Bonnie Somerville discusses her ‘larger-than-life’ role on Starz’s new drama Heels

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 09: Actress Bonnie Somerville attends the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2017 presented by Macy's at Fashion Week in New York City at Hammerstein Ballroom on February 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for AHA)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 09: Actress Bonnie Somerville attends the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection 2017 presented by Macy's at Fashion Week in New York City at Hammerstein Ballroom on February 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for AHA) /

You probably know her best as Mona from Friends, but Bonnie Somerville has an impressive resume of films and television shows. Next, she’s starring as CM Punk’s girlfriend Vicky Rabies in the upcoming wrestling drama on Starz, Heels. We chatted with the veteran actress about what it was like playing this “larger-than-life” character, returning from the Friends reunion, and her Hollywood experience in general.

Apart from her acting career, Bonnie is also an avid fan of podcasts (she recently appeared on Rachel Bilson and Melinda Clarke’s podcast dedicated to The O.C.) and started her own, Second Act, to help people find new ways to get inspired. Bonnie chats with people from all walks of life that have had to bounce back from tragedies or setbacks and how they persevered despite all of that.

Show Snob: Everyone has been talking about Friends lately because of the reunion. You played a recurring role on the show as Mona, Ross’s love interest. Do you have fond memories of your time on the show and working with David Schwimmer?

Bonnie Somerville: Yes, honestly, absolutely. Everyone is always trying to get gossip from me that it was bad and terrible, and after that, I did work on bad and terrible shows with horrible people, so that set me up. I thought everything was going to be [like Friends] with lovely people who were going to be helpful and kind—and not really the case.

But [Friends] was an amazing experience, and I think he directed one of my episodes [Schwimmer did indeed direct Season 8, Episode 8, “The One with the Stripper,” which Bonnie guest-starred in]. It was amazing, absolutely amazing.

Show Snob: Just watching the reunion, it seems like everyone genuinely likes each other.

Bonnie Somerville: Yeah, and I was so glad because there are obviously so many amazing guest stars, and I was so grateful they picked me to be in it. It’s crazy because it’s having such a resurgence now with young kids that weren’t born then.

They come up to me, like last night I was in a restaurant, and someone was like, “I know you,” and I was like, “oh, I come here a lot.” And they were like, “No, are you Mona?” And that’s so crazy that it’s because of Netflix and HBO.

Show Snob: You’ve done a lot of different television and film projects over the years. What are some of the other standouts for you?

Bonnie Somerville: I did a show called Kitchen Confidential with Bradley Cooper that was based on Anthony Bourdain’s book, and that was like, it was John Cho, it was John Francis Daley, the script was so phenomenal, I really thought that was gonna go, especially at the time because it was like right when the chefs were becoming rock stars.

That was one of the greatest jobs I ever had. It was just the comedy, it was Darren Star, but you know, unfortunately, it didn’t go. And then I also did a show called Grosse Point—which was right before Friends—and a lot of people are finding it now, kind of like Freaks and Geeks, and it has like a cult following. It was basically a show-within-a-show. It was a spoof of 90210.

Bonnie Sommerville
Bonnie Sommerville promotional headshot for Second Act podcast /

Show Snob: I think I vaguely remember hearing about that show, and the way you describe it makes me want to watch it. I’ll have to say if I can find it.

Bonnie Somerville: It was really ahead of its time, it was so inside. We were on The WB, and it was kind of an adult show. They put us on after Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and we were doomed, but you know. I’ve been so lucky to be on shows like NYPD Blue, which was such a legendary show, and I feel grateful.

Show Snob: You did SVU, too, right?

Bonnie Somerville: Yeah, that was actually a bucket list. I was hounding those people at casting forever, saying I wanted to do one! For actors, that’s kind of a rite of passage.

Show Snob: Do you gravitate toward a certain genre, or are you open to doing anything?

Bonnie Somerville: I’m open to doing anything now, especially because of COVID. We all just want to work, but I just finished a show coming out in August called Heels on Starz.

They’re bringing me back with that, and it is a dream role that I never get to play. I never get to play characters; I always play the nice girl or the lawyer, and anyone that knows me knows I have so many characters. I got to play this bigger, larger-than-life [character], and it was so fricking fun and amazing, and that’s the kind of stuff I’d love to do more of now.

Show Snob: Can you tell me a little bit about who your character is on Heels?

Bonnie Somerville: I can say that I’m C.M. Punk’s valet and girlfriend on the side. He plays Ricky Rabies, and I play Vicky Rabies. That was just phenomenal cast and action, and I’d love to do more of that and more character stuff. I’ve played a lot of cops and lawyers, and I’m grateful, but I never get to be someone who is so not myself.

Show Snob: You also did the Nash Bridges reboot recently. Were you a fan of the original?

Bonnie Somerville: You know, I really wasn’t, I had seen it because it was on for seven years, but Don Johnson, you knew about it, right? This is a really interesting reboot because they’ve revamped it. It’s almost like Lethal Weapon; they’ve added all these young new characters that are kind of competing to get the older guys out. It’s really funny, and it’s action-packed. Now I’m a total fan of Don Johnson. We had the best time. He’s the best, and I really hope it gets picked up.

Show Snob: I know you’re currently hosting a podcast called Second Act. How did that project come about?

Bonnie Somerville: Basically, I didn’t get picked up for the second season of a TV show called Code Black. I went through a bad breakup and turned 40, and all my friends were married with kids, and I wondered what I was doing, having been out in L.A. for so long. One of my friends was like, “you just need to find your second act, Bonnie.”

And I’m also a huge Howard Stern fan, and I love podcasts, and I thought, wow, what a great concept for people of all careers, not just actors. What do you do when you get a divorce, or someone dies, or you get fired? How do you find your second act? Because we have to do that our entire lives. There are so many inspiring stories of people who didn’t give up and started over.

Show Snob: What has been the most rewarding part of working on the podcast for you?

Bonnie Somerville: I’ve had conversations with people, really truly deep and honest conversations, about their failures and worst moments because misery loves company, right? So, if you ever feel bad about yourself, I promise you can listen to this podcast, and you’ll hear from people who have either gone through worse or understand exactly what you feel.

It’s never over. It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you’ve gotten dumped, lost all your money, whatever it is. It’s so rewarding to have those conversations. The next two [episodes] are really inspiring. They’re women who are entrepreneurs and people that literally had no choice but to start over and just people’s passion not to give up that inspires me so much.

Next. 5 best (and 3 worst) moments from the Friends Reunion. dark

You can revisit Friends anytime on HBO Max and Heels premieres August 15 on Starz.