E! News Live

E! Entertainment Channel

March 17, 2003

Giuliana: Kate Mulgrew's Irish sass comes across as she tackles one of the most difficult roles on the stage.

Brien Blakely: Yah.  Impersonating screen legend Katharine Hepburn. And she joins us live from our New York studio right now. Hi Kate.

Kate Mulgrew: Hi. How are you guys?

Brien Blakely:  There you are.

Giuliana: Good. How are you?

Kate Mulgrew: Impersonation is not the word I would use, however.

Brien Blakely: Well, what is it? Tea at Five... it's about Katharine Hepburn? How do you feel about playing that role?

Kate Mulgrew: I hope I'm creating something not impersonating something, Brien.

Brien Blakely:  There you go.

Guiliana:  Hey!

Kate Mulgrew: I feel … I feel incredibly honored to be playing her. It's a rather daunting challenge, as you can imagine, but it's one that is extremely gratifying. I'm having a marvelous time in this city, beyond all great cities. So I'm where I want to be at this point in my life doing exactly what I want to be doing.

Brien Blakely: Was Katharine Hepburn one of your favorite actresses growing up?

Kate Mulgrew: She was not.

Giuliana: Really?

Kate Mulgrew: In fact, I had a natural antipathy towards her, I would suggest because...(to a technician behind her) you can't hear me? What? Yeah, all right. (To Brien and Guiliana) He's making funny signs in the background.

Brien Blakely: We can hear you.

Giuliana: Uh-oh.

Kate Mulgrew: She was likened to me so often that one develops a natural resentment. Not because she was not terrific - there was no question she was an astoundingly remarkable actress. But I wanted to be an actress in my own right so I thought, "You know, enough with Katharine Hepburn." When I took this role and I started the rehearsal process, an alchemy sort of transpired and I fell in love with her. And a magic happened between the two of us. It was a marriage that I did not think would be as marvelous as it has been but it's been absolutely fabulous from day one.

Giuliana: Did you meet... Have you ever met her in real life?

Kate Mulgrew: Have not met her.

Giuliana: Really?

Kate Mulgrew: Have not met her. And I think, in hindsight, that has stood me in good stead.

Giuliana: Why? Because you would have...Why is that? Why is that?

Kate Mulgrew: Because I would have seen her, Giuliana. I would have then not been able to take the leap, imaginatively, that I've taken in creating this role without having seen her in the flesh. And although at this juncture, I would be most grateful to meet her, I think during the rehearsal process, it was better that I was left to my own…very naughty devices.

Brien Blakely: Now you played Captain Janeway on Star Trek Voyager for quite some time.

Kate Mulgrew: I did.

Brien Blakely: What is it like to go from the small screen to the stage?

Kate Mulgrew: From the Delta Quadrant to the heart of New York City? It's tough. I parked that starship, didn't I? It's been a wonderful last ten years of my life. What actress could ask for anything more? I was the first female captain. I sort of… broke the boys club and I loved those seven years. And now this. Who could ask for anything more?

Giuliana: That's terrific. And now, I have to ask you this. How do you prepare before you go on stage every night? How do you prepare? What do you do?

Kate Mulgrew: I kiss the most attractive man that I can find.

Giuliana: Do you really?

Kate Mulgrew: Are you…!?  (Kate laughs!)

Giuliana: You're naughty... you know what?

Kate Mulgrew: (as Hepburn) Now, don't you think I do that?

Brien Blakely:  That'll get you going!

Kate Mulgrew: I'm not kissing anybody. I'm concentrating on my role.

Giuliana: Let me tell you something, I wouldn't put it past you.

Kate Mulgrew:  Huh? No, you shouldn't put it past me. I'm of an age now, I can do as I like.

Giuliana: Mm hmm.

Kate Mulgrew: I go right into a tunnel, Giuliana. That's all. The whole day is about the evening. I get to the theatre three hours early. I warm up. I focus. I go through the play. I go into my dressing room. I put my little bit of make up on and I… I become very focused because I'm out there without a net and that is something that one can not approach without trepidation, as I'm sure you can well imagine.

Giuliana: Of course.

Brien Blakely: Kate Mulgrew, thank you very much for being here.

Kate Mulgrew: Thank you guys.

Brien Blakely:  Look forward to…

Kate Mulgrew: Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Brien Blakely: Thank you. You too.

Giuliana: I know. To you too.

Kate Mulgrew: Go out and have a drink. That's what we're gonna do. (as Hepburn) That's what we're gonna do. All right.

Brien Blakely: Try Tea at Five in New York.

Giuliana: Tea at Five, check it out.

Kate Mulgrew: Thank you very much.