Tom Everett Scott – Brief Article – Interview
TV OR NOT TV, THAT WAS THE QUESTION. HE CHOSE TV. DON’T MISS HIM!
Think Sex and the City–that HBO hit from onetime Aaron Spelling protege, Darren Star–without the estrogen. Think tall, thirty-year-old actor who hit his groove as the drummer in Tom Hanks’s That Thing You Do (1996). Then you can appreciate the assets and aspirations of Fox’s new series, The Street. For Star, it’s one of two fall debuts–Grosse Pointe, a WB comedy that goes behind the scenes of a prime-time soap, is the other. For Tom Everett Scott, who once played Brett Butler’s son in Grace Under Fire, The Street is a return to television after showing his down and dirty side in the indie drama Boiler Room.
Married, with a newborn, the sleep-deprived Scott talked to Interview about betting his career on the TV market and following in Tom Hanks’s footsteps.
THELMA ADAMS: I watched the pilot for The Street.
TOM EVERETT SCOTT: What did you think?
TA: Big hit.
TS: [pause] What?
TA: It’s going to be a big hit!
TS: I thought you said, “big head”!
TA: Big head! I think you’re going to have a big head.
TS: I’m getting great feedback from people who don’t bullshit.
TA: Which came first–Boiler Room or The Street?
TS: Boiler Room. I met Darren Star the first week of March.
TA: And Boiler Room played at Sundance in January.
TS: He also saw me in this play, The Country Club, that I did in New York [with] Cynthia Nixon from Sex and the City.
TS: Star produces the HBO show, right?
TS: He wrote it and he’s the creator/executive producer. He did 90210 and Melrose Place, and then he did Central Park West, and then he came back and did Sex and the City.
TA: Why cast you as the star?
TS: He had a lot of faith in me and told me I was the guy. I was considering meeting with people about TV, but I was thinking that’s not how I’m going to maintain a film career–by going back and doing TV.
TA: Because you did Grace Under Fire?
TS: I did that so long ago! I did that first, before I did any films. There is this taboo of going from film to TV, like you’d never be able to get back to film.
TA: Although, Lord knows, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon …
TS: So many people are doing good stuff on TV. The Sopranos and Sex and the City …
TA: The Practice …
TS: Ally McBeal … Darren is right up there.
TA: He’s hitting his stride.
TS: He’s finally doing stuff that he thinks is funny.
TS: It’s sexy, too. What an opening! [both laugh] There’s a shot of your face in bed, and it looks like you’re alone until your fiancee’s head pops up from beneath the sheet. It’s a very NYPD Blue way to introduce the relationship between who appear to be the romantic leads.
TS: The life and times of those two characters!
TA: Was That Thing You Do your big start?
TS: Absolutely. I went from a recurring role on Grace Under Fire to being a lead in Tom Hanks’s film directorial debut.
TA: Is it true that during auditions Tom Hanks nixed you for the role?
TS: A week went by from the first time I went in to the time I was told I could play the part. The story is he saw me and thought I looked too much like him. Then Rita [Wilson, Hanks’s wife] watched the tape and said he should hire me.
TA: You do resemble Hanks–only taller. And he did TV. Is Hanks your role model?
TS: Definitely. He was before I even met him.
TA: And he’s taken a very serious turn.
TS: I guess back-to-back Oscars don’t hurt your chances of working with great people and doing some great roles. He’s a real smart and charismatic guy.
TA: And hopefully people will say the same about you!
TS: Hey, you never know. I’m doing this show because it has one of the best characters and some of the best material that I’ve been offered in a long time.
TA: How did Darren pitch the pilot?
TS: He said he’s been having fun writing for women on Sex and the City, and this show was going to be more of the guy’s point of view.
TA: What’s in the cards with you and Jennifer Connelly’s character, the vivacious new VP of sales?
TS: [laughs] I don’t know.
TA: When I saw her enter in a power suit, I wondered how Jack could be engaged to another woman with Connelly around.
TS: We’ll see. Tune in!
Thelma Adams is an entertainment and film writer.
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