Tag Archives: Craig T. Nelson

Craig T. Nelson Pals with ‘Parenthood’ Grandkids Off-Camera

Craig T. Nelson, Lauren Graham, Erika Christensen and Peter Krause photo by Chris Pizzello

Tough economic times will be hitting Craig T. Nelson hard this fall – on big and small screen.  He plays the CEO in John Wells’ forthcoming “Company Men” corporate downsizing drama, with Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner and Chris Cooper also in the cast.  And on “Parenthood,” he reveals, things will be going from bad to real bad for his family patriarch character, Zeek Braverman, who’s been having money trouble.

“It’s something that I talked about with Jason,” says Craig, referring to series creator Jason Katims.  “It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s going to.  With the finances, the counseling he and his wife (Bonnie Bedelia) are going through, and some of the other things that are going on in the family, they’re trying to weather the storm.”

Even as Zeek wades through his traumas, Craig is enjoying himself immensely on the acclaimed NBC show.  He obviously gets along better with his series grandkids off camera than he does as Zeek, who tends to make the kind of remarks that start family feuds.

“You try to make it comfortable for the kids, you know, because shooting a TV series — it’s a very unnatural situation for the younger ones,” he says.  “It’s fun to mix it up and hear what they’re thinking.  I love it.  I love listening to their music.  I asked Miles Heizer to make me a CD of music he likes so I can listen to it,” he adds, referring to the 16-year-old actor who plays Lauren Graham’s son on the show.

And he likes talking current events and such with 22-year-old Mae Whitman, who plays difficult teen Amber:  “I spend a lot of time getting her viewpoints.”

The affable star of vehicles ranging from his “Coach” series to “The Incredibles” is, of course, known for having some very strong opinions himself.  He’s remembered for his appearance last year on Glenn Beck’s program, talking about refraining from paying taxes to protest out-of-control government spending, you may recall.  So one might think talking politics on set could get dicey.

“I think as long as you don’t escalate it into something that becomes very personal and vitriolic, you’re fine,” says Craig.  “There’s a lot of hate speech out there.  There’s a lot of viewpoints that instill rancor, and that’s just not right.  It’s about being able to garner a lot of different viewpoints, I think, and then find a center that’s going to work for everybody.”

Craig T. Nelson’s Loss Was Ed O’Neill’s ‘Modern Family’ Gain

Ed O'Neill ABC photo

Ed O'Neill ABC photo

The raft of rave reviews that preceded Ed O’Neill’s “Modern Family” sitcom onto the ABC lineup this week are being received with a mixed response by the actor.

“It’s kind of spooky,” says the man who first found television fame as Al Bundy on the long running “Married, With Children.”  “I’m not used to such good fortune. I’ve never had a show that’s come out of the gate like this.  It seems too good to be true.”

It was too good to be true at first.  Ed reveals that the creators of the hilarious   three-generation sitcom offered him the starring part before it had even been written.  But it turned out the network wanted Craig T. Nelson as the lead, “and it was only when that didn’t work out,” says Ed, “that they came back to me.  I told my manager, ‘Make the deal — it’s too good a show to pass up.”

It wasn’t the first time fate played a happy hand on Ed.  “The hardest job I never got was David Milch’s “Deadwood.” he says. “I was slated to play the lead, but it turned out that HBO didn’t want me.  There was no point in asking why.  But about 15 minutes after I got the word that I wasn’t doing the show received a call from producer Dick Wolf who was doing a remake of ‘Dragnet.‘  Danny Huston was supposed to star, but backed out and here was Dick telling me, ‘I need you to play Joe Friday.’ Joe, of course, was the lead.”

O’Neill reveals, “I’m rarely the first pick, and there have been times that that’s been really upsetting.  But it didn’t put me to bed.  After a day or two I would shrug it off.  I’d be crazy if I didn’t consider myself one of the lucky actors.   At first, after ‘Married,With Children,’ there was the tendency to typecast me, but I never took it personally.  I just kept going forward and thought that eventually I’d be able to get away from the role of Al Bundy.  And I have.  And that’s enabled me to get out of the system money-wise, where I don’t have to do jobs I don’t want to do just because I need the money.  Indeed, I am lucky.”

THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT ACTING:  When you’re an actor on a series doing love scenes with the actress who is married to the star of the show in real life, it would seem things might get a little nerve-wracking.  But David Ramsey – guitar-playing, pot-smoking confidential informant Anton Briggs to “Dexter” fans – makes it sound as if he and Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter take it all in stride. 

 “Love scenes in general are awkward.  I don’t know that it’s more awkward,” he tells us.  “You try to be careful in scenes where you have to kiss, to make sure you haven’t had hot dogs that day or whatever.” 

 According to Ramsey, there’s lots more of Anton and Debra (Dexter’s sister) ahead on this season of the Showtime hit, which has its season premiere Sunday (9/27).  “The writers, to their credit, aren’t going for the same type of shock value they did last year in terms of something life-threatening happening to Anton,” divulges the actor – whose character, last year, was nearly skinned alive.  This season “delves into the psychology of Debra and Anton’s relationship.  He’s the calm in the storm for her.  The major challenge between Debra and Anton this season is how she sees herself as not really worthy of love.  She has a major problem with her self-worth.  That fact becomes illuminated by Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine) coming back into her life.”

 THE INDUSTRY EYE:  Keanu Reeves’ “Henry’s Crime” is set to go into production the end of November with shooting set for New York City and Buffalo, Malcolm Venville directing and Keanu producing.  Just one big element still missing, it would seem, from the romantic comedy about a nice guy who’s mis-identified as a bank robber — the leading lady.  They’re talking to prospects now to fill the role of Julia, an aspiring actress (a good one – who’s in a production of “The Cherry Orchard”) who’s Henry’s love interest.

 An even bigger actor space to fill is that of the lead character Sutter Kelly in Fox Searchlight’s adaptation of the Tim Tharp novel, “The Spectacular Now.”   The coming-of-age dramedy is about a hard-partying, popular high school boy whose world changes when he meets a shy, insecure girl – a boy also facing the uncomfortable realization that his youth is almost over – so it’s very choice role.  Marc Webb of music video and “500 Days of Summer” fame is set to direct the movie

 It was announced last March that Corey Feldman would be on board for “The Lost Boys 3” – and now preproduction is picking up on the direct-to-DVD threequel, with casting being completed on subsidiary roles.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster 

Craig T. Nelson Guesses NBC Won’t Like His Return to Glenn Beck

Craig T. Nelson Fox News photo

Craig T. Nelson Fox News photo

Craig T. Nelson reveals he’ll be making a return visit this month on controversial Fox News personality Glenn Beck’s show, and says that once again he’ll vow to protest our government’s behavior by vowing to stop paying his income tax.

The actor, perhaps best known for his long run on the series “Coach” and “The District,” wants us to know that the areas that bother him the most in Washington “involve lobbyists and special interest groups and the education of our children.  It’s my grandchildren I’m worried about.” 

Nelson, the father of three, the grandfather of five and the great grandfather of a four-month-old grandson, says that, “With so many things rearing their ugly heads in Washington, it’s more important than ever for people to speak out.”

He has a hunch that NBC — the network that will be bring us Craig’s upcoming “Parenthood” series, won’t be overjoyed by his political tirades.

“I think,” he quips, “It could be a cause celeb.  Let’s face it, there could be some ramifications because NBC is a little more liberal than the other networks.”

“Parenthood” was planned for debut this month, but delayed because of the illness of leading lady Maura Tierney.  At first the network refrained from issuing details about her medical problems, then Maura herself revealed she is fighting breast cancer.  It is hoped she will be feeling well enough to join the cast when it’s now due to start shooting in November.  That cast includes Peter Krause, Erika Christensen, Dax Shepard, Bonnie Bedelia and Craig T. Nelson.

Jacob Zacher ABC Family photo

Jacob Zacher ABC Family photo

IT’S ‘GREEK’ TO HIM:  “Greek” star Jacob Zachar tells us now that the series is in its third season, he’s relieved to be finally getting the chance to have more flexibility with his character.  “Because we feel very comfortable with our characters and the crew, they let us play around more and they let us have our own opinions now.  That thin line of trying to create something without stepping on other people’s toes has widened a little bit,” says Zachar, who plays Rusty in the ABC Family show. 

 “For me personally, as an actor you want to keep creating, but often times you get shut down for certain reasons.”  He imagines the feeling is similar to what an artist would feel if told “what colors to use.  It would obviously be killing the original artistic sensibility.  So I’m glad they are letting the actors make some choices.  It gives us a lot more confidence.”

 While the show takes place on a college campus, Zachar hopes they’ll have many more seasons to continue to grow in these roles.  “What we’ve shot so far this season, I’m the most proud of.  Having had a couple of months off definitely made coming back even more enjoyable,” he notes.  “We had a realization that we’ve shot 50 hours already and we can make a slower progression to our destination, and as characters slowly become different.  We don’t know where they’re taking the show yet, but I’d say the characters are slowly changing as they would in real life – nothing too drastic.  Even if you’re new to this show, it’s one of those shows where you can pick up immediately.”  

 FASHION CONSCIOUS:  Things are heating up for Tinsel Town designers and stylists as Emmy time nears, but one star who has it all figured out already is “Prayers for Bobby” Outstanding Lead Actress nominee Sigourney Weaver.  “I tried on this really pretty dress for the Greg Mottola film, but we didn’t end up using it,” she says, speaking of Mottola’s upcoming sci fi comedy, “Paul,” about a pair of comic book lovers who encounter a for-real extraterrestrial. “So when the nomination happened, I got in touch with the designer and asked if I could use it.  So that’s done.”  That’s using your head.

Melissa Peterman

Melissa Peterman

 JUST DO IT:  Funny lady Melissa Peterman reveals that when good pal and former costar Reba McEntire and her husband Narvel Blackstock phoned her up last year to talk about Peterman serving as Reba’s in-concert lead-in, she was anything but well prepared.  “They said, ‘We think it would be a good fit, and an interesting way to open a concert,’ and I said, ‘Yes.’  And then I got off the phone and said, ‘What did I just do?’  I’m more of an improv gal.  This, for me, was the first real stand-up I’d done.  Most people start off at Ha-Has in Van Nuys with five people watching.  I walked out in front of 13,000 people my first show.  It was baptism by fire.”  Peterman wound up opening 25 shows for Reba and Kelly Clarkson, and another 20 or so for Reba alone.  “It worked out,” she says.  “Sometimes you just have to say yes and then it just forces you to work on something you wanted anyway.”

 With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster