'The Office': Kathy Bates isn't sure she'll keep 'dropping in'

kathy-bates-the-office-320.jpg Kathy Bates' new television gig may mean her giving up a very visible one she's had lately.

The Oscar winner for "Misery" has played the recurring part of new Dunder Mifflin chief Jo Bennett on NBC's "The Office," but she'll go full-time for the same network -- and producer David E. Kelley ( "Ally McBeal," "Boston Legal") -- as a career-rebooting lawyer when the drama series "Harry's Law" premieres Monday, Jan. 17.

"I haven't spoken to them recently," Bates tells Zap2it regarding possible "Office" appearances in the future. "I don't know how the story lines are going over there. That's a very different style of show, and I was really just dropping in there. This has been a different experience for me."

One of Bates' earliest acting jobs also placed her on television, in the long-defunct NBC daytime serial "The Doctors." Though she would go on to appear in such enduringly popular movies as "Fried Green Tomatoes" and "Titanic," she confirms she wasn't too choosy about professional opportunities back then.

"That's so far back, I can barely remember it," Bates allows. "I really just followed the jobs. I always tried to make the best decisions that I could at the time, and I just tried to get the experience where I could as a young actor.

"I don't know that I've had the kind of career I expected to have ... and by that, I mean that I would have liked to have had more roles that were challenging to me personally, where I felt I could develop my craft in a more serious way. I started out as a theater actor, and I guess that was always my passion and my love."

Bates says she hasn't done substantial stage work "in about 20-something years, and I guess I looked to film roles to fill that passion. It hasn't always been consistent for me, but I'm grateful to have had those roles to make a living."

Photo/Video credit: NBC