Jamie-Lynn Sigler is best known for her portrayal of Meadow Soprano on HBO's landmark series "The Sopranos", which ran for eight years. Since then, she's enjoyed success on shows like "Entourage", "How I Met Your Mother" and "Ugly Betty", and now she's starring in the upcoming romantic comedy JEWTOPIA alongside Jennifer Love Hewitt, Joel David Moore and Rita Wilson. In the film, Sigler plays a high-strung Jewish princess who constantly nags her fiancé (Moore) about their impending nuptials. It's a full-on over-the-top comedic performance, a fun change of pace for the New York-born actress.
In our chat below, Jamie-Lynn and I discuss her extreme character, the biggest myth about Jewish women and her memories of working on "The Sopranos". Still can't believe I spoke with Meadow Soprano!
Thank you for taking the time out to do this. Are you in sunny L.A.?
I am. Are you in freezing, snowy New York?
I am indeed.
I would actually trade with you. I'm so sad, I've been missing snow.
I will gladly trade with you. I'm sure we can figure those details out.
I dig the title JEWTOPIA… is that what attracted you to the project in the first place?
I had heard about the play through friends, initially, but I think the cast of the film is what really drew me. They already had Joel [David Moore], and Ivan [Sergei] and Rita Wilson, Jon Lovitz and Tom Arnold. A really killer cast, it was a whole lot of fun. I've never laughed so hard in my life.
The movie pokes fun at a lot of different religions and types of people but in a very lighthearted way.
Yeah, I'm Jewish - a lot of us are Jewish - and no one was offended. We're poking fun at all different stereotypes. We're exaggerating for the sake of comedy. No one knows anybody exactly like these characters, we're just having a good time.
What was your quote-unquote scene of intimacy with Joel like?
(Laughs) Hilarious! Obviously there's nothing intimate about it. We're trying not to laugh. We were always trying to figure out how far we could push things, how far we could go. It was so fun. There was a lot of stuff that didn't make it into the movie that was crazy.
Your character is sort of a quintessential Bridezilla character - were you like that at all during your engagement?
Of course not! God forbid. I wouldn't be with him anymore. No way. She's like what everyone imagines a Jewish princess to be like. She's crazy, batshit crazy. I would like to say I will never end up being like her.
According to the movie's main character, if a guy marries a Jewish girl he never has to make another decision in his life - true?
Absolutely not, because my guy gets mad at me whenever I can't make decisions. I never know. I'm a nice Jewish girl from Long Island.
Are you a good cook?
I'm a very good cook. Actually, let me take that back. I don't know if I'm a good cook - he eats what I cook and I cook a lot, so he seems to be well nourished.
What is your signature dish?
I'm not Italian, but I make a really mean meat sauce. And for the Super Bowl I made fried chicken wings. Everybody ate them!
It seems like you've been performing lots of comedies these last couple of years. Do you have a preference in terms of comedy over drama?
I don't, it just seems to be what I've been doing. It's been nice, but there's a part of me that has definitely been missing drama. There were times when people told me I wouldn't be able to do comedy, so to prove them wrong and do this much has been pretty cool.
You achieved fame almost overnight when you were a teenager. That must have been sort of chaotic.
Believe it or not, I think when "Sopranos" happened at that point in my life it sort of calmed everything down. I was an adult who had a job, I had an apartment in the city when I was 19 - I had responsibilities. I was still young and had fun, but it was the path that I wanted. Ultimately I wanted to be a working woman. I think it protected me from a lot, wanting to do a good job and prepare for work. Also, being in New York you don't feel the fame aspect of it, people in New York don't care.
Do you ever go back and watch The Sopranos? What's your impression of it now?
Every once in a while if I'm flipping channels and it's on HBO or A&E, I will watch it. It's nostalgic now. I had forgotten so many things about the show and so many episodes. My husband has actually never seen it, so the two of us talked about doing a marathon one day. It would be kind of cool.
That's crazy, I'd think if he was preparing to date you he'd want to do his homework.
(Laughs) I kind of like that he's never seen it.
It's got to be cool to think about how influential it was, it basically kickstarted this new golden age of television…
It is pretty amazing. But like I said, being in New York and everyone being in their normal lives, no one really felt that. We were just doing our jobs and every once in a while flying out to L.A. for an award show. We all felt like the outcasts, the New York people.
What is your favorite TV show now?
I'm very into "Homeland." I like "Downton Alley", "The Bachelor." I mean, I just had a baby, so I don't really have the time to watch TV. I have actually never seen "Breaking Bad," so I'm about to start getting into that.
Your husband is a baseball player and your father is heavily involved with baseball - I'm guessing you're a big fan of the game?
I am! I never thought I'd be able to sit through an entire baseball game until I met Cutter.
Are you an L.A. baseball fan or do you root for New York?
New York. But now I'm going to be a fan wherever Cutter is, and he's playing for the Nationals now.
What's your favorite ballpark snack?
If I'm at Dodgers stadium, a hot dog. If I'm in New York, Nathan's fries.
What do you do for fun when you're trying to decompress from work?
I'm obsessed with Candy Crush. It's unhealthy, I'm pretty sure I have carpal tunnel. But from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. I'm a mom. I just started entertaining the idea of going back to work, but right now my life is teething toys, Bubble Guppies and making bottles. (Laughs)
At what age do you think you'll show your son "The Sopranos"?
Not till he's way older, a teenager, and he can decide if he even wants to watch it or not. I will never force anything I've done on him. Except JEWTOPIA.
Final question: who is your all-time celebrity crush?
It was Dylan McKay [Luke Perry] from "Beverly Hills 90210", he was my first. I had a life-size poster of him on my door.
Not anymore though?
No, not anymore! He was the original one for me. But I don't really have any celebrity crushes, I have a crush on my husband.
Thanks again for your time, I really appreciate it.
Thank you, stay warm!