Exploring not-so-flawed ‘Mr. Mercedes’ character fun for Gelman
Q: You have a strong comedy background. There’s a lot of overlap between comedy and horror and I’m wondering what you think that intersection is.
A: I think there is a big intersect. First of all, I think they’re both two genres that are discriminated against by the greater community because they’re so about specific effect. That for some reason when you achieve that effect, it’s not recognized as being nuanced in the way that drama is. And they both go for a specific aim, where comedy is going to make you laugh and horror is trying to make you scream. And there is a really identical process between leading somebody to laughing and being scared. There is the setup and there’s the delivery and then there is the reaction.
Q: You’ve mentioned that this was probably the least flawed character you’ve played. Was that part of the draw and did it require extra effort to convince people that you were the man for this not-so-flawed character?
A: No. The main thing that convinced me was … that Jack Bender and David E. Kelley wanted me to be in this show. So … how could I say anything except yes … ? And no, it was exciting. On top of that, it was exciting to play a character and really get into — as excited as I can get about a character’s flaws, because it is exciting to play a flawed character and to get to dive into that in a way that you don’t get to in life, because your life would wind up a disaster like many of my other characters.
But I really got into empathy and heroes … . I watched Paul Newman in “The Verdict” and I watched Spencer Tracy in “Inherit the Wind,” these great lawyer performances. That was another draw, was getting to play an attorney and get to do monologues to the jury and cross examination scenes and these really brilliantly written scenes … . But every character is a challenge and every job is a challenge and if it’s not, then it’s not good. But that was really exciting and it was an extra bonus to get to play a character that is really pretty well-adjusted.
George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.