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Interview with Evan Handler of "Necessary Roughness" on USA
This was a very fun call. Handler is very funny and
entertaining. He jokes around a lot. He did a great job on the show. I
hope he comes back sometime!
Moderator: Harriet Hubball
June 18, 2012
3:59 pm CT
Woman: Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining todayís call with Evan
Handler. Evan plays New York Hawks Owner, Marshall Pittman, in USAís
Series, Necessary Roughness.
As a reminder please ask one question at a time and weíll make sure we
come back to you for any additional questions if time permits.
At this time, Iíd like welcome Evan on the line. Thank you for joining
Evan Handler: Hey, my pleasure. Hello, everyone.
Woman: Operator, please open the floor for questioning.
Operator: At this time if you would like to ask a question, please press
star then the number 1 on your telephone keypad. Weíll pause for just a
moment to compile the Q&A roster.
And your first question comes from Jamie Ruby with Sci-FiVision.com.
Jamie Ruby: Hi. Thanks for talking to us today.
Evan Handler: Oh, my pleasure, Jamie. The rules seem so strict Iím
afraid if somebody breaks them like trap doors are going to open
underneath you and you fall to the floor and disappear.
Jamie Ruby: Yeah, maybe. Weíll be okay I think. So, can you talk about
how you started on Necessary Roughness, how that all came about?
Evan Handler: Thatís a good question. I donít know how it all came
about. My agents presented me with the offer, and along the way I heard
from the Executive Producers that there was a great deal of discussion
that I guess the powers that be and the corporate backer sort of USA
Network were extremely particular about who would play this particular
role. And for reasons that were discussed outside my presence, there was
excitement about my name in particular.
Jamie Ruby: Okay, great.
Operator: Okay, thank you. Your next question comes (unintelligible)
Alessandra with Accidental Sexiness.
Alessandra Bacchetta: Hi. Thank you for talking to us.
Evan Handler: My pleasure.
Alessandra Bacchetta: So regarding what you just said, in Season 1 there
was a lot of talk about Marshall Pittman and his somewhat sinister
presence was a very prominent trait of the show, despite he never making
an actual appearance. So, how was it for you as an actor to get in the
shoes of the character that had such a big build up in the first season,
and what were the defining factors in how you decided to play the
character in the end? What I mean is did you just use your own grasp of
what the character was, based on the Season 2 script, or did you watch
the first season to have an idea of what was expected of it?
Evan Handler: Yeah. Thatís daunting, you know when a character is built
up with so much in advance. And it also plays right into some of the
traps and risks of working on the television show in particular, because
not only did I come in and this character has been built up and built up
and built up, but as on any television show youíre shooting one episode
and subsequent episodes have not necessarily yet been written.
So, whatever the writers have...
Alessandra Bacchetta: Yeah.
Evan Handler: ...done and said about you in a particular episode might
not even really match with what they then decide to do one or two
episodes later. So, as with anything, you know I take my queues from the
written words. So, I watched Season 1, I learned what they had set up
about this guy, we had some talks about what they thought they were
going to do with the character, but even one or two episodes in that
took some dramatic turns.
So, the best you can do is work with each script and make your choices,
and if theyíre contradicted later then, well, you hope the audience
interprets that as a complexity.
Alessandra Bacchetta: Perfect. Thank you.
Operator: Thank you. Your next question comes from Reg Seeton with
Reg Seeton: Hi, Evan. Thanks for taking the call.
Evan Handler: Hey, my pleasure.
Reg Seeton: With everything thatís going on with Marshall Pittman and
the team, can you talk about how he changes from when he was first
Evan Handler: Well, as I said just a minute ago, heís certainly spoken
about a lot in the first season, but I suppose with the kind of just
vague sinisterness. And then, when he appears I think the safety coating
for me and everyone is that heís supposed to be very mercurial and
unpredictable so it leaves a certain freedom, even if you set up
something that if thereís inconsistency later on. And I guess I think,
you know because two of the episodes have yet to air, I think what comes
into play is that behind the bravado is whatís revealed as possibly a
surprising sensitivity and vulnerability.
I think thatís the best answer I can give to that.
Reg Seeton: Thank you.
Operator: Thank you. Your next question comes from Diane Morasco with
Diane Morasco: Hi, Evan. How are you today?
Evan Handler: Iím doing well. Thank you for asking.
Diane Morasco: I want to know what elements of Marshallís have you found
that youíre taking on as your own?
Evan Handler: Well, I donít know. Thatís presumes a lot that question. I
didnít - I donít know that Iíve taken on any aspect of Marshall. I
didnít live with him all that long. It was interesting going to Atlanta
and doing it. You know, some of the references that were made to him
originally, you know ranged from Howard Hughes to the - is it Richard
Branson to Ted Turner. We were in Atlanta and I passed the CNN
Headquarters often getting to and from the set, so I do think Ted Turner
became kind of an iconic reference in my mind; a mercurial, whimsical
commander of empire.
Diane Morasco: Thank you so much. It - thatís great. Now, I have to ask
though, what do you think of yours have you given to Marshall to balance
Evan Handler: What do I think of myself? You know, really my main
challenge in going down to Atlanta and doing this was my great
discomfort in performing with my clothes on and with no sexual activity
to rely on. So, I really - you know whenever I was photographed from the
belt up, letís say, I actually would play the scenes without pants on
just so I could maintain my own level of comfort after years on Sex in
the City and Californication.
Diane Morasco: Thank you so much. I wish you the best.
Evan Handler: Thank you.
Diane Morasco: Youíre welcome.
Operator: Thank you. Your next question comes from Matt Rodriguez with
Matt Rodriguez: Hey, Pittman is clearly the villain of this season so
far, and so it seems frankly everybody hates him already. Is there - I
was wondering, is there anything good about him, and do you think weíre
going to see a change in him as this season goes on?
Evan Handler: Well, those are strong words. I donít know what everybody
thinks of him. I think - I like to think that itís clear that thereís
some possible method behind the madness, and I do think thereís a
change. As I said, I think there is a vulnerability thatís revealed
along the way. And certainly for Necessary Roughness to continue as its
fan know and love it, I donít think Marshall Pittman can absolutely
destroy the team. I donít want to give too much away, but I think - what
do I say? He - I think there is a modulation to his behavior at some
point, or at least some better understanding of his frantic
contradictions will come into play.
Matt Rodriguez: Awesome. Thank you very much.
Operator: Thank you. Your next question comes from Suzanne Lanoue with
Suzanne Lanoue: Hi. Itís nice to talk to you.
Evan Handler: Hey, thank you. And itís so intimate between the two of
Suzanne Lanoue: Well, you know weíve got to keep it real. You know, I -
well, that leads into my question because I was going to tell you that,
you know I never got to see you naked because I donít have Showtime or HBO,
but I remember you from "Itís Like, you Know". You were great on that.
Suzanne Lanoue: Thank you very much.
Suzanne Lanoue: ...I was going to ask you...
Evan Handler: Youíve got to get up-to-date with your iTunes and...
Suzanne Lanoue: I know. I know...
Evan Handler: ...Netflix though.
Suzanne Lanoue: ...well, my husbandís cheap. He doesnít like it.
Evan Handler: Itís all out there for you.
Suzanne Lanoue: I know. Iím terrible. Well, I do have some friends who
downloaded True Blood for me. Donít tell anybody. But - so, I was going
to ask you, what do you think is the thing that you like best about
playing this role on this show?
Evan Handler: Well, you know itís a gamble whenever you travel someplace
to drop into a society that youíre not familiar with. Really, the best
thing was that, as on Californication, the actual culture of Necessary
Roughness is an incredibly familial and friendly one. You can drop into
a TV show and find that everybody is angry at each other and bitter and
hates the way that the show is run and doesnít like the way theyíre
being treated, and this was the opposite of that.
This was a group of very happy people and a group of Executive Producers
and a network that seemed to be taking great care of each other. So, I
suppose that sounds all namby-pamby, but it was a great relief to me and
it was just a nice four weeks in Atlanta.
Suzanne Lanoue: Oh, well, thatís very nice. Thank you very much.
Evan Handler: Yeah, sure.
Operator: Thank you. Your next question is from Jamie Ruby with
Jamie Ruby: Hi. So, is there anything you learned about yourself after
doing Necessary Roughness?
Evan Handler: Huh, thatís interesting. I think I went into it a little
bit daunted about playing this very powerful and famous and media savvy
mogul-type figure. Maybe that comes from, you know weíre deep into the
sixth season now of Californication where I play Charlie Runkle, a
character that when I described him to my five-year old daughter she
said, ďOh, heís a lot like Charlie Brown,Ē because I said, ďWell, always
makes mistakes and gets in trouble.Ē
Jamie Ruby: (Thatís about the same kind of mistakes).
Evan Handler: So, I think you can come to wonder whether the world is
willing to perceive you as someone slick and in control and powerful.
Iíve been pleased with the glimpses that Iíve seen so far that Iím not
horrified by portrayal yet.
Jamie Ruby: Okay, great. Thanks.
Operator: Thank you. Your next question comes from Alessandra Bacchetta
with Accidental Sexiness.
Alessandra Bacchetta: Hello. I have a follow-up question. Since you
mentioned the fact that we will see vulnerability to Marshall, I know
that there is quite an emotional big scene coming up for him. Without
giving too much away, could you tell us how we get to that moment and
whether and how Nico and Marshall come to terms with the - of this
tension there is between them thatís been caused by Gabrielle?
Evan Handler: Yeah, actually the - I think the emotional climax of the
Marshall story comes in his confrontation with Gabrielle. That
Alessandra Bacchetta: Yeah, exactly. I didnít want to say it,
Evan Handler: Oh, thatís all right. Thatís not giving too much away, I
donít think. Obviously, Marshall and Nico also have their issues to
resolve, but I think the most volatile emotional one comes during the
divorce proceedings with Gabrielle. And Nico and Marshall part on, I
would say, peaceful terms and - although I donít think, you know
everything is tied up neatly. Marshall goes away. I donít know if they
have any plans to resurrect him at any point, but itís not like he takes
a bullet and is, you know buried or anything like that.
Alessandra Bacchetta: Okay. Speaking about that, I know that thereís
another big moment coming up in the second part of the season that will
involve Marshall, and will cause a chain reaction that will hit everyone
possibly, TK in particular. How - could you say something about that too
without giving too much away?
Evan Handler: I feel like you might know more than I do. Iím not
latching on to what youíre referring to.
Alessandra Bacchetta: I suspected that, because I know I had early
permission. It - nevermind, it doesnít matter. Anyway...
Evan Handler: Maybe they took my image and pasted me into other scenes
Alessandra Bacchetta: No, I think itís - I wasnít sure that - I donít
know whether heís going to appear or not. I know that he causes - that
heís doing something that causes a series of other things. So, I donít
know whether he appears or not, because thatís happened in Season 1 too
that Marshall caused things, but he wasnít really there, so I wasnít
sure. I asked just you, you know just in case, but nevermind. Anyway, I
think itís safe to say that your character has a very big impact on this
season, even bigger than in - it did in Season 1.
Evan Handler: Well, he is the owner of team afterall.
Alessandra Bacchetta: Yeah.
Operator: Thank you. You have a follow-up from Reg Seeton with
Reg Seeton: Evan, in playing a successful guy like Marshall, are there
any similarities to playing an agent, in terms of certain types of
personalities? Like, was that easier for you?
Evan Handler: Well, the agent I play on Californication is very a
particular, although I think a rather realistic one. It was interesting
coming on the heels of Jeremy Pivenís great success in Entourage. But,
the agents that Iíve dealt with, anyway in my life, have been much more
like Charlie Runkle, meaning that they were, you know more schlumpy and
more bumblers, and guys who I think lived vicariously through their
clients, as opposed to the kind of slick, high flying life that theyíre
often portrayed as having.
So no, I didnít feel a lot of similarity between Charlie Runkle, the
particular guy that Iíve lived with for some years on Californication,
and Marshall Pittman. To me, they actually seemed like pretty different
creatures inhabiting different realms of existence.
Reg Seeton: Great. Thanks a lot.
Operator: Thank you. Your next follow-up question is from Diane Morasco
with Morasco Media.
Diane Morasco: Hey, Evan, I have to ask you, what vision do you want to
bring from your own imagination of playing Marshall to the screen?
Evan Handler: Iím trying to think of - Iím trying to think back to any
particular - I mean, I tend when I work, and certainly on
Californication itís become very comfortable to, you know make
contributions and make suggestions. Iím trying to remember anything that
might have been the case.
You know, I think when we first started doing some wardrobe tests the
clothing was extremely conservative and corporate, and I came home late
from being out carousing in Atlanta one time and Rob Morrow, who was
directing that episode, I was wearing these, I donít know, white jeans
and a sport shirt and a kind of very modern blue Italian jacket and he
said, ďOh, there it is right there.Ē
And I had actually made a bid to have Marshall be - I saw no reason that
he had to be conventional corporate type. I thought itíd be interesting
if he actually looked like kind of a hipster, and was extremely mod in
his dress. And it didnít become that, but it settled somewhere in
between. But, I really thought, ďWhy not make this guy very - other than
what people would think of a conventional corporate titan.Ē
Diane Morasco: Thank you so much for that.
Woman: Operator, we have time for one more question.
Operator: Okay, and thatís a follow-up question from Jamie Ruby with
Jamie Ruby: Hi again. So, how do you choose your roles?
Evan Handler: Well, you - my choices are limited by those presented to
me, generally. And among those I - you know the main criteria is do I
feel that this is quality material working with people whose work I
respect? And then, is it something that appeals to my sense of drama or
comedy, something that I feel like I can, you know wrap my fingers
around and do something fun and interesting with. I guess there are
different times when I feel like Iíll choose something, and thatís
because I feel like it is unfamiliar and challenging to me, versus
something where I just feel like I know exactly how to do this.
So, just that group of criteria, what I feel like doing at the moment,
and whether itís something I feel like is going to be something I can,
you know feel proud of, certainly avoiding things that I feel like Iíll
feel humiliated by.
Jamie Ruby: Good. Well, thank you. I love Californication too and
Evan Handler: Oh, thanks so much. Thank you. Weíve had a good time.
Woman: Great. We want to thank Evan for his time today. As a reminder,
Necessary Roughness airs Wednesdays at 10:00/9:00 Central on USA.
A transcript will be made available to you within 48 hours after this
Thanks again for participating.
Evan Handler: Thanks, everybody.
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