By Jill Serjeant
(Reuters) – Kelsey Grammer switched from comedy to dark drama to play ruthless Chicago Mayor Tom Kane in the Starz TV series “Boss,” earning a Golden Globe for a role that took him back to his classical theater roots.
On Friday, “Boss” returns for a second season, with Kane struggling to keep a debilitating brain disease secret and looking to repair his legacy.
The former “Frasier” star, 57, talked with Reuters about the new season, his disappointment at being overlooked by the Emmys and his delight at becoming a father for the fifth time with his new wife Kayte.
Q: It looks as if things are going from bad to worse for Tom Kane. How much longer will he be able to keep his medical condition secret?.
A: “We deal with that in this upcoming season. You will just have to be surprised. I don’t have a satisfying answer for you right now.”
Q: But it does seems as if Kane is a changed person and more concerned about his legacy than just staying in power.
A: “It is definitely something on his mind. There is a nugget of intellectual agitation that is driving him right now. He has got to start worrying about what is going to be thought of him in the end. He is trying to establish a project that has his name on it, that is more selfless.”
Q: Your performance is a tour de force. How exhausting is it playing a character who is always plotting and who is now having hallucinations?
A: “He is a great character to play because he is so energetic. The guy’s vitality is fantastic. He is dying and yet he has more vitality than most people who have another 50 years to live. It is more energizing to play in a weird way.
“We have explored and lifted from Shakespeare quite a bit. Apparitions in Shakespeare are common place and in the culture of that time they were meant as real things. It is up to the audience whether they want to accept it as a real thing or a figment of his imagination.”
Q: And yet you were overlooked in the Emmy nominations this time, despite winning a Golden Globe in January. Does that kind of snub hurt?
A: “Oh yes, it hurts a lot. It is a little confusing, actually. I still don’t know what to make of it. I am still not sure how it happened, but I am stuck with it, so there we go.”
Q: ‘Boss’ was a return to drama, your first love. Do you think drama is a genre you will stay with for a while?
A: “I hope so, I’d love to do another comedy too if the right thing came along. It’s all about the role. At this point in my life, if the material is good, if it’s a character I think ‘Wow! I’d love to do that,’ it won’t matter what the venue or the reason is except it’s a fascinating character to try to wrap my brain around.”
Q: “Newsroom” star Jeff Daniels told TV critics recently he doesn’t pay attention to what critics write about him because it doesn’t help him as an actor. Is that an approach you share?
A: “No. I find critical writing to be helpful sometimes so I often will investigate what they are saying. If it’s a slaughter piece, I am not going to continue to read it or let it impact my spirit too much. But if it’s what I grew up understanding as critical writing, they might make some interesting statement. I can slough off the stuff that is negative, personal attacks.”
Q: Congratulations on the arrival in July of your new baby. What’s it like being a dad for the 5th time? Has it changed the way you approach fatherhood?
A: “I just love life. I have always loved being a dad. I like looking after them. I love my little babies and I love my little girl, and the reflection she is of the love I have for Kayte. I have never been in a better place in life than now to have a baby. Arguably, a lot of guys wouldn’t even think of having any more kids at my time in life, but I am thinking about having many more.”
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