Meaghan Rath in COOPER BARRETT'S GUIDE TO SURVIVING LIFE |©2016 Fox/Michael Becker

Meaghan Rath in COOPER BARRETT’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING LIFE |©2016 Fox/Michael Becker

In COOPER BARRETT’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING LIFE, Fox Network on Sundays, Jack Cutmore-Scott plays the title character. Cooper and his friends have just graduated from college and have some wild adventures. Meaghan Rath plays Kelly Bishop, a young woman whose own unpredictability sometimes helps along the craziness – and whom Cooper would like to guide into his own life.

Rath spent four years on Syfy’s BEING HUMAN as the alternately upbeat and panicked ghost Sally Malik. More recently, the actress has had recurring roles on KINGDOM, BANSHEE, SECRETS & LIES and NEW GIRL.

ASSIGNMENT X: Had you been looking to do a half-hour series?

MEAGAN RATH: Yeah. I always thought that comedy was where I was going to be, so it really surprised me that I have this history of drama. But I did find that I was often the lighter person in a drama. But it was what I was wanting to do, and when I did NEW GIRL last year, it brought me into the Fox family, and I’m so happy to still be working with them.

AX: How would you describe your COOPER BARRETT character, Kelly Bishop?

RATH: She is a physical therapist working in L.A., who projects this very tough image of herself, but underneath it all is someone who’s really vulnerable and afraid to fail and afraid to take chances, and it’s all – this guy is someone who is the opposite of that, which I find really interesting, and actually I connect to that, because I feel the same way. It’s like you kind of overcompensate for your fears.

AX: Did you have to learn anything for the part?

RATH: [laughs] Not really.

AX: It was all stuff you kind of knew how to do?

RATH: Yeah, it was all in my wheelhouse. Doing comedy is something I’m not used to, and I really love it. It’s so refreshing. It’s like a totally different way of working, too – the preparation, the process, was very different for me, at least. So it’s been nice.

AX: Are you enjoying playing Kelly, who seems a little straighter and a little calmer than, say, Sally on BEING HUMAN?

RATH: Calmer? I’m not sure if I’m playing calmer [laughs]. Yes. It’s been a nice change, because it’s just a lighter environment. It’s nice for the spirit to be able to make jokes all day, and not scream and cry and get hung from a noose or yell at something in front of a green screen that is nonexistent.

Meaghan Rath as Kelly, Jack Cutmore-Scott as Cooper, ,James Earl as Barry, Charlie Saxton as Neal, Justin Bartha as Josh and Liza Lapira as Leslie in COOPER BARRETT'S GUIDE TO SURVIVING LIFE |©2016 Fox/Jeff Lipsky

Meaghan Rath as Kelly, Jack Cutmore-Scott as Cooper, ,James Earl as Barry, Charlie Saxton as Neal, Justin Bartha as Josh and Liza Lapira as Leslie in COOPER BARRETT’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING LIFE |©2016 Fox/Jeff Lipsky

AX: Everything in COOPER BARRETT is existent?

RATH: Literally everything here is existent [laughs].

AX: COOPER BARRETT has more live animals than most half-hour comedies do. For one, there’s the enormous pet pig that lives with Cooper and his roommates. How are you dealing with the animals?

RATH: I’d love to tell you well, but I don’t know that I am [laughs]. It’s hard to work with animals. It’s like you’re always sort of waiting on them, it takes a lot of patience. The animals we’re working with are kind of intense. The best-behaved animal was the bear, shockingly, because he was just about to hibernate. He was like, “I don’t want to run, I’ll just stay here …”

AX: How are you dealing with the Kelly/Cooper flirtation and Kelly’s juggling of who she thinks she wants, and who she may really want, and trying to figure out what she wants?

RATH: I find it true to life. This situation, it’s a group of friends. There is definitely some sort of connection between the characters, Kelly and Cooper, and while they want to explore that, and navigate their way, they also really want to protect what they already have. So it’s a sensitive thing that you deal with in life, but in a very modern way, they hook up and don’t talk about it for a couple weeks, and then talk about it again, but there’s always this underlying tension between the two, which I find interesting.

AX: And apparently you have cars blowing up. Were you expecting that in a half-hour show?

RATH: I knew that was in the concept of what the show was, but I really didn’t know how far they were going to go with it. It shocked me every week to see what was in the script – I would get the script and then I’d be like, “All right, this is going to change, there’s no way they’re going to do that, and there’s no way they’re going to let me do that,” and then there I am, on top of a trailer racing down the highway, harnessed in, no stunt double [laughs]. I love doing my own stunts, so I’m happy to do them. For some reason that makes no sense, I feel protected when I’m on the set. I should not feel that way. I shouldn’t, but I’m just like, “Nothing will happen to me.” I don’t know why.

Sam Witwer as Aidan Waite, Meaghan Rath as Sally Malik in BEING HUMAN "Ramona the Pest" | © 2014 Philippe Bosse/Syfy

Sam Witwer as Aidan Waite, Meaghan Rath as Sally Malik in BEING HUMAN “Ramona the Pest” | © 2014 Philippe Bosse/Syfy

AX: How did you feel about the way that BEING HUMAN wrapped up?

RATH: I was really happy about it, because I felt like it was a real ending for the characters, which is what the story called for. There needed to be closure at the end. I’m happy we were able to wrap it up and not leave it on a cliffhanger.

AX: And what would you most like people to know about COOPER BARRETT’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING LIFE?

RATH: Just that it’s really fun and exciting and honestly like nothing that’s on TV right now in a half-hour sitcom. It’s an action/adventure comedy and genuinely really funny and I’m honest about that.

This interview was conducted during Fox Network’s portion of the most recent Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California.

Related: COOPER BARRETT’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING LIFE star Liza Lapira – exclusive interview

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ArticleCOOPER BARRETT’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING LIFE star Meaghan Rath – exclusive interview

 

 

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