INT: Topher Grace

I’ve always hated the term “date movie”, because most films labeled as such are invariably chick flicks in disguise. For examples, check out WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, or any film by Cameron Crowe. Sure, they may look like “date movies”, but they’re overflowing with estrogen, so much so that you’ll find yourself checking your testicles every so often just to make sure they’re still there.

That’s not to say they’re not entertaining. Hollywood’s latest “date movie”, WIN A DATE WITH TAD HAMILTON!, is a fun flick packed with some pretty clever comedy, much of which is supplied by "That Seventies Show" veteran Topher Grace. Topher (short for Christopher, in case you were wondering) joined us at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills to talk about Tad, tennis, and "That Seventies Show".


What attracted you to the project?

It’s a very clear, direct plot, which I think is really good for comedy.  You’re not getting bogged down by it going off in a million directions.  I mean, from the poster you know exactly what the situation is, and I think that’s really good for comedies. So when I read the script, I thought it was such a simple, perfect idea. And I really loved the character because it’s kind of hard to find – smart, good, the guy I would want to hang out with – who I’m not, by the way.

There are two parts you can play as an actor: the guy you want to be, and the buy you are. It’s the difference between Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks. I think what’s great about this film is that it has both guys in it. And it was great using improv to be able to heighten that friction in scenes like the wood-chopping scene. We kind of improv’d the shirt thing. 

How do you keep this character from becoming Ducky (from Pretty In Pink)?

I know, right? That was a big issue. I had never seen PRETTY IN PINK, but I was told by everyone what the pitfalls were. And this character has been played like a zillion times. But this guy is not a victim of anything, except circumstance. Really horrible circumstance, where he’s about to tell this girl that he likes her and she starts dating Brad Pitt. It just can’t get any worse than that. But he doesn’t have to be a loser to, you know, define Brad Pitt. He can still be a great guy.

What was the atmosphere like on the set?

Robert (Luketic) is great about keeping a really light atmosphere, which is great for comedy. He keeps it really upbeat, and fast-moving, too. You can’t really do a comedic scene over a period of 14 hours. It just falls apart. He knows when he has it. 

This is the second time you’ve worked with Ginnifer Goodwin.

Well, we did MONA LISA SMILE together, and she was tremendous in that film. I was having dinner with Robert and Kate and we were talking about the role of Kathy and I said, “There’s this girl that you won’t know about until December 2003, but she’s perfect for this role.” And it was so great to have, you know, one of your best friends on the set. 

Tell us a little bit about her.  What’s she like?

Ginny’s tremendous. I find it very hard to befriend actors. They’re an interesting group. They’re very self-centered. I mean, this movie is a stereotype of an actor – it’s very true. It’s very special when you meet people who want to play at the same level you do. 

I’m like an actor every day. I’m not like, once a week an actor. It’s actually very hard to make friends at work, because you’re surrounded by actors. Not that I don’t love the acquaintances I have – and I have many of them – but it’s wonderful when you actually...

What about Kate Bosworth?

Kate and I grew up in the same town. I’ve known Kate – I’ve known of Kate since I was really young. I think I chaperoned a field trip that she was on. She was the girl from THE HORSE WHISPERER. And I think my sister was on her soccer team. And then I knew her kind of in the whole Hollywood circuit out here when she moved out and made BLUE CRUSH. 

I mean, this was a hard film to make – they’re all hard to make. And I can’t imagine doing it on a surf board. I remember when she was prepping for that, too. She was actually learning to surf. And I was like, “You give me the part and maybe I’d learn to surf.” 

And Josh Duhamel?

Josh (Duhamel) is a terrific guy, the hardest worker I’ve ever scene. That’s the hardest role ever – kind of a dick, but you don’t play it like a dick. 

You’ve got a lot of movies coming out.

The movies – I did three movies this year, which is a lot – wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t doing a TV show. I mean, I love doing the show (That Seventies Show), just time-wise, it’s like a daily...what is great is that this show is kind of a home-base, emotionally. I’ve known those kids since I was eighteen. I would do Seventies show forever, but it will end, and I want to, once it’s done, be able to continue acting. Because I love it. 

How much fun is it on the Seventies set?

I think you can tell how much fun we’re having. I couldn’t imagine a better job than being with those five kids, just screwing around all week, which is what we do. We just shot one last night before the premiere. It was hilarious – Donna finds me masturbating. You only elude to that on television, like that Seinfeld episode. It’s hilarious. The audience ate it up.

How much longer do you think it will last?

The one with Topher in it? One year. Ashton and I both signed on for next year.

Did you always want to be an actor?

I wanted to be a pro tennis player. I was varsity all four years in high school. Then I twisted my ankle – twice – senior year and tried out for the high school play. From that play I got cast in "That Seventies Show". Some producer saw me in the play and my first audition was for Seventies. I took that as a sign and kind of hung up the racket.  Oh, and I played a ranked tennis player – not even a highly-ranked player – and I got my ass handed to me. I think it was a joke that I thought I could have been a pro tennis player, but that was dream in high school.

Can you tell us a little bit about Synergy? 

I start SYNERGY in a month. Dennis Quaid is having this mid-life crisis and then his company gets bought by this big conglomerate and I play his new boss. Scarlet Johansson plays his daughter and we start dating. It’s kind of another one of those triangles. 

Is it a comedy?

It’s a – what do they call it?  Dramedy. Or Comeda.

Do you know how That Seventies Show will end?

I think we’ve settled on how the show is going to end, I think. And it’s an amazing idea. I hope it’s what we think it’s going to be. I hope they don’t try to do a spin-off or something and not let us end it the way we want to end it. 

Can you give us a hint?

It will probably involve the eighties.

Source: JoBlo.com



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