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Selma Blair’s performance at the TCA Press Tour panel for NBC’s Kath & Kim in Beverly Hills on Monday should go a long way toward dispelling any doubts that the Hellboy II actress can hold her own in a sitcom. While appearing alongside her costars Molly Shannon, Mikey Day, and John Michael Higgins, as well as executive producer Michelle Nader, Blair (pictured) instructed those who think she’s too old to play Shannon’s daughter to “squint while you’re watching,” so that she’d appear younger. (For the record, Blair, who plays Kim, is 36, and Shannon, who plays her TV mom, Kath, is 43.) But, as Blair sarcastically explained, “Actresses play different people all the time. It’s weird. It’s this thing called acting.” Referring to herself as “a girl that’s a little past her prime,” Blair acknowledged that she had to fight to get the role, since she’s not perceived as a comedic actress.”They didn’t think of her as that girl,” conceded Nader, who said that Blair secured the role by demonstrating that she can ground the character in an understanding of real American girls, who “read Us Weekly” and love Britney Spears.

Since no pilot is ready for viewing (much of the first episode is being reshot), a few minutes of never-before-seen clips provided the first evidence of how this version of the comedy series will differ from the Australian smash on which it’s based. Most obvious: Kim’s best friend, Sharon, is out, while Kim’s estranged husband, played by YouTube sensation Day, is in. Also clear: The tone of the show, which is being filmed in a single-camera format, will be less slapstick than the completely out-there original. “This will have more of an emotional underpinning [than the Australian series],” said Nader (The King of Queens), who revealed that her own life is a bit of an inspiration: Her mother gave birth to her when she was 19. “In those situations, you’re the mother sometimes, you’re the daughter sometimes.”

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