Exclusive Interview: Enrico Colantoni talks Keith Mars

At July’s San Diego Comic Con, the TV Addict had the opportunity to talk to television’s best (and only) single dad Keith Mars, better known to TV fans as Enrico Colantoni. Here’s what Enrico had to say about being a single father, starring on a hit show, and what it feels like to be surrounded by a group of twenty-somethings.

Enrico, you should know that you’re actually the reason I started watching VERONICA MARS. I loved your work on JUST SHOOT ME and GALAXY QUEST.

Enrico Colantoni: Thank you

Do a lot of people bring up GALAXY QUEST

EC: I never get tired of hearing it.

Do you feel a sense of responsibility, portraying television’s only single father?

EC: Isn’t it about time. I know a lot of single dads, and they don’t get their due. You think just because you take on the mom’s roll you become maternal. Well that’s not true. I’m a man, I become more paternal, more protective. That’s what makes the character of Keith Mars so interesting to me. He’s a man who’s raising a girl. He’s going to mess up, and he has his faults. I mean he’s completely blind to most of the sh*t she’s [Veronica]pulling. If he really knew what was going on, they wouldn’t be living in Neptune.

So Keith’s parental skills play a large part in shaping Veronica’s character?

EC: Most definitely. He’s a guy, he likes baseball, going to work. He essentially treats Veronica as a boy. Thats why she is the way she is.

Was it challenging going from comedy (JUST SHOOT ME) to drama? From something so funny to a show that’s quite serious and often dark?

EC: It’s definitely less fun. JUST SHOOT ME was about being funny. If you came in with a cloud over you, it wouldn’t have worked. Of course there’s something cool about being chased in the desert, firing a gun, jumping out of a window and telling your daughter that you have to stay away from that guy or I’ll kick your ass. Thank God Rob [Thomas] had the foresight to hire an actor who came from comedy so that he can bring that sense of humour. Keith has a sense of humour, he’s a dad with a smile, which I think viewers really enjoy.

What would you like to see for Keith going into season three?

EC: I want to see Keith falter, make mistakes, bend the rules, not be so perfect. I’d really like to see him be more human. Right now he is just a good dad. Good dads make mistakes and pay the consequences.

What’s in the breifcase?

EC: We just started shooting, and I’ll tell you I was surprised. I never expected it.

Were you surprised with the mysteries in the first and second season?

EC: Only the first season, because I knew the guy’s agent! (‘the guy’ being actor Harry Hamlin). Kristen actually figured it out. In the second season, I would have never suspected Beaver.

Did you think you were on the plane (that exploded) when you read the second season finale script?

EC: Yeah, I put it down, I stopped reading, the plane blew up! When the show started, I was counting my lines, but now I start counting days. If I’m in more then a few, I know I survived the episode.

These young guys (referring to co-stars Jason Dohring, Ryan Hansen, Percy Daggs III etc…) they always want more days. I’m happy with one or two.

Is it strange being the ‘father figure’ on the set?

EC: It’s so weird. I never thought that I’d be confronted with a generation that I missed. And somehow, I’m forced to deal with it. But I’m grateful, I want to grow up with it. I’m a dad (in real life) and want to know what the f*ck is going on.

I have a daughter and a son. It’s so cool to be aware of where the younger generation is going and I’m grateful for that. I’m not grateful to see these young nineteen year olds and think that I’m nineteen, and then be reminded I’m not!

Is it strange meeting fans who feel as though they have such a real connection to you, having watched you on a weekly basis for years?

EC: I’m always the last guy to realize it because I forget what I do. It’s a job for me and I’m so grateful. I approach it like a job, I spent ten years learning to do it well. Studying in New York and Yale doesn’t prepare you to walk on stage (at Comic Con) and have thousands of fans scream for you.

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  • Love him. One of the most gracious and humble human beings I’ve ever met!

  • Tim

    I love him. I didn’t “like’ Just Shoot Me, but I always found him enjoyable when I did watch it. And when I saw him on Veronica Mars, I didn’t connect it at first. lol He’s a fine actor and has a heart. Good luck Enrico!!! I wish I had a Dad like u. Tim

  • Jim

    The “only” single dad on TV?

    You haven’t been watching “Two and a Half Men,” “Shark,” “The Venture Bros,” “Smallville (Lionel Luthor),” “Betty the Ugly,” or “Vanished,” apparently.

  • Jim – I stand corrected.