[WATCH] Molly Shannon dishes dramatic departure in indie film ‘Other People’

“She loves being a mother,” explains Molly Shannon as we chat via webcam (watch above) about her character in “Other People,” a dramatic departure from the kinds of roles that have made her one of the world’s favorite comediennes. For the indie film, the “Saturday Night Live” alum plays Joanne, a wife and mother of three whose son (Jesse Plemmons), a New York-based comedy writer, returns home to help take care of her when she falls ill from a rare and deadly form of cancer. “She’s fighting for her life,” and, “can’t believe this is happening.”

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Upon reading the script by director and current “SNL” head writer Chris Kelly, she reveals it, “really jumped out at me,” explaining, “I thought it was really funny and really touching. It kind of had all these levels.” Despite its grim subject matter, “there’s all these different things that can happen. It can be funny at times, sad, frustrating.” Her character in particular, “goes through all these different emotions because her life is slipping away, and she knows it.”

She admits to drawing upon personal experiences to prepare for the role. “I lost a really close friend recently to breast cancer,” she reveals, “and she was young, like Joanne,” and a mother as well. She adds, “I went through the whole thing with her,” and, “I really saw everything she went through.”

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Shannon has twice contended at the Primetime Emmys: once in the now-retired Best Variety Performance category for “SNL” (2000), and once for Best Comedy Guest Actress in HBO’s “Enlightened” (2013). An Oscar nomination would make Shannon only the sixth graduate of the legendary sketch comedy series to receive an Oscar nomination for acting, putting her alongside:

Joan Cusack: Best Supporting Actress, “Working Girl” (1988); “In & Out” (1997)

Dan Aykroyd: Best Supporting Actor, “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989)

Robert Downey Jr.: Best Actor, “Chaplin” (1992); Best Supporting Actor, “Tropic Thunder” (2008)

Bill Murray: Best Actor, “Lost in Translation” (2003)

and Eddie Murphy: Best Supporting Actor, “Dreamgirls” (2006)

Check out our full interview above for more about her work in “Other People.”

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Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. How do you think “Other People” will do with academy voters? Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how this film is faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.

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