Exclusive Interview : Tom Amandes

Clint Morris talks to the star of “Everwood”

If you haven’t seen “Everwood”…heck, if you haven’t seen “Everwood”, you’re missing out. It’s undeniably one of the most well written and most engaging family dramas on Television. The show stars Treat Williams as a hotshot New York surgeon that retires to a small Colorado township, with his two kids in tow, after the death of his wife. It’s there that he finds himself…. and an old train station to set up a new medical practice out of. The fabulous Tom Amandes (“The Guardian”, “Spin City”) plays Dr.Harold Abbott, the current doctor in “Everwood”, who’s initially wary of the newcomer, but ultimately develops a close, albeit never-too-exposed, respect for the man. CLINT MORRIS talks to Amandes about the series.

Now something I’ve always wanted to know: where is that beautiful township that you film in?
Set in Colorado, but we actually shoot in lovely Utah. We shot the pilot in and around Calgary – as did Brokeback Mountain – but the Canadian winter was just too brutal. We were there during a stretch of 20 below. Fahrenheit or Celsius, that’s just too damn cold for filming. Salt Lake City is positively balmy, by comparison. And when we need snow, we drive up to the mountains – it’s a quick trip.

You’ve been doing the show for a while now; you must know your character inside out? Having said that, how alike are you?
What are you insinuating, Mr. Morris? That just because I play someone who’s petty, rigid and anal retentive on TV, that I’m that way in real life? I’m anything but rigid. There are the unimportant few, who might accuse me of being petty and anal retentive….my wife, for example..

Tell me about playing opposite Treat Williams?
Greg Berlanti modelled Andy and Harold on the Odd Couple’s Oscar and Felix. And, swear to God, that’s what Treat and I are like together. God help us if Pam and Nancy divorced us and we were forced to move in together.
When Treat and I get to do a scene together, it’s like we’re back in High School. Well, at least that’s the way he behaves. We laugh a lot, and there’s no shtick we won’t stoop to. But I think the results speak for themselves. (See below…)

Do you like the security of working in TV? What is it that appeals to you about it?
Security, my dear Clint? Our network just got cancelled out from under us. After four seasons on “the best written show on television” (TV Guide), we’re looking at a very uncertain future. So, believe me, you want security? Go into the funeral business. I think what draws me to series television, is the fact that you have the opportunity to develop characters over years. And when you’re working with scripts of the calibre we get, and working with the cast we have, that’s pretty sweet.

How did you like working with local boy, Simon Baker, on “The Guardian”?
Simon is a gem. And we had a great time working together. But he was in the thick of it. I think he’d just had a baby, and being the leading man in series TV means you rarely see your family. He wasn’t crazy about that part of the equation. As for “Spin City”, another great group. I’ve been lucky in that way.

What can you tell me about your next film, “Bonneville”?
It’s got a “Thelma and Louise” kind of feel. Jessica Lange plays a recent widow, who tangles with her step-daughter (Christine Baranski) over her late husband’s effects. Strong armed into bringing his ashes from Idaho to California, she makes a road trip of it, bringing along her pals Joan Allen and Kathy Bates. I play Christine’s husband, who tries to rein in his wife’s vindictiveness. Not a huge part, but what a hoot to be up there working with this group. I think it should come together really well.

What’s the latest on “Everwood”? I hear it mightn’t be part of the new CW Network over there?
The latest is… nobody knows. Well, at least no one who’s saying. I was at a Sundance party two days before this whole network merger came out – we live in Park City, so Sundance is in our back yard – and I was talking to a guy who works on the brilliant, but recently cancelled “Arrested Development”. He asked what I thought about Everwood’s future. I said, “Frankly, I worry more about the network being cancelled than our show.” So there we are.
You talk of the maddening programming in Australia, the WB network has treated us the same here. After earning our slot on Monday nights the first two seasons, the network tried pulling us for other shows – with no success. Then, they abruptly moved us to Thursdays, where we’ve done well despite them. Though not as well as we did on Mondays. So now we’re in limbo as far as next season.
Luckily, now that there’s been a change at the top, we go back to our Monday time slot starting March 27. So we’ll have one last solid shot to prove our worth with a bunch of successive episodes. A good thing.
So, wish us luck, Clint. And thanks for giving us a boost down under.

EVERWOOD screens Friday nights on ARENA 8:30PM.

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