Steven Weber is surprised and displeased to suddenly be finding himself the target of TMZ and other gossip media now that he and his wife of 17 years are in the process of divorce.
“It’s been fascinating,” he notes with some sarcasm. “I don’t think of myself as a star in any way, so it’s kind of shocking. It’s ridiculous to have your personal story out there. You really see why people would get incredibly angry over things like this. It’s nobody’s business.”
The actor, who rose to fame on “Wings” and is soon to be seen as the conniving Governor McConaughey on “Dallas,” makes it clear,“My wife and I, we love each other. We’re parents to our amazing children and we’re going to work it out the way we want to. We can craft any kind of relationship we want, and that’s what I plan to do. I’m coping with it. Life goes on, we’re above ground and that’s the important thing.”
Things are going swimmingly for Weber on the professional side. He tells us he’s having a blast on the TNT series. And he has a his Hallmark Channel “Tom Dick & Harriet” TV movie debuting Saturday (3/16).
Ageism, whether in Hollywood, on Madison Avenue, or across America’s Heartland, is normally something not to be laughed about. But Weber enjoys the fact that “Tom Dick & Harriet” takes a lighter approach.
“I thought it was a good way to, I guess, hit upon issues involving middle-aged people without hitting the topic over the head,” he says of the movie, in which he plays an advertising whiz pushed out of his job for being youthfully challenged. His character responds to the injustice by enlisting a young con man to front for him as a copywriting wunderkind. Complications, romantic and otherwise, ensue because of the ruse. “I thought it was nice, doing these comic scenes about this Cyrano de Bergerac situation where he had to utilize somebody who was more in demand, younger, and all that kind of stuff. And it was interesting and fun to play, and very relatable, I would think.”
Weber admits that ageism is a pet peeve of his – and the younger of his two son’s, too, apparently. “He said, unprompted, and I’m not kidding: ‘Why aren’t old people more respected in this country?’ I said, ‘I don’t know! I don’t know!’
“Maybe he hears me talking about it,” he acknowledges, continuing. “There are so many people with so much more experience and ability than others. Hell, my mother is 76 years old and she works at Tiffany in New York, in the offices, and she is essential to them running that office. She knows what she is doing – more so than people half her age, and that’s kind of what this movie is hitting on.”
“Tom Dick & Harriet” is Weber’s second movie for Hallmark. Last year, he starred in the touching “Duke,” a true-life story about a veteran shattered by post-traumatic stress syndrome — and mass efforts to restore to him his loyal dog. He’d love to do more for the channel.
“I think it’s a great place to work, and also, they are mindful of an audience out there that exists and thrives and is loyal. They’re more than a respectable company. They’re a respectful company. They’re respectful of the audience and they are attracting fantastic talent.” Also, Weber maintains, Hallmark is “moving away from the kind of – I would say – simplistic material to things that have more substance. It speaks to their business model, which is one in which they celebrate diversity. They like actors and they like different kinds of material and it’s great.”
Weber is certainly one for different kinds of scripts – and different kinds of, well, a lot of things. His own persona is multi-layered and filled with variation. A warm, devoted dad, he’s also the guy who used to spout jolly, profanity-laced Twitter missives on a regular basis (but gave that up about five months ago). Fans are also used to his acidic political opinion pieces in the Huffington Post and elsewhere. His credits range from the sophisticated – as in the 2003 Showtime “Clubland” he wrote and produced as well as starring in with Alan Alda – to family fare like “An All Dogs Christmas Carol.”
Looking forward, what would come next for him in his perfect world? “In my perfect world? Look, I just turned 52 and I’m looking to do something that’s intense and interesting,” he replies. “I’m waiting for my own ‘Breaking Bad,’ you might say. I want to do something that is different and emotional and challenging, something that runs and something that allows me to explore more different colors. I’d love to do a great series.”