Niecy Nash admits she isn’t exactly a fan of horror movies. But she couldn’t resist when executive producer Ryan Murphy called her to offer her the role of Denise in “Scream Queens,” the well-intentioned security guard who’s hired to protect the sorority sisters from the devil-suited killer.
How did you get the part in “Scream Queens”?
When Ryan called, I said, “I don’t even know what you want but you had me at hello.” The answer is yes and when.
How did you know Ryan?
I’d done something for him many years ago that was only a pilot. I don’t know why he called back. But I do know that this project is so delicious. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done. I said, this genre, I don’t know how you’re going to make it happen. But I know that you’re brilliant. And what day do you need me to be there?
What’s the secret of Ryan’s talent?
I‘m just a fan of his, period. What is going on under that shaved head? What is going on in that mind? How does it even work? And how do you get it all done? It’s all so seamless. You’re brilliant and dark and weird and funny and I love every minute of it, of the regalia that is Ryan.
Are you a horror fan?
No, and I’m still not. I don’t like to be scared one bit. But I’m such a fan of Jamie Lee Curtis that when I found out she was doing the show I started practicing my screaming. But then someone called the police so I had to knock it off. I don’t know where she’s been my whole life. I’m obsessed with her. We’re totally BFFs and I love every minute of it.
Do you get to improvise at all?
I think I’m the only one who take after take gets to play with these words. We get a take down that’s to the script, and after that it’s, “Niecy, play with it, try something else.” I would be interested to see some of the outtakes. I hope they put them online!
If your character survives, will you come back for another season?
I would come back in a heartbeat. Because this is the most fun thing. I might have to clone myself and have my twin come back.
Sounds like you’re enjoying yourself.
I’m just happy. I’m in a place where I’m really having a charmed experience. I have three projects I’m doing at the same time. I just got picked up for the fifth season of “The Soul Man.” I’m here doing “Scream Queens,” and there’s the Emmy nom for “Getting On.” I don’t know why God opened up a window of blessings over my head but I’m glad that he did.
Congratulations on your Emmy nomination.
For such a long time in this business, I have been very gently told that you have a lane, and stay in it. I always said, “But I can do something else. I can do other things.” But it was like, “No, dear, this is what you do. Bigger hair, more makeup, more over the top.” So to receive a nomination for this role was a long time in coming. I’m beyond grateful that peers looked at that work and said, “We want to invite this girl to the party.”