ABC’s Scandalous New Show ‘Scoundrels’
By Fred Topel
HollywoodNews.com: ABC’s hot summer drama, Scoundrels, was a scandal before it even finished the first episode. Neal McDonough was fired when he refused to film a sex scene with Virginia Madsen. Now David James Elliot plays that role and the rest of the cast couldn’t be happier.
“We had only just begun so thankfully that was figured out right away,” Madsen said. “Then when David arrived, it was like oh, that’s what we’ve been missing. There was really a feeling of completion when he arrived. The kids felt it and he came over from the airport.”
Elliott really did fill in at the last minute. The day before he was in the jungle on a peace mission. Seriously. “I was in the Amazon with my family in the jungle, living with a tribe at the time,” Elliott said. “That’s true because I work with a charity called Amazon Watch and we were afforded an opportunity to go down and really experience firsthand what these people are up against, how they live and the battles that they’re waging to try to save the Amazon and save the whale life. So we were down there having an amazing human experience. When I came back, it had all gone down and I got a call literally the day after I arrived saying, ‘Hey, listen, they would love you to come out and do this role.’ I knew the show because I had met on it before I went away. When I came back, the whole thing with Neal had gone down and I got offered the job.”
There are no hard feelings about McDonough either. It just worked out this way and Elliott seems the right guy for the job. “I know Neal,” Elliott continued. “Neal’s a wonderful actor and very nice guy but I had nothing to do with whatever went down there. I was just the guy that came in.”
Madsen and Elliott play husband and wife in a crime family. The first episode finds daddy going to jail, shaking things up. It sort of reflects the experience with the other actor in real life.
“What was kind of interesting is in the beginning of the show, dad goes to jail,” Madsen said. “So dad’s not around and we’re all kind of out of sorts without dad. So we kind of had that experience for real, waiting for our dad actor to arrive. When he did it was like fireworks.”
And Elliott has no problem with a love scene, so you’ll get to see that on the first episode of Scoundrels. “It gets pretty steamy,” Elliott said. “It’s immediately steamy because we open the first episode in a steamy moment, and we keep coming back to it, because that’s part of our thing. Her right brain is telling her get out of this, it’s crazy, you’ve got to get away from this guy but her whole soul and physical person is about [him], so she can’t tear herself away. I know that and I use it to my advantage. Master manipulator.”
Scoundrels airs for eight weeks in the summer. If the first episode hooks you, imagine how it escalates in seven more weeks. “It’s Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,” Elliott said. “It’s crazy. It’s nuts and it just twists and turns in directions you would never even think. It’s a family that functions as a normal American family but they’re living through criminal enterprises. He has his son working with him. I’m kind of the head of the criminal empire. Virginia plays my wife, she runs the store where we fence a lot of the goods. Then an unfortunate incident happens in which I have to go away for a while, to jail a little longer than I’d hoped or anticipated. She decides she’s going to take the family straight. So that conflict is immediate and I’m trying to work my machinations from behind the steel doors.”
Keeping up with the antics of the Scoundrels keeps Madsen guessing too. “We shoot two episodes at a time which makes it super exciting. This has happened more than once where I get to the set and I’m like, ‘So wait. What day is this happening and then what happens in the scene right before? I’m not wearing the right clothes, okay.’ So I run back, because there’s usually like a whole closet jammed into my little double banger [trailer] depending, because we shoot so many scenes a day. So it’s really exciting.”
Check out Scoundrels this summer starting June 20 on ABC.
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