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Matt LeBlanc Shows His Dark Side on Showtime’s “Episodes”

hollywoodnews.com: Showtime’s new series Episodes brings Matt LeBlanc back to TV for the first time since the Friends spin-off Joey ended five years ago. He plays himself, Matt LeBlanc from the hit series Friends. Only on the show, this Matt LeBlanc talks about his enormous penis and makes vulgar remarks. It’s all an act. Matt LeBlanc is really a polite professional, as he demonstrated with the Television Critics Association in an interview today.

Q: Did you want to make the fake Matt LeBlanc meaner than you?

ML: You know what was nice about this, was to play a character, if everyone’s going to believe that this is me, to not have to worry about is he charming or not, are people going to like him, does he have enough redeeming value. For me it was fun to just play this character and then slap my name on it at the end.

Q: It’s really funny when you act like a D-bag, but really nice when he kisses up to producers. Was it important to do both?

ML: Yeah, it was. I think it’s a real well rounded character. The guy feels fully fleshed out.

Q: What percentage of the real you is in it?

ML: Oh, I don’t know.

Q: Are you worried people will believe you really are a D-bag?

ML: No, I’m not really concerned with it. Look, it’s not a documentary. That’s really all I can say about it. I don’t know what percentage is me and what percentage is not me. I think it’s more fun to let people make that decision for themselves.

Q: Curb Your Enthusiasm did a Seinfeld reunion with the actors playing versions of themselves. Would that work with the Friends cast?

ML: No, I think probably not. I know, no one wants to let that go. It’s not up to me.

Q: Are you excited for people to finally see this show?

ML: I’ve seen the whole season and I think it’s good. I’m proud of it. We all worked really hard on it. I think it’s clever. I think it’s laugh out loud funny but it has an emotional through line. I think in seven short episodes, they really managed to generate quite a bit of compassion for these characters in seven shows. When you get to the end, the dilemma everyone’s faced with, you’re really concerned about these people.

Q: How would you describe Episodes?

ML: It’s a show about a show and maybe in broad strokes it’s about compromises that we sometimes make in the pursuit of success.

Q: How much input did you have into your dialogue? Do you tell the writers how to make it sound like you?

ML: I worked with them all the time but I gotta say, these are two of, in my opinion, the best writers in Hollywood. It was really all on the page. There were a couple things. The environment on Friends was we would always pitch jokes to one another. If you had an idea, you’d pitch it and if they liked it, it’s in. If they didn’t like it, it’s not in. So I’m constantly thinking and trying to improve things. Even if it’s perfect, you’re always thinking how can I be helpful?

Q: Whose idea was the episode about your giant penis?

ML: Not mine.

Q: Do you watch inside Hollywood shows like Entourage?

ML: Yeah, they are good.

Q: Even though you live it, you enjoy shows about the industry?

ML: If the story is good, the arena doesn’t really matter to me. If it’s good storytelling, I’m into it.

Q: Is it nice to be associated with a character that’s smarter than Joey?

ML: Well, I think Joey was always written very smartly. I think the character was maybe not the smartest guy in the room but I think the character was written in a very smart way. There’s a difference.

Q: Have you ever had a meeting with really condescending producers like in the second episode?

ML: Yes…

Q: How do you handle them gracefully?

ML: You don’t. You hope they have mercy on you and you get away with it.

Q: Does your daughter like the show?

ML: She’s too little to watch it.

Episodes airs Sundays on Showtime.

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About Fred Topel

Fred Topel has been an entertainment journalist in Los Angeles since 1999, for websites like Daily Radar, About.com, Crave Online and Sci Fi Wire. Follow his celebrity encounters on Twitter @FredTopel.

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One Comment

  • January 30, 2011 | Permalink |

    We first turned in to see Matt. But we are smitten with the plot and the Sean and Beverly interactions. Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig are just hilarious. Their characters are very cleverly written and acted. They really shine. It is one my husband’s and my favorite shows. We hope it makes it.

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