Eric McCormack: Now playing the bad guy
Eric McCormack, best known for starring in the sitcom "Will & Grace," is now appearing on Broadway playing a really bad man in a revival of Gore Vidal's political drama "The Best Man." / CBS
Eric McCormack won wide recognition (and an Emmy Award) for his role in the TV sitcom "Will & Grace". These days, he's putting his best foot forward once again, only this time, Mo Rocca tells us, he's doing it on Broadway:
TV viewers will recognize him as Will Truman, from the sitcom "Will and Grace." Funny, charming and almost always nice.
But on Broadway right now, he's a snake, an unscrupulous politician who will stop at nothing to get elected president.
"You're very unlikeable in the role," Rocca told Eric McCormack, who replied, "Thank you very much!"
McCormack is one of the stars of "The Best Man," a revival of a 1960 play written by Gore Vidal.
"It's fun, you know, to leave the theater afterwards and the look in people's faces is like, 'I didn't like you very much, I'm sorry.'"
McCormack is playing opposite some heavyweights: Tony winners Angela Lansbury and John Larroquette, and stage and screen legend (and voice of Darth Vader) James Earl Jones.
Jones told Rocca that having seen McCormack on "Will & Grace," he was not surprised that he could do this role. "No, no. Good acting is good acting."
Web Extra: To watch McCormack discuss the currency of the political drama "The Best Man" click on the video player above.
It turns out McCormack and Jones go back a long way, sort of, back to when a teenaged McCormack was visiting the big city and saw a Broadway show.
"I saw 'Othello' with Christopher Plummer and James Earl Jones," McCormack recalled. "And I was hungover. I was 18, but we had, you know, we were all excited and we were all like drinking for the first time in New York City. But I remember kind of bleary-eyed just being, just amazed. And now every night, like I said, when he's in my face, I'm thinking that!"
Rocca told Jones McCormack had seen Jones and Plummer in "Othello": "God save him!" he laughed. "It was a production that the audience loved. It was a very exciting production. But it wasn't good Shakespeare, I gotta say that. I won't go into why."
Eric McCormack is from Toronto, which is why we sat down in one of New York City's finest Canadian restaurants, Lepescadeux. We shared a plate of "poutine," a Canadian specialty: a steaming pile of French fries, meat, cheese curds and other stuff.
"And this is just like eating in Canada?' Rocca asked.
"Yeah, that's all we do," McCormack said. "We fry up a beaver and some poutine on the side."
Growing up, McCormack set his sights on acting which, unbeknownst to him, was in his blood.
"Growing up, my father was a financial analyst for an oil company. He was just a regular dad. And when I would say, 'Hey, come see my play,' he'd say, 'Sure.' He'd see one, 'Oh, good play' - you know, very typical dad reaction."
He studied theater at Toronto's Ryerson University.
"My second year of Ryerson, I still lived at my folks' place. I went to the attic to find some prop for a play I was doing. And I found a scrapbook dedicated to my father's years at Ryerson as an actor. He never mentioned it."
When McCormack brought it up with him he said, "He downplayed it. We were sitting at lunch at a crowded mall in Toronto. And I said, 'What's with these pictures? Weird pictures of you with Antigone?' And he said, 'Well, I wasn't as serious as you.' And they we left the restaurant, and he was crying in the middle of the mall, and said, 'I'm very proud of you.' Put his arms around me and walked away. And we never talked about it again."
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