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Rachel Dratch: What Went Wrong?

hollywoodexclusive1Edie Falco tells us the experience on her Showtime series "Nurse Jackie" is great, but it couldn't be further from the fun-loving cast and crew of her longtime show "The Sopranos."

While she misses working with her onscreen mob mates, she admits it was hard to keep up with them anyway. "It was a real familial thing because most of us were Italian and it only grew because we spent 10 years together," notes Falco, who has been sober for many years so she rarely hit the town with the hard-partying cast.

"We all started out kind of from nothing and the show grew into this big thing, and we all became more known so it was a tremendous thing to go through with a group of people," she recalls. "It was such a celebratory experience. Had I had the genetic predisposition to hang out with these guys I would have done so. I would go out, but these people really knew how to enjoy themselves.

"At times I was a little bit jealous because it was never as easy for me as it was for some of the other people. That's just the nature of who I am and I've learned to deal with it. I've stuck with it this long. I'm not going to turn my back on it now just because other things look so appealing."

For now, Falco is focused on making her new dark comedy a hit as it's set to premiere Monday June 8th.

"The very first script I read was not funny. It was actually quite dark, which is one of the reasons I put it aside at first. I thought she was interesting, but I didn't think I would want to visit this every week as a viewer and live in a world that is so dark. They definitely made it lighter, though," Falco tells us.

"The further along we've gotten, the more things I've discovered about her that are fun. She kind of lives a life of extremes and perhaps the rest of us dream of such circumstances, but the ramifications of having a life like that are huge. To get to pretend and live in those spaces but then know at the end of the workday it's over is a real treat."

FROM THE INSIDE LOOKING OUT: Former "Saturday Night Live" star Rachel Dratch certainly gets points for fearlessness — a trait attributed to her by colleagues — in going over the nitty-gritty details of what's gone wrong with her career in the issue of Entertainment Weekly about to hit the stands.

The funny lady was replaced by Jane Krakowski in "30 Rock" at the network's behest, though Tina Fey had written the part expressly for Dratch. There was talk of Krakowski having been put in at least partly because of her looks … and talk of Dratch having, maybe, overdone it with playing unattractive characters like her Debbie Downer. Dratch admits now that she wonders whether all that good old-fashioned lack of vanity hurt her. "People see me and they're like, 'Oh, you're so much prettier in real life!'… And I'm like, 'Well, thanks.' It's definitely narrowed the opportunities, which is a bummer because ... I want a job!"

Other projects failed to gel. Adding insult to injury, last year's Vanity Fair "Women in Comedy" issue showcased Dratch's close friends — Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph — but barely mentioned her. "That was right there in print," she tells EW. "You're not in the gang anymore." She talked about feeling singed by her omission — but it only led to more embarrassing headlines.

The good news for the likeable performer is that she seems to be in the midst of a turnaround, with her well-reviewed stage role in "Minsky's" and her part in Nia Vardalos' "My Life in Ruins" romantic comedy. Here's hoping.

CASTING CORNER: Under the heading of serious actor types who get involved in Super Hero projects (e.g. Robert Downey Jr. in "Iron Man," Edward Norton in "The Incredible Hulk"), Kenneth Branagh's planned "Thor" has the comic crowd's interest. As director, he's cast British actor Tom Hiddleston as Loki, the Trickster god. And reports have it that 25-year-old Australian actor Chris Hemsworth — George Kirk, father of James T., in the current big-screen "Star Trek" — is likely to be named the title Marvel comic book Thunder god character, Thor. Now, Branagh is looking for a male Asian, Southeast Asian, East Indian or Mongolian actor for a supporting role — a grim and fearless man named Hogun who "lives for battle" — in the flick that is due for July 2010 release.

And ABC Media is looking for some good men, as in candidates for a forthcoming reality show called "Holidate." Sounds fun, but cheesy. Requirements include being single, attractive, intelligent and between 28 and 40 years of age.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster.

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


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