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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Cheryl Hines: Working with cats on ‘Nine Lives’ was ‘absolutely not boring’

Cheryl Hines, at the Los Angeles premiere of "Inside Out" on June 8, 2015, stars in “Nine Lives” out Friday. (Richard Shotwell / Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
By Madeleine Marr Tribune News Service

Cheryl Hines just wants to have fun.

And she did – on the set of “Nine Lives,” out Friday.

The 50-year-old “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star plays Madison, the hard drinking ex-wife of Kevin Spacey’s character Tom, who is transported into a cat’s body by a sorcerer-type pet shop owner Felix (Christopher Walken).

“I don’t know he’s turned into a cat,” Hines explains. “I just know that cat doesn’t like me for some reason.”

Needless to say, the script was enticing.

“The director Barry Sonnenfeld emailed me, saying, ‘I’m about to offer you a really funny role,’ ” she recounts. “I saw the cast (which includes Jennifer Garner as Tom’s current wife) and knew immediately I wanted to be on board.”

The initial table read had everyone cracking up.

“It was fun watching Kevin and Chris be silly and sort of carefree. You don’t always associate those two with a kids’ movie.”

The “Nine Lives” shoot – in Montreal – had the actors engage with a lot of different felines.

“It was a like three-ring circus because cats by nature aren’t great actors,” laughs Hines. “They don’t hop to it when you say, ‘Action!’ They need a lot of coercing. There were a lot of clicking noises and a few ruined takes that didn’t make it into the film.

“It was absolutely not boring.”

Hines is accustomed to working under such amusing circumstances. She co-starred in HBO’s “Curb with Enthusiasm,” as Larry David’s long suffering wife Cheryl from 2000-2011. And she says the gang is gearing up for another round.

“Yes ‘Curb’ is coming back!” says the two time Emmy nominee. “The details are all up to Larry now. I’m not sure of the plot points yet. We’ll see what he he has planned. He keeps me on a need-to-know basis. He runs the show and knows how he wants everything presented.”

The show is completely improvised, with actors just getting an outline of the episode.

“It’s a really liberating way to work,” says Hines. “It comes to me pretty easily. I have a background in sketch comedy and improv (with L.A. comedy troupe The Groundlings).”

Hines was born in Miami Beach and moved as a toddler to the Tallahassee area.

“Florida is in my blood and I’ll always love my Dolphins,” says Hines, who married Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in 2014.

Having a husband in the political arena has got to be interesting these days.

“Yes! We do really have interesting conversations,” says Hines. “Discussing the presidential campaign is a requisite in my house. Otherwise you’re lost at the dinner table.”

Next up for Hines is a new show: a live-action animated sitcom on Fox called “Son of Zorn,” premiering in September.

She plays the ex-wife (again) of the title character, an animated barbarian/warrior voiced by Jason Sudeikis, who comes from a fictional land called Zephyria.

“Jason is the only one animated; the rest of us are acting in real life. You have to see it to believe it,” she says. “It’s very entertaining. I can’t say which was more fun – this or ‘Nine Lives.’ Definitely a toss-up.”