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Leslie Mann says she didn't set out to be a comedic actress

Mann stars in the upcoming film, 'The Comedian' alongside Robert De Niro and Danny DeVito

CNN  — 

Leslie Mann didn’t set out to be funny.

Mann told CNN that she considered herself a “dramatic actress” after studying acting in her early twenties – until she realized her “serious” performances were eliciting laughs.

“I remember auditioning for things and really taking myself very seriously and people would just kind of laugh at me,” Mann said. “Not always, but sometimes enough to where it was concerning and I think that I just started slowly going into a different direction.”

Mann and her husband, writer/director, Judd Apatow have become a comedic force in Hollywood. Mann has starred in several of his biggest hits including “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up” and “This Is 40,” all of which have solidified her as one of the most sought after comedic actresses of the past decade.

Mann next stars in the upcoming dramedy “The Comedian,” alongside Robert De Niro and Danny DeVito. She plays a woman who has a short-lived romance with a comedian [De Niro] trying to revive his career. Mann’s performance in the film is already generating award season buzz.

Related Link: Robert DeNiro: ‘I’m just happy’ to still be in the game

“I’ve always loved ‘Harold and Maude,’ ‘Terms of Endearment,’ movies that are so funny but so real and grounded, human. So, I think that that’s where I find myself now,” Mann said. “Luckily, I just kind of found my way into making the kind of movies I loved growing up.”

And there’s one funny woman, in particular, who Mann would like to share a table with.

“Shirley MacLaine, love her. She’s kind of like my number one. I love her the most. I met her briefly but I wish I could have lunch with her or something, that’d be great.”

“The Comedian” hits theaters January 13.