Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
Hey Gasmii, I had the chance to talk to Hart Bochner from USA‘s The Starter Wife a few weeks ago and he was great. Hart plays Zach, Molly’s (Debra Messing) new love interest on the show.
If you haven’t had the chance to check out The Starter Wife, it’s on every Friday at 10PM ET/PT on USA.
Here’s the interview:
Nads: Hey Hart! Can you tell me a little bit about your character on The Starter Wife?
Hart: Of course! He’s a very successful screenwriter and he’s a very successful guy who got started out as a journalist and won a Pulitzer in his late 20′s and then became an overnight success in Hollywood. The first screenplay that he wrote was turned into a film and he got nominated for an Oscar. Not that it’s been downhill from that point on, but he sort of has reached a point in his career now where he’s somewhat blocked creatively and he’s in the process of writing a novel. By virtue of the fact that he’s having trouble freeing his creative juices, he decides that he’s going to have a writers’ workshop, which I think he does as a way of not only giving back, but as a way of looking for a way to free his creative flow.
So he has about a half a dozen published authors come to his place once a week where they discuss process and start working on various projects that they’re writing. One of the characters is Debra Messing’s character who is a purported published author. It turns out she’s written a children’s pop-up book so she doesn’t carry the legitimacy of the other writers in the workshop, but she very quickly discovers her own voice by virtue of revealing this journal that she’s been writing. It’s quirky and idiosyncratic, and under my guidance she writes a screenplay, which gains a certain amount of momentum. And by virtue of what she reveals in herself through her writing, my character, Zach, becomes intrigued by her. We’re sort of kindred spirits in the fact that we’ve come out very difficult marriages. We’d been married to high powered people in the industry. My wife is, while I don’t want to call her, my ex-wife, a shrew, she’s a ballsy woman who is a powerful agent. She runs an agency. That’s then hard on my psyche by virtue of the fact that we have a seven-year-old daughter and I’m looking for someone who is supportive of me and she’s anything but.
Debra’s character, Molly, is coming out of a marriage where she was with a man who wasn’t particularly there for her. They also have a seven-year-old daughter. So the two of us are somewhat wounded and gun shy about getting back into real relationships and yet we sort of take baby steps towards one another and we find ourselves, as the show evolves, becoming more and more involved.
Nads: Is it hard coming into a new series that started off as a mini-series?
Hart: Well, this show is sort of its own entity in that the mini-series was about marriage and the demise of that marriage. This picks up really from an entirely a new place, which is Molly trying to find her sea legs and declaring herself and finding a career for herself. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s not like, I didn’t take over for another actor. It’s a new character. It’s a brand new relationship for Molly. It was nothing but terrific. I can’t say enough good things about the show, my experience or working with Debra. She’s just an absolute joy and I’m just crazy about her. We finished last night and it was all very sad for everybody. We’re very much hoping that we’re coming back, obviously and we have high expectations for the show, but nonetheless, we shot ten episodes and it became like a family. It became a family really very quickly. It was the nicest group that I’ve ever worked with. A lot of that is due to Debra and the fact that expression “the fish stinks from the head,” well, she’s just delightful and adorable and incredibly gifted and we had so much fun everyday. What I find so remarkable about Debra, while everyone calls her the Lucille Ball of her generation is, she’s also brilliant dramatically. She can turn that on a dime. And so for me, it was just really a question of showing up and being in the moment because most of my scenes, all of my scenes are with her. So it was really quite easy to see and feel that relationship evolve just by virtue of being there with her everyday.
Nads: How did you become involved with this show?
Hart: Well, it sort of came out of left field, because I had just finished writing and directing this movie that had come out. I thought, “Well, what am I going to do this summer?” And suddenly my manager called me and he said, “You’ve been called in to meet on this Debra Messing show.” I was aware of the mini-series and the book, so I read it and I thought, this is a no-brainer if they offer it to me, so I have to pursue it and that was that.
Nads: I know you’ve directed a bunch of films. In fact, I grew up watching PCU and High School High…so as far as directing and acting go, which do you prefer? And is it hard to wear so many hats on set?
Hart: That’s a really good question. Wearing different hats is not difficult. It’s actually challenging and creatively fulfilling for the most part. I love directing. I had a movie that came out earlier this year, that I wrote and directed called Just Add Water with Danny DeVito and Jona Hill and Justin Long and Dylan Walsh and that was a very personal project that took me basically five years to get going from inception to execution. And then I started a movie that my buddy, Campbell Scott wrote and directed last fall, but prior to that hadn’t acted in a few years and so it’s a muscle that needs to work out, that needs to be worked out. When I was offered this show, it’s not that I found it difficult to recognize what my place in the show was and the process, but sometimes I find myself when I’m in front of the camera thinking, “I wonder if we need this or this or this,” and sometimes that’s difficult. But I had my work cut out for me in this show, and as I said, it’s the first series that I’ve ever done. So the fact that you don’t have a lot of time and you don’t really rehearse a lot was new to me. I think it was initiation by fire and I think I got up-to-speed rather quickly. As I said earlier, it’s been one of the great work experiences in my career and I hope that they have me back and that the show comes back and runs forever, because it’s just been such a joy.
Nads: So…so do you have a favorite (acting or directing)?
Hart: I really, really always wanted to be a director. So when I started, for me, it was like really fulfilling a dream. Acting was something that I kind of got into accidentally when I was about 19 years old. I was discovered at an open house at the American Film Institute, because I wanted to go to film school, and this woman came up to me and asked me my name. And a couple of months later I got a call from Paramount and six months after that, I was playing opposite George C. Scott in this Hemingway movie called Islands in the Stream. So it took me about 16 years to get behind the camera, but when I started directing, after I directed PCU and High School High, I thought if I could continue doing this, that’s a pretty good deal for me.
Those movies, quite frankly, didn’t hit the number that studios need to show their shareholders in order to hire you again and I found myself having to reinvent myself as a filmmaker. So I had various projects in development that took a nosedive and then I had another movie that was good to go and that fell apart. Then I got this movie made, but in the interim I went back into acting and did some pieces, but I had taken several years off from acting because I wanted to be taken seriously as a director. And then I started missing acting. And getting back into it now, especially after I’ve had years away from it, it’s much more fun now. I also think that for a man once you grow into yourself the words that come out of your mouth fit in your body better as you mature. I find that that has been a really interesting process. It makes the work a lot more pleasurable, I have to admit.
Nads: Thanks again for taking the time today! I look forward to watching the rest of the series!
Check out The Starter Wife at 10PM ET/PT on USA every Friday.