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Anyone who caught Martha Stewart on Comedy Central’s Justin Bieber roast in 2015 knows that the lifestyle guru can deliver a joke. (Remember this one? “When I did my stretch, all the hood rats on my cell block wanted to break off a piece of Martha Stewart’s ass, so I decided some bitch needed to get got. I walked into the chow hall, picked out the biggest bull dyke and I stuck her. From then on, prison was easier than making blueberry scones.”) But her against-type comedic talents have largely been kept from the big screen until Bad Moms, which took in $23.4 million in its first weekend.
Stewart, 74, has a cameo in the STX Entertainment release from writer-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who together hatched the plan to include Stewart in the story, playing herself in a party scene opposite stars Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate and Kathryn Hahn.
“This movie is all about moms and who speaks to moms more than anyone — who is the uber mom of all? Martha Stewart,” Lucas tells The Hollywood Reporter. “But we thought we’d never get her. And this is why Suzanne Todd is the greatest producer of all time because she said, ‘Let’s get her.’ She made some calls and found a way to get Martha down to New Orleans to shoot this ridiculous scene.”
Todd admits she rolled more than a few phone calls, describing the casting as “one of the more complicated” celebrity cameos she’s been involved with — and that’s saying a lot considering she produced the Austin Powers franchise. “The boys really wanted her and that’s the great thing about working with directors who have a very specific vision. My job as a producer is to help them get it done, and to not take no for an answer,” says Todd. But once she got that all-important ‘yes’ she was faced with an even-tougher task.
“We had big plans for dinner for her but at the very last second it blew up and wasn’t going to happen,” Todd explains. “We asked her to join us for the regular on-set movie catering, which is nice and good but now what you would feed Martha Stewart if you were having her over for dinner. I was apoplectic. I remember feeling it was one of the more low moments of my producing career — pushing Martha Stewart through our salad bar.”
Laughs Lucas: “To her credit, there were extras boxing her out for salad and she was a total pro. If she wanted to pull rank, none of us would’ve been offended but she waited in line for her salad. She was a real trooper.”
Even when it comes to the work, adds Moore. “Martha is actually very naturally funny,” he says. “She has a lovely dry wit about her, and she’s game. You toss her different lines and she’s willing to take a stab at almost anything.”
Food aside, what does Martha Stewart get paid for such a role? “Not close to nearly enough what she’s worth,” claims Todd. “But we worked it out. All of our actresses who were in scenes with her were gaga over her. She’s the icon for all of us for everything — in how you want to be, to live, and how you can make honey in your backyard in your own beehive.”
A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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