‘Harry’s Law’: Nate Corddry on Love, Lawyers and Shoes

by | February 14, 2011 at 10:07 AM | Harry's Law, Interviews

Nate Corddry on Harry's Law (NBC)

Nate Corddry on Harry's Law (NBC)

On “Harry’s Law,” Nate Corddry plays Adam Branch, an idealistic young lawyer who gives up a lucrative job to work with Harry (Kathy Bates), in a fledgling storefront law office that used to be a shoe store. Adam’s romantic pursuit of his client, Chunhua, took a dramatic turn last week when she was sexually assaulted. Corddry previewed what’s next for the couple, talks about what he’s learned from working with numerous Oscar and Emmy winners, and managed to link high heeled shoes to the female reproductive system.

Chunhua was assaulted in the previous episode. Where is Adam and Chunhua’s relationship headed now? I think any time someone has to experience a trauma like she had to experience, relationships become incredibly complicated and fraught.  The writer, David Kelley, he approaches it with kid gloves and really examines what it’s like for two people who have very recently found each other to experience and deal with the after effects.  It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen on television before. I can’t give too much away, but there’s a lot of things going on between two people trying to recover and trying to fall in love.  It was so juicy as an actor. To fall in love with another character is one thing but to do something like this, it makes you work so much harder as an actor to tell that story. I was talking to my dad after that episode aired. He said, “Great episode. Great episode. I was really surprised by all the violence.”  I said, “Dad, it’s the inner city we’re dealing with here. Guns are going to get shot by other characters besides Harry.”

Are we going to follow her assailant’s case since he was granted immunity for agreeing to testify in a murder? Damian (Johnny Ray Gill) had a shot at killing this guy, but he didn’t. But he’s going to have to deal with the aftereffects of what he did. It plays out over the next episode, what happens to both the rapist and Damian. It’s a storyline that isn’t coming to an end any time soon. It gets played out over the next three episodes.

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In your opinion, is Harry crazy? I don’t think she’s crazy. Something just sort of snapped, as it happens sometimes with people who are bored to tears at their job. I think millions of Americans can relate to that. You can only take so much gas pumping or house painting or paper shredding or patent law. She just realized that she needs more. She only gets one time around on planet Earth and she needs to take advantage of that time. She knows she’s a good lawyer and knows that she can help people.  She’s been helping people in a white collar way and she realizes that she can start helping people in a blue collar way. You feel the effects of that immediately. Like she said in the pilot, she’s not a hugger but she’s going to be dealing with a lot more hugs as the season continues.

What drove Adam to follow in Harry’s footsteps and give up a lucrative job to work at the shoe store law office? Fate kind of crashed into his life, quite literally.  He was forced to stop and take off his Bluetooth headset, put down his papers and assess where he was in his life and he felt like it was a risk worth taking.  I’m sure he went to a really fancy law school and was brought up in a wealthy home and wasn’t really allowed to see that there’s another side of the world. He was on a very strict path and now he sees that there’s perhaps another path. I think he’s really overconfident as well.  He thinks he can do whatever he wants. He thinks he can succeed anywhere and he’s a blessing to anyone who should hire him. And, he’s running away from a girl… I’m sure that had something to do with it as well. Girls are complicated.

His ex, Rachael, keeps popping up. Is she going to continue to play a role in his life? It’s very complicated. They have this relationship. She ended it. He sort of ran away and I think she felt bad, like she had something to do with him fleeing his lucrative job.  So she sort of scrambles back into his life and says, “What are you doing?” They slowly reconnect as friends and try to maintain the friendship. Their paths will cross in the courtroom as well. So lay that on to a relationship with an ex.

Watch Adam Give An Opening Statement:

What is it like to work with Kathy Bates? It’s a thrill. There will be times on set where it’s Friday, eleven o’clock at night, after a long week and everyone’s tired and I just look up and see her sitting at her desk and think, ‘Oh my God. How did I get here? Sharing stage time with Kathy Bates, an Academy Award winner.  She’s been nominated for Tonys, for Emmys, for Oscars.  Her body of work is amazing. There are a lot of people who have won an Oscar who I wouldn’t rush to work with, but she’s truly an actor’s actor. A young actor like me who doesn’t have a fiftieth of her experience, to share a stage with her and to learn from her, I’m incredibly lucky to keep the company I’m keeping.  I hope I can keep it for another five years.

You’re Rob Corddry’s brother. Is everybody in your family funny? How did you both end up in showbiz? There are a lot of funny people in my family. Absolutely. There were a lot of jokes growing up around the dinner table, for sure. We didn’t grow up in a creative family.  My brother was inspired to try out for the play with the drama club. I saw him do that and I thought, ‘Oh that sounds like fun, a hell of a lot more fun than Little League.  So I followed in his footsteps when I was ten or eleven, doing little community theater plays in high school and junior high. I then realized, in college, it was something I needed to pursue.  So I spent the summer at the Williamstown theater festival. That was in 1998. And I realized that this was a path I had to take and I had to try and figure out this business.

You were briefly a correspondent on “The Daily Show.” Why are former “Daily Show” correspondents taking over Hollywood? I don’t know. Why do people who go to Harvard Law run for president and take over politics and start changing laws in the Supreme Court? It’s the Harvard of comedy. There’s no better place to work if you’re a young comedian. The writers there are the best in the country. Both “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report,” you’re working with the best. When you work with the best, you have to raise your game. If you’re working with people who are sub par, you’re not forced to give 100 percent because you can get by on 80 percent. When you work at “The Daily Show” you have to give 100 percent or you’re gone. The competitiveness and the minds that work in those offices are incredible. It raises everyone’s game who works there, starting with Jon (Stewart).  He sets the tone and everyone is at their best for Jon.

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You’ve worked with a lot of Hollywood’s best: David Kelley, Aaron Sorkin on “Studio 60” and, Steven Spielberg on “United States of Tara.” What are they all like? I was surprised to find out that they’re all just human beings. They’re all very kind people, very creative people, who have different philosophies, different ways of relating to their casts, different ways of creating content.  They’re all very different and all equally brilliant. Aaron Sorkin gave me incredible levels. Steven Spielberg, he’s an icon. So to work with all those people, and see their process, it reminds me that there is not one right process and one right way to achieve success in a creative field. It’s about finding your process.  And I think seeing all of them gave me confidence to trust myself that whatever my process was what the right process.

What is your favorite pair of shoes in the law firm/shoe store set? There’s a pair of orange pumps that  I don’t think a human being would actually be able to wear that I look at every day and think [of] what it means to be a woman, how hard it is. Can you imagine walking around in those things? It’s hard enough to have her period every 30 days. It’s hard enough to give birth. It’s hard enough to be a woman living on the planet Earth. But [then] you’ve got to force your feet into these things? Are you kidding? Come on people, let’s wear more flats.

“Harry’s Law” airs Monday’s at 10/9c on NBC.