On Raising Hope, Shannon Woodward plays a happily married mom so there’s little likelihood her character will be going gay anytime soon. But Shannon, who played gay in a stage version of the soon-to-come feature film Life Partners, said she’d happily play a lesbian on-screen.
“Of course, I’m open to playing all kinds of human beings!” the actress said during a Fox TCA event.
Shannon noted that Raising Hope is a progressive show and that it won a GLAAD award this year for Outstanding Individual Episode. She attended the ceremony and accepted the award on the show’s behalf.
“I think what’s great about our show—there’s a lot of stuff we do that incorporates people with different sexual preferences, people of different races,” Shannon said. “There’s a lot of stuff coming up this year.” She paused. “It feels like a bummer to even have to say that.”
But in today’s TV landscape, sometimes LGBT inclusion still has to be spelled out, as queer characters are not yet a given, just like major female characters aren’t always either. Shannon said she’s happy to be paid to be “walking and talking,” something she’s done since she was very young when she first appeared on Clarissa Explains it All.
“I think I really just like telling stories that I enjoy,” Shannon said. She explained she’s happy working on both television and film, as she stars in an upcoming comedy called Search Party.
“There’s kind of an ego and pretension thinking that television is somehow second best,” she said. “I actually think it’s where the best writing is now especially for women and I think that’s a really exciting thing. I think women are able to play three-dimensional characters and be funny and carry stories in a way—there are only really 12 women that are allowed to carry movies. Because they have to prove box office interest. I just think it’s great to be able to work. Something like 27 percent of roles – speaking roles – are for women. It’s just exciting to be a woman who gets to act at all and make a living.”
In Search Party, Shannon stars alongside Alison Brie and Kristen Ritter as friends who “embark on a mission to reunite their pal with the woman he was going to marry.”
“I think it’s kind of the Superbad of Hangover movies,” Shannon said. “Scot Armstrong directed it, he did Old School, Road Trip and the Hangover movies. It’s a big action comedy. We just finished about a month ago.”
Search Party is poised for released next summer, and in the meantime, Shannon also starred in a music video for the band Capital Cities for their song “Kangaroo Court.”
“It’s actually probably too hard to even explain, and also I don’t know if I’m allowed to,” Shannon said of what she’s doing in the video. “It’ll come out in a couple of weeks. They asked me to do it, I knew the director but I’m a big fan. I think the band is great.” Glee’s Darren Criss is also a part of the video from the L.A.-based electro pop band.
Shannon said she also writes and is working on a project with another actress which is a dark comedy. “I feel like that’s kind of where I live,” Shannon said, mentioning she enjoys shows that have both serious dramatic elements but also a balance of humor like Orange is the New Black and Girls. She’s also a fan of Showtime’s Homeland and Dexter.
Although Raising Hope is decidedly more on the comical side, Shannon said most of her career has been more of the dramatic variety, and that’s probably why what she writes will be more like the shows she enjoys watching in her free time.
“I write quite a bit,” she said. “I think that’s kind of what I’ll end up doing later on in life.” Hopefully that doesn’t mean she’ll stop being in front of the camera, but pulling double duty instead.
Raising Hope returns for a fourth season on November 9 on Fox.