After many decades in the entertainment business, comedian Louie Anderson may now be taking on his most interesting role yet – a woman.
Technically, he already played his own mother when he voiced his entire family on his ’90s cartoon Life with Louie — a fact that happens to be what got him the role of Zach Galifianakis’ mom on the new FX comedy Baskets.
Co-creators Galifianakis and Louis C.K. were having a hard time finding a biological woman that was right for the role, when they remembered Anderson’s impression of his own mother.
He is not bringing that same impression to this role though, but instead using his own deep voice to play the character — partly in an attempt to not make the role “cartoony.”
“I tried not to act like a man doing a woman,” Anderson told Vanity Fair. “I tried to be the woman. The character is a version of my mom, but a combination of my five sisters and my sister-in-laws.”
He also cites Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent as another big source of inspiration.
“I watched [Transparent] before I did Christine,” he said. “I was so taken by how he played that without any — you know how Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie put a twirl in it all, and Mrs. Doubtfire made it a little more cartoonish? Well, he doesn’t do that with his transformation into a woman. He doesn’t do it, and that’s exactly what I didn’t do in Christine.”
You can catch Anderson’s performance in Baskets on Thursday nights at 10pm on FX.