Eric McCormack sat down with The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk in the latest episode of “At Home With The Creative Coalition,” a podcast featuring unplugged and uncensored conversations with today’s biggest stars. In the newest episode, McCormack talks about how he got started in acting, his role in “Will and Grace,” his advice for young actors, and more. Highlights below.
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Highlights from “At Home With The Creative Coalition” featuring Eric McCormack —
McCormack on his Canadian upbringing:
“I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto. It was sort of a normal, suburban upbringing. Normal except for, when I look back, the people I went to high school with. Kind of bizarre. Mike Myers was in my class. David Furnish, who’s now married to Elton John, was in my theater class. We were great friends back then. A number of kids from my theater class have gone on to be producers in film and television, so it was an incredibly vibrant time considering it was just the suburbs and it was Canada, but great things came out of that country.”
McCormack on deciding to go into the arts:
“When I got into the business and started to read certain people’s stories: that they were pre-med and then they got into the theater program cause they’d meet girls, it just made no sense to me because, as far as I was concerned, I was an actor from kindergarten on. My first play, in first grade, it was really an extension of what I did every day. I was not a sports kid, I was not a neighborhood kid, I was in my room creating characters (and I didn’t even realize this till years later) for every game I would play (with either G.I. Joe’s or just with myself), I would roll the credits in my mind before every game. Every game was a television show, every game had a theme song that I would record. With my tape recorder I would record theme songs from “Happy Days” and “The Invisible Man.” I would just use them as the theme songs for my games. Everything for me had that structure and I was an actor in it. By the time I got to about the 5th or 6th grade, I had done a play or 2 every year at school, and I started to compete with my friend Bill in competitions. We’d write sketches all across Ontario. And so by the time I got to 10th grade, where I actually was taking theater in high school (with David Furnish), that’s all I had intended for the rest of my life, there was not fallback position despite my parents being trying to be very conservative and saying ‘well, you know you might need another option, maybe a teacher!’ No. No plan B.
In 11th grade I was cast as Jesus in Godspell (typecast, I like to say) and it was just one of those great things where it didn’t teach me something I didn’t already know, but it definitely taught me ‘yup, this is my future.’ And I learned years later that my parents went to my theater teacher- whose name was Mort, who directed the play- and they said ‘we’re getting kinda worried because he seems very serious’ and apparently he said ‘don’t stop him.’ And those three words were kind of everything they needed to hear to just relax and support my desire to go to a theater school in Toronto. It’s now a University, Ryerson University, very respected, but at the time it wasn’t even credentialed that way. It was a theater school, and as far as my parents were concerned, not a degree, not a diploma, so it was a big leap of faith on their part to just let me do it.”
McCormack’s advice for young actors:
“I just think there’s nothing better for a young actor than to do shows, in Rep, watch seasoned actors do this stuff, understudy them…. I knew I was paying my dues, I knew I would have a resume one day that no one could take away from me.”
McCormack on his role in Will’s evolution:
“They basically kind of forgot to write him with problems. They forgot to write him with neuroses…halfway through the first season I said ‘I need to have some things that upset me…anything to make him less perfect.’ And that started to evolve, and I’d say by the beginning of the second season, all of that had set in and I’d brought my own sort of physicality to it. I couldn’t make him goofy, because that was kind of covered by the others, so I had to find why he was funny, but for me the most fun with him I would have was when he was being very real. His natural neuroses and his natural fixations, his fastidiousness, all of that was natural for him.”
McCormack on the PSA urging people to vote:
“That was entirely bizarre. I was unaware that Max, who created the show, absconded with the entire set, and had set the set up at his alma mater at the library in his college back in Boston. And they called one day and said ‘we need to give you your set back, we need the space.’ And it was right around the time when Max was going ‘I wish I had these characters.’ It was 2015, going into ‘16, he was wishing he had these mouthpieces. He called us up and said ‘if I can get the set back and set it up for one day would you do this thing.’ And we all said ‘Yes.’ As far as I was concerned, it was a one-off. It was a special, top-secret thing. But it was so much fun. And it landed. And when NBC saw it (and we didn’t even get NBC’s permission to do it), Bob Greenblatt said ‘why aren’t we doing more of these?’”
More about “At Home With The Creative Coalition”
Hosted by The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk, “At Home With The Creative Coalition” brings listeners intimate portraits, key moments of discovery, and “art and soul” conversations with iconic entertainment industry personalities from the big screen to the boardroom, from L.A. to D.C. Listen now at http://thecreativecoalition.org/podcast.
Upcoming guests include Shiri Appleby (“UnREAL”), David Arquette (“Scream”), Justin Bartha (“The Hangover,” “National Treasure”), Ethan Cutkosky (“Shameless”), Griffin Dunne (“This Is Us,” “Dallas Buyers Club”), Michael Fishman (“The Conners”), Willie Garson (“Hawaii Five-0,” “And Just Like That…”), Jon Huertas (“This Is Us,” “Castle”), New York Times Bestselling Author Susan Isaacs (“Compromising Positions,” “Takes One to Know One”), Haley Joel Osment (“Future Man,” “Entourage”), Rachel Mason (“Circus of Books”), International Bestselling Author Patrick McGinnis (“The 10% Entrepreneur,” “Fear of Missing Out”), Marta Milans (“Shazam!,” “White Lines”), Yolonda Ross (“The Chi,” “How to Get Away with Murder”), Reid Scott (“Why Women Kill,” “Veep”), Mona Scott-Young (“Love & Hip Hop,” “The Gossip Game”), Krista Vernoff (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Station 19”), and Matt Walsh (“Veep,” “UCB Comedy Originals”).
Previous guests include Jason Alexander (“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Harley Quinn,” “Saturday Night Seder”), David Alan Basche (“The Exes,” “United 93”), Asante Blackk (“This Is Us,” “When They See Us”), Carly Chaikin (“Mr. Robot”), Wilson Cruz (“Star Trek: Discovery,” “My So-Called Life”), Alan Cumming (“Briarpatch,” “Instinct,” “The Good Wife”), The Creative Coalition President and actor Tim Daly (“Madam Secretary”), Lea DeLaria (“Orange Is the New Black”), Jim Gaffigan (“Tesla,” “The Jim Gaffigan Show”), Judy Gold (“The Other F Word,” “Nightcap”), Clark Gregg (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “The Avengers”), Jason Isaacs (“The OA,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” “Harry Potter”), Richard Kind (“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Big Mouth,” “Gotham”), Chad Lowe (“Supergirl,” “Life in Pieces,” “Pretty Little Liars”), AnnaLynne McCord (“Nip/Tuck,” “90210”), Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs,” “Reno 911!”), Katherine McNamara (“Shadowhunters,” “Arrow”), Rob Morrow (“Billions,” “The Fosters”), Kathy Najimy (“Hocus Pocus,” “Sister Act”), Bill Prady (“The Big Bang Theory,” “Young Sheldon,” “The Muppets”), Jessica Queller (“Supergirl,” “Gossip Girl”), Anthony Rapp (“Star Trek: Discovery,” “Rent”), Julie Taymor (“The Lion King,” “Frida,” “The Glorias”), Alfre Woodard (“Clemency,” “Luke Cage”), Constance Zimmer (“House of Cards,” “Entourage”), and David Zucker (“Airplane!,” “Scary Movie”).
More about The Creative Coalition
The Creative Coalition is the premier nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community. Founded in 1989 by prominent members of the creative community, The Creative Coalition is dedicated to educating, mobilizing, and activating its members on issues of public importance. Actor Tim Daly serves as the organization’s President. The Creative Coalition also creates award-winning public service campaigns including #RightToBearArts to promote the efficacy of the arts. The Creative Coalition harnesses the unique platforms of the arts community and entertainment industry to make positive impacts on social welfare issues. For more information, visit https://thecreativecoalition.org.