Loretta Devine: 'Anatomy' of An Emmy Nom

Jarett Wieselman
The Insider
Loretta Devine: 'Anatomy' of An Emmy Nom

I don't know of a single performer with a more apt surname than Loretta Devine. From Dreamgirls to Waiting to Exhale to her recent Emmy-nominated turn on Grey's Anatomy, every role this multi-hyphenate takes on is instantly imbued with elegance and excellence.

TheInsider.com caught up with the divine Miss. Devine to talk about her Grey's arc (as Adele Webber the Alzheimer's afflicted wife of Seattle Grace's Chief of Staff), that proposed Exhale sequel and what fans can expect from a second season of The Client List!

TheInsider.com: Adele first appeared during the second season of Grey's -- at that time, did you have any idea of how important she'd be to the show?
Loretta Devine: No, absolutely not. It's been almost eight years now and you never know when they're going to call you in – it's always about availability. The last few seasons, I had a block of time and was excited about that. But when I found out she'd be dealing with Alzheimer's, I thought they were going to kill her off [laughs]. It's always so scary, because Richard was in love with Ellis, who also had Alzheimer's and they just killed her off! I mean, after a year of working ... dead. Good lord! [laughs]

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Insider.com: Alzheimer's can sometimes come across as very "act-y" -- how did you prepare and avoid those pitfalls?
Loretta: A lot of it is in the writing – Shonda Rhimes and her team have so much to do with the look of the character. My father passed and he had a touch of dementia, and I have some friends who are dealing with that with their parents too. I played Adele with a baseline of feeling she was fine for the first few episodes. But what was so great about this past season is she had to acknowledge she was sick, let go of her home, let go of her husband and move into this [assisted living facility]. It was so sad. Now she's sleeping with strangers and [Richard] is dating Debbie Allen [who plays Dr. Catherine Avery] -- it's funny, I was watching TV and finding some of this out with the rest of America and screaming at my television!

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Insider.com: Do you know anything about what the future holds for Adele?
Loretta: I don't know if I'm going to be back, or how they’re going to resolve the issue – maybe they'll find a cure. I saw Jim [Pickens Jr., who plays Richard Webber] at the premiere of Sparkle and he didn't know either. So … we'll see!

Insider.com: How was it seeing your friend Whitney in the film?
Loretta: Oh my God, it's such a great loss. And that's what is so weird about movies – you feel like the person is there but they're not. When I think of Whitney, I think of a young, vivacious girl, but in Sparkle, she plays this little old lady and I had to get used to seeing her doing that. She got a chance to sing in the film and it just breaks your heart. It's such a tremendous loss. But she was excellent in the movie. Right on point and I believed she believed what she was doing, so that was great.

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Insider.com: Any update on the Waiting to Exhale sequel we've heard so much about?
Loretta: Terry McMillan is still working on the script. They want it to be a tribute to Whitney, but I don't know if they're going to include her character or try something totally different. Also, Gregory Hines' character has to be dealt with too – it can't be a movie full of funerals, so I don't know what their plan is. They're trying to get it together.

Insider.com: Luckily we have you on The Client List until then -- why do you think that show caught on with so many people?
Loretta: Because Jennifer Love Hewitt has the cutest little tits in the world! [laughs] I mean, it's such a sexy show with some danger going on. I love it. Women running around in painful heels screaming and hollering and just having a blast -- we had so much fun on the set! And I think you can tell when watching it.

Insider.com: Last season ended not too well for your character. Will you be back next season?
Loretta: We're still waiting on contracts, but I think they'll bring her back -- I want to run back from whatever island they sent Georgia running to [laughs].

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