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Lorne Michaels, the creative mind behind Saturday Night Live, said that the long-running variety show never reached out to Rosie O’Donnell to take on the role of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon because she would have approached the role “from hate” rather than from comedy.
As part of a lengthy behind-the-scenes interview with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about the show’s ratings resurgence, SNL cast member Leslie Jones explained the answer Michaels gave her when she asked why O’Donnell hadn’t been approached to play Bannon, as numerous social media users and the actress herself requested a few months ago.
“When you’re playing a character, you can’t play it from hate,” Jones said Michaels had told her. “You have to play it from funny, because when you play it from hate, it looks like you’re just being mean.”
In February, O’Donnell wrote on Twitter that she was ready to play Bannon on the long-running NBC comedy show if she were to get the call from producers.
“I am here to serve,” O’Donnell wrote when asked if she was willing to take a turn as Bannon. “Alec has trump – melissa has spice – i would need a few days to prepare – so if called – i will be ready.”
The former View co-host even went so far as to update her official Twitter profile picture with a bizarre, Photoshopped image of herself as Bannon.
“THANK U FOR MAKING THAT AMAZING ROSIE OBANNON PHOTOSHOP – I LOVE IT,” O’Donnell wrote on Twitter, thanking the artist who created the mash-up photo. “all credit to johnny smith !!! thank u johnny.”
all credit to johnny smith !!! thank u johnny ❤❤❤❤ pic.twitter.com/jlBoxWoWKf
— ROSIE (@Rosie) February 10, 2017
Michaels has never spoken publicly about O’Donnell’s bid to play Bannon.
However, Jones told THR she believes the showrunner made the right call by not approaching the actress for the part.
“I love Rosie to death, but he might have been right on that one,” Jones said of Michaels.
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter @jeromeehudson