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Interview with Adrian Pasdar of "The Lying Game" on ABC
ABC Familyís Q&A Session with Adrian Pasdar Ė The Lying
Moderator The wedding proposal seemed to happen so quickly. Is Alec
suspicious of Rebeccaís motives, or has he completely fallen in love
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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.
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,
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
Moderator Who would you like to see as a guest performer, or a guest
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
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
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
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
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
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:
* ABOUT ADRIAN PASDAR
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
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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