Roseanne Barr may have made headlines for the phenomenal success and quick cancellation of the “Roseanne” reboot, but had she not injured her knee a few years earlier, things may have taken a very different direction.
That’s because Barr was all set to play a key role in acclaimed Showtime comedy “SMILF” that’s currently portrayed by a different Rosie — Rosie O’Donnell.
As “SMILF” star/creator Frankie Shaw revealed during a “For Your Consideration” Q&A, Barr had agreed to play the bipolar mother of her character on the show, reports Variety.
Admitting that “it’s been a secret until this moment” Shaw revealed, “We did offer Tutu to Roseanne, and she was going to do it and then she broke her knee and had surgery.”
According to Shaw, she and Barr discussed her taking the role in the Boston-shot series during brunch in Los Angeles. “I was like, ‘You’re my hero, will you play my mom?’ And she said yes,” recalled Shaw, “and I went to Boston and then I got this call that she had fallen in a park and had like 45 stitches and wasn’t allowed to travel. I sent her this package and I even wrote the character would be in a scooter. I was like, ‘She’ll be in a scooter, we’ll just scoot you around you won’t even have to walk.’ And her doctor said she can’t fly.”
With her plans scuttled and filming set to begin, Shaw called O’Donnell, who agreed to play Tutu.
During a session at the summer 2017 Television Critics Association press tour, O’Donnell explained why it didn’t take her long to make the decision to join “SMILF”.
“I was just absolutely shocked by [Shaw’s] talent and the message and the kind of feminist perspective that she had in a very universal way,” said O’Donnell of watching the short films that led to “SMILF” becoming a series. “It was like a dream come true. I said, ‘I’ll do anything that she needs or wants if she’ll have me,’ and she said yes.”