Leslie Bibb did it. She got to work, honed her craft, worked through the lows, and is now tackling one film or TV project after another. Is the navigation smooth? Not always, but thanks to a journey that included a lot of determination and great mentorship, Bibb now gets opportunities like God’s Favorite Idiota new Netflix series that sees him swinging for the fences playing Satan.
The show is created by Ben Falcone who also plays Clark in it. One day Clark is struck by lightning and the next day he shines. It turns out that this lightning strike was not a random event. This happens because Clark was chosen by God to help spread peace in an effort to ward off an impending apocalypse. Someone he will have to face in this pursuit? Bibb as Satan.
With God’s Favorite Idiot now available to stream on Netflix, Bibb joined us for an episode of Ladies Night Collider to revisit part of his hard hitting journey with Popular to mark a dream opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic. While this post and the video at the top of this post feature some highlights from my conversation with Bibb, I highly recommend checking out the full hour-long conversation in podcast form below. Bibb has a ton of stories to share and they’re all filled with valuable insight into the realities of building an acting career in Hollywood.
For example, Bibb had quite a story to tell about one of his very first gigs – or rather, what was almost one of his very first gigs.
“I booked a job from a great audition. I went there and I was the underdog and I got the part and literally that night they said, ‘You gotta fly up. ‘in Chicago!’ It was one of my first jobs and I was so excited. I’m going to have money in the bank! It was so exciting. I literally go home, pack my bags and get on a plane and I’m flying to Chicago because I’m going to be on a show that’s filming in Chicago Kyle Chandler had a show, Early Edition And somewhere in the middle of the flight there were no cell phones or anything, mid-flight, Les Moonves was like, ‘No, I don’t know who that kid is.’ I think they picked Kristy Swanson “I know who she is!” And so I landed thinking I had a job, and I think I had a beep and I got all these beeps , and I went to a phone booth at Chicago O’Hare airport, I called my manager and he said, ‘Kid, you don’t have the job. The Moonves changed their mind. He don’t think you’re famous enough,” or whatever. And he was like, ‘What do you want to do?’ And I was like, get me out of here.
A very reasonable response to such an experience. However, the story does not end there. In fact, the experience ended up teaching Bibb an extremely valuable lesson in ego mastery while underscoring his ability to rally and persevere.
“In 24 hours [it] was like this big high and this big low. And I think maybe a month later, the showrunner who was a really lovely, decent person, I can’t remember his name, and I think they had really wanted me for the job, they called and they were like, ‘Would you like to come and do an episode?’ And I was like, ‘F*ck this show!’ [Laughs] First! And then I thought, ‘No, there is something.’ And I went to do an episode.
Having that kind of ability to bounce back and move forward proved absolutely vital for Bibb. In fact, it’s a lesson his mentor and drama teacher Maggie Flanagan strongly emphasized:
“I think this company is really crap. It’s really hard, you know? You have to have very thick skin. And I remember when I was studying acting in New York, I studied with this woman Maggie Flanagan and she’s an amazing teacher. Just amazing. She has this truth laser. She’s an incredible teacher. She’s so smart in her way of looking at things. She is brilliant. And she is tough. She’s really tough. I would leave the classroom and be in tears and think, ‘What am I doing?’ And I remember one time when I was talking to him and I was like, ‘I don’t know why I don’t understand!’ I was like, ‘Maybe I’m just a bad actress or something.’ She was like, ‘No, no, no. Look, I think you’re talented and I think you’ll go far in this job, but I think this job isn’t very nice, so if you can put up with me, you can put up with [this business].'”
Another example of Bibb proving she could handle business challenges? His experience after the show Popular has ended. The show was a hit in the late 90s and changed the game for a number of actors involved. However, this hype soon crumbled and the show was canceled after only two seasons. Here is how Bibb described the situation:
“I remember we finished the show, they were like, ‘It’s not picked up,’ and I had a movie I was going to do in New York, and I was so excited [about]. Then 9/11 happened and the world kind of shut down. The movie I was going to make in New York didn’t happen. The world kind of stopped and I felt like I was stalling a bit. But, you know, you keep hanging around. And then you just come back and you think things are just going to come back and then you’re like, ‘Oh no, now you have to come in and audition.’ When you’re on the show, maybe you skip two steps and go in and meet the director. Now maybe you should go back downstairs and meet the casting director now, you know what I mean? So you always have the same grind. Your freeway ramp is a little different. You are no longer in the VOM lane. You get stuck in traffic trying to make your way to the 405.”
And “frogger” her way to the 405 she did! We’d be here all day if I rattled off all of Bibb’s messages-Popular achievements, but personal favorites include Trick or treats, Iron Man, The Midnight Meat Train, The babysitter movies, and more! The newest addition to this growing filmography? God’s Favorite Idiotsure, and trust me when I tell you that Bibb is a highlight of this show, taking every opportunity she has to go big with her portrayal of Satan.
“When I read it, I just remember imagining Tracy Flick from Election and thinking, ‘There’s something weird about her.’ I thought she was really lonely and really needed friends, and she was just this person who made the wrong choice at the wrong time. I just felt like she was the sister the father didn’t like as much as the other brother or she was the adopted child, you know what I mean? There was something about it that I wanted to try to see if I could somehow make her likable. I just thought it was so much fun. I mean, she was so rotten. She’s like a three-year-old, like a petulant child who just wants her way so desperately.
Bibb also noted how Falcone and Melissa McCarthy encouraged her to take on the role:
“They are so wonderful and they are so collaborative. They just keep [saying], ‘What about this idea? Or what about that? Or you do something and it hits them, and then they just say, “Or you could say this!” So all you have to do is let go of all control and stay in the “yes”, and say “Yeah, yeah, yeah”, and then be fearless.
And she is fearless! Bibb’s performance as Satan is a prime example of an actor having so much fun in a role that it’s impossible not to soak up that infectious enthusiasm and enjoy the wild ride with her.
Eager to know more about Bibb on his journey to God’s Favorite Idiot? You should be! You can follow our uncut conversation in podcast form below, which includes memories from the sets of Private parts, Iron Man, Trick or treatsand more!