Exclusive Interview : Kevin Weisman

The “Alias” star on life after Marshall Flinkman


Kevin Weisman has been the comic relief on TV hit “Alias” for five years now. He’s now been given the chance to thank those for laughing at him – truly, he likes it – as a guest of Australia’s Supanova convention 2006, which runs October 27-29, at Sydney Olympic Park. Weisman talked to CLINT MORRIS in the lead-up to the event.

Where are you talking from?
Los Angeles Ca-li-for-ni-a

Ohhh. Just got back from L.A. Suffered through that sweltering heat you guys had!
Oh, yeah, you came at our hot time.

Exactly. I was told I was should have waited a month or two.
Totally. How’s the weather over there? I’m leaving tomorrow night, coming to Sydney, what’s it like there?

Nice. Very nice. Today’s probably the first day of a bit of a heat, but nothing compared to what you guys have been suffering through the past couple of months.
Starting to warm up a bit…. Nice. Looking forward to it.

So you’re coming over to see the fans?
And shake some hands. Actually bringing my wife and my baby and we’re going to make a little trip out of it – going to Sydney, then we’re doing another [convention] in Auckland, and then we’re going to shoot up to Queenstown, I think, and some other areas of New Zealand; just to kind of check it out. I’m looking forward to it. I like seeing these people…these fans that are passionate about the show [“Alias”]…all over the world. I did one of these in London last year, and people came from all over Western Europe just to see some people from the show so it was really interesting…and great….I love that people are really into it.

And what’s fantastic is that half the people here in Australia, won’t even be aware that “Alias” is finished.
Oh really? Yeah, we’re done. You’re about to watch the final season. The guy on the phone with me before you told me it’s going to air in two months there in Australia.

J.J Abrams, who I was talking to a couple of months ago, was ecstatic with the season finale.
He’s a great guy, and he’s really passionate about his projects. It’s hard; he had to do 22 episodes of a TV show season and really had to be at the top of his game. It was a great group. An amazing five years. It was also very educational, just from a creative standpoint. So…you move on, with a little sadness, but I look back fondly.

As J.J said to me, it’s bittersweet, but he’d rather go out on top.
Yeah exactly, and the show is wrapped up nicely – the rimbaldi thing is wrapped up, all the characters’ loose ends are tied up…. I think that long-time fans will be rewarded and those folks that just occasionally watch it will be entertained as well.

But, of course, now you have another character that all that all the freakish convention fans will remember you for… the ‘Hobbit’ guy from “Clerks II”.
Oh yeah….oh god…I didn’t even think about that…that there was going to be a heap of Clerks 2 fans there, too. I have stranger people that approach me for Clerks 2 – not in a bad way, they’re just more intense people than casual Alias fans – I mean, the Clerks fans, gee, they’re some fans!

I was at Comic-Con this year in San Diego, and Kevin [Smith]…
He’s huge there isn’t he?

Oh he is. It’s unbelievable – and they’ll line up for hours just to ask him a question – and then they’ll ask him one of those meticulous fan-fetishy questions imaginable…something he’ll have trouble answering.
He’s great. He was a fan of Alias, and he just called me up and asked me if I wanted to do it. I didn’t even read anything. I just knew it would be fun. His movies are always entertaining – if anything. He’ll admit that some are classics, and some aren’t – not everything can be a home run – but I think Clerks 2 is a very funny film. I think he did a great job with it. On the page, that scene I did was a lot smaller, we just kind of messed around and had fun with it, and it ended up being a pretty fun, memorable scene.

Very memorable – one of the most memorable scenes of the movie. Just that whole “Star Wars” Vs. “Lord of the Rings” fight is priceless.
The classic argument. The big battle.

So which side are you on – the “Lord of the Rings” or the “Star Wars” side?
I gotta go Star Wars – only because it was a seminal film for me. I was seven when the first film came out, and was very taken with the first three movies, and that kind of thing just doesn’t go away. It leaves an impression. I also loved the Lord of the Rings movies, too. I saw them all and [again] on DVD. But, if I had to choose, I’d have to go old school.

What do you think of the latest “Star Wars” movies though?
I haven’t even seen the last one, to be honest with you. I didn’t hate them, and I don’t think Jar Jar Binks was as annoying as everyone made him out to be, I just lost interest. Though, I understand that they did get progressively better as they went along. I have it [Revenge of the Sith] sitting on my desk, I gotta watch it. The problem is, the digital effects are so advanced that it almost does the film a disservice, because the cool thing about the originals is that they didn’t have the access to this digital augmentation. I liked the ‘rough around the edges’ look to it – now it’s like almost, overload.

I know exactly what you’re saying – they’re supposed to be prequels, supposed to be set before the events of the first three films, but they just look too damn good! Rust them up!
Exactly. I like Ewan McGregor, and some of the other actors that they got in the new ones though…. Shit, I wish they’d have had me; I would’ve done it.

J.J [Abrams] is doing Star Trek now.
Yeah. I don’t know if I look like a young ‘any of those guys’ so I’m screwed. I can’t be a young Mr.Spock…

Greg Grunberg’s already got his hand up for that, hasn’t he?
I’m sure he has [Laughs]. If there’s a job that J.J’s doing, Greg’s always knockin’ on the door. Yeah look, I would love to work with J.J again – on anything – he’s a great guy, great director…. I’m sure we will, when something comes along.

We will get the word out anyway, and see if we can get you a role in the next “Trek” movie.
[Laughs] That’s all right…

There’s gotta be a Young Scotty in there…
Yeah, I gotta work on my accent. I’ve gotta start renting the old ones, researching them thoroughly, and then I’ll be calling J.J constantly and leaving messages. I’ll stop, when he gives me a role.

What’s “Mr. Nice Guy”?
It was a pilot I did for ABC, after Alias, but they ended up firing the lead actor. The whole thing just fell apart. It’s not happening. It was kind of a bad choice on my part. What can you do? You think something is going to be good, and then….er….. it was out of my control.

What have you done since “Clerks II”?
I just did an episode of The Ghost Whisperer. One of the guys who directed Alias asked me to do it. It was a real challenge – I played a guy who died, who has high-functioning autism, and Jennifer Love Hewitt’s character has to help me pass through. It was actually a really challenging role. I did a bunch of research for it. I also took some time off, because I had a baby, but starting to get back into it now – - – might do a play, looking at a couple of films….. got some things in the pot.

You’ve produced, too. I remember you did a film with Kirk Douglas a couple of years ago?
Yeah, Illusion – and I’m actually looking to produce something else right now – it did very well at festivals. It was great. It’s coming out on DVD. It was a great learning process – as a producer, you have to raise the money, but you don’t have to answer to anyone and you can be your own creative boss. It was something I really enjoyed, because as an actor, you’re really only responsible for your ‘role’ in the story.

Supanova convention 2006, October 27-29, Sydney Olympic Park