Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Interview with Eric Sheffer Stevens Part Two

Welcome to Day Two of my interview with Eric Sheffer Stevens. Today we talk about challenging roles, dream directors, and working with Terri (Colombino) Conn.

What would you say is the most challenging role you’ve performed to date?

[long pause] I don’t… I don’t know. I have kind of a hard time with those questions. “What was your favorite scene?” And I look back and it’s just a blank. I don’t see anything. Hold on here. I’m moving over to the computer to open up my resume.

[laughing] We can go ahead and skip that question if you want. They’re not typed in stone.

No, wait, I’m opening it now. I’ll glance over this and come back to it.

Okay. Well, you had mentioned in one of your radio call-ins that you had just completed a scene with Terri that you really enjoyed, but you couldn’t tell us what it was because it hadn’t aired yet. So there was a bit of a debate going on on Twitter about what scene it was.


Oh, yeah? What month was it?

Um… it was the first radio show, so it was probably right near the end. Within the last month of filming, the last few episodes, I think?

What did I do with Terri… I don’t know if this was it, because I have no idea, I don’t remember that, but it might have been – what did I say about it? Did I say anything about it? Or did I just say I enjoyed it?

You said you really enjoyed it, and it was a lot of fun to do, but you couldn’t say what it was because it hadn’t [aired] yet.

Oh, this wasn’t what I was thinking of, because this wasn’t fun to do, but… well, maybe. There were two things it could have been. The funny one, towards the end, was ...the toothbrush thing. I thought that was so random when the writers wrote that I actually keep my toothbrush in a very specific place in the holder, and that I noticed that it was turned the wrong way. And then she says, “Oh, yeah, Chris stayed over,” and I threw it. That was fun to do. That was a fun scene. I’m not sure if that was it.

One of the ones I was most impressed with with her was when she finds out Chris is sick, and then she finds out I already knew, that I knew the whole time. And then she just hits me in the chest. She hit me so hard that afterward I lifted up my shirt and showed her that her handprint was right on my chest, and it was there for half the day. But I thought it was really fantastic. Because before doing it, she was like, “I don’t know, it’s kind of stupid,” and the director’s going, “Just do it. Just go with it. I think it’s good. It’s good.” And then when she did it, she did it completely unlike how we rehearsed it and just completely whaled on me.

And she also has an amazing emotional connection. I’m really impressed with her. I thought she was fantastic. And then the whole end, with Reid dying, and dealing with Chris… I think she’s a really great actor. I loved everything we did. I loved working with her.

That was, I think, my second favorite pairing of yours on the show, with Terri. Reid and Katie together. I loved that connection you guys had.

Uh-huh. What’s your first favorite?

[Laughter] Well, it’s kind of obvious…


Yes, definitely [Reid] and Luke.


But yes, I think you’ve covered the bases, because I think those were the two scenes that were argued about on Twitter which were the favorite ones. So I think you’re going to make everybody happy by mentioning both of those.

Oh, really? [laughter]

Have you had a chance to look at your resume?

No, no, I was trying to remember that scene. You asked me another tough one and I couldn’t –

Sorry, I distracted you again.

I started, and then I got distracted. Give me the next one, and then I’ll answer it.

Okay, let’s see…

I know one I really struggled in. I just found this and had a horrible memory associated with it. I did Alexei in A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY, by Turgenev, Brian Friel’s adaptation. I was in grad school, so this was just ten years ago. I felt like I was miserable in that. I couldn’t find my way in that one. I had a really hard time [communicating with the director] and I just wasn’t sure what I was doing. I really struggled through that whole process and wasn’t very happy with it. Ultimately I was happy for it to end. I felt like I kind of arrived at something finally but I remember I was just miserable to the point where I didn’t want to go to rehearsal. I would listen to Nine Inch Nails, I remember, on the way over to rehearsal, just trying to get some sort of energy. Some sort of will to live. [laughter] It was terrible.

That’s a really interesting choice to get the will to live, through Nine Inch Nails. You know, whatever works for you.

Yeah, that doesn’t quite work out. As far as the energy of the piece, I found, not the message of it. Not Trent Reznor’s darkness.

Okay, going to the other end of the spectrum, if you could choose a dream director to work with, who’s on your list?

Jack O’Brien. I would work with him again in a second. He was a dream director. When I did COAST OF UTOPIA, that was the one of the first times I worked with somebody who was famous and worked on Broadway all the time. And then I actually worked with him and found out that he’s just the real deal. He’s actually that good. It’s not just a hype situation. He’s a brilliant director. What he did with that sprawling, nine-hour play was unbelievable. He was like a preacher, and we just followed him. He’s a dream director to me, even though I’ve already worked with him.
The full cast of COAST OF UTOPIA. Eric is third from the left, back row, wearing black.
It’s nice to find that kind of experience.

Oh, yeah. Yeah.

(Be sure to come back tomorrow for more! We'll be diving into the ATWT phenomenon.)


Notoriouslyunique said...

This part is even more AWESOME than the first!
It feels like I'm listening to you guys talk on a radio show or something! :D
ESS is AMAZING here and you sound totally starstruck and points and then completely professional (like with a pant suit, hair in a bun, and glasses riding low on your nose-bridge) at other times :D
I can't wait for the rest

Tree1970 said...

Oh Kate! What a great way to start my day! I love ESS with every new installment. With this piece, I am so excited to see more of his work.

This guy is so ...no words!

Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

I am SO loving this. FINALLY...an interview that focuses on Eric Sheffer Stevens NOT Dr. Reid Oliver. Eric had some serious acting cred before he ever signed on as Reid Oliver. It's nice to see an interview where the focus is on his body of work and professional experiences as a whole!
Great job!

Unknown said...

Another great part. I liked that he had a good experience working on ATWT judging by how much he praises his co-stars, in this case Terri Colombino. And it's also interesting to hear that he's had less-than-favorable experiences as well.

Thanks for this.

MEPariseau said...

This is the best interview that i have read with ESS. Your respect for him and that your focus is on ESS and not just one role that he has played is a shining example of what makes an interview great. I am sure that ESS appreciated that.

Thank you for doing the interview and another round of thanks goes out to the friend who pushed you to do.


Traci said...

Yay Kate! I love the honest responses that you elicit from him! This is just such a great, REAL interview and I love every word of it! I can actually hear his voice when I read the answers.

I agree with something said by the anonymous poster. It's just so great to read an interview focusing on him and not just his character on ATWT. Wonderful!

Miss Ripley said...

Fantastic as always!
[omg xD the 'word verification' i have to enter to submit this comment, is "brain" xD]

Kimberly said...

Another great part of this Interview Kate. Thank you again (something tells me I will be saying that a lot this week.)

I also agree on that it is refreshing to see an interview that focuses on Eric the actor not Reid the character. And I also love that it seems so real.

My favorite part (of course I had to quote again):

That was, I think, my second favorite pairing of yours on the show, with Terri. Reid and Katie together. I loved that connection you guys had.

Uh-huh. What’s your first favorite?

[Laughter] Well, it’s kind of obvious…


Yes, definitely [Reid] and Luke.


Loving this, thank you again :)

Kimberly said...

P.S. Just had to add that I watched the vids after I commented. I first watched the toothbrush one and then the emotional scene with Katie.

I was laughing my butt off watching the first one and then in tears watching the second.

Every time I re-watch any of Eric's scenes I realize why it was that I fell in love with his acting almost from day one. Thank you again for bringing this to us. Cannot wait for the rest :)

Megan said...

Loved part two of the interview, Kate! So glad you asked our question from the phone interview. :D I can definitely see the toothbrush scene being the one he was talking about. Can't wait for part 3!

Kate Davies said...

Notoriouslyunique - if I could get my hair into a bun it would be a miracle of modern engineering.

I'm so thrilled you all are enjoying it! It was a wonderful experience interviewing Eric and I'm glad that's coming through in the write-up. He's just so articulate and easy to talk to.

And yes, the burst of laughter when he asked "what's your first favorite?" was probably deafening. LOL

Kate Davies said...

Megan - of course I asked the question! It's what led to the interview in the first place! Though if I'd actually gotten through on the radio interview to ask it, I probably would have crawled into a hole when I realized I'd put him on the spot - in a live interview - with the question. LOL

Scarlett Echo said...

Eric is the perfect subject. Very accommodating. I love how thorough he wants to be and how amenable he is to the questions. You can see he values connections, the process of acting and interacting with others. Love him. And his honesty is just so attractive.
The image of him listening to NiN for a kick in the rear... *thud* My kind of man.
Great interview.
Anyone lucky enough to hire Eric for a role will be paid back in spades.

Becky said...

These questions are AWESOME! It's been really interesting to read new things about ESS, and his thoughts on his past jobs. Also nice to hear his thoughts on working with Terri. There has been so much focus on he and Van (rightfully so), so it's nice to read his thoughts on other actors. Thank you so much, and I look forward to part 3!

Jana said...

I enjoy reading this so much, I cant wait for another part Kate!
Great to hear about Eric working with Teri:)
I laughed so hard at this, adorable:
"Uh-huh. What’s your first favorite?
[Laughter] Well, it’s kind of obvious…

I can totally imagine your voices during the interview. thank you so much for bringing this to us.

Anonymous said...

Um--hating Terri that she got to see him lift up his shirt to show her her handprint on his bare chest. Argh. Loved his Nine Inch Nails reference. I've had Reid as a Nine Inch Nails fan in a couple of stories! Great interview!!

fatherbananas said...

I said I was going to hold off on commenting on the interview until it was all posted, but I know I'm going to crack when it gets to tomorrow's part, so HI!

The Terri stories are absolutely brilliant, and it sounds like she's just as awesome as Katie was. Loving the whole interview so far, even the searching the resume bit. In fact, especially that bit.

fatherbananas said...

Also, what are you talking about? Of COURSE Reid's deepest, most meaningful relationship was with Henry Coleman.

Kate Davies said...

You know, fatherbananas, I actually thought of you during that part of the conversation. I almost said that you would have argued for Henry. LOL

Rolsfan said...

I love these interviews with Eric. He's so funny. I laughed when he didn't know what your first favorite pairing was on ATWT. Duh. lol. I hope he talks about working with Van in the next one.

zippy2825 said...

This is an excellent interview, very entertaining and out of the ordinary. After a spate of more traditional offerings, it is refreshing and very enjoyable. The only complaint I have is that I wish you guys could talk for a month. This is such fun.

ltklo said...

Another terrific installment. I find it humorous that ESS doesn't dwell on the past. He seemed really engaged during your interview. Loved the stuff about Terri.

Aldi said...

Heeeeh! This was so much fun to read. I love how naturally the conversation flows instead of being all stilted and boring like interviews often are. You're rocking this!