Much like many of his beloved small screen alter egos, actor Neil Flynn is a man of few words. Thankfully for fans of the talented comedian — who famously turned a one episode guest spot on SCRUBS into eight seasons of hilarious janitorial hi-jinx — what Flynn lacks in verboseness he more than makes up for by choosing his words wisely. Or at least that’s the distinct impression we were left with following a brief one-on-one chat with the actor who can currently be seen each and every Wednesday night at 8PM playing Mike Heck in the hit ABC comedy THE MIDDLE. See for yourself, after the jump.
After 9 years spent working with Zach Braff and Donald Faison was it a challenging transition to work on a comedy with such “adult” actors like Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher and Atticus Shaffer?
Neil Flynn: [Laughs] Yes. it’s a great relief to get away from the childishness of adults. These kids are great, I love working with them and I love them personally. Early on, I think it became clear for the writers as well that they could write a storyline for the children’s character and it would hold up. Sometimes with young performers you find out that you probably shouldn’t give them too much to do but these kids are completely capable of carrying a storyline in an episode and being great at it. The characters have developed because the writers created these characters that are strong and the actors can handle it.
Mike’s wardrobe is a remarkable collection of flannel shirts. How much of that is the character and how much of your own personal style?
Mike’s personal style is very similar to my personal style in that we have no personal style. He tucks his shirt in more than I do but that’s about it. There’s no adjustment for me as far as wardrobe goes. That said, it’s just nice to not have to wear the same thing everyday. It might seem repetitive, with Mike wearing a flannel shirt and a pair of jeans, but for eight years I wore exactly the same thing on SCRUBS. So to me this is a fashion show!
Speaking of SCRUBS, your famously turned what started out as a one-off gag into an eight year series regular gig. Have you ever had a conversation with Bill Lawrence as to what he saw in you in that initial episode that made that happen?
Not specifically. But Bill [Lawrence] is a hell of a guy and I think he just saw that there was some potential there for a character that was very different from the others. If nothing else the only one that wasn’t a doctor or a nurse. I just got lucky there and much gratitude to Bill for allowing me to stay on that rain, it changed my life.
Back to THE MIDDLE, what are you feelings on the show’s success being a quiet one in that it continues to grow its audience, but without the fanfare of say a MODERN FAMILY?
I’m perfectly fine with the under the radar slow and steady wins the race approach. I’m glad that the show is doing well but I don’t really pay attention to the numbers or anything like that. The goal is just to stay on the air and trust that your’e doing quality work and if you built it they were come sort of thing.
Anything you can tease in terms of fun stuff coming up for Mike?
I coach Brick for the next spelling bee treating as if it is a football game sort of. We just shot a scene with Ed Asner and that was a lot of fun and in the episode I’m currently filming I’m arguing with my wife in the car.
THE MIDDLE airs Wednesdays at 8PM on ABC (CityTV in Canada). Catch up on past episodes you may have missed for free online at clicktowatch.tv