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Interview with Eric McCormack of "Perception" on
This is one of my favorite shows. I'm always happen when
it returns to my TV! Eric McCormack and his wonderful acting
performance is one of the main reasons. He's very nice in
interviews, too. This is my second time speaking with him. I
just wish I could see him in person because he's so
Moderator: Maya T. Brooks
August 14, 2014
1:00 pm CT
Operator: Good day and welcome to the Turner Entertainment
Eric McCormack, “Perception,” TNT conference call. Today’s
conference is being recorded. At this time I would like to
turn the conference over to Christina Hamilton. Please go
Christina Hamilton: Good afternoon. Thank you for joining
the Eric McCormack Perception conference call. The season
three summer finale of TNT’s hit drama series, “Perception,”
airs Tuesday, August 19 at 10:00 pm on TNT. The conference
is now open for questions. Please press star 1 to ask your
question. Thank you.
Operator: And we’ll take our first question today from Jamie
Steinberg with the Starry Constellation Magazine. Please go
ahead. Your line is open.
Jamie Steinberg: Hello. Always a pleasure to speak with you.
Eric McCormack: Hi Jamie.
Jamie Steinberg: You have such an incredible role, and
(Daniel) has. Is playing someone who’s reality is pretty
broad, is that reaching or is it fun? Is it exhausting?
Eric McCormack: It’s totally all of the above. I mean, he’s
- I have a lot of energy in life anyway which - so when I’ve
tried to play cooler heads, when I’ve tried to play macho
guys with little to say, it doesn’t work. I’m better off in
a part like (Daniel) where my brain is racing and my
physicality is a plus.
And I love playing a guy that is much smarter than I am,
whose verbiage gives me a chance to throw my ability to
memorize and my ability to describe and to play. He’s like -
he’s a workout but you feel good after a workout.
Operator: Thank you. We’ll take our next question from
Suzanne Lanoue with The TV MegaSite. Please go ahead.
Suzanne Lanoue: Hi. It’s great to speak with you again.
Eric McCormack: You too.
Suzanne Lanoue: Yes, I was wondering, have you found out yet
whether there’s going to be a next season or is it too early
Eric McCormack: It’s not too early for me but you’ll have to
ask TNT. It seems to be too early for them.
Suzanne Lanoue: Oh, well, I hope (they get one). Thanks.
Eric McCormack: Me too.
Operator: And we’ll go next to Jay Jacobs with Pop
Entertainment.com. Please go ahead. Your line is open.
Jay Jacobs: Hi Eric. It’s nice to talk to you again.
Eric McCormack: (And you too).
Jay Jacobs: There’s been a running arc through this season
about your dad and how Dr. Pierce is trying to come to terms
with his bad relationship with him and also his struggles
with Alzheimer’s. As a brain specialist, do you think that
it makes it sort of harder knowing his helplessness in this
situation? And also, what’s Peter Coyote like to work with
in the role?
Eric McCormack: Well, first of all I was just - I was
delighted. The exciting thing about TV sometimes is that you
can plant seeds that show up and grow later on, you know,
and in - when my mother - when JoBeth Williams appeared as a
hallucination of my mother in the second season, she
mentioned that my father and I had a very distant and not
And that was - it was literally one line but I love that
that planted the seed for this year where Peter shows up,
who’s great. I mean, an underrated actor. I just loved
having him there. And it was one of those pieces of casting
that once he’s on set, once we’re in similar clothing, it
was just, like, it was kind of magic. It worked and he and I
were just naturally fractious and it was a great piece of
But, yes, I think it’s - for (Daniel), for someone who’s
constantly wrestling with the idea of his disease not
debilitating him, that he’s going to get the better of it or
he’s going to use it to his advantage. To see his own
father, another very hard-headed man, being brought low by a
brain disease is - it gives him that much more fuel and it
makes him that much more sympathetic.
Operator: Thank you and we’ll go next to Earl Dittman with
Digital Journal. Please go ahead.
Earl Dittman: Hi Eric. How are you today?
Eric McCormack: Great.
Earl Dittman: I was going to say, after playing this
character for several seasons now, as an actor, what is the
greatest thing you’ve learned about acting from playing this
character, if there’s been anything that you’ve taken away
Eric McCormack: About acting?
Earl Dittman: About acting, yes.
Eric McCormack: I think that there’s a - how do I put this?
We - there was - was it (Malcolm Gladwell) that was talking
about the 10,000 hours, this concept that you really don’t
get good at something until you’ve put 10,000 hours into it
and I feel like, for me, I’ve learned that I’m a - I don’t
know that I would’ve - what I would’ve brought to this 15
years ago that (Daniel) and I kind of intersected at exactly
the right time.
I’m enough of an actor now to play this part in a way that I
might not have been before. So I think I’ve learned that you
- the idea that I had about acting in theater school, which
was very much about putting on costumes and, you know, my
dad’s got a par and let’s put on a play.
It’s a much deeper and richer experience than that. And to
play someone like this, someone - I think I have a real
responsibility to the mental health community and to the
academic community to get it right and I’m kind of glad that
happened at a time in my life where I could do it justice.
Operator: Thank you and we’ll take a follow up from Jamie
Steinberg with Starry Constellation. Please go ahead.
Jamie Steinberg: It’s been a great season. We’ve enjoyed
seeing (Daniel) in so many different aspects of his life and
in different situations. What can you tease us, though, is
in store for the finale?
Eric McCormack: Well, as we saw last week, I was personally
- I loved watching the one last week. As I said, it was like
- I thought it was one of the best ones we’ve done in terms
of just a great set of fast-paced emotional storyline, but
it was the LeVar Burton’s first directing for us and this
next one is also LeVar and they go together very nicely,
these two episodes.
But I love the - what we tease at the end of the episode
that aired the other night was this idea that Donnie’s
pursuing being and (alderman) in Chicago and the
relationship he has with this woman, Shelby. That’s the big
drive in the next episode.
Quite frankly, I kind of wish it’s something we teased out a
little longer because it’s - the idea of Scott Wolf as a
candidate, I think, is a great idea. But, in fact, a lot of
it is going to come to a head in this next episode in a very
shocking way, a very - the episode opens quite shockingly, I
think. That’s about all I can - that’s all I can tease.
Operator: Thank you. And we’ll also have a follow up from
Suzanne Lanoue with TV MegaSite. Please go ahead.
Suzanne Lanoue: Hi. I’m sure you’ve been asked this question
probably a million times but do you think there’ll ever be
any of your former costars from, “Will & Grace,” appearing
on your show?
Eric McCormack: Well, it turns out my main costar, Debra, is
about to solve crimes herself on her new NBC show, so I
think eventually all - everyone from, “Will & Grace,” will
solve crimes. I do think that’s the fate of all of us. But I
don’t know. I would love to get -
I know Sean’s going to do - he’s going to be busy with, “The
Millers,” but I’ve always said I’d love to show America what
Megan can do when she’s not being funny because she’s such a
good actress. I’d love to get Megan on in some form if we
get another crack at it.
Operator: Thank you and we also have a follow up from Jay
Jacobs with Pop Entertainment. Please go ahead.
Jay Jacobs: Yes, earlier this season you filmed an episode
in Paris. What was that like to sort of go on the road like
that? And do you think in the long run that Dr. Pierce
might’ve been happier had he just stayed there and tried to
live his life as it was going there?
Eric McCormack: Well, I mean, the experience of doing it was
fantastic because of the nature of the show, because he is
an intellect and an appreciator of history, the fact that he
could walk the streets of Paris and be a fish out of water,
be a - in terms of his disease, but be very much at home to
- when we shot the scene where Pierce lectured at the
Sorbonne, it was just magical, just magical.
But, in fact, I think that was - what turned out in the end
with this episode, was the idea that he did believe he could
be there. He did believe he could change his life, again,
without meds, but he could just make a giant shift and
everything would be all right. And, in fact, it went
And I think that was a good thing to show the audience, to
remind them that this man that so often seems quite
confident is, in fact, at the whimsy of his disease and
can’t just ride the horse any way he wants. And so Paris was
a great reminder that there’s still a lot of adventure out
there but he can’t - he’s not necessarily able to handle it
Operator: Thank you and we’ll go next to Jamie Steinberg
with Starry Constellation. Please go ahead.
Jamie Steinberg: Well, we’ve talked about what’s in store
for the remainder of this season but what would you like to
see (Daniel) explore next season?
Eric McCormack: Well, it - it’s funny, with these - with the
way TNT sort of teases it out. We have five more episodes
that we’ve already shot that will air in the winter which is
technically part of Season 2. It becomes this kind of season
2A, I suppose - or not 2, 3.
Season 3, the last five episodes will air this winter and
we’ve - those get into a new area which I think is a logical
extension of what happens Tuesday. But as Rachel and Scott’s
characters start to head towards a second marriage, a second
wedding, (Daniel), as a result of what happens in this
episode next week, starts to come out of his own emotional
shell and starts to speak up a bit more.
And I think - it’s an interesting dilemma with people online
in terms of how happy they are or not happy they are, or
that (Kate) may end up with Donnie again and there’s a whole
contingent - the shippers - I love the shippers - the
shippers that want (Kate) and (Daniel) together.
So - and there are those that actually like (Daniel) meeting
these few women he’s had over the course of the season and
actually getting some action. So I love - as much as I love
our crimes of the week, I do love the emotional territory
that we’re starting to get into, particularly with (Kate)
Operator: And another follow up from Suzanne Lanoue. Please
Suzanne Lanoue: Hi again. You mentioned there’re five more
episodes to the rest of the season. So I hope you get more
seasons, but if not, will the final one from this season be
satisfying and a good end - good in the end?
Eric McCormack: Well, the honest question - the honest
answer to that is no, it will be much better to have another
season. We certainly didn’t shoot anything with the idea
that this was the ending. It’s an ending to an element of
the story but it, in fact, sets up a lot more stuff for a
hopefully future season.
Operator: And we have time for two more questions. We’ll go
first to Jay Jacobs with Pop Entertainment. Please to ahead.
Jay Jacobs: Yes, you had mentioned earlier that LeVar Burton
had directed the last episode ad is going to be doing the
next one, too. Oh, well, has done the next one already.
Well, what was he like to work with in that capacity
compared to working with him as a costar?
Eric McCormack: It was honestly, I think, everyone - the
whole crew would probably agree, everyone’s favorite
experience. He just - he’s very - he’s so much fun, LeVar.
He’s so full of joy and it’s always fun when he drops in to
play the dean for a scene or two. But when he’s in charge,
he - there’s a tremendous sense of trust of everyone.
He’s the guy that’ll print after the first take and
everyone’s like, “Wait, wait, wait. No, wait. Give us one
more.” And he’s like, “What? That was great. And he’s very
often right and we - it’s that kind of confidence and
positive energy is such a thing, particularly in television
where crews can get so worn out by people doing six, seven,
eight takes, you know, over and over and over again. He was
a real leader and he was a joy.
Operator: Thank you. We’ll take our last question from Earl
Dittman with Digital Journal. Please go ahead.
Earl Dittman: You know, Eric, there are so many shows now on
cable, on television, period. And there’re so many things to
choose from but why do you think - “Perception,” is such a
great show. Why do you think people are honed into watching
it every week when they have so many other choices? To you,
what do you think makes a show great, and to fans?
Eric McCormack: Well, you know, I mean it’s - my hope was
always that it would bring in a whole different kind -
different groups and it sort of is. I mean, I’m hoping we
can build on what we have, but it certainly is, to anyone
that likes, you know, “Castle,” and, “The Mentalist,” it -
there’s all of that crime solving and chemistry.
But a lot of what I get is college students who maybe don’t
watch a lot of television, or at least not this kind of
traditional mystery show, they like - they love the opening
and closing. They love the lecture scenes. They love that
it’s an academic setting.
There really aren’t a lot of shows, ever, set in
universities, and with such an unabashed, unapologetic
academic approach. And I think (Daniel) is that. (Daniel)
gets to be - he gets to be our crime solver, our Sherlock
Holmes, but he also gets to be terrified. He gets to be
academically brilliant and not just forensically or going
from his street sense. He’s a very different character and I
think it’s appealed to people in ways that they maybe didn’t
Operator: Thank you. That concludes today’s Q&A session.
I’ll turn it back over to our presenters for any closing
Christina Hamilton: Thank you so much for joining today’s
call. As a reminder, the Season 3 summer finale of,
“Perception,” premieres Tuesday, August 19th at 10:00 pm,
Eastern Time, Pacific Time on TNT. A transcript of this call
will be available within 24 hours. Thank you, Eric, and
thank you all for participating.
Eric McCormack: Thanks everybody.
Operator: This does conclude today’s program. Thanks for you
participation. You may disconnect at any time.
Previous interview with Eric
"Dirty" – Tuesday, Aug. 19, at
10 p.m. (ET/PT)
When Donnie finds himself in a
compromising situation, he calls Pierce for help. As the
evidence begins to stack against Donnie, Pierce and Moretti
struggle with their own fears and doubts, as they work to
solve the case. During the chaos, Pierce must deal with his
father (guest star Peter Coyote) after he assaults
someone at the assisted living facility.
Directed by LeVar Burton
Written by Jonathan Abrahams
Created by Ken Biller &
Perception – Tuesdays at
10 p.m. (ET/PT)
fascinating drama Perception features one
of the most unique crime solvers on television, an
eccentric neuroscience professor who is recruited by the
FBI to help solve complex cases. Emmy® and Screen Actors
Guild Award® winner Eric
McCormack stars as Dr.
Daniel Pierce, who possesses an intimate knowledge of
human behavior and a masterful understanding of the way
the mind works. Although Pierce's mind may be brilliant,
it's also damaged as he suffers from paranoid
schizophrenia. Rachael Leigh Cook stars as FBI
agent Kate Moretti, Pierce’s former student who has
recruited Pierce to consult on cases. Also
starring are Arjay Smith, Kelly Rowan and LeVar
Burton. In addition, Scott Wolf (Party
of Five, V, Everwood) is joining the
cast as a regular this season, playing Donnie, Kate's
ex-husband. Perception, which ranked as one of
basic cable's Top 15 series of 2013, was created by Ken
Biller and Michael Sussman, who serve as executive
producers with Amanda Green. The series is produced by
ABC Studios, with McCormack also
serving as producer.
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