Actors David Boreanaz and Julian McMahon have both been involved with several successful network and cable television series throughout their careers, but now they are taking their talents to DIRECTV!
Boreanaz made his television mark as Angel on The WB/UPN series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and later on The WB’s Angel, but he can currently be seen as FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth on the popular FOX series Bones. McMahon first gained attention on NBC’s The Profiler, and later as Cole Turner on The WB’s Charmed, but it was his role as plastic surgeon Christian Troy on FX’s Emmy Award-winning series Nip/Tuck that made him beloved by TV fans everywhere. Now the two actors come together for the forth episode of the new DIRECTV series Full Circle entitled Stanley & Jace, which premieres October 16th.
The series was written and created by director and playwright Neil LaBute, and is quite unique in that each episode takes place at a restaurant and only features two actors at a table talking. Each following episode will include one of the actors from the previous episode, and will also introduce a new character. In the previous episode - Bridgette & Stanley, we were introduced to McMahon’s character Stanley, a powerful entertainment lawyer who had just broken up with by his trophy wife (Minka Kelly) because she was having an affair with the son (Tom Felton) of his former lover. Now, Stanley is having dinner with his client Jace (Boreanaz), a stand-up comedian who has had his career threatened when he Tweets a homophobic joke that causes a young man to kill himself. Stanley is trying to get Jace to realize the severity of his actions and find away to save his doomed career.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with David Boreanaz and Julian McMahon about Full Circle. The two talented actors discussed the new series, why they wanted to work with series creator Neil LaBute, the show’s unusual structure, how it’s similar to doing theater, collaborating with episode director Mimi Leder (The Peacemaker), where they drew inspiration for their characters, the episode’s theme of social media, and how DIRECTV and other outlets are changing the landscape of television.
Here is what David Boreanaz and Julian McMahon had to say about Full Circle:
IAR: To begin with, Full Circle is a very unusual TV project. Were you sold on doing it once you were told that Neil LaBute created the series?
David Boreanaz: For me, I was obviously intrigued by that. I had to put a face to it and there was a lot going on for me at the time so I kind of had to digest what was coming at me. The material came in and then the people who got involved were pretty exceptional, so for me it was acceptable but I was also very fearful. Understanding the commitment level and I knew I had to just go for it so it worked for me on all those levels as well.
Julian McMahon: For me, I’ve been a fan of Neil’s a long time. I really enjoyed the type of characters that he writes and the circumstances he puts them in. I mean I was pretty sold on the man, but at the same time I just wanted to read it and see if I fit and if I could enter the mix and have some kind of challenge for myself.
The structure of the series is very unusual for a television program. Did it feel more like doing a stage play?
Boreanaz: Yeah, I mean there were definitely elements of that because of his writing being so honest and true, and because of the structure of it and not being able to rearrange that. That was part of the challenge taking on a piece of this magnitude so for me it was definitely looked at as a theater piece. But yet also just diving into it full blown is trying to understand where these characters are coming from. But I can definitely see the relation to the theater piece.
McMahon: Yeah, it certainly felt like a theater piece, but the only thing we didn’t get was two months of rehearsal.
Did you have any rehearsal time on this project or did you have to jump right in and start shooting?
Boreanaz: We did get some rehearsal time, not as much I’m sure as we would want, but I think that may have actually helped the expediency of it. I think it helped, being on the edge of your seat with it. That fear factor, the element of surprise and being there for each other really helped I think.
McMahon: I think it’s difficult to not have more rehearsal or even more time with the script to learn your lines and prepare. But I think what we tried to do specifically with our piece was firstly having the words, then face each other, and then we kind of just went for it. I think what you want to do even though you don’t have that long of a rehearsal period of time is still kind of explore with it. Be kind of unpredictable with it and that isn’t easy when you have such a short period of time to prepare. But I think we all kind of had belief in each other, trust in each other, and went for it.
The episode you two are in together - Stanley & Jace, was directed by Mimi Leder. Can you talk a little bit about working with her?
Boreanaz: She was great. She was very smart, very intelligent, she knew exactly what she wanted, was smart with the camera, very cutting edge, knew her transitions well, and we were able to laugh with her and have a good report on the set. She was very laid back, funny, a great storyteller, and you know she really put us at ease, which I think is important with a piece like this. There was a lot of trust, a lot of give and take, and I really enjoyed that process with her.
McMahon: The first thing she said to me was, “I’m here for you guys and I’m here to support you,” and she just kind of said all the right things to make us feel completely comfortable. Pertaining to what I said earlier, that was the environment that you needed to have in this kind of piece because the more comfortable you are the more you’re willing to express yourself and explore, and there’s a lot in his writing to explore.
Stanley is an entertainment lawyer, and Jace is a stand-up comedian. I’m sure you have both worked with entertainment lawyers and stand-up comedians, respectively, in your own careers. Did you draw inspiration for your characters from anyone that you have met in real life?
Boreanaz: Well, because of the structure of the show I didn’t really look at how a comedian operates on stage and performs so I didn’t really draw much from comedians outside the realm of what I was working on. Obviously there is an infusion of personality but I really only read the material and studied what Neil presented to me. I worked a little differently with this one and just trusted the material rather than going outside and trying to find something to influence me. But then again I listened to different types of music that got me through the piece. That’s all private and exploratory for one’s own personal journey.
McMahon: It was such a short preparation time that studying anything was almost impossible. As you said when you first asked the question, we have probably run into these people in our own careers. I really feel like with a majority of these characters we already know them in some kind of capacity. Stanley is a lawyer, but he could be an agent for a manager. In a way yes, absolutely yes just being in this business for so long kind of gave me an understanding and a place to draw from for this guy. I kind of did, but it was more subconscious.
David, this episode, as well as the fifth episode that you appear in with Keke Palmer (Jace & Chan’dra), deals with Twitter and the power of social media. What did you enjoy about exploring that theme in a dramatic setting and how has social media affected your career as an actor?
Boreanaz: I think it’s definitely plays a part in the storytelling specifically with how my character relates to a particular family and the power of putting a message into the world. Also with Kiki’s character, how it affects somebody and how unfortunate circumstances have brought him to where he is, although he doesn’t see it that way, but somehow tries at the end. I think that it’s definitely part of a medium that is very fast pace and I think that if used correctly, it can be used responsibly to promote something that is viable to one’s own environment. I think that there’s so much technology out there today that this whole piece examines how distant people are with talking to one another across the table rather than being so attached to their device. If you took the phone out of a person’s hand right now and you threw it out the window I’m sure 94% of them will have a nervous breakdown. There’s no sense of connection really anymore in this world. I think we need to become more conscious to kindness and listening rather than going on these extreme witch hunts. But we all do it so it’s a bizarre world we live in.
Finally, you have both been involved in very successful network television series as well as successful cable shows throughout your career. But Full Circle is on DIRECTV, which along with Netflix, On Demand, and iTunes, is part of the new way that audiences watch TV. How do you feel about that and the way the landscape of television has been changing?
McMahon: It’s been a very interesting time. It certainly has had its volatile and vulnerable times over the last eight years. But I think inside of that there’s been a lot of exploration and not just cable by the way. It’s also the Internet and everything else that comes with that. I think that it’s evolved now to a place where we just never had this volume of outlets before. You went from originally three networks to four networks, and you had ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX, and then you had a couple of cables, but now you’ve got everything. You’ve got like a buffet
Boreanaz: I think it’s pioneering and its giving directors and actors opportunities to do these small 12 episode arcs for an idea. Its fast viewing in a very streamlined way, and it allows for what they call “power watching,” where people download and watch an entire series in a few days. I think it’s very interesting.