USA Network’s Emmy-winning mini-series adaptation of Gigi Levangie Grazer’s book The Starter Wife was such a hit last spring that the network is bringing it back for as a regular series, airing Fridays at 10/9c. Among the returning cast members is Chris Diamantopoulos who plays Rodney, Molly Kagan’s (played by Debra Messing) gay best friend. The Nice Girls recently had a chance to chat with Chris about what Rodney will be up to in the new season.
Chris, a Toronto native, is an accomplished singer who has received critical acclaim for various stage roles, including appearing on Broadway as ‘Marius’ in “Les Miserables”. He also had the unique experience of appearing naked as Ethan Girard in “The Full Monty”. With credits like these, will we hear Rodney sing anytime soon?
“I’m always singing for Debra when we’re shooting, so I don’t know,” says Chris. “We do a musical fantasy sequence of Hello Dolly in, I think it’s the third or fourth episode, and we all get a chance to sing a little bit, but that’s more sort of tongue-in-cheek singing. We talked about it, the writers and I kind of talked about it and I think we’ve yet to find a reason that Rodney can sing, do you know what I mean? It might just be weird if he were able to break out into perfectly pitched song. So, I don’t know, maybe in a fantasy sequence. I think the fact that the show has these tremendous fantasy sequences, it lends itself to doing things that are outside of the box that most shows couldn’t do. It would be fun. I love singing.”
Speaking of fantasy sequences, what’s the best one they’ve filmed so far?
Says Chris, “Oh, there have been some really great ones. I have to say that my favorite one was the Tomb Raider/Lara Croft fantasy sequence. It’s awesome. Debra is Angelina Jolie and I’m Daniel Craig. It’s like when I was a little kid that’s pretty much what I wanted to do is swing down ropes and play with guns. So, I got to definitely live out a little childhood fantasy.”
Now that Rodney’s professional life appears to be on track – his interior design business is flourishing – it’s time to focus on his personal life and love is definitely in the air for Rodney this season, although it comes from an unlikely place.
“Rodney is asked to design the house of a famous action star and it turns out that this action star is closeted and Rodney ends up having an affair with him. So, things get pretty tricky.”
How does Rodney handle this unexpected drama?
“Rodney’s such a good guy. He comes from such an honest and ethical place that I think for him to be doing something like this, obviously there’s the excitement factor but he’s torn because he recognizes that this can’t end well, or at least that’s what he thinks,” says Chris. “So what I like about the series is that they’re taking the personality of Rodney, you know in the miniseries he was very loyal to Molly and a really good listener and pretty much just always wanted to do the right thing, and they’re just showing that all people have a number of different sides to them and even those of us that have the best intentions can sometimes make the wrong choices. That obviously adds a nice level of drama and comedy to it actually.”
One of the questions that NiceGirlsTV.com like to ask when we’re doing interviews like this is, if you could play any other character on a show who would you play? Here’s Chris’s response:
“Well, I mean, look, I love the role I have. I joke with Debra that we already feel like an old married couple, so playing Kenny’s kind of out of the question because I already feel like I’ve been married to Debra. My wife [Ugly Betty's Becki Newton] jokes with me too and says that too. You know, Debra and I just have this really great rapport.
“I don’t know. I think that all of the characters are really well written. I love the role that Danny Gerroll does, Joan’s love interest this season. David Shea, I think he’s—I don’t know if it’s so much the role that I love or if it’s the actor that I think does a great job. I think both. I think it’s really well written and I think Danny just shines in it. So, that would be fun. I love characters that kind of can go out there and really sort of—I’ve got to say I do love chewing up the scenery, so it’s fun.”
Take a look at Chris and Debra Messing in a scene from the new season of The Starter Wife, airing Fridays at 10/9c on USA.