Though Dot-Marie Jones found her calling card as Coach Shannon Beiste on Glee, she has been in the biz for more than two decades. Jones, a 15-time world arm wrestling champion, has found a steady stream of work by embracing her imposing stature. “You can’t hide 6’3″,” she says. “I’m not going to act like I’m a 5’2″ woman that’s 105 pounds. I couldn’t be under 200 pounds if I were dead and hollow.” But, as seen in the above picture, she may have found her match in Kristen Johnston, the six-foot-tall star of The Exes. The two ladies will go toe-to-toe (and cheek-to-cheek) in the Aug. 22 episode of the TV Land sitcom. Below, get a closer of look of Jones and Johnston’s face-off, then see what the two-time Emmy nominee has to say about her return to McKinley High and the red carpet.
“I said yes to it before I even read the script,” Jones says about her guest role in The Exes. “I knew Kristen Johnston, and I have loved her since Third Rock from the Sun. I thought she was so brilliant…the chance to get to work with her and Wayne Knight and Donald Faison and to meet Kelly [Stables] and the rest of the cast was so awesome.”
In the episode, Holly Franklin (Johnston) stumbles into a gay nightclub and piques the interest of Jones’ character. To keep this tried-and-true fish-out-of-water set-up fresh, Jones says she and Johnson “changed it up every time.” Between Johnson’s famous rubber faces and little physical comedy — “I was, like, grinding my face into hers” — the two comedy vets had the whole set “dying laughing,” says Jones, “so I figured it was working.”
The Exes gig will air in advance of Glee‘s fourth season, in which Jones is likely to appear — though nothing is set in stone yet. “I’m excited to come back, absolutely,” she says. “I’d work on that show every single day of my life because it’s such great writing and an opportunity for me to do something different. This is my 21st year in acting, and Glee‘s like the brass ring.”
Before then, she has the Emmy Awards to anticipate. Though she lost out to fellow Gleek Gwyneth Paltrow last year, Jones is the only member of the Glee cast who scored an acting nom this year. Still, she’s up against stiff competition, including Kathy Bates, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Margaret Cho, and Elizabeth Banks. This year’s Emmys are also especially exciting this year because a vote has been put to Academy members to move the Guest Actor and Actress awards announcements from the Creative Arts ceremony to the televised event. Not that Jones has had a moment to consider the possibility of what she’ll wear or say in front of a live audience of millions. “Thank God I’ve been busy working,” she says. “I need to start thinking about what the heck I’m going to do!”
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