I’ve gotten to see the first two episodes of this season of MY BOYS and I cannot wait for more. They’re whip smart, fast paced, great episodes and so welcome in the few weeks where we’re hurting for something good and new to come on the scene. I couldn’t focus on emptying my suitcases, because all I cared about was what I was watching. Yes, I do know who PJ asked to Italy, and no I’m not telling you or discussing it until you’ve seen the half hour for yourself. Just tune in, and trust me when I tell you that there is so much going on in these first few episodes, Italy is just the tip of the giant iceberg!
In celebration of tonight’s premiere, I had a chance to speak with Reid Scott (the man behind my personal favorite character Brendan/Brando) a few weeks ago to talk about what to expect from this season, why he wanted to be an actor in the first place, and how Jack McBrayer can get him to turn on his TV!
First things first, I love the show. Everyone at my house gets together and watches new episodes when they air.
Great, thank you very much.
Why originally, when this all started, did you want to play Brando? How did this happen for you?
It’s kind of interesting actually. When the script first came to me, [they] told me that they were interested in me for the Bobby character. And I was flattered that they were considering me for a project in general. When I read it, Brendan struck me, that the character was so similar to myself in a lot of ways. You hear actors talk about how it’s so interesting and challenging to play people that are different than you are, and it’s absolutely true, but when I was thinking about doing a series, to play a character so similar to myself, I thought that would be a challenge, to be able to express parts of myself in this character. You know, he just leapt right off the page at me.
My next question was actually going to be how alike are you and Brando?
At the onset, the way that we were alike, certainly, the music thing. There’s obviously slight variations on everything, but put it all together and we’re very similar. The music thing for sure. He’s a DJ; I play guitar and bass and drums, I record a bunch of stuff. His sense of humor, his dry sort of wisecracking constantly, that fit in right with me. Of the gang, he was kind of the more serious one, kind of brooding, in and out of love kind of thing. When I read it, it was like, “this is pretty true to form.”
Did you have a gang like this bunch, or do you still have a “MY BOYS” type of gang?
Yeah I do actually. I’m from back East and lived in NYC for a long tome. I had a group of guys, there were four of us all together. We lived in a giant loft in Brooklyn, and other friends would come in and crash for like a month at a time. We were just so tight, and our other friends would sort of tease us, call us The Four Muskateers, because we were always everywhere together, all the time. Really good buddies. When I left for LA, everybody from that group sort of followed me out here. So over the course of a few years, kind of imported all my buddies from back East, so we’re all together again.
Without giving too much away, because we don’t want you to get in trouble, what’s coming up in this new season?
One cool thing, and I get asked this question a lot. The coolest thing about this season that gives nothing away is that every character goes through major changes, which I think, for fans of the show, they’re really going to dig that. So often in series, you see that one character will change a lot and everyone else sort of stays the same, as that person spirals out of control. What the writers did that’s really cool, and I really respect a lot, is that they gave every character dimension and everyone goes through major changes. Some good, some bad. All very surprising from an audience standpoint. Certainly very satisfying from an actor storyline.
So I don’t know anything about the storyline, and I don’t want to know anything that we shouldn’t yet, ha, but what is your take on the PJ and Brando thing? Are they destined to be just friends, is there more there?
I don’t know. It comes up a lot. We’ll wonder about that out loud. PJ and Brando they have such a significant kind of relationship that in the end, we really don’t know. I don’t think the writers know. I think that’s one of the cool things about this particular series and relationship. They’re so tight, and there’s always the sort of possibility dangling over their heads, so we’ll have to wait and see on that one!
Are you guys close as a cast? Do you hang out off set?
Yeah, actually we do. The interesting thing about this job – I’ve worked on series before as a regular, guest star, whatever and films and stuff – with this cast, from Day One, it was abundantly clear that there was a real chemistry going on and once we got to working we sort of realized, “wow, maybe we’ll become friends.” I hang out with Jamie Kaler (Mike), Mike Bunin (Kenny), and Kyle Howard (Bobby) all the time. I see Jordana [Spiro (PJ)] quite a bit. Kellee [Stewart (Stephanie)] lives right down the street from me. Jim Gaffigan (Andy), he’s based out of NY, whenever he’s in town, he comes out and we’ve been spotted around town. People make comments like, “Jeez, don’t you guys get enough of each other at work.” I think we’re all so much like our characters that the chemistry doesn’t stop as soon as the cameras turn off. We’re still laughing throughout, hanging out.
Because of that, do you have leeway with scripts?
Sure, yeah, definitely. The first season, and it happened quite a bit, actually. Everyone in the cast, myself included, has some experience with improv. Mike Bunin and Jamie Kaler have a huge improv background and a lot of the writers have gone through improv troupes like Second City, so it was really encouraged. The script wasn’t just a skeleton, we tried to stay pretty true to the script, but there were moments where it would strike us to do something. If it worked the writers would put it in there. This season, we’ve been given the same sort of freedom to experiment a little bit. We’re seeing this season that the writers will anticipate what we would do in these moments. We haven’t really cared to improv this season. There’s such cohesiveness between producers, writers, directors, actors, the whole crew even. We have that element, but it’s not quite as strong as the first season.
What would you say to someone who hasn’t watched the show yet? Why should they tune in?
I think, for me personally, it’s the camaraderie. There is something so familiar about these characters, the way that they interact with each other. The one comment I hear over and over which is so flattering from fans of the show, they’ll say “oh my god, that’s just like me” or “that’s just like my friends” so everyone really seems able to relate to the show. I have heard people put it on par with that likeability of The Office. I think that’s why TBS picked up The Office, too. Everyone’s been there, and through these scenarios. Everyone has had experiences like these at some point in life.
Why did you get into acting to begin with?
I don’t know really [laughs]. I went to school for film and fancied myself as more of a director, and along the way, I realized the one thing I wasn’t learning about shooting was the performance aspect, and I started taking acting classes to learn more of the language and I really fell in love with it. It’s a singular kind of art form. It can be incredibly frustrating at times, it can be incredibly rewarding at other times. It’s fun, it’s really fun to use yourself as your medium, it’s the closest art form that I’ve found to music, which is a complete extension of yourself. To act is really to explore things about yourself in the moment with other people.
Who are some people you’d like to get a chance to act with as you get further in your career?
Oh man, well, my all time idol is Paul Newman. I remember as a kid my parents were gigantic fans of him. They’d bring home movies, or we’d catch movies on TV. I remember, my mom had like a giant crush on him. My dad just really admired the hell out of him, like “There’s a good actor”. I know he’s getting on in years, but man, that would be a dream come true. As far as more like contemporaries, I think George Clooney. It’s just fun to watch that guy. He’s funny, he can be dramatic. He’s a guy that I try to model myself after him a little bit, to make sure that I’m occasionally doing it right. As far as actresses, so many. Cate Blanchett is by far one of my favorite actresses, by far. She’s just fantastic.
You said you played a bunch of instruments – are you in a band?
I’m not in a band. I’ll sit in with some friends’ bands from time to time if they want me to play at a gig or if they’re recording something. A lot of my friends are musicians, so we have fun playing together. I’m a music junkie, I’m constantly listening to my IPOD. There’s different music playing all over my house. My favorite way to unwind is to plug a few guitars into my amp and sort of rock out for a few hours.
What are some of your favorite things to play, or do you just kind of jam?
I’m all over the place. One minute I might be really into some hard rock kind of punk stuff, which is sort of my mainstay. Sometimes I might be in a folky mood and I play my acoustic stuff. Sometimes I’ll get kind of experimental and throw the distortion way out of whack, and mess around with that for a little bit. My music tastes run wild. I think for the most part is rock and roll, but I’m kind of all over the map.
You said you pictured yourself as a director in the beginning – is that something you want to still pursue?
Absolutely. I’m pulled more and more into acting; directing got pushed further and further back on my own personal stove of burners. But at some point, I’ll definitely get back into it. Hopefully this summer I could keep that in mind and I’ll be able to shoot some webisode style stuff. But I love it. I’ve learned so much from being in front of the camera that I think it’s only going to help my directing and I really can’t wait to get back into it.
When you have downtime, do you get to watch any TV? Is there anything you aim to watch every week?
I don’t have a whole lot of time to watch TV. When I do, as far as series and stuff, I love 30 Rock. That’s my favorite show. I think Tina Fey is an absolute genius. The cast is great. My buddy Jack McBrayer is on the show, so I watch for him. He’s just hilarious. Other than that, I’m pretty much a sports dude, and some Discovery Channel.
What teams do you root for?
For baseball, I’m a diehard Yankees fan. I kind of like all sports. And they’re all New York, I can’t help it.
That’s how I am. Philly fan, all the way, so even when they all choke at the last minute, I still support them. Ha.
Yeah I’m a big fan of complaining about the juggling as far as the coaches, getting some new blood in there. For hockey, I’m Rangers fan. Football, the Giants. i like any sports. It’s kind of fun to sort of hang out with friends, put a game on, doesn’t matter what it is, I’ll watch it.
Any chance you’re going to let me know who is on the plane with PJ before I let you go? [editor’s note: see how I let that question slip in there, to try and catch him off guard? It didn’t work]
Um, no [laughs]. Not gonna let that one out!
Be sure to tune into Thursday’s premiere of MY BOYS Season 2 on TBS!