Friday, June 18, 2010

David James Elliott: My Two Dads

David James Elliott (photo credit: Hallmark Channel) played baseball star who was spurned by Paige on “Knots Landing.” Then he played a sex-addict football star on “Melrose Place” who cheated on Allison. Now he is an advertising star who is fired by the company that he helped build on the Hallmark Channel original movie “Dad’s Home.” David plays a widowed father who is suddenly out of a job and thrown into his children’s lives, just in time to heal his almost-broken family.

Celebrity Extra: “Dad’s Home” premieres on the Hallmark Channel just in time for Fathers’ Day. When you read the script for the movie, what was is about the movie that made you want to be a part of it?

David James Elliott: My very good friend Bradford Lake worked on the movie, so right away, I knew that was something I wanted to do. And then we found something that we thought we could jam on, and that is kind of what we did with the movie. It was more of a jam session almost. We would come in and kind of rework the scenes. It was like jamming on a riff. It really felt like we could do something with it.

CE: One aspect of the movie I liked was that it was told from the male perspective. We get a lot of these kinds of movies of the single mom trying to juggle all these things, but I really liked that the single father is the protagonist, having to make family versus career choices. Was that appealing for you?

DJE: Absolutely. It was a scenario that I believed that I could talk to. I have two children of my own — a boy and a girl — so it was very accessible to me. It was easy to get there for me. It’s pretty interesting because, like I said, I have a boy and a girl, and we’re completely different. We’re different animals. I have a friend who’s an indigenous person, North American Indian. He told me that his grandfather said: “A long time ago, there used to be just men on the Earth. We lived on corn and cocaine. One day, women came down in a spaceship. They’re better than we are, but they’re not the same.” There’s a lot of wisdom in that.

CE: How was the cast, especially the actors who played your children, to work with? They are such great young actors!

DJE: Both of the kids were really good, which was great. They were just really available and talented. Madison (Davenport, who plays his daughter) was exactly the right level of precociousness. She was a spunky, smart girl. Confident. Very much like my real one. It’s like talking to an alien sometimes. How do I get in there? What do I have to say that opens the door? Are you listening to what I’m saying to you?

CE: I’ve interviewed Sharon Case (Sharon Newman on “The Young and the Restless”) — who plays your romantic interest — a few times and she is always such a sweetheart. How was she to work with?

DJE: Very nice lady, very professional. She was easy to work with. It was great. We had a good chemistry, I thought. She gets it. She’s been working steady her whole life and has a great career. She’s just a really nice girl.

CE: Tell me about “Scoundrels” and about your character, Wolf West (photo credit: ABC).

DJE: This is a dynamite project. It came about in such a funny way. I had just come back from the Amazon, and I got a call, “Hey you want to do this show?” And I said yeah, because I already knew about it — I’d had a meeting about it before. It’s a based on a series that’s been very successful in New Zealand called “Outrageous Fortune.” Great characters. It’s about a family of small-time criminals. That’s how they put food on the table. The first episode opens with what we believe is going to be a short stint in jail for my character. I figure I’ll walk away with four months. That’s OK; I’m setting everything up to exist while I’m gone, and then I end up getting five years. So, the husband is in jail, and the wife is struggling to hold the family together. Virginia Madsen plays my wife.

CE: How is the cast to work with?

DJE: It’s been a lovefest since I got there. Everybody has just been great. Everybody is getting along like a house on fire. It’s just a gas to go to work every day. The scripts are dynamite. I can’t find a thing wrong with it. It’s just bummer when I’m not there.

CE: Because your character is in prison, how/will we still get to see you on the show often?

DJE: Yeah, I’m involved in a lot of ways. He will eventually get out of prison when the show gets picked up.

CE: The show got an eight-episode order for the summer season — if it does well, it is possible it could be picked up for the fall?

DJE: You hear a lot of scenarios and only those guys who wear the suits and work in the big building know. Steve McPherson is the guy who is going to make that decision one day. So anything is possible.

CE: This character seems to be different from the type of character we are used to seeing you portray. Was that part of its appeal to you?

DJE: It would be great for people to see me in another role. I look for things I can embody. This guy, he has a lot of me and he’s got a lot of people that I know in him. It’s just a great opportunity that came along and I’m just happy to be a part of it. He’s completely different from Harmon Rabb (from “JAG”), and that’s dynamite.

Speaking of “JAG,” that was a difficult show to get off the ground, especially when we started. We started under the Clinton administration, when things were going extremely well and there was no thought of war. And to have pulled off what we did and to have lasted as long as we lasted is pretty amazing. The 10th season just came out on DVD, I understand. The timing is all good for me. My stars are aligning — finally. Mercury is leaving retrograde.

Don't miss David in Hallmark Channel's "Dad's Home," airing Sunday night at 9/8c (and repeating throughout this weekend and next), as well as "Scoundrels," which begins this Sunday on ABC at 9/8c.

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