Henry Winkler says even he doesn’t know whether his new series character — Eddie, the mysterious wayward father on the USA Network’s “Royal Pains” — is a good-hearted finagler or someone more sinister.
Eddie was talked about last season by his estranged sons (Mark Feuerstein and Paulo Costanzo) on the popular series about a concierge doctor to the very rich. Viewers know that, thanks to his gullible younger son, Eddie has taken money from their HankMed company and claims he’ll give it back. On Thursday’s (6/10) episode, he’ll get even deeper into his sons’ world.
“I was invited into the writers’ room to chat about the character. Nobody knew who Eddie was; they had an impression of him,” Winkler tells us. “We talked about him a little bit. Now he grows as we watch the dailies. I’ve found that is true of certain characters. That happened with The Fonz, and with Barry Zuckerhorn,” he says, referring, of course, to his iconic “Happy Days” character and to his ineffectual, disinterested lawyer in “Arrested Development.”
Winkler doesn’t know how many episodes of “Royal Pains” he’ll wind up doing. He does know he’s grown very fond of his onscreen offspring – Feuerstein, who “has more energy than 25 human beings and just astonishing creativity,” and Costanzo, who “is sensitive, funny, a genius at improvisation. You never know where your scene is going to go with him.”
The beloved star has been headquartering in New York with wife Stacey while doing “Royal Pains” – but he’s also been traveling much of the time, as media spokesperson for a therapeutic use of Botox for upper limb spasticity, and on book tour appearances on behalf of his and Lin Oliver’s 17th and final Hank Zipzer kids’ tome. In it, our learning-challenged hero at long last finds his key to success as he gets into performing arts school with none other than prolific producer-director Garry Marshall as his mentor.
“I had to make him Hank’s mentor because he was my mentor,” explains Winkler, who unknowingly struggled with dyslexia throughout his school days. “I sent him the first copy. He called up and said, in his Gary way, ‘This is very lovely — I’m in the book!’” Readers can look forward to a new book series from Winkler launching this fall.