David Hyde Pierce is enjoying reactions he’s getting to his wa-a-a-a-ay out there character in the July 1 release “The Perfect Host.” As he points out, “It’s a really juicy part, one I think any actor would want. On the surface, he’s very much the kind of character people are used to seeing me play, but in the course of the movie — he’s not.”
That’s putting it mildly, as the tale of a criminal on the lam (Clayne Crawford) who talks his way into the upscale home of Pierce’s character soon finds himself in the clutches of one truly twisted psycho. The indie feature is definitely not for the squeamish, or anyone with an aversion to violence — but critics and festival crowds have found Pierce’s exuberantly maniacal performance irresistible. “It’s a fun trip to take people on,” he says. “People enjoy the ride. There are a lot of twists and turns and stuns along the way.”
“The Perfect Host,” newly available via Video on Demand, is the handiwork of first-time director, Australia’s Nick Tomnay. The script, Tomnay’s short film of the same story, and a meeting in which they hit it off sold Pierce on taking on the movie, he says. As far as challenges, “I had such a good time doing it, I don’t really think of any of it as a challenge. We had a short, intensive, focused filming period — but I think that was an asset, since the characters in the film are in such an extreme and intense situation.” The production took a brisk 17 days.
The film marked one of the few times recently that the former Niles Crane of “Frasier” has been back before the cameras, as he’s made the New York theater world his home base. Next up for the Tony-winning (Curtains) performer: his first directing job, the new musical It Shoulda Been You, which features book and lyrics by Brian Hargrove and music by Barbara Anselmi, opening this fall at the New Brunswick Theatre. He will not perform in the Tyne Daly starrer. “Since I’ve never directed before and it’s a new musical, that will be plenty,” he notes dryly. But he does have his next acting role in his sites, a new play he’ll take on after It Shoulda Been You.