June 4, 2004
1. You mentioned in a previous Q&A that you like to ad lib with characters you are familiar with, and that you are a "chronic mutterer." Any favorite examples of this in QAF? Given the treasure trove of non-verbal tidbits that Ted comprises and (among other things) make him such a pleasure to watch, I'll bet there are some verbal ones as well.
To be honest Im sure there are tons, but none that I can think of off hand. We generally have to stick word-for-word with the script. They are VERY strict about that. If theres any improvising to be done it will happen at the very end of a scene as a button. So if youre looking for any extemporaneous dialogue, look for it at the very end of scenes. Especially in comic scenes I just cant seem to help myself from continuing to talk until the director yells: Cut! But its up to the director and producers to decide whether to keep any of these moments or not as they are not in the script. SO, if you have any specific questions of the was that scripted or ad-libbed variety I might be able to help you out but I just cant remember (after 4 seasons) which ad-libs made it and which didnt.
2. Since you are obviously not from Toronto, who is responsible for getting you to and from the set? Also, is the network responsible for finding places for the actors to live, or do you guys have to find your own housing and drive yourselves around town?
We have an amazing staff of drivers who shuttle us from home to set in very comfortable Ford Windstars. You can see all their names in the end credits. Some of the regulars Ive ridden with over the years include Cheryl Darby, Al Izumi, Dave Stetson, Jerome McCann, Roberto Andurray, Jeff Steinberg, John Panchyshyn, Steve Merlin and many others. Theyre just the greatest group of crack addicts youd ever want to meet. We are driven to any work-related event. On our own, its the streetcar, subway (go, TTC!) and cabs. As far as housing, we were responsible for finding our own apartments and paying rent on them after our initial relocation fee had been used up during the first season.
3. You've mentionned a few times that QAF's new Hair Guru is Clara DiNunzio. In your June 2003 Q&A, you mentionned you went to a nutritionist named Claire DiNunzio. Out of curiosity, is there any relation between the two of them, or was that a complete coincidence?
Ooops. I must have still been on meth or thinking about getting a haircut back then. Claire DIntino was the name of my nutritionist and Clara DiNunzio is our hair guru.
4. Do you think that Ken and Barbie breaking up was just a pitiful attempt by Mattel at boosting sales for a toy doll that's having trouble competing with more "hip" alternatives, or because Ken was having an affair with Skipper?
I blame the Olsen Twins. I dont know why. I just do.
5. How much fan mail do you receive daily and do you respond to it yourself?
Mail tends to come to me in batches as it has to be forwarded to me from either my agent or Showtime or the QAF production offices. They seem to horde it until it becomes cost-efficient for them to send it off to me in a big ol envelope. Once I get them and can find the time, I sit down and answer each of them personally. I have to admit I have started NOT responding to people who pretend to be fans and actually just want photos for some collection or eBay. Theyre easy to spot. Theyre the ones that say things like: I have enjoyed your work for years. Especially THE DEBTORS and OPUS 27. These are films that have never been distributed and very few people in the world have seen them. Sneaky.
6. You mentioned that you enjoy a good non-fiction novel once in a while. What are some of your favorites?
Of recent years, SEABISCUIT and FAST FOOD NATION were tops. DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY is not the best written piece but the story is fascinating.
7. I was surprised in your last Q&A that you love "The Office." (I don't know about you, but Free Love Freeway never fails to crack me up.) Anyway, I was wondering how you feel about NBC making an American version of that show. Do you think that "The Office" will be able to survive the translation as successfully as "All in the Family" or...I don't know, "Queer as Folk?" Or is it doomed to go down as a flaming hackneyed ball of shame like "Coupling?"
I wish it well but Im not 100% sure that the uncomfortable humor of the Brits translates well in the states. Plus, the greatest reason for the success of THE OFFICE is Ricky Gervais. Hes an absolute genius, in my opinion. Without him in the middle of things I just have doubts that the US version can be as successful. I understand that NBC has picked it up as a mid-season replacement so I guess well get to see.
8. I find it interesting that your character Ted clearly has the most sophisticated wit and had the most cerebral job, (obviously the accounting one) yet has fallen the most dramatically in the past season. The one that you would least expect. How did you prepare yourself for this total about face in character portrayal? Do you even feel like "Ted" during this storyline?
The decline was a long-time coming in some ways so it wasnt a complete about-face. There were definitely times that didnt feel like the Ted I had come to know but that was kind of the point. Addiction brings out things in people that even they didnt know were there. I just trusted the writers and directors (as well as my Meth Advisor") to keep me on the right path and went down it. Unfortunately (especially in the Gay community) it usually is the on you would least expect who becomes addicted to Crystal. Thats why it was the right choice to put Ted through all this instead of, say, Brian.
9. Who do you think has been stealing my candied yams lately? A.) The mailman; B.) The milkman; C.) The Wicked Witch of the East, before she got smashed by a house; or D.) George W. Bush, aka "Shrub."
I blame the Olsen Twins. I dont know why. I just do.
10. I'm from Quebec and I'm very curious about how Quebec's cause is perceived outside of Canada. Now, since you are from the United-States, and that you've been living in Canada for a while, and that you seem well informed regarding politics in general, would you mind sharing your views on Quebec's cause?
Ummmm, which one is Quebec? Thats the French one right? Listen, I cant pretend to know all the intricacies of the Separatist cause (that IS what were talking about here, non?) and the depth of feeling up in Quebec. From an outside perspective it seem like Quebec should be able to maintain its individuality to a sufficient degree while remaining a part of Canada. I mean, merde, the labels are in French and English all over the country, so it seems to me like theyre trying to make the Quebecois feel welcome. Coming from a country that went through a civil war I guess Im all for states (or provinces) working things out and staying together. United we stand, divided we fall, non?
11. Would enjoy seeing you discuss your representation-- agent, publicist, etc. Did they come to you or did you go to them? How early in your career? Was an agent responsible for your seeing the QAF script? If so, how did that come about, and how did he/she feel about your auditioning for the part of "Ted"?
My theatrical agent in LA found me while doing Present Laughter at the Pasadena Playhouse in the summer of1998 (I had moved out there in February of that year and had already started work within a month with a commercial agent and was having great success). The Casting Director of that play decided to become a manager in Dec. of 1999 and took me on as her first and (at the time) only client. The script for QAF came to my agency and they sent it to me along with an appointment for an audition just like many other projects. There was never any discussion about doing it or not doing it. In fact, the only objection ever raised was by the Business Office of my agency because the initial contract was well lets just say well below the going rate for an actor in a lead role of an hour-long series. Showtime has since improved on all that.
12. Scott, I've lived in Connecticut my whole life and even though it can be incredibly boring, it's kind of cool to learn that someone I admire grew up here. What did you think of CT when you lived here? I heard the pizza in California is lousy compared to here. Is that true?
I loved CT and am always happy to return for a visit. The great sense of our countrys history that seems to ooze out of every stone there was a constant thrill for a history nerd like me. While New Haven isnt the prettiest city on earth (except the immediate Yale area which I love) there was a lot of great culture and cuisine to be had. No pizza in THE WORLD compares with Pepes Pizza. Especially the White Clam!
13. If you had to cast the principle roles on QAF with only Looney Toons characters, which "Toon" would play each QAF role?
Brian: Pep Le Pew. Michael: Sniffles Mouse. Justin: Henery Hawk. Ted: Elmer Fudd. Emmett: Bugs Bunny. Melanie: Tasmanian Devil. Lindsay: Miss Prissy Hen. Ben: Foghorn Leghorn. Debbie: Yosemite Sam
14. Do you agree that Cracklin' Oat Bran should come with a warning label? Bringing me to my next question......favorite cereal?
I dont really eat cereal anymore, but I used to love Boo Berry!
15. I am currently studying acting and I'm finding that after doing the same plays, scenes and characters over and over again I get really burnt out and I have trouble keeping things fresh for myself. Since you have such an extensive theatre backgroud and have actually had to do professional runs of shows could you give me some suggestions or excercises so the material, and my characters, don't become monotonous or stale?
Its always going to get monotonous and its always going to be a challenge to keep things fresh. That never goes away. I am as guilty as anyone of goofing around in long runs of shows when I got bored. Its tough to tell the same story (or journey) 8 times a week but thats your job as an actor. So you need to find a way to erase your memory that youve done this a billion times, remind yourself of your goals and obstacles and relate honestly to whomever youre communicating with. If you get to a point where things just arent working for you anymore, just go back to the script and remind yourself of all your basic motivations and reasons for your characters actions. Sometimes just the simple process of re-reading the script after youve been away from the page for a while will help rejuvenate you and maybe clue you in to some new discovery. Your process on stage, as in life, is to always grow and evolve