Interview with Adrian Pasdar of "The Lying Game" on ABC Family - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Adrian Pasdar

Interview with Adrian Pasdar of "The Lying Game" on ABC Family 2/28/12

ABC Familyís Q&A Session with Adrian Pasdar Ė The Lying Game

Moderator The wedding proposal seemed to happen so quickly. Is Alec suspicious of Rebeccaís motives, or has he completely fallen in love with her?

A. Pasdar I think itís an excellent question. The way these things are written, we service an ongoing flat line. But before all that happens, I had Ö with Chuck Pratt and the writers. One of the things we can always be assured of is that whenever I think a fellow like Alec makes a move, it seems to be without motive. Nothing altruistic about his intentions. I think there is something behind his accepting it so quickly that we will come to find out in the follow-up to the finale.

Moderator Alec may possibly be responsible for the death of Derek, the attack on Sutton and then Eduardoís car accident. Is Alec as evil as we have been led to believe, or could he be trying to cover up for someone?

A. Pasdar I think itís always a little more interesting when itís not just good or bad; when there is liquidity to the morality. I think Walt Disney said it best, when he said a show is only as good as the bad guy is bad. This is a different show so it makes it work perfectly for us. When it suits the show, heís reprehensible in his behavior at times. But I think ultimately weíre going to find out that itís not all as bad as you think. There is a great deal of protecting going on. Although, for who, I canít say. Iím not at liberty.

Moderator Could you tell us about some of your most interesting fan interactions?

A. Pasdar I donít know if I can say some of the most interesting ones, but some of the most print-worthy ones. People, generally when I run into them, they know Iím not a bad guy. They generally know Iím playing one on TV, but they always seem to keep a good distance between myself and them. Even when weíre coming in for a picture. Theyíre always looking over their left shoulder, if theyíre hugging me, making sure Iím not going to strangle them or something.

I think there is a good deal of believability in the nastiness of Alec. But there is also a vulnerability that we havenít gotten into yet, but I can assure itís there. My relationship with the fans on this one, and other roles, has always been positive. Itís great. I havenít had really weird altercations or anything.

Moderator When you were in high school, what series were you a big fan of?

A. Pasdar Rockford Files. Gosh, when I was in high school, Rockford Filesóthat was probably the The Six Million Dollar Man, and then by extension, The Bionic WomanóJamie Summers. Those were the shows that were big. There were only a couple channels back then, so itís easy to recall.

Moderator Alec seems to be at the center of almost all of the showís juiciest moments and juicy stories. Is it challenging playing a character thatís really involved at the center and core of the show like that?

A. Pasdar No. Challenging? I mean, yes, itís challenging in the extent that you have to be consistent with your intention, and with your work, and stay on top of your game. For shows like this they pay you really to wait between setups. The acting I do for free. This stuffóthe juicier the better. I just happened to watch two shows. Iíve never seen the show before because every time Iím working late Monday nights or Iím at the hotel and they donít have the ABC Family Channel where we film.

I just saw the show for the first time last night, two of them in a row, the last two episodes. I got to say, man, the cast Iím working with are remarkable. To be at the center of anything that the writers write, I feel an immense comfort because the talent of these actors really supersedes a lot of the stuff that is on TV. Itís reallyóI feel very fortunate to be amongst this caliber of people.

To be in the center of it, I know Iím going to be able to have a really good round robin with whoever Iím working with. Iím charged about it.

Moderator Speaking of the cast, Charisma Carpenterís character, Rebecca, showed us a new side of Alec this season. You two have really great onscreen chemistry. What has it been like working with her, and how do you think thatís changed your character on the show?

A. Pasdar Itís a tough question to come up against a character like Alec. Charisma, sheís got a lot of moxie. She got stones, as my father would say. Itís fun to work with her because she canóI tend to be somewhat unpredictable and she can roll with it. She makes me better, which I think probably is the best thing that I can say about anybody. I feel confident that when we get done with our scene, itís going to be better than it was before we started it. We lifted off the page and sheís wonderful to work with.

Moderator In your career you played a lot of villain-type characters from Nathan Petrelli in Heroes to now Alec Rybak in The Lying Game. Do you feel like youíre being typecast into these roles now, or are you actively seeking them out to play?

A. Pasdar Oh, no, sir. Iím looking for them. The real fun in theater, film, or television, I think is playing the bad guy. There is just a lot of weight put on trying to be that super good looking heartthrob, leading man. I just donít find it very rewarding. I think the reward for meóIím not saying that those roles arenít rewarding, but for me, the reward best comes when you can challenge somebodyís concept of whatís right and whatís wrong because it shifts for everybody, depending on what they need. To be the guy that can service that part, thatís exciting for me. Iím interested in that. I have actively sought them out, to answer your question.

Moderator Would you ever seek out a hero type role?

A. Pasdar I think in the end of every show Iíve done, there has been an element of redemption. Nathan Petrelli, I think was a perfect example of somebody who could be misconstrued as a bad guy. Then in the end you reveal that heís doing it to protect some people and ultimately the world. He sacrifices himself. At the very end of that show, that series, if you remember, thatís what happens. Yes. I like the idea of sending a good, positive message, especially to my children. But the sole value of entertainment, itís fun to be the bad guy.

Moderator Alec has a great ability to avert questions on the show. Heís able to get out of having to answer for any of his actions. Would you consider him to be a chameleon?

A. Pasdar Yes, good question. Chameleon? A guy like him stands out in an arena. I donít think he thinks of himselfóor when Iím playing him, I donít think of not so much blending in as so muchóI guess more blending out is what he tries to do. To remove himself from a situation that could be compromising by not placing himself in it to begin with, having other people do the work for him, is probably one of the things he does best.

Moderator He seems to be the reason that a lot of lies are exposed, or a lot of lies are told. How do you think that he gets himself involved in everyone elseís business, why do you think he does that?

A. Pasdar Why, as opposed to how? At the root of what weíre dealing with, a story that is much bigger in its enormity thatíll be revealed as to how Alec and everyone else fit into Mayberry, in their little world. Withoutóobviously I canít say too much, but I think itíll be surprising to some. Some may see it coming, although nobody has yet. In all the questions and all the press Iíve done, and all the fan responses, and the blog time Iíve spent, nobody gets quite what theyíre after yet, the writers.

I canít finally comment on your question ultimately because it hasnít been portrayed. It hasnít been played out. But, he does find himselfóI think there is a certain joy in the activity of being a part of other peopleís lives to the extent which maybe they donít want, but need. I think he sees himself as a medicine man for his tribe. Sometimes the medicine is a tough pill to swallow, but it does the job.

Moderator You do the suave, sinister role so well. Do you have inspiration, because you really donít seem like thatís how you are in real life? Do you have any particular actors that are inspirations that help you tap into that?

A. Pasdar Itís funny, as you go on in this business, you end up slowly carving away at the totem poles that informed you earlier about how behavior is disseminated, and how itís interpreted and digested. There are a lot of great actors and more importantly, I think, a lot of great individuals at the center of a lot of political storms, whether itís environmental, or ecological, or financial, that you can draw from to create a character like Alec Rybak.

Because you find these guys on Wall Street and on Main Street. You find these guys in every town. Itís just a degreeóif you dress them up in overalls or you put them in a suit and tie. Very often they can be the same guy. Itís not to make a blank anonymous statement about who these character people are I draw from, but theyíre out there. Theyíre not hard to find. Theyíre sitting in the restaurant, or on the bus, or in the bar, or on the boat with you.

Wherever you are, youíll find somebody with that sensibility. The other thing is, the great part is, I get to play it out in a scripted format. I know what the result is going to be with my action before I do it, which gives me the power to play it as strongly as I do. In real life, itís a little more tricky.

Moderator Do you have anything lined up for the hiatus? Or are you just kicking back with the kids?

A. Pasdar Yes, Iíve got my family lined up. This has been a tough job on them because Iíve had to commute so much. Then there were two movies that I did in the interim. I did a pilot for HBO and a movie in New York as well that the folks from The Lying Game were very wonderful to accommodate. Itís a feature film that shot in 3D called Run with William Moseley, the boy from Narnia.

Itís about Parkour, which is a whole, brand new concept to American audiences. We saw a taste of it in the beginning of Casino Royale. David Bell and those guys from France came across and did all this stuff for the beginning of that movie. If youíll remember what Daniel Craig was doing, all the jumping and stuff like that. That is what Parkour is, the very beginning of it.

Iím going to take some time off because the three projects Iíve been juggling for the last four monthsómy family now looks at me going, Dad, we need you. We want you home, buddy. We love you. Iím like, Iím exactly the same. Iím going to take some time and just be at home until we go back in May.

Moderator It seems so far Alec has really been able to orchestrate lots of shady dealings without consequence because of his position of power. But it seems like things are starting to finally catch up with him. Is he going to have to face the music soon?

A. Pasdar I think the music that Alec listens to is the string section that nobody else can hear. I really think heís got so many dogs in the hunt right now that we donít realize. Whatís really cool is that theyíve laid out a lot of clues. One of the best clues that Iíve seen that nobodyís commented onólike I said earlier in one of the questions, I havenít watched a lot of the shows because I havenít been able to. Iíve been working or otherwise engaged. But, one of the best clues that nobody has said anything about was two episodes ago whenódo you rememberóthe car broke down by the side of the road?

Moderator Yes.

A. Pasdar Okay. Thayer asked Emma to hand him the lug wrench, and she says, I wouldnít even know what that is. Itís the thing right there. The tire iron. You remember that scene? Anyways, itís kind of interesting. There are so many clues laid out in this show so beautifully that just go by quiet and unnoticed about who may be involved in what. Iím just saying. That picture of me swinging a tire iron, like I said. What I love about the show is the way that theyíve laid out the clues. To be a part of it, thatís about as fun as it gets.

Moderator As far as his engagement to Rebecca goes, does he really love her? Or is this another calculated move in his game?

A. Pasdar I think for a guy in his position it may be a combination of both. Somebody whoís relied so heavily on Machiavellian tendencies to remove him, or to extricate himself or his loved ones from situations, to actually be confronted with somebody who he admires, not only for their ability to make him feel loved, but to make him feel challenged by their own ability to be duplicitous. I think theyíre a really healthy combination. I donít think itís one or the other. I think itís both. I think he really admires/loves her/needs her. Slash.

Moderator Can you tell us a little bit about Alecís first marriage, and maybe where Thayer and Madsí mother is?

A. Pasdar I can. We havenít really decided exactly, but I can tell you one of the avenues that weíve considered. Because you know these things are retooled, and retooled over and over again, until theyíre finally unloaded. I think one of the great things is thatóher name was Christina, letís say. She may have been a dancer and wanted to pursue a life in the theater.

She may or may not haveóhow much can I tell you? She may or may not have betrayed Alecís trust in some fashion. Yet, when confronted with her actions, he still realized that she was the only one that was ever going to have his heart. He was prepared to forgive her. She was not prepared to ask for that forgiveness. Maybe she went away. Perhaps, Iím just speculatingóIím spit balling hereóbut maybe she was the one that got away and Alec vowed that nobody would ever get close again. Nobody would ever have his heart.

She actually left, and left him with his children, who he obviously loves. Thatís been part of the motivation for why heís been so protective of Mads and Thayer from the beginning of the show. Heís afraid sheís going to try and come back and reclaimóI wouldnít say afraid. Heís just protecting them from who he knows she really is. Thatís kind of the back-story.

Moderator Will Alec and Rebecca in the finale actually go through with the wedding? Or will someone try and stop it?

A. Pasdar I canít say. Gosh!

Moderator Just thought Iíd try.

A. Pasdar All I can say is, yes, to everything.

Moderator Okay.

A. Pasdar Iím sure theyíll try and go through with it. Iím sure somebody is going to try and stop it. Iím sure that itís not going to go off as planned. Itís not going to end like a normal wedding, letís say.

Moderator When youíre acting, especially with a role like this, are you drawing upon any personal experiences to try to get the feelings, or people you know, or you just go with the lines? How do you go about it?

A. Pasdar Itís not science. Itís just youíre up there; you got the words in your head. Youíre looking at the people that are standing opposite. Youíre both wearing makeup and youíre dressed in other peopleís clothes. Once you get all those three things sorted out, the best you can do is reinterpret what you thought you understood in your head sometimes. Acting is such a beautiful lying game in its own. I love the title of the show for many reasons.

But acting with aóIím wrapped up in right now, has never been more rewarding. This is just great. Itís not based on people in my personal life. But, of course, it is at the same time. How could I extricate anybody? Ultimately, Iím just trying to create something like Nabokov might have for one of his novels. Iím just trying to make something real and interesting and to have something that means something. If itís lost, itíd be a detriment to that character.

Something has to be at stake, especially in TV. Less so in movies, but every scene in TV, something has to be at stake for an actor. Otherwise, itís boring. I do believe at the end of the day, if youíre boring, you get punished. I donít know if that answers your question or not, but itís how I feel about it.

Moderator Youíre married to one of the Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, correct?

A. Pasdar Yes, sir.

Moderator Is there any chance that they might be having a musical performance with the Dixie Chicks in future episodes?

A. Pasdar I donít think thatís likely. But what is interesting is that when we first started the show, before it aired, Charles Pratt, the Executive Producer and developer of the show, asked me if Natalie would be interested in writing a theme song for the show. I was on a highway out here in Los Angeles and we were headed to the airport or something and I said it to her. She said, yes, well, yes I would. When does it have to be in? He said by the end of the day, or something like that.

We missed that opportunity. Not her so much, she doesnít need it. But I think the show would haveóI love what the theme song is, donít get me wrongóher tongue is a gun and all that. Thatís great. But Natalie, they did offer her the opportunity to come up with the theme song for the show, and I thought that would have been fun. But, no, sheís highly musical so there is no real telling where sheís going to turn up. But I donít think that the Dixie Chicks are going to be doing a performance in the show.

Moderator Who would you like to see as a guest performer, or a guest star?

A. Pasdar Musically?

Moderator Either a guest star or musically.

A. Pasdar Iíd like to see Tom Waits. You go ahead and write that script. Who would I like to see? Gosh. Man, the casting directors, theyíve done such a great job. Iím just thrilled with whoever they bring down the pike because the actors Iíve had a chance to work withóTyler, Chris, these guys are just unbelievable. Every single one of them. Whoever the casting people bring to us Iím happy with.

Moderator Alecís approach to parenting is different than Dr. Mercer. Then thereís Dan, Ethanís older brother, whoís pretty much a father figure as well. They have different ways of approaching being a dad. Who do you think is doing the best job?

A. Pasdar Thatís subjective, but I know whoís doing the hardest job. I canít tell you the answer to that. But, I also know whoís doing the worst job and whoís just getting by. But, I canít tell you who those people are. You have to infer from what Iím about to say. I think that there is a good deal of paternal involvement in the lives of these young folks.
The path that the individual fathers have chosen early on, I think was decided by mistakes that they made, not successes, which is interesting in this show. These men are dealing with results from actions that they made as boys. I think itíll come out probably by the middle to the end of the second season. Youíll see whoís a champ and whoís a chump.

Moderator Thatís actually very interesting. Do you actually ever draw on your experience as a father when youíre playing this role?

A. Pasdar I want to give you an interesting answer. I just donít have one at the tip of my tongue. Itís hard toómy personal and professional lives are so separate that Iím sure I do. I just donít have an example to give you. Iím trying to give you some good stuff to type up and put in your thing, but itís such aóworking on a show like this with writers like this, there is a solid consistency to my day-to-day on The Lying Game.

But, in real life there is an even better, bigger, consistency that I deal with, which is the love of my family and my children, and the life I live with my friends. I just utterly canít cross-pollinate there. Iím sure I do. But when asked if I do, Iíll probably say no.

Moderator Do you already know the secret history behind what was done to Rebecca by Alec and Ted?

A. Pasdar Yes.

Moderator Is there any way that you can give a clue?

A. Pasdar That wouldnít serve anybody, really, for me to say what I think thatóyes, I can give you a clue. I have to make it really good though. One youíll never get. Then itís not really a clue, is it? Letís see. I would watch the show, as a viewer, with an eye toward the seemingly irreverent details that very often are thrown in an off-hand manner by actors, as theyíre instructed to do and as itís written.

The clues in The Lying Game are buried, but theyíre not buried deep. Theyíre buried at the end of scenes. Very often somebody off-camera will say something, or an actor in a nonchalant way will deliver a line that seems inconsequential. It seems meaningless. It just seems like a wrap-up to a conversation. But itís there and the writers have very diligently put these clues in every single episode.

Itís amazing actually, because like I said to one of the earlier interviewers, I just watched a couple of the episodes last night for the first time and I was stunned at how much information was actually revealed that nobody probably picked up on because itís soóthe foliage around it is so green that you donít see the bare stem of truth thatís growing behind it. Itís kind of amazing. Itís Shakespearian in a way.

Actually, itís beyond Shakespearian because Shakespeare always put that stuff out there blatantly, and then let you back-off and gasp at the fact that no way he could have told the truth in that moment. This series has such a collective team of writers that theyíve really let it go. The secret is already out there. Itís been told three times. I canít tell you which episode, but the truth has come out three times in the last ten episodes about who is responsible for what. Thatís all I can say.

Moderator What is it about Alec that you admire?

A. Pasdar Heís loyal. Thatís it. If youíve got him as a friend, you have him as a friend.

Moderator I think weíve seen a lot of that with Ted.

A. Pasdar Yes. There is a lot more that you havenítóa lot more that you actually have seen, but havenít digested, I think. I wish I could say more, I really do. Iíd love to be able to sit and talk with you about whatís happening. But at the same time Iím tryingóIíve got these velvet handcuffs on. Yes, there is a lot of loyalty going on.

Moderator Do you have a background in comedy?

A. Pasdar No. I might have a foreground in it.

Moderator You think you might do some comedy sometime in the future?

A. Pasdar Oh, man. Iíd love to. I tell you what, we crack up on this show like itís nobodyís business. The funniest thing on this show is the outtakes, because there are moments of me being super serious with all this, and then all of a sudden Iíll just do a spit take. Itís not because Iím trying to do something funny, itís just because the weight of the ridiculousness that weíre dealing withóbasically a soap opera. Itís funny, but we have really good actors, super high-end people. The funniness that youíre talking about is something Iíve learned from justóoh should I say itódecades of doing what I do.

Moderator There are many fans that see you as a villainous heartthrob from Heroes, and now in Alec in The Lying Game. Who happens to be your celebrity crush at the moment?

A. Pasdar My celebrity crush would be my wife, darling.

Moderator What kind of acting role would you love to try that would be opposite of what youíre used to?

A. Pasdar I just did it for a pilot for HBO. Doug Ellin, the creator of Entourage, he had a new pilot that was working for HBO that was called 40. It was myself, and Michael Imperioli, and Michael Rapaport. A great showóway out of what I would think most people would think is my kind of role. It was a lot of fun. We had a good time.

I learned that you got to trust your comfort zone. At a certain point you got to go with the trust that you know, and the things that you know are funny, that are serious and dramatic. Iím a grown man. Iím a big boy. At this point in my life, I know what works for me. What puts the beef on the table, as it were. Playing something outside of your comfort zone is fun. Iím not saying play it safe. Comfort zones can be interesting. Most people never go outside of them.

I guess thatís why itís interesting to actors. I think some of the best performances that actors have given are perceived as steps outside of a comfort zone, but really itís as close to that person as you can get. Thatís when they win an Academy Award, or something like that. Comfort zoneóitís an interesting topic, but I donít have a clear vision of what it is.

Moderator Has Season 2 been officially picked up?

Moderator Officially, no, they havenít said anything to us. But it would beóthey havenít said anything to us at all. But I canít imagine it not coming back. Can you? Itís a good show.

Moderator Has there been any mention of when you would return to start filming again?

A. Pasdar Weíve talked about the end of May, beginning of June. Right when it starts to hit its hottest months in Texas, weíll go back. We were there last yearóthis is brutal. I think we had 79 or 89 days over a hundred degrees in a row. We were all saying as we wrapped the last episode, we were all saying, why donít we just keep working until it gets hot and then take those three months off? But the infinite wisdom of the powers that be, they know far better than us about why. I donít know. To answer you, we have not been officially picked up.

Moderator Can you describe the finale in just three words?

A. Pasdar Buckle up.

The Lying Game Official Site:

Alec Rybak on ABC Family's "The Lying Game"

Adrian Pasdar portrays Alec Rybak, a divorced, single father whose personal demons leave him emotionally unavailable to his children, Madeline and Thayer.

Best known for his leading role on NBC's hit show "Heroes," Pasdar's extensive television credits include "Judging Amy," "Desperate Housewives," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Castle" and the upcoming made-for-television movies "Chasing Leprechauns" and "Garden of Evil."

He has appeared in several feature films, among them "Near Dark," "Carlito's Way," "Secondhand Lions" and the independent film "Home Movie." Pasdar also performed on stage in "On the Waterfront" and the Obie Award-winning "Aven' U Boys."

Pasdar's many talents are not limited to acting. He wrote and directed "Cement," the 2000 winner of Houston Worldfest's Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature Film, and co-wrote and co-directed "Atlanta," a musical set against the backdrop of the Civil War.

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