AE: I can’t believe you’re telling me Ellen turned you onto Sonya the pet psychic.
GG: Well, I guess Sonya helped Ellen with her cat. When she moved, her cat was depressed or something. Sonya told her stuff about her cat that was absolutely true and about the kitty condo that she’d left behind. And Ellen was like: "Listen. You have to speak to this woman. She’s amazing." And Sonya really, truly was.
AE: OK then.
AE: How did Cleo go missing in the first place?
GG: I had a really nutty assistant who took him, while I was gone, to a dog groomer. She wrapped him in a blanket and my cat was thinking, "Oh my God, this woman is going to kill me or something." He jumped out of the blanket and ran away. He was far enough from my house that he didn’t know how to get back.
I was in Europe and when I came back, I asked, "Where’s my cat?" And she says, "Weelll…" The cat had been missing for days, and she never called to tell me.
AE: Which river is that assistant floating in now?
GG: [Laughs.] I never heard from her again.
AE: Well, I’m glad Sonya was able to help.
GG: She was very helpful. [Laughs.] Anyway. When you said "Ellen," I was like, "Oh, funny we keep talking about her." Um, so, what else would you like to know?
AE: Nothing they’ll let me print, so let’s just talk about your show.
GG: This really is my first record, the first thing I’ve written everything [for] except for one song. I think people are going to be surprised. It’s not really rock and roll, this album. At the end of the day, In Search of Cleo is a parable for looking for love and trying to find your right person.
AE: It’s been a while since you’ve done anything musical. I remember when you did Cabaret.
GG: My first professional shows were all music or dance. And then I kind of stopped because I wanted to be a quote-unquote serious actress. I went back and I did Cabaret on Broadway. And the musical director kept looking at me and going: "You actually sing. You’re a singer."
I kind of forgot I loved doing [that]. And I had many different opportunities to do music. Prince wanted me to do Purple Rain years ago. He flew me out there and he’s changing my name, and for some reason, I backed out of that.
AE: What did he want to change your name to?
GG: Gheena. He goes, "I think I’m going to call you Gheena." I said, "Gheena Gershon?" And he said: "No. Just Gheena." At that moment I knew this was going to be weird. I was so young. I was like, "I want to go to college!"
AE: It could have been worse. He could have said, "I think I’m going to call you Apolongheenia."
GG: Yeah. It just didn’t seem right. But looking back, who knows where I would have been now.
AE: Two words: Vanity 6. I think you made the right rock-and-roll choice.
GG: I did Prey for Rock & Roll.
AE: Great movie. I think it’s ground zero for the trend of girls calling each other "dude."
AE: Yeah. I think so.
GG: Dude! [Laughs.] That’s good. I’m glad. I really love that movie, and I wish it had gotten a bigger release. They really screwed that one up.
AE: There’s always an afterlife on DVD. I’m sure that helps.
GG: Yeah. It’s hard to find â€” it’s always out.