Kerri Pomarolli is a talented, funny, creative, enthusiastic actress/comedian who describes herself as an “out of the closet Christian.” She is a regular on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show and she is featured in the documentary Hollywood on Fire, about the the successes and failures of faith-driven actors, directors, producers, music artists, and executives. It presents “a different view on how Christians in the entertainment industry encounter secularist and Hollywood skeptics, yet do not compromise their faith.” It was a great pleasure to get a chance to talk to her.
What were some of the movies that influenced you when you were growing up?
I was one of those kids roller skating in the basement to “Grease” and “Annie.” At age 3 or 4 I told everyone I was going to Hollywood. I grew up on the classics, Cary Grant, William Holden — I loved his movie “Picnic,” and when I got older I got to be in the play. I had a wealth of knowledge of classics like “All about Eve” and stars like Angela Lansbury. The classics were not just kids movies but good family movies and that’s sort of been lost now. Everything is either a kids movie or an adult movie. And TV too — when I was growing up the sitcoms were for families, but now there are kid-specific channels and programs and the other sit-coms are more for adults and not for children or for families to share.
What do you look for in a project or part?
I came out here and had certain rules for myself as an actress and a Christian. At first, I thought of it in terms of “as long as my character isn’t doing anything bad,” it was all right but that evolved as my faith has evolved. A project can look clean but then you look behind it and it is not. There can be integrity issues behind the scenes. If integrity isn’t there on screen and behind it, it isn’t the right project. It has to be something that as a person of faith I feel like God says, “This is you, this is your task.”
I love working on the Leno show. He is great. It is pretty PG rated. They treat you with such respect there, too. The crew has been with him for 20 years, which really says something. I have never compromised my faith in my work on the show. The casting director is a Christian. I hear the new show will be more like the Ed Sullivan show, and I think it will be great.
What is your dream project?
My book Guys Like Girls Named Jennie is being turned into a screenplay. It is a Christian romantic comedy, a really real romantic comedy, the kind of project a 14 year old girl or a 35 year old woman can watch. I’d love to play myself!