Picks and Pans Review: Catching Up with ...
Six years after leaving Saturday Night Live, the 41-year-old actress and mom relished the chance to unleash her dramatic acting skills in Year of the Dog, her first non-SNL lead role.
SHE'S STILL A SUPERSTAR To this day, says Shannon, "hands down, I get recognized the most for Superstar [the SNL skit-turned-movie featuring her repressed schoolgirl character Mary Katherine Gallagher]. One day I was with my daughter and son [Stella, 3, and Nolan, 2] really early, and we walked by a park where there was a transsexual prostitute who saw me. She yelled out, 'Superstar!' with the arms up and everything. I just yelled back, 'That's so sweet!'"
HER CUSTOM-MADE ROLE Writer-director Mike White (School of Rock, The Good Girl) created the role of canine lover Peggy just for Shannon and insisted that she be cast. "I was a drama major [at NYU], so I do come from an acting background," says Shannon. "If Mike hadn't written this for me, I wouldn't normally be considered for the role. Mike thinks outside the box. It's nice to have someone like that in your corner."
JUST ONE PROBLEM ... Though her character eats, sleeps and drives while surrounded by dogs, "I'm allergic to them," says Shannon. For the most part she made it through the shoot just fine, but she did spend a day stuffed into a compact car with nearly a dozen dogs. "I was actually going to a premiere that night, Talladega Nights. The dogs were scratching my face, and I was thinking, 'Oh, no! I can't go!'" (She did go, scratches and all.)
FAMILY LIFE She and artist Fritz Chesnut, whom she wed in 2004, live in Manhattan with their kids. For fun "I like taking the kids on a walk while it's dark outside," she says. "It's like an adventure."