"My days are all just slowly descending into darkness," June Diane Raphael laughs over the phone. "I start out super positive, and then it's just a slow ride down to, like, total despair and depression by 7:00 p.m."
Right now, she tells me one recent morning in quarantine, she's OK. She's setting out to promote her new movie not with the traditional press tour of hotel junkets, late-show sit-downs and red-carpet premieres, but from her home in L.A. -- which mostly involves a lot of negotiating with her 5- and 3-year-old. "I mean, the screen time has been insane," she explains. "And by the way, sometimes I'm like, 'Who am to deny my kids the opportunity to watch movies and TV?' This is what's paying our bills! Why would I turn against this medium?"
Her new one is The High Note, a music-industry comedy starring Tracee Ellis Ross as Grace Davis, a pop diva due for a reinvention, and Dakota Johnson as her put-upon assistant. Raphael plays Grace's "house manager," Gail, a tankinied, freebie-loving hanger-on and one of The High Note's key scene stealers. In a chat with ET, Raphael talked working with Ellis Ross and the true-crime persona she channeled for Gail, as well as providing a state of the union on all things reality TV.
I would be remiss if I didn't ask you: What are you taking on and what are you not taking on during quarantine?
June Diane Raphael: Here's what I'm not taking on: I'm not taking on beauty standards right now. You know, usually I'm pretty disciplined about working out and keeping things together, but I gotta tell you, I'm enjoying this time to just kind of let it alllllll out and sort of be hidden from the world, aside from, like, the Zooms I'm in. And I'm actually quite enjoying that.
So I'm not taking on the standards of beauty that most women have to uphold. One of the things I am taking on is I'm taking on some terrible television. I mean, I thought I had standards there. That standard I am also not taking on, because I am on, like, 90 Day Fiancé. I really thought I had a higher threshold. I mean, some of the shows I'm watching, I have to tell you, it makes Bravo look like Turner Classic Movies. [Laughs] It is really grim.
You are a wise woman and very politically minded. I've found what's difficult for me in these times is balancing seeing the best of humanity while also seeing the absolute worst in a lot of people. How are you handling that?
I firmly believe that more people are being mindful and safe on behalf of the most vulnerable communities than not. More people are making sacrifices and decisions about their families and work and travel with the most vulnerable populations in mind, with the elderly and immunocompromised in mind. I really do think that's the truth. And the negative protests and the insanity that's out there, I think it's a smaller group of us, and it gets a lot of airplay.