Polly Shannon - Naturally Effervescent, but very Professional.

by Kees Boer

Close This Window

A few months ago, I had the privilege of interviewing Polly Shannon, who plays the character of Dana Everson, a television reporter on the first season of DOC and of Darcy D'Angelo, another reporter on Sue Thomas FBEye. Polly is probably one of the most effervescent people, I've ever met. She was so bubbly, uplifting, and friendly throughout the interview and would regularly laugh as we were talking. This was one of the most fun interviews, I've ever done. I had a great time talking with her.

Polly currently lives in the Hollywood Hills, near Los Angeles, but like most DOC and Sue Thomas FBEye actors, she is originally from Canada. As a matter of fact, most summers she goes back to Canada.

We started talking about how the weather impacts her work as an actress, because at the time, it was really hot outside. Polly recalled several extreme weather situations that she had been in. "I had to do period pieces outside, where I had to wear corsets and dresses in extraordinary heat. One time, I actually fainted, because it was so hot." Another time, she had to work, when it was really cold. "I was working with Larry McClean, one of the producers of Sue Thomas. He was directing an episode of 'Code name Eternity.' We had to shoot a helicopter scene in a snowstorm and I was in a miniskirt and high heels. It was horrible, because with the wind that the helicopter made, it was so cold. I couldn't even think. It was so cold. I couldn't even think. I was supposed to look terrified and because of the cold, I didn't even have to act."

We started talking about her role as Dana Everson on DOC. "I played on DOC first and Joan, basically wrote a character for me on Sue Thomas, based on the character I played DOC. I love, adore and miss Joan. She is so sweet and so much fun, I love her!"

We spoke about some of the other cast members of DOC. "You know what's really amazing about Billy Ray Cyrus? The first day that I met him, I came on the set. I didn't know what he was going to be like, because he was the star and you never know what they are really like. Would he be really bossy or whatever? I didn't know. So, I walked in on set and we met and he was very lovely and super sweet. He knew everyone of the extra's names and said 'Good Morning' to them. It's so rare to see that; it's crazy. And for someone of his stature to take the time to do that is very rare. I was so impressed. And even on his break, any down time we had, he was on that phone, doing charity stuff. He's genuinely a lovely human. It's unbelievable!

So, a few years later, Polly auditioned for the part of Darcy Angelo on Sue Thomas FBEye. "Then they wrote Darcy Angelo. And it was so funny, because I had to audition and everyone was laughing, because it was exactly like the character of DOC. I said: 'I think a better audition would be if you watched DOC, it's the same character.' It's a great character."

She loved working with the cast of Sue Thomas FBEye. "It's so much fun, I wish I could have done more. I love that show. I love the cast so much. They were so funny on set! They were hilarious. It's such a funny group, like Ted and Yannick are so funny. I love Rick Peters. He's so nice, charming, and lovely. He's really one of the nicest, most gracious, tall guys, you're going to meet and he's just extraordinary. My mom came one day and she said: 'Oh, my goodness, he's so lovely.' He's so very charming. You know how he is in his character. He's even more so in life! Honestly, I think that everyone on those shows are really nice. I don't think the producers deal with or hire anyone, who aren't really cool. I think that's an important part of who they cast. Because you go on some other shows and it really isn't like that. I'm not going to say which shows, but I've been on some."

She loved working with Dave, Gary and Joan Johnson. "They are really cool, because they are genuinely nice people. They have a high moral standard. They keep it together. They don't have to yell or any of that stuff and it's really nice to work with people like that. They don't pull power trips or anything. I think they do a really good job, because even though it's always interesting and fun, there is always a moral that is learned. Someone is always learning something. It's always something about having their heart opened and then they become a better human. I actually learned a lot on those shows too. Every character you play, you take a little something back with. I wish there was another show, where I could do that."

Polly still stays in touch with several of the cast members of the DOC and Sue Thomas FBEye shows "I see the Canadians a bit more. I saw Yannick a couple of weeks ago in Toronto. I haven't seen Rick or Tara in a long time. But they were talking about doing a reunion and trying to get everyone to come. I see Marc, because Marc is a friend with another random friend that I met in another series. So, I see him once in a while."

It is amazing the variety of people the DOC and Sue Thomas FBEye shows have positively affected. Polly recounts: "One year, I was down here for Christmas. And I was working with the whole green card thing and I was kind of lonely and I was volunteering at my church to feed the homeless for dinner. And there was this guy there named 'Hungry.' He recognized me and he knew all of my character's names from Sue Thomas and DOC. He knew the story lines and he said: 'In this episode you did this, it was just unreal!' And I gather that at the shelters, they play the shows! I was like 'Wow, I have fans that are homeless!' It's not what you expect."

We also spoke about how she approaches her roles. "If I'm playing a lead in something, I try to bring the best of who I am that fits that character. For instance Darcy is an aggressive, fun, smart, and independent woman. I try to bring the best Polly that I can into that role. [Laughs]."

When choosing her part, Polly tends to make bold choices. "If I go to an audition, I'm either right or I'm really wrong. I'll go in there and I bring it usually as truthfully as how I want to play it. And if they don't want that, they can ask me to do it differently and if I can play it differently, I will, but sometimes, I say this is how I want to play it and this is what is fun to me and this is how it is right and after all of these years being in this business, if it sounds arrogant, you get rejected so much, you can't worry about it. I rather be a person, who is excellent or terrible, then just be mediocre. I'd rather make bold choices and then sometimes you're wrong."

Polly loves doing variety in the films she is part of. "I love doing a very serious drama and getting that out and then doing a crazy funny comedy piece and doing a really wacky character and then going back into a very grounded drama piece."

We spoke about the opportunities that being an actress provides her with. "You get opportunities in this business that nobody else gets. That's kind of awesome about it. You get to do things that you can only dream of doing. Like I shot that movie in South Africa and you get to go to places that you otherwise never get a chance to go to. I was shooting all over South Africa; I got to walk with a herd of elephants. That's stuff that little Polly in her own life would never do. I met princes; I got to do all of these cool things that if I wasn't an actress, I would never get a chance to do."

Polly's goal is not necessarily to be a huge star though, but to be able to do her passion, which is to act. "I'm not sure about the being a star thing. I don't think about it that often. The only reason, why I would want to be a star is so that I could do more work. You would have more access to jobs. That would make me happy."

We finished speaking about what she would like to be known for at the end of her life. "I want to do something good. I want to come up with something that helps people in some way. I would like to be known that I did a lot of good things in my life. Not just in acting, but good for people things. I volunteer all over the place. I don't talk about it, because that's not why I do it, but at the end of the time, I want people to say: 'She lived rightly on this planet and she did her best.'"