When Hollywood Went Capitol Hill

From reel life to real life, Reid Scott 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, Scott opens up about “Veep,” the similarities between Capitol Hill and Hollywood for young staffers, getting real-life Hill staffers drunk and learning information he probably wasn’t supposed to know, his very close call while performing a daring stunt with Tom Hardy on the set of “Venom,” and much more. Highlights below. 

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Highlights from “At Home With The Creative Coalition” featuring Reid Scott — 

On getting Hill staffers drunk while doing character research for “Veep,” and finding out information he probably wasn’t supposed to know:
Early on, in season one when we were doing our research, everyone was still very accommodating with letting us bend their ear and ask a lot of questions. We would take staffers out and just get them drunk and they would tell us everything – probably stuff that they shouldn’t – about their bosses, or about whatever legislation is coming out, or about national security, because they just thought it was fun that we wanted to know. And then by season two or three, we would still do our research and we would take out other staffers and have access to bigger movers and shakers, and inevitably they’d point to one of their buddies and be like, ‘This guy’s the Jonah of our office. This guy over here, he’s totally the Dan, she’s the Amy, that’s definitely Mike!’ And even the guy they’d point at and say is the Jonah would be like ‘Yeah! I’m the Jonah!’”

On doing research on Capitol Hill for his role in “Veep”:
“First, what struck me was how young everybody was. Everyone was either very young or very old. And if they were very old, you sort of assumed they weren’t as old as they look, that they were just beat up by this… The young people were 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 with incredible responsibility, much more than I realized. Like, some of these staffers – they’re not just pencil-pushers and hangers-on. They are tasked with drafting legislation. They are tasked with setting meetings, with getting butts in seats, with campaigns. It was sort of shocking, and you sort of saw where that attitude, that bravado came from. Because they had to, they’re children. Because they don’t know what the f*** they’re doing. No one in any profession, no one knows what they’re doing at 23, 24, 25 – you’re still figuring yourself out, but you have to pretend like you know exactly what you’re doing or else they will eat you alive. It’s also very competitive – it’s a lot like Hollywood. It’s incredibly competitive, everyone’s trying to fake it ‘til you make it. It’s about who you know, about being in the right place at the right time, but you also have to have a baseline of talent or intelligence, or a knack for navigating the system. So there were a lot of similarities that became immediately apparent, and then we had incredible access to people. It was amazing.”

On experiencing a very close call while doing a dangerous stunt on the set of “Venom” with Tom Hardy:
“I definitely had a stunt person, but I did all the stuff that they let me do. Because when else do you get the opportunity to get hooked up to a rig and fly 100 feet in the air and fall into a crash pad or dangle off of a scaffolding or whatever? So if they let me do it, I would do it. There was a scene in ‘Venom’ 1, which takes place in a restaurant where Tom Hardy’s character comes in and he’s freaking out, and me and Michelle Williams are in the middle of dinner and he wreaks havoc in this very fancy restaurant. And the shot didn’t make the movie because they thought it was too funny, and they wanted to sort of keep it a little more serious. There was a whole sequence in that restaurant, we had a whole slapstick thing worked out and Michelle and Tom and I just had a blast and we were cracking each other up… The sequence ended with Tom being passed out and me, a doctor, standing over him saying, ‘Give him room, give him room,’ and then Venom reaches out and throws me across the entire room of the restaurant. And I saw them putting this rig together and I was like, ‘Can I try it?’ And they were like, ‘Really?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah! What do I have to do?’ I had never done anything like that before. So they put me in all the harnesses and they show me how I’m going to go. The actual flight path wasn’t so scary, but what had to happen was I needed to hit a certain mark, and when I flew I was sort of passing between two columns that were permanent… two giant granite pillars. There was probably eight or nine feet between them, and so if you don’t get the angle right, when they yank on the rig and make you fly… if you fly at a strange angle, you could hit one of the columns… We did it maybe three times and on the third time it was fine, I was on my mark and they yank the chain and I hit the crash pad and I thought it was fine… I’m looking around and everyone sort of has this look of panic on their face… so the stunt crew comes over and starts taking off my rig and I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ And they were like, ‘Man, your head came half an inch from hitting that column’ and I was like, ‘Oh, okay good, moving on.’ You know, when you’re working with Tom Hardy… Tom is intense. And his stunt guy is also incredible, but Tom does a lot of his own stuff so I think it was a chance for me to earn some respect a little. I got a lot of pats on the back after that one, and I felt like, ‘Okay cool, I’m one of the guys.’”

On whether or not he was into politics growing up:
“Yeah, I was. I was. My family has always been very interested in politics. Some of my family members have been involved in politics, so it was always something that was present in my house growing up. I always felt like I had a real interest in it. And I’ll give credit to my parents again – you know, they never made any bones about it, but I knew where they stood on each and every issue. But they left it up to me to pick my own side, so I really always tried to see both sides. And my family is predominantly Democrat, but we had a bunch of Republicans in my family too, so we always had a really good, wonderful roundtable discussion. I thought, you know, my family would blow up in these huge heated arguments, and I thought my family members kind of hated each other until I was old enough to realize that they were agreeing with each other very loudly.”

On lobbying Congress on behalf of an ocean conservation nonprofit:
“Oceana’s been incredible. I got invited to my first Oceana event. And Oceana is an ocean’s conservation group, and it’s not just about saving the whales, it’s about keeping the ocean sustainable so we can feed the world in a humane and responsible way. The ocean is the largest part of our environment on planet Earth, it needs our protection… I got to lobby Congress on behalf of Oceana, so I actually got to be a lobbyist for a day and run through the halls of the House and meet with Congressmen and women and a handful of Senators, and we successfully got some legislation passed. At the time, there was a bill proposing to open up the Eastern Seaboard along the Atlantic to seismic airgun testing – I mean, it just sounds kind of gnarly, doesn’t it? So basically what they do is, they have these big barges out in the Atlantic, and they’re exploring for oil. And the way that they do it is they blast these airguns underwater that send down decibels in the thousands, and they bounce the sound off the bottom of the ocean and they ping the sound back up and they can tell where there might be oil. And on the one hand, that’s like – I guess that’s better than just going around absentmindedly poking holes in the ocean floor and seeing what comes up, but what they didn’t realize – or what they were turning a blind eye to – was that these pulses of air are so destructive that they could kill sea life that were in its way. Because it’s essentially like you’re firing a jet engine off underwater, and these things are 100 times louder than a jet engine. And so they were disrupting whales and dolphins that were migrating and mating paths. They were flat-out killing sea turtles that were in their way. So they were incredibly destructive, and it was all for oil, which I still don’t believe we need any more of, and if we do need more of it, let’s try to not pull it out of the ocean because we keep seeing what happens every time we go ‘Deep Water Horizon’ style, you know?”


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 Justin Bartha (“The Hangover,” “National Treasure”), Wayne Federman (“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “The Tonight Show”), New York Times Bestselling Author Susan Isaacs (“Compromising Positions”), Melissa Manchester (“Don’t Cry Out Loud,” “Through the Eyes of Love”), Ken Olin (“This is Us,” “Thirtysomething”), Joe Pantoliano (“The Sopranos,” “The Matrix”), Kyla Pratt (“The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder,” “Call Me Kat”), and Yolonda Ross (“The Chi”).

Previous guests include Jason Alexander (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Shiri Appleby (“UnREAL”), David Alan Basche (“The Exes”), Asante Blackk (“This Is Us”), Carly Chaikin (“Mr. Robot”), Wilson Cruz (“Star Trek: Discovery”), Alan Cumming (“Schmigadoon!, “The Good Wife”), Ethan Cutkosky (“Shameless”), The Creative Coalition President and actor Tim Daly (“Madam Secretary”), Lea DeLaria (“Orange Is the New Black”), Griffin Dunne (“This Is Us”), Kerry Ehrin (“The Morning Show”), Michael Fishman (“Roseanne,” “The Conners”), Jim Gaffigan (“The Jim Gaffigan Show”), Willie Garson (“And Just Like That…”), Judy Gold (“The Other F Word”), Nicholas Gonzalez (“The Good Doctor”), Clark Gregg (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Tony Hale (“Veep,” “Arrested Development”), Evan Handler (“And Just Like That…,” “Californication”), Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “The Middle”), Jon Huertas (“This Is Us”), Jason Isaacs (“Star Trek: Discovery,” “Harry Potter”), Richard Kind (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Chad Lowe (“Supergirl”), Aasif Mandvi (“The Daily Show”), Rachel Mason (“Circus of Books”), Marlee Matlin (“CODA”), AnnaLynne McCord (“Let’s Get Physical”), Eric McCormack (“Will and Grace”), Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”), Katherine McNamara (“Shadowhunters”), Molly Smith Metzler (“Maid,” “Shameless”), Marta Milans (“Shazam!”), Rob Morrow (“Billions”), Kathy Najimy (“Younger”), Haley Joel Osment (“Future Man,” “Entourage”), Bill Prady (“The Big Bang Theory”), Jessica Queller (“Supergirl”), Anthony Rapp (“Star Trek: Discovery”), Mona Scott-Young (“Love & Hip Hop”), Alena Smith (“Dickinson”), Julie Taymor (“The Lion King”), Krista Vernoff (“Grey’s Anatomy”), KT Tunstall (“Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” “Suddenly I See”), Matt Walsh (“Veep”), Alfre Woodard (“Clemency,” “Luke Cage”), Constance Zimmer (“Good Trouble”), 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.