Kathy Bates Was Ready To Quit Acting When The "Matlock" Reboot Came Along

“If you're an actor, it's your life force. It's what you were made to do.”

Kathy Bates


The one-and-only Kathy Bates nearly bid farewell to Hollywood for good, recently. That is, until the opportunity to reboot a classic Andy Griffith character came knocking.

“Last year, I had gone through a difficult experience with a film, and I just thought, ‘Oh, that's it. I'm done.’ And then all of a sudden, all these opportunities popped up. And that's sort of been the way that it's been for me for years,” Bates, 74, shared in a recent interview with Parade.

Bates, who described herself as in her “third act” of life, is currently shooting a movie in North Carolina with Diane Keaton and Alfre Woodard. The Oscar winner didn’t identify the film that nearly caused her to walk away from the industry, but she did make it very clear that she was unhappy with how it turned out.

“You go into projects and you have such high hopes and you realize as a film actor, you really don't have any control over how they edit it, and it's very frustrating,” Bates explained to Parade. “And you have to come to grips with it. But sometimes, there are films that you just give everything [to], and then they take what you've given them and they ruin it, and there's nothing you can do about it. And it really knocked me off my beam.”

But Bates, like the rest of us, knows that life is rarely black and white—especially when it comes to our passions. The Memphis-native said that something “funny” happened not long after she decided that she was done with show business that had her right back in the saddle. 

“After I swore to my agent—I said, ‘That's it, I'm done; I'm out of here’—I got offered this Matlock pilot. They called me one Friday afternoon. They said, ‘Listen, they're doing a pilot of Matlock. You have to read the script. You have to let them know by Monday,’” Bates recalled to Parade.

“So I hung up and I was kind of grumpy and gruff. And there I am, sitting, looking at my watch. Why haven't they sent a script yet?” she continued with a laugh. “So it's like, so busted. It's like, you want to do it. If you're an actor, it's your life force. It's what you were made to do.”

Matlock, which Bates is set to star in and executive produce, is described as a “gender-swap reboot” of the classic legal drama series about folksy criminal defense lawyer Ben Matlock. The pilot is currently in production at CBS. 

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