams is being modest, because from the previews we've seen Renee has a definite fire. 

Her character arrives on The Lane as Lynette's (played by  Felicity Huffman) college sorority sister. Her marriage to a baseball player is on the rocks and she finds herself staying in Fairview. Williams explains that she'll be just another housewife with a twist.

"She makes more commentary coming in as an outsider on The Lane of suburban life as opposed to being really a force to be reckoned with," she says. "I think the marketing people did a fantastic job making that seem like it was going to happen, but when people tune in they'll see Renee is a woman who is trying to fit in to a suburban well-oiled-machine and she ruffles a little feathers. Otherwise, she fits in quite well."

So, what should we make of the hilarious jabs that Renee delivers to Lynette? Thankfully, Williams says we can expect more of that.

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"That's a constant. She's always commenting on Lynette and her choice in life, her kids and her suburban life," she says. "Again, it goes back to she's a New Yorker coming from a marriage. She's nouveau riche and she's settling in this place that's something that's kind of foreign for her. I think that will definitely be happening on an episode basis for the show. It's not a dig, it's just her commentary and that's kind of who she is."

Williams will also get to mix it up with young guest hunks, Brian Austin Green and "Life Unexpected's" Reggie Austin. Again, the actress warns us not to get too excited.

"There's nothing that has been steamy on-screen, so again, the anticipation of these two men have been wonderful, but it's nothing too hot and heavy," she warns. "The fact that Renee is a woman of a certain age who's still fiery and desirable is fantastic."

At any rate, we're sure Williams will give the show the shot in the arm viewers (and critics) say it needs and she's happy with the direction her role is moving in.

"The writing is growing and flourishing and that's the great thing about being a new character on a show," Williams says. "They can see how one episode works and they can get ideas and be inspired by where the character can go. And that's the great journey of being on a show and being a new character."

Anyone else think Williams is being modest?

Season 7 of "Desperate Housewives" premieres on Sunday, Sept. 26 on ABC.

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Photo credit: ABC

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