Brooke Elliott sprung out of the theater world and became a hit on primetime cable TV over the past few months by playing a recently deceased 24-year-old perky model who comes back to earth in the body of a 30-something curvy lawyer in “Drop Dead Diva.”
The actress, who AccessHollywood.com named a Rising Star over the summer, lived up to the accolades thanks to her effervescent performance as the legal eagle with a developing conscience, Jane Bingham.
“It’s really exciting,” Brooke told Access of the success of her show, which reaches its Season 1 finale on Sunday at 9 PM on Lifetime. “I’m a little like, nervous excited all the time.”
Early success for the show, which even trumped “Mad Men” in the cable TV ratings, helped the show get picked up for a second season just weeks into its debut Lifetime run.
In addition to the viewers that have made the show a hit, dozens of stars have become die-hard fans including Paula Abdul, Rosie O’Donnell and Liza Minnelli, all of whom made cameos during Season 1.
“I think a lot of it has to do with why we’re doing a show and the things we want to say with the show,” Brooke told Access of why her celebrity guest stars have been so passionate about the program. “I think a lot of people [want] some of those myths that we all kind of live under to be shattered and I think they’re on board for that and I think they find worth in that and integrity.”
This weekend, one of those stars is returning for the season finale – Paula Abdul — who plays a “belted and bedazzled” fantasy court judge version of herself in the show. In Sunday’s episode, she once again returns to Jane in a dream to help her sort out her love life and choose between her co-worker and love from another life, Grayson, and her new latest legal suitor, Tony.
“It was a really fun scene because of what the boys are doing and then Paula of course,” Brooke said of the sparkling moment. “I love Paula’s influence over Jane, that she really loves to turn to Paula in her dreams to guide her and tell her what to do.”
Throughout the 13-episode series, guest stars Tim Gunn, Jorja Fox, Nia Vardalos, Delta Burke and Brooke Burns have all come through the “Drop Dead Diva” doors, but one person actually had the cast fighting over them.
“There were times where, especially with the Liza episode everyone was like, ‘I don’t have enough time with her,’ and ‘How come you get to be in the scene with her?’ all in good fun,” Brooke recounted. “We all wanted to be in scenes with Liza and Delta and Rosie. We just get excited.”
The cast won’t get to mix with the next set of guest stars until they begin shooting Season 2 next March.
In the meantime, Brooke will be perusing offers that have come her way of late, and figuring out what life is like when you’re a brand spanking new celebrity.
“I am more recognized when I just go to the grocery store,” Brooke said when Access asked how life has changed. “So that pops up in my mind like, ‘Oh, do I need to do make up and hair and, you know? Because you think, ‘Am I OK with people seeing me look like this?’ Some things have changed like that and other things haven’t, you know I got up this morning and still brushed my teeth.”
With a nicer toothbrush?
“Yeah,” Brooke giggled. “I’ve got a Sonicare now!”