INDEPTH INTERVIEWS Articles
Click Here for More Articles on INDEPTH INTERVIEWS...

InDepth InterView: Eric McCormack Talks Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, Shakespeare, New TV Series & More

InDepth InterView: Eric McCormack Talks Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, Shakespeare, New TV Series & MoreToday we are talking to an Emmy Award-winning actor perhaps best known for his title role in the iconic and ground-breaking millennial NBC sitcom hit, WILL & GRACE, who can now be seen eight times a week on Broadway playing a pivotal role in the starry revival of Gore Vidal's politically-themed satire, THE BEST MAN - the affable and charming Eric McCormack. Shining a spotlight on his theatrical roots at the Straford Shakespeare Festival in Canada and taking us on the journey all the way up to his small-screen sensation in WILL & GRACE, and, now, THE BEST MAN on Broadway and his forthcoming new dramatic series, PERCEPTION, McCormack illustrates all aspects of his career and generously offers his insights, observations and shares his lessons learned over the course of his nearly thirty-year career onstage and onscreen. In addition to all of that, McCormack outlines his experiences sharing the stage with titanic talents such as James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Candice Bergen and the rest of the ensemble of THE BEST MAN, as well as sharing his thoughts on the relevance and poignancy of the play today, more than a half decade after its premiere, and what it says about our society, then and now, in addition to eloquently expanding on the play's pertinent political themes and their exploration in the drama. Plus, McCormack clues us in on his own favorite plays and musicals, initial theatrical inspiration, his stint portraying the eponymous THE MUSIC MAN, future career plans and first news about his new TNT series, PERCEPTION, as well as his forthcoming feature films, BARRICADE and KNIFE FIGHT  - all of that and much, much more!

More information about Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN on Broadway is available here.

Will, Grace & Elegance

InDepth InterView: Eric McCormack Talks Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, Shakespeare, New TV Series & MorePC: WILL & GRACE was such a seminal show - so important to the history of TV and the boundaries it broke down. How do you look back on it now, almost fifteen years after it began? A whole generation grew up with it - let me tell you personally.

EM: You know, I have been reading Warren Littlefield's book and it's all about the history of must-see-TV - all about FRIENDS and SEINFELD and ER - and there is a big chapter in it on WILL & GRACE. So, it's pretty amazing to look at in that way and think about it. But, it's pretty sad to hear that you grew up with it… [Laughs.] that makes me feel old.

PC: Your famous WILL & GRACE co-star can now be seen on SMASH, of course - Debra Messing. Have you two kept in touch?

EM: It's funny you should ask that because I was actually out for a drink with Will Chase last night!

PC: No way!

EM: I hadn't seen Deb in about a year, but, then, we had dinner about a week ago. Then, she came to the opening of THE BEST MAN and she brought Will with her, so that's where we met and it's been good to get to know each other - he's a great guy.

PC: Would you be interested in re-teaming with Deb sometime soon on SMASH - perhaps even singing a duet?

EM: Well, if they asked me, of course I would think about it. You know, it's very strange - several years ago I was in the running for the YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN musical. Kristin Chenoweth was going to do it, but, then, she backed out because she got PUSHING DAISIES on TV, and, then, the next day, I went in for my final-final audition and I saw Megan Mullally standing there. I went, "What are you doing here?!" And she said, "Oh, I'm going in for this - YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN?" And, I thought, "OK - I'm f*cked! She is perfect for that part and there is no way in Hell they are going to hire the two of us," and, sure enough, that's what happened.

PC: The WILL & GRACE formula is impossible to replicate.

EM: Yeah - even though it happens from time to time with other TV shows, I would be very surprised if they ever offered me a part on SMASH. I think that, because WILL & GRACE was so iconic and people associate those parts so much with the two of us together that I think it would make it very hard for the people watching the show to separate it - you know, there Deb is, working hard to create a new character for America, and, then, I come in and f*ck it all up! If it was a straight-up comedy, maybe, but what they are doing on SMASH is drama, so I think we'd have to get a little more distance from WILL & GRACE to do it.

PC: The TV landscape has changed considerably in even the ten years since WILL & GRACE was at its ratings height - there are less viewers for network shows than ever.

InDepth InterView: Eric McCormack Talks Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, Shakespeare, New TV Series & MoreEM: It is a pretty amazing thing - that's what Warren Littlefield talks about in his book; you know, you used to divide up the pie by three and it was all about who got the biggest third; now, you are dividing up the pie by hundreds and hundreds. There's just so much more to choose from now.

PC: So true.

EM: It's very, very hard to create something that is big these days because you have niche markets - and, you don't necessarily need to be big; the show is specifically created for a small group of people. You know, if it's on the USA network, well, then a small group of people is fine.

PC: It fulfills their expectations.

EM: Yeah, I mean, the idea that broadcast networks still have to come up with something iconic and something that is going to gather families and different age groups and both sexes together is almost impossible to achieve.

PC: Do you think limited series could be an answer, such as those popular in the UK - DOWNTON ABBEY; six or seven episode seasons? Your most recent show, TRUST ME, was a single contained season.

EM: Well, yeah! Depressingly, I also had dinner with Tom Cavanaugh last week - you know, we really wanted that show to last a long time and we had good numbers, but we needed slightly bigger numbers than I guess we were getting in order to survive.

PC: What a shame. Did you enjoy your experience working on it despite the brevity of its run?

EM: Oh, I loved that show - I loved it a lot. It wasn't trying to please all the people all the time - it was its own little thing. It had its own personality and many shows do not.

PC: Some of your earliest credits are the Shakespeare films you did in Canada - stage tapings of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE. Do you have memories of doing those?

EM: Well, not really - I mean, those were from when I was doing Shakespeare, so that's '86, '87. Those were sort of my prime theatre years - '85 through '89 - at Stratford and across the country, as well, in Canada.

PC: They both live on on YouTube, as well, if you aren't aware.

EM: [Laughs.] The thought that those things survive on YouTube is just… crazy!

PC: Stratford continues to be a founding ground for talent - for example, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR started out there before it came to Broadway just this season. Do you think it was the ideal training for you?

InDepth InterView: Eric McCormack Talks Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, Shakespeare, New TV Series & MoreEM: Yeah, I do. I always kind of dreamed locally - I never really ever dream that I would be south of the border; I dreamed about being a theatre star in Toronto and maybe I'd do Stratford and regional stuff. I always thought it would be a slow growth.

PC: You accepted that you would pay your dues.

EM: Yeah, I mean, theatre was never a stepping stone for me - in retrospect, it kind of turned into that, but it was very much means to that end. That's what I wanted - I wanted to be in the theatre and respected in my home country. So, everything I did back then mattered a lot to me - and, Stratford was five years and three or four shows a year, so I did about 17 plays there total.

PC: There is a lot of Shakespeare on your resume - what were some of your favorite Shakespeare parts that you did at Stratford?

EM: Well, at Stratford, the biggest stuff I got to do was not the Shakespeare - I mean, I did Demetrius in MIDSUMMER'S DREAM, but it wasn't a great production. The ones that I liked the best were not the Shakespeare ones - like THE THREE SISTERS that John Neville directed that I really loved. I did MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL, too - which no one ever does - in '88. But, as for Shakespeare, I did a not-so-great part in a great production of CYMBELINE in '86 that Robin Phillips directed that I was proud to be a part of.

PC: Who did you play?

EM: I was like the first general or something in that, but I was understudying Colm Feore, so I got to do his role in rehearsals sometimes - "On her left breast a crimson spot," and all that stuff.

PC: CYMBELINE is an underrated masterpiece in the canon.

EM: It was a great production. Actually, I understudied Colm Feore quite a bit in '85 and '86 - PERSEPHONE and THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE, too - and that was great, great training for me. He was and he is an amazing theatre actor.

PC: THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE? Really?!

EM: Really! ]Laughs.] Yeah. It was a blast.

PC: Did you learn a lot from observing him? He is almost a contemporary of yours, is he not?

EM: Oh, yeah - I learned a lot. He was a little older than me - the next class older, I think. He also just didn't look young - he already kind of had that face to play Richard III or Henry V; he played Romeo, but they had to age him down a bit because he looked a bit mature even when he was young. But, the biggest thing I learned from Colm Feore was his way of movement - he had an extremely elegant way of moving; delicate. A perfect Iago - there is just a certain grace to him.

PC: Ineffably.

EM: He is just so beautiful in the right role, I think. The other night I came out for my bow in THE BEST MAN and my stage manager, Corey, said to me afterwards, "When you bow, you do the strangest thing," and, I said, "I think I'm still doing Feore's bow!" [Laughs.]

PC: Do you feel privileged to be sharing the stage with such iconic theatrical luminaries as James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury in THE BEST MAN? Do they add a certain energy and vibrancy to the overall experience?

EM: Well, as an actor, I think that you always take a little from everybody, and, for me, Angela Lansbury is just… I mean, she is Mrs. Lovett!

PC: So classic.

InDepth InterView: Eric McCormack Talks Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, Shakespeare, New TV Series & MoreEM: I remember when I was trying to get into Stratford and I was trying to get into theatre school, SWEENEY TODD was my everything. And, when I was 18, my first trip to New York - with my high school - the first show I ever saw was EVITA and the next afternoon I saw James Earl Jones play Othello.

PC: Wow.

EM: Yeah - it's exactly thirty years ago this month, I think. So, now, being with them both in this - they are sort of part and parcel what I had always hoped to achieve in theatre, you know?

PC: Of course. What did you think of SWEENEY TODD when you eventually got to see that and experience the epic Hal Prince production of it?

EM: Well, you know, you don't have any critical faculties when you are 18, really - you just know what you love. And I loved SWEENEY TODD>

PC: Instinctually.

EM: Right. For me, SWEENEY TODD was just so gothic and so moving and so much more. I remember when I saw the Johnny Depp movie, I felt like they had taken all of the humor out of it - SWEENEY TODD was literally scary one moment and really funny the next and tragically moving the moment after that; all of it was so impressive. Everything about it was the essence of theatre to me.

PC: Did you play any Brecht in your time at Stratford? You seem like a very good fit for the satiric nature of many Brecht roles.

EM: Well, I did MOTHER COURAGE at Stratford my third year there - I played the angry soldier who comes out in the fourth scene screaming, "Son of a bitch!" It was one of my first really good parts there and the actors in that production were so great - especially Susan Wright and Brent Carver.

PC: What a rich training ground it was at Stratford.

EM: Totally - I had those five years there and always in the inter-time I would do theatre elsewhere in Canada, too. The first year, I went on tour with Stratford and did Douglas Cantwell's KING LEAR and understudied Colm as Orsino in TWELFTH NIGHT - '85 and '86. The next four winters, though, I was doing Shakespeare and other plays elsewhere in Canada - Hapsburg in Winnipeg and the following year doing BILOUXI BLUES in Edmonton; that sort of thing, you know?

PC: You did it all.

EM: By the time I finally started auditioning for television, I had this theatre resume that no one could ever take away from me - it was like, "No matter what terrible reviews I might get throughout my life, I can always say I did my homework." I paid my dues the way that I think every actor should if they possibly can.

PC: You cited Chekov's THREE SISTERS as one of your favorite experiences. How did that experience translate to the modern adaptation you did on film - with fellow InDepth InterView participant Tony Goldwyn, incidentally - THE SISTERS?

InDepth InterView: Eric McCormack Talks Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, Shakespeare, New TV Series & MoreEM: Yeah, I actually played a different part in that film than I did in the play - I played Solyony, which was fantastic. But, unfortunately, it turned into a kind of talky, not that interesting movie, I'm afraid. But, considering the group of actors in that movie alone is crazy - Maria Bello, Mary Stuart Masterson, Erika Christensen, Rip Torn, Chris O'Donnell, Elizabeth Banks; on and on. They are all in that movie and almost no one saw it.

PC: You have been in some stupendous ensembles throughout your career. Have you ever auditioned for a Woody Allen film?

EM: No - and it's one of the last things on my bucket list. You know, Deb has done two of them!

PC: Indeed - a lead role in HOLLYWOOD ENDING, no less.

EM: I am seething with jealousy, believe me! [Laughs.] I mean, Woody Allen is my major touchstone in terms of humor - in terms of sense of humor and what I find to be funny and find to be smart. I mean, when everyone was seeing STAR WARS over and over again in '77, I was going again and again to Annie Hall.

PC: Do you have a favorite Woody Allen film?

EM: Oh, Annie Hall will never be replaced for me for many of the same reasons SWEENEY never will be for me - just everything about it was representative of who I wanted to grow up to be in so many ways.

PC: It spoke to you on a deep personal level.

EM: Yeah - it's really special to me. So, besides that, my other favorites are probably MANHATTAN and CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS.

PC: How did you get involved with one of the great writers of our age, Gore Vidal? Have you gotten to work one-on-one with him in the process of bringing this revival of THE BEST MAN to the stage?

EM: Well, Gore is not really that well and he lives mostly in LA, so heading to New York is a giant thing for him. So, he did come out early on in rehearsals and stopped by for about an hour and we got to talk with him a little bit. I guess it was one of his better days, but it wasn't like he could be bombarded with questions, so I can't say I really got to "work" with him, but the journey of this play has been ultimately to realize that it is all there - it's a cliché that they may say about Shakespeare and others, but it's sort of true in this case.

InDepth InterView: Eric McCormack Talks Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, Shakespeare, New TV Series & MorePC: It's all on the page.

EM: The questions get answered with repetition - like, for instance, one of the questions I had the first week of rehearsals was answered a few weeks later by just listening to it all along as much as I can when I am offstage. You know, it's like, "Oh, that's why he repeats that three times - because the third time it pays off like this. That's the reason the audience needed to hear it that way." A friend of mine came to see the play and had never seen or read it before - and he is a playwright himself - and he said, "I can't get over this play! Why don't more people know it?"

PC: It is getting more well-known with every revival, at least.

EM: It's such a well-written play - it's so well-crafted. You know, it's not like HAMLET or something like that - you really don't know how it's going to end. It's riveting for the audience in its own way because it is like watching the live presidential race - the GOP race or something. It's really, really exciting to hear actual gasps and spontaneous applause - and it all is in reaction to an original story.

PC: Do you find there are shades of Bobby Kennedy in your character?

EM: Yes. There is a little Bobby Kennedy in my part, for sure - particularly insofar as my character having pursued the mafia as a lawyer back in the 50s; trying to make some sort of tie between the mafia and communism. But, other than that, my character is mostly Nixon as far as his politics go.

PC: It seems as though the conservative themes of the play are particularly applicable to very recent current events, no? It's almost like the '50s again - even more than the '80s.

EM: Well, I mean, there's a fun and sad part of the play that seems to say, "This hasn't changed." It's really kind of upsetting. You know, there's a joke about the Catholic Church and contraception that is supposed to be ancient - it's not supposed to be funny anymore, but it still is because these issues are still being argued, as recently as a month ago. Things that shouldn't even be plausible anymore are still happening - especially people like my character, particularly. You know, my character really, really sounds like Rick Santorum sometimes.

PC: He really does.

EM: The play feels so current - it feels prophetic. My character is like a John Edwards guy - always smiling and doing what he thinks he is supposed to be doing. But, in his mind, he is just playing the game the way it is supposed to be played. Somebody always has to win - that's the American way. The concept of being good to each other for the sake of being good and that politics isn't supposed to be dirty just doesn't make sense - or at least that's what he thinks.

PC: That's the moral of the play, as well, is it not?

EM: Yeah, yeah - it is. People ask me about my character and the idea that, you know, is it even conceivable that someone could have dirt on another candidate and not use it? The answer is no.

PC: Undoubtedly.InDepth InterView: Eric McCormack Talks Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, Shakespeare, New TV Series & More

EM: It is a Gore Vidal fantasy - it just doesn't work that way. The number of people that say to me, "Oh, I hated your character, but, I gotta tell you, sometimes I wanted to vote for you," even if its usually the older people who say it, made me realize there's a certain feeling that the let's-be-nice-to-each-other thing is going to get us trampled; as we are seeing in real life, too. I mean, I am a total Democrat and I am an Obama guy, but, a lot of Democrats are screaming, "Stop being so f*cking nice! Kick back! Yell!" Republicans don't play nice, so, someone like Obama who is using intelligence and courtesy and is trying to reach across the aisle is just getting sh*t on and it's so frustrating because we want the game to be played nice and we want the game to be played by grown-ups. But, that's just the way it's going to be - as we have seen for the last six months and will continue to see, I'm sure.

PC: What happened to tact or even just facts?

EM: Yeah! Yeah! The truth has - as the play shows - never really been there; it's always been a game to win. It's never been played as politely as people like to believe it is.

PC: Have you found the character on your own or has your director, Michael Wilson, given you some insights into him?

EM: It's a combination of everything. You know, Michael is really amazing - we had a really good, long time researching everything and talking around the table; really talking about the specifics of all these things in the play. But, also, it's about discovery, too - trying to understand the character. You know, people always say, "Oh, it's fun to play the bad guy!" But, as actors, you inevitably discover that your character never thinks of himself as the bad guy, though - he thinks of himself of the survivor; he thinks of himself as the entrepreneur; he thinks of himself as someone that is achieving and providing for his family. So, that's another nice thing about this play, as well - though I might look like the as*hole, I have a great marriage. You know, the marriage between the Cantwells as far as what we see onstage is strong and sexy and nice - they are good Christians, supposedly. There is all of that stuff, but, then, there is the seemingly more sympathetic, intellectual character on the other side who has a terrible fake marriage and is cheating on his wife. So, there is this balance of up and downs in the play that is really fascinating.

PC: Do you enjoy working with Kerry Butler as your wife, Mrs. Cantwell, in THE BEST MAN?

InDepth InterView: Eric McCormack Talks Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, Shakespeare, New TV Series & MoreEM: Oh, it's so fantastic working with her. You know, when I was offered the play, I was like, "Oh, my God - James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury and John Larroquette!" But, then, I read the play and realized that the bulk of the play, for me, is with Kerry, and,  without a great actress playing that part - a great actress who is also funny - with something underneath it all - I would be lost. There is a whole, long scene with just the Cantwells and we have to establish a lot of stuff in it - who they are at home and all that stuff - and it's just a joy to do with Kerry. I think that is so great for audiences who only might know Kerry from musicals, too - to be able to see her do this whole other thing; doing this play and going from really funny to appalling.

PC: Candice Bergen is another iconic TV star  in THE BEST MAN - audiences really get to see an unforgettable assortment of legends with this production! Will and Murphy Brown and Jessica Fletcher…

EM: And John Larroquette from NIGHT COURT and Michael McKean from LAVERNE & SHIRLEY, too! I just love it. You know, I think we all find laughs in this play that other actors who didn't have a comedy or a sitcom background wouldn't necessarily find.

PC: What an insight.

EM: I think this production is funnier than I certainly thought it was going to be.

PC: Why do you think that is?

EM: Well, Larroquette - you totally buy him as the intellect; he is that guy. But, also, John knows how to land a joke like nobody else. So, he finds tremendous humor in it. So does Candice. I remember when my wife saw the play, she said about Candice's part, "I just don't think that part is funny, but Candice is finding these tremendous moments of recognition and humor in it;" you know, finding truths about women married to powerful men and all of that - and, it is all really funny! I think it takes somebody who has gotten a laugh in front of an audience before to land a joke - and everyone in this show has. You have to know what is to be funny in order to be funny.

PC: So, do you think that theatre is a good training ground for television, then - at least comedies?

EM: Yeah - I think so. You know, it's not like Gore intended this play to be hilariously funny, but, of course, Gore's version of funny is incredibly upscale and cynical. It's a very cynical play - very. James, in particular, cuts through that - finding laughs that come from him not only being a great actor, but, also, the fact that he himself is so full of life. He plays his character like, "I know I've only got a few days left before I die, but I am going to go out with a bang!"

InDepth InterView: Eric McCormack Talks Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, Shakespeare, New TV Series & MorePC: A fresh take on the role.

EM: He's just getting laughs and hitting on things that are just amazing to witness him doing.

PC: Do you have a favorite moment onstage every night?

EM: It's probably the moment when John and I are left onstage together for the first time. It's the big event.

PC: The meeting of the two candidates.

EM: It's the main event - the doors close and we are alone onstage and it's just us doing this great scene. It's two very smart men - smart in different ways; he's book smart and I'm smart like a fox - and the way that they dance around each other is so fantastic. It's so well-written and fun to do.

PC: How have you seen theatre audiences change since you did THE MUSIC MAN on Broadway earlier this century?

EM: Well, look, with a play like this and with this cast and with an older play, we are going to have an older audience than THE MUSIC MAN - and I am just happy when I see young faces out there. That's exciting that they are interested. But, you know, a lot of young people now can't even afford the tickets, let alone have any interest in the subject matter - so, it's tough.

PC: Times have changed.

EM: At the same time, John gets a big laugh at the end of the show each night with a line about Grace Coolidge! I mean, that's only going to happen with an audience over 60! [Laughs.]

InDepth InterView: Eric McCormack Talks Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, Shakespeare, New TV Series & MorePC: What do you think of the glowing phones and texting and other new distractions?

EM: Well, I'm not really aware of that so much with the audiences at our show - most people don't have iPads and iPhones in the audience most nights, as far as I see. I'm sure with younger audiences it's more prevalent. The world just has ADD at the moment, in general, though, I think. You know, when Michael Wilson said to us that this would be done in three acts as it was done originally, I said, "You're kidding!" And he wasn't. He said, "We're going to take two intermissions - it won't be a problem," and it wasn't. You know, I thought people would be way too impatient - I fought that choice tooth and nail; but, people are really into it. They are great about it. Most people don't even leave their seats in between the second and third, waiting for it to start - so, that's good to see.

PC: Is it true a filming of THE BEST MAN is being considered?

EM: Not as far as I know, but it would be great if it happened. Actually, there is a TV commercial right now that is really great and it has a lot of scenes in it, so it almost looks like they already have filmed it, but I don't know if it was just for that purpose of creating the ad or what.

InDepth InterView: Eric McCormack Talks Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, Shakespeare, New TV Series & MorePC: Did you get to work with Ann Roth on your costume for the role? She is such a master of her craft and there are such great stories about her insights into character.

EM: Oh, Ann was so great. You know, I was so excited to meet her because HAIR is one of my favorite movies - I know she has done a thousand things, but the fact that she had done the costumes for HAIR was exciting as Hell to me. Ann is just a character, what can I say? [Laughs.] Nobody tells Ann what to do, you know?

PC: She is her own woman.

EM: She is. I remember we were talking about cufflinks - I asked her, I said, "This period - is it buttons or cufflinks?" and she laughed! She loved that I even asked. She said, "I like that! How interesting! Hmmm… cufflinks? I think we're going to do cufflinks." Then, after we rehearsed it, I said, "I have to take my shirt off and then put it on again over the course of the first act, so I can't have cufflinks - I really don't have time!" So, I had to beg her to undo what we worked on creating.

PC: Functionality always comes first, after all - especially in the theatre.

EM: Yeah - but, Ann... she's a real character and I loved working with her.

PC: Moving to your upcoming film appearances: what's BARRICADE about?

EM: BARRICADE is a little thriller movie I did a while back and I am not sure what is going to happen with that yet, but hopefully it will come out sooner rather than later.

PC: What about KNIFE FIGHT?

EM: What's funny about KNIFE FIGHT is that, weirdly, in THE BEST MAN I play the senator from Tennessee and in KNIFE FIGHT I play the govenor from Kentucky - it's my new genre, I guess; conservative Southern politicians.

PC: That's so funny. What is KNIFE FIGHT about?

EM: In KNIFE FIGHT, Rob Lowe plays this guys who is sort of stoking the fires politically and I am a governor who sleeps around on his wife, among other things. It's a great cast - Carrie-Anne Moss, Julie Bowen.

InDepth InterView: Eric McCormack Talks Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, Shakespeare, New TV Series & MorePC: What can you tell me about your new TV series, PERCEPTION?

EM: Yes - this Summer, PERCEPTION is a show that I am executive producer on and am starring in about a neuroscientist professor at a small college in Chicago who has hallucinations. I am not dangerous or anything, but I have to stay on the straight and narrow and on my meds - or else things can get strange. So, an ex-student comes to me who is now in the FBI and uses me as an expert - I help him solve his cases, but they make me go a little crazy and hallucinate scenes involving the crimes. It's a great character and a smart concept and I am looking forward to seeing how people react to it this Summer.

PC: When will PERCEPTION begin airing?

EM: It will be on TNT Mondays at 10. We start in July.

PC: What is the episode order?

EM: It's 10 episodes for the first season, so it will run until September, and, hopefully, we will begin filming another season of that in the Fall.

PC: Happy belated birthday - did you have a fun day?

InDepth InterView: Eric McCormack Talks Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, Shakespeare, New TV Series & MoreEM: I did two shows - that was my birthday! [Laughs.] At this point, that's perfectly excellent, too - to walk off a Broadway stage after a matinee and see Angela Lansbury in a party hat and that cast of THE BEST MAN singing you "Happy Birthday" is a pretty perfect way to celebrate your birthday.

PC: Would you be interested in taking on another stage role in a musical in the future - you famously sang some Sondheim on WILL & GRACE, so what about a Sondheim role; Ben in FOLLIES?

EM: I don't know FOLLIES that well, but the last time I saw it Gregory Harrison played that part, I believe - with Blythe Danner, actually!

PC: Of course - it's a small world.

EM: It is - it is. I really enjoyed the show.

PC:What about a future Shakespeare role? Iago, perhaps?

EM: It's funny you say that because people have brought up Iago to me quite a bit having seen me in this production - apparently, as a result of seeing how well I play an evil as*hole. [Laughs.] But, yes, that is one I'd like to do.

PC: Any other roles that you are itching to do onstage?

EM: Well, a few years ago, I did a production of GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS on tour that went really well - actually, I'm pretty sure that it resulted in this job.

PC: How so?

EM: Well, David Mamet's agent saw the show and then told Jeffrey Richards here in New York about my Ricky Roma. The first day of rehearsal, I met Jeffrey and I said, "Thank you, but I have to ask: why did you pick me? Why am I here?" And, he said, "Anybody that can play Ricky Roma can play Joe Cantwell." And, I said, "But you didn't come to Vancouver to see it," and, he said, "Oh, a little birdy told me." [Laughs.] So, yeah - Roma is a part I would love to repeat.

PC: This was absolutely fantastic, Eric. Thank you so much for this today.

EM: Thank you, Pat. This was really fun. Bye.

InDepth InterView: Eric McCormack Talks Gore Vidal's THE BEST MAN, Shakespeare, New TV Series & More

Photos: 1, 6, 14: Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.
Photos: 2, 7,8, 9, 10, 11, 12: Joan Marcus

Related Articles


Comment & Share

About Author

Subscribe to Author Alerts
Pat Cerasaro Pat Cerasaro is BroadwayWorld's Chief Interviewer and Senior Editor, contributing exclusive columns including InDepth InterViews, Sound Off, Flash Fridays as well as additional special features and extensive news coverage. His work for the site has appeared in The New York Times, US Weekly, The Biography Channel, NBC and more.