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Interview with Greg Kinnear of "Rake" on
I was on this call, but unfortunately, I didn't get to ask
him any questions. They had too many callers and not enough
time, I guess. Still, it was nice to hear his voice and hear
him talk about the show.
FBC PUBLICITY: The Rake Conference Call
January 21, 2014/2:00 p.m. PST
Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by
and welcome to the Rake conference call. At this time all
participants are in a listen-only mode. Later weíll conduct
a question and answer session. As a reminder this call is
Iíd now like to turn the conference over to our host, Miss
Kim Kurland. Please go ahead.
Kim Hi, everyone. I just wanted to thank you for
taking part in the call today with Greg. Weíre very excited.
As all of you know, Rake premieres on Thursday night at 9:00
eastern and pacific time. If anybody has a question after
the call, needs something clarified or whatnot, feel free to
e-mail me.,And, Dave, I think we can take our first question.
Moderator Our first question comes from the line of Jerry
Nunn with Windy City Times. Please go ahead.
Jerry Hey, how are you? Iím calling from Chicago here.
Jerry I want to ask you, how are you similar to this
Greg How have I what?
Jerry How are you similar to this character, how did you
Greg Weíre both horrible gamblers. The most obvious
connection is that I have no skills in that department and
he seems to be tortured by his own lack of ability as well.
But, I donít know, I mean, similarities; the truth is I
donít know that thereís a lot. I think itís what really
attracted me to the character when I saw the Australian show
and kind of the zone they were playing in, not only the
ensemble nature of the show, but just this, Keegan himself
with the inability to not get out of his own way and his
kind of needs and wants and addictions all sort of
snowballing around him constantly and just that notion of
two steps forward, three steps back seemed like a fun zone
to play in.
Not that I donít have my own little bag of self-destructive
traits. We all do, but he has them in such a flawless rate,
such an ease of his ability to miscalculate and to set off
little personal landmines around his life so regularly that
it really seemed like a fun area to play around in. I hadnít
played an attorney before so one that was dealing with that
kind of world seemed like a great plan.
Jerry Great. Well, come visit us in Chicago.
Greg Oh, indeed I will.
Moderator The next question comes from the line of Tony Maglio with TheWrap. Please go ahead.
Tony Thank you. Hey, Greg. So, watching this role it just
seems to me and strikes me Ė and Iíve talked to several
other TV people about this Ė it just seems like such a Greg Kinnear character and I think thatís more like a testament
to your charm than a suggestion of it being typecast or
anything like that. It just seems to work so well, which is
a positive thing I hope.
But can you talk a little bit about as an actor what thatís
like, whether itís a little frustrating at times; I donít
know if itís comforting or annoying that people look at it
as, yeah, thatís Greg Kinnear being Greg Kinnear. Does this
mean thatís Greg Kinnear at his best to you or does that
mean thatís Greg Kinnear not putting as much work into it as
he probably really is.
Greg Well, I canít really drill down too deep on other
peopleís perceptions of myself. I felt like in terms of my
interest on this particular role that it would be fun to
play, that it would be something that could evolve and
something that might be a nice starting point in an onward
journey and where it will go and what will happen
specifically to the guy, obviously weíve done a lot of
conversations, Peter and I, about what that is.
But, yeah, I donít know what a Greg Kinnear role looks like
or is. I guess if I do the role then it is that. But this
didnít feel; obviously, Iím not playing a junkie. I donít
think that thereís a, at least in the starting place of who
this guy is and my hope for what he can be, I was attracted
to it and wanted to do it because of what I saw on the page
and less about how I could define or redefine peopleís
perception of me. So, that was just not the mandate here.
Tony Okay, cool. Thanks.
Moderator The next question comes from Bill Zwecker with
Chicago Sun-Times. Please go ahead.
Bill Hi, Greg. Nice to talk to you again. My question for
you, as you just mentioned you never played an attorney.
Hollywood has some pretty notorious, well, a lot of cities,
including Chicago, has a lot of notorious attorneys. Did you
bone up a little bit on some sort of edgy characters to try
to work some of that into creating this guy?
Greg Well, specifically defense characters, thereís quite a
pantheon of very, very colorful types in this world, both
men and women. And, you know, thereís an inherently
despicable rap that I think defense attorneys get as the
defenders of people, particularly people that we all
recognize as guilty or think are guilty. And yet, theyíre an
essential part of the balance of justice.
And I guess we wonít be doing a lot to undespicasize Ė I
donít know the word; I would have to go to Google and see if
we can undespicable something Ė I donít know that weíll be
doing a lot with this role to champion peopleís perceptions
of defense attorneys.
Listen, I mean there is a gambling element to being somebody
who is going to take on the job of constantly trying to
represent and prop up people who might be somewhat shady.
And that notion of that is probably part of how they got the
rap, but I think itís to try and find the balance of being
colorful, being at times despicable, but also being somebody
who does believe in something.
Weíre on episode 10 now and there have been cases where
there are people who for sure the audience is going to want
to not be found innocent and at times they are and at times
theyíre not. I think the real cool thing about the show is
most of the people I represent are guilty and the truth is
thatís the way it is in the system. If youíre innocent or
there isnít enough seriously compelling evidence to put you
up against the state, chances are itís never going to go to
trial and, of course, trial is where all the fun stuff
So, we do some cases that go to trial. But we also do cases
that all are negotiated in back rooms and sort of quietly
handled between people negotiating. And thatís another kind
of cool aspect of the show. But there are colorful
characters in this world. Iíve seen many of them and theyíre
a treat to watch.
I havenít seen anybody quite like this guy, but Iím looking.
Bill Okay. Thanks very much.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Joan
Porter with MSN Canada. Please go ahead.
Joan Hi, Greg. I was just wondering how much will this
version of the show borrow from the original Australian
Greg Yeah, thatís a good question. Well, listen, in terms of
its format, one of the most significant changes that weíve
had to embrace is being on a network where I think we have
43 minutes or 44 minutes or something like that and Peterís
Australian show was like 58, 59 minutes and that time change
has been a real difficult sort of readjustment that has been
something weíre conscious of.
Obviously, in an Australian show you always had kind of a
case, sometimes more significant one week, sometimes less
significant another week, which is still the tempo we follow
here. But you canít really reduce down the case. The case is
going to be the case, so what ends up being compromised is
the additional time to deal with the sort of orbital world
of these pivotal characters in my life and my life and their
lives, which is one of the coolest things about the show I
think is the ensemble element of it.
We worked really hard to cast great actors in this ensemble.
I think theyíre all excellent. And that aspect has really
come up in the last few shows. It starts a little
Keegan-centric as the show kind of starts, but it really
evolves and you get to know all these characters a lot more.
But there are limitations just with time. As far as the
cases, sometimes there is some stuff that we have taken from
the Australian show, some of the cases, some of the story
But I would say a lot of it is its own thing and has kind of
organically found its own place. So, I donít know what the
percentage would be to give you for that, but maybe 30%, 40%
kind of comes from the Australian show, but I think the rest
of it feels very different. So, I feel like the balance is
Believe me I wanted to do a nice tip of the hat to the
Australian show because I really admired it, but, obviously
the hope is for all of us to try to find our own DNA and
kind of develop our own vibe here.
Joan Thank you.
Moderator One moment, please. Weíre experiencing technical
difficulties. Weíre now going to go to the line of Preston Barta with North Texas Daily. Please go ahead.
Preston Hey, Greg. Thanks for talk to us today.
Greg Hi, how are you doing? Very 21st Century man, this is
2014 year floating out here in this electronic bubble with
calls coming in from PanSTARRS-1. Iím digging it.
Preston Yeah, itís pretty new. So, since becoming a part of
this show how has your view of the court system changed?
Greg Well, as I said earlier and I think itís true, I never
really had considered how; I had just always assumed that
people who might have gotten themselves into some sort of
legal entanglement would eventually sit before a jury and
kind of go through this whole sort of straightforward, very
clean process of justice.
And I think what the show has done, because we have lawyers
working on it and just through conversations and just
through stories that we work on, the truth is that you learn
that there is not a straight through line on any of these
cases, that theyíre all varied. Many of them never go to
trial or the ones that do have a whole different expectation
than the ones that donít in terms of the outcome and how
So much of the process seems inconsistent to me. And,
obviously, I donít think itís a bad thing. Maybe itís a
reason that the legal world has over the years had so many
films and television shows about it. Thereís just a great
sort of imbalance to the process, an imbalance to the
outcome and justice is not always served fairly for sure.
Thatís been made very clear talking to a lot of the guys we
have access to and we try and represent that fairly in the
show I think.
Preston Great. Thank you. Have a good rest of the day.
Moderator The next question comes from Tom Teicholz with
Life Free Image. Please go ahead.
Tom Hi. Itís Tom Teiholz, Life Reimagined. Greg, I know that
youíre a guy who likes to work a lot and I was wondering, as
you survey your career at this point in your life whether
you see the landscape as having more interesting
possibilities than you expected or compared to a few years
ago how you sort of view the landscape as you make the sort
of decision to do this series and the kind of things youíre
Greg Well, I donít know if I concede your point that you
know Iím a guy who likes to work a lot. We may have to have
some debate about that. And I think a lot of times just by
the nature of; I guess Iíve done a lot of movies, but a lot
of them arenít leads, the roles that have demanded enormous
amounts of time. And so, I guess an illusion might be that
thatís always the case, but you know, itís been a balance of
work, for sure, that Iíve enjoyed.
This show and these shows are, obviously, thereís a lot of
work, particularly starting out, as I said earlier, the show
is very focused on my character before we start to bring in
Miranda and John Ortiz and David Harbor and all these other
great actors. But I think, itís no different than any aspect
at any other time in my life in the sense that theyíre not
really a great blueprint for what to expect from one job to
This was attractive in the sense that it was a fairly
contained series order and weíre doing 13 and so to build a
story line of my guy and the people around him in 13
episodes felt like thereís something manageable about that
and with an end date in sight, which is fast approaching.
So, beyond, I donít know what will really happen. Other
opportunities are always hard to speak to, but Iím enjoying
the show. Itís been a blast and Iím getting to work with
some excellent people. So, I guess from that standpoint itís
Kim Hey, Dave, Iím so sorry, but we have time for only one
Moderator The last question comes from the line of Sheldon Wiebe with Eclipsemagazine.com. Please go ahead.
Sheldon Thanks for doing the call.
Sheldon The thing that I found most fascinating about the
pilot, besides having such amazing guest stars, I mean,
Peter Stormare is amazing; itís a Sam Raimi thing you can
tell because the banter and the dialogue are so beautifully
put together and Iím just wondering are the seven scariest
words in Keeganís life, ďThis is going to be a
conversation?Ē And why?
Greg Well, theyíre certainly the seven scariest words in
Benís life, played by John Ortiz because itís coming from
his wife. You know, I donít know. I donít know that those
are the seven scariest words for Keegan. I think that he
thrives on conversation. I think dialogue and words are not;
he doesnít use an economy with them and I think our writers
are really good at keeping that vibe alive here. At any
given moment me, at least my character, in particular, is
spinning a lot of plates and words prop him up.
And I saw it in the Australian show. They had a real, you
know, Peter Duncan and what those guys had done down there
had a really nice balance of stuff going on, but really I
thought their management of language was really cool to
watch. And itís been fun on this show as well.
And, by the way, Sam, I worked with Sam a few years ago in a
movie and I was very nervous. We were doing the show and we
didnít have a director for the pilot and I was so terrified.
Iím friends with Sam, but I really didnít know if that was
crossing a line and my wife was the one who said, you know
what, just ask him. All he can do is say no. And I asked him
and he read the script and he loved it and, in fact, has
gone on and done another show for us and helped us with some
other pieces along the way and has really become an ally to
Rake and Iím grateful to that because, obviously, heís my
friend, but heís also just I think a great artist and I
think the show has some cool colors in it that have, like
Peter Stormare and like Sam, and its early incarnation
attracted some really smart people, so Iím grateful for
Sheldon Well, thanks so much for doing this and the pilot is
amazing. It is easily a match of the first episode of the
Australian series, so thanks very much for that.
Greg Thank you very much.
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