You might not recognize Mackinlee Waddell just yet – she’s new to our TVs, with a scene-stealing turn as McKinney Peacham on GCB – but what I can tell you, after spending some time chatting with her, is that I’m sure we’ll be seeing tons more of her soon!
Mackinlee and I chatted about the season finale of GCB, and what’s coming next for the show and for her – check it out!
Every episode seems to be so much funnier than the last one, and I find myself asking “What can they possibly do next?” Coming up on the finale, and it’s so exciting!
It is! It’s just so great getting to see everything come together, and everyone’s reactions, it’s been really good.
Tell me about how you got involved in the show, and why you wanted to go with TV – tell me about the beginning of GCB for you!
For me, I’ve been acting for about 2 years, and I’ve been training and things like that, and then my agent from LA, they emailed me the audition, and said, can you put yourself on tape in Dallas and then send it in. So I taped myself, I loved the script, I thought it was hilarious. I sent it in, and the producers called, casting called and they wanted to see me for producers, and then they called again, and they ended up wanting to see me for directors! Originally, earlier that year, in February, I had auditioned for the Laura role. I auditioned, and didn’t hear anything, and thought, oh darn, that’s such a good script. Then it was 3 or 4 months later that I ended up getting the breakdown for McKinney and I was really excited to get to be a part of the show. It ended up working out.
How much like the world you experienced growing up is GCB? Is this completely over the top, or is this truly Dallas?
It’s pretty dead on! The last episode, about the cooking, my dad’s really involved in cooking, and he has a massive grill, and I know some of his friends are really involved in that kind of thing. Definitely, down in Highland Park, there are lots and lots of women like the characters in this show, and they pretty much got the show dead on. All the women are always dressed perfect, going to the grocery store with all of their jewels on, and things like that. Robert Harling really nailed it. Also, it’s exaggerated for TV, but there are definitely a few similarities!
Tell me about what we can expect in the finale, what can we look forward to?
There is going to be a lot of shocking things going on in this last episode. A lot of hilarious little schemes going on. Sandra Bernhard is guest starring in the finale. I can’t give away what she’s going to be doing, but there are definitely some crazy schemes going on with Kristin and all of the other GCBs, so it’s going to be really funny, and everyone should check it out!
I’ve talked to various people from the cast, and Grant Bowler, who just guest starred. He and I talked about how the show is so over the top but at the heart, it’s so human, and I think a lot of people relate to it. Why do you think so many people have found this show?
You know, it is relatable. Also, I think people are very intrigued by Dallas. Everyone’s heard about it, but not a lot of people know exactly what goes on in Dallas. We always see TV shows, and we wonder if it’s exaggerated, and now there’s this TV show about it, and people are tuning in. All of these characters have this human side to them. Aside from their schemes that they get themselves into, you also get to see the softer side for each character, and I think that’s why people have really started to relate because these characters have a human side to them.
What is your favorite thing about the character, and the Peacham family? I love that family!
[laughs] When I first got on set, and I met my brother, Hartley Sawyer, I have a 28 year old brother, so Hartley for me, was, we were already bantering back and forth, and then when we got our whole family together, it was just like, so easy to get that family chemistry. It’s been so much fun getting to know all of them. Shooting those scenes is probably my favorite kind of scene to get to do with the family. It’s been a great experience. They’re all welcoming. When I did my first scene with Jennifer, she pulled me on her lap, and that was at the table when we were talking about the boob job that Alex had gotten. It’s been so fun, and we all have great chemistry together, and we really know how to pull out some laughs.
The cast has so many established and great actresses, you know, the GCBs – have they been giving advice to the younger actors? What is some of the best you’ve gotten?
With Jennifer, I definitely learned a lot about things comedically. Always when we were doing scenes, she would come up with these hilarious lines, and just say them. I train at The Groundlings, and I work with a group [in Dallas]. And I’m very interested in comedy. And getting to watch Miss Jennifer kind of pull her comedy training into her acting, it taught me a lot about how I can do that. Definitely getting to see Kristin work, and all of them, they’re so professional, and they really show me something new. It’s always a different adventure every day on set, and they taught me a lot about testing yourself. It’s really been a great ride, getting to work with all of them.
Has there been talk about what happens beyond the finale in Season 2, and are we left with a cliffhanger so we’ll be dying for more episodes?
Yes, I’m really hoping for a season 2. Yes, there is kind of a cliffhanger, and you’re going to have to watch, and everyone has to say a little prayer that the GCBs are around for Season 2. Right now, it’s looking good. We’re very optimistic about it. There’s no way they can’t renew it. If I wasn’t on the show, I’d be watching it!
That’s a good testament to the show – I’ve heard so many people say that even if they weren’t involved, it’s the kind of show they’d be watching, then there must be something there.
Definitely – with DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES going off air, I think the ladies that were watching that are going to need a kind of Sunday night drama/comedy fix, and I think GCB can do that for a lot of them.
Talk to me about a little bit about how you knew you were going to be an actor? Was there one thing?
My dad had said one day, Mackinlee, I want to get a pretty picture of you, and so my mom talked to a headshot photographer, thinking that would be a good way to get good pictures. So I went to the lady, and she said, you’re so pretty, let’s get you an agent. And it was like, ok, yeah right! My mom, submitted one to a local agent, and she responded and said she wanted to meet with me. She ended up signing me, and then from there on, I was like, okay, well maybe I can take classes. So I got with a group called DTV, and I fell more and more in love with my craft, and I kept working, and that’s how I got here. Within 6 months, I had my LA agent, and the rest all fell into place from there.
Do you have someone whose career you’d love to follow?
For me, I’m very interested in comedy, and I love Kristen Wiig. I know, the kind of direction I want my career to go in, I want to expand myself, I want to do a lot of things. My favorite TV show of all time is AMERICAN HORROR STORY. That’s where I would see myself going. I know Ryan Murphy is doing a different cast every single season, so I would kill to be on that show. It’s an amazing show, and Ryan Murphy is a genius! I love Meryl Streep, I look up to her so much; she’s and icon in the acting world. And even the actresses I’m getting to work with, like Kristin Chenowith, they’re all so phenomenal, and I’m really blessed to be working with them right now!
You mentioned AMERICAN HORROR STORY. Are there other shows that you watch when you have some downtime?
Yes, I have [laughs] so much on my DVR. I watch NEW GIRL. I watch THE OFFICE, love THE OFFICE. Steve Carrell is gone, which it makes it really sad, but Rainn Wilson’s hilarious. I also watch PARKS AND RECREATION, MODERN FAMILY, and PRETTY LITTLE LIARS. All of my friends watch it, so we all talk about it Tuesday nights after it airs. I watch pretty much everything. I watch DATELINE NBC and 20/20.
I watch like 48 HOURS MYSTERIES, where I try to solve the murders.
Yes, I can’t watch them when I’m home or I’ll be really scared!
I’m the same way – I’m convinced the murder I’m watching is going to happen to me!
What else besides GCB can we see you in?
I did an independent called DEN OF DARKNESS that’s still in post. That’s going to be an indie film that’s going to be distributed to film festivals. Right now, I’m training with The Groundlings, and my acting troupe called DTV. We’re waiting to hear about GCB, but I’m taking auditions and trying to be a regular actress, try to make it [laughs]. I’m looking to do movies. I’ve got some things in the works!
It sounds like you have a really good head on your shoulders, and there have been so many cases where young actors don’t have that. Do you have advice for kids getting into the business?
Definitely making sure it’s what you want to do. A lot of people don’t mention the other side of being an actress. They tell you that you get to act on things, and walk red carpets, but they don’t explain that it is hard work. Getting on a red carpet, you do interviews, you’re talking to people. I call it, when I get on the red carpet, that I’m turning myself “on” because you’re meeting new people, and you have to be very respectful. Some people aren’t prepared for that, and the media that comes with being in a television show, or being a working actress. Make sure it’s what you want to do and you can handle it. You need to know that rejection is a big part of it. As you’re making your way to the top, there’s going to be a lot of rejection along the way, and you have to be able to handle that, and I know that’s been a hard thing for a lot of people.
A lot of actresses have charities and causes that they put their support into – what are you involved in these days?
Yes, Children’s Medical Center, and Children’s Miracle Network. I had open heart surgery when I was 5, and from then on, I started doing, kind of spokes-personing work, for Children’s Miracle Network, raising money for non-profit hospitals, and that’s kind of also how I got my start in acting, because they noticed at a young age that I was good at being in front of large crowds, and that got my mom, kind of thinking, I wonder… She brought it up to me, and I said it sounded really fun, and that’s kind of another thing that sparked my interest in acting. But I’ve very involved with that, and I love raising money for them!