2004 (Sun Newspapers, Cleveland)
MONICA: ONE OF OUR BEST FRIENDS By STAN URANKAR
Potter finds no 'Errors' in miniseries or hope for sitcom future
A phone conversation with Monica Potter is akin to a pleasant chat with another kid from the old neighborhood. Topics range from growing up in Cleveland's northeast corner to her former classmates at Villa Angela Academy; from continued fondness for her childhood parish, St. Jerome's Church, to an all-too-brief move back home.
"I still miss my family," says Potter, born Monica Brokaw not far from the Lake Erie shoreline, "but I had no choice to come back here for the work." Understandable considering the work's been pretty good since she moved from a modeling career into acting. Potter leaped from a year on daytime's "The Young and the Restless" to a now-substantial film resume, right up to leading roles in romantic comedies such as "Head Over Heels" and "I'm with Lucy."
As of a recent morning call from her Studio City home, Potter has yet to screen "Reversible Errors," the CBS miniseries adapted from Scott Turow's best-selling novel, which airs at 9 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday on WOIO-TV (19) here. She is featured as ambitious prosecutor Muriel Wynn, at the heart of a seven-year murder case in which the confessed killer suddenly appeals his conviction. "I'm afraid to see it," she says, though that's hard to imagine from someone who's held her own against Robin Williams' "Patch Adams" or Billy Crudup's Steve Prefontaine in "Without Limits."
Yet, Potter insists that she's her worst critic. "Besides, all that lawyer stuff is just so foreign to me." The script presented one dogged courtroom interrogation by Muriel that looked particularly daunting. "It was like nine pages of back-and-forth dialogue and I thought, 'How am I going to get through this?' I was so nervous, but Bill really helped. They booked two days for shooting the scene and we got it in one."
That "Bill" lauded by Potter is Emmy-winning actor William H. Macy, who stars as her fervent opposing defense counsel. Macy and actress/wife Felicity Huffman, featured as a once-corrupt judge who has served time, shed their serious sides off-screen, Potter says. "Bill would be singing songs and playing this ukulele he had," she says. "They'd bring their daughters to the set and just have a ball. The same goes for Tom Selleck (pictured with Potter on today's Sun Stations cover). It's really something how these people you respect so much for their talent turn out to be the most fun."
Potter hopes there's a little fun on her horizon, too. She and Chris O'Donnell have shot a sitcom pilot for CBS, "Lunchbox Chronicles," in which Potter plays a single mom with two boys. "Not such a stretch, huh?" she jokes, a reference to raising sons Danny, 13, and Liam, 9, since her divorce from Tom Potter. She hopes the network announces "Chronicles" this week as part of its fall schedule. "With the boys growing up, I'm really not into going away that much anymore," she says. "Since I've done so many movies, it seems like I'm going back to square one, but the crossover line out here is so blurred. Some people say to me, 'Oh, you do TV and you're selling out,' but I say, 'Hey, look at Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett. They did OK.' For once in my life, I think I'm playing it smart."