TIM DALY from Private Practice Exclusive Interview

Tim Daly

I recently got a chance to speak with TIM DALY, who we all know as Pete on Private Practice.

This last season of Private Practice was quite a roller coaster and left us with a lot to look forward to for next season. Pete also went through a lot of changes, and so it should come as no surprise that Tim Daly is one of the Emmy hopefuls this year.

Tim Daly talked about some of his hopes for Private Practice‘s new season, his future projects, and more.

So until we get to find out what happens next on Private Practice, enjoy the interview below.

You guys left off with quite a cliffhanger this season.

Tim Daly: Oh, my God, right?

Were you shocked at how the writers left things open? I couldn’t believe they ended it there.

Tim Daly: I know. In the climate of today’s world, I mean if I were Amy Brenneman’s agents I would be calling Shonda Rhimes and be reminding her how much I love to be on the show. Clearly, we don’t know if Amy will survive, will the baby survive, will we ever find out who the father is; there’s a lot left unanswered, but I guess that’s great. It’s funny because a lot of people are talking about it, which I think is fantastic and everywhere I go people are blaming me. I think it’s just as the face of the show, like, ‘Why did that happen? What are you doing?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know. I didn’t write it.’ [laughs] They keep accusing me of knowing who the father of this baby is and I keep telling them, ‘I don’t know –’ which is true. I don’t and I’m not even sure that Shonda does. I think she’s leaving all her options open to see how things marinate over the summer.

I always thought it was Pete’s but that’s just me projecting what I want to happen.

Tim Daly: I don’t want to sound ungrateful or say anything that’s really horrible, but I really hope that this baby somehow doesn’t survive and is put up for adoption because I really don’t want to spend all next season working with a baby. I love babies. I love them more than anything, but acting with a baby is an exercise in insanity. The baby always cries when it’s supposed to be smiling and always smiles when it’s supposed to be crying. Of course you then have to deal with the parents of the baby and you’re constantly asking yourself, ‘Why in God’s name would any parent want this baby to be in a movie or a TV show?’ The babies are always great. I love babies, but trying to make them act is like, ‘Are you kidding me? This is crazy.’

Do you think there’s hope for Violet and Pete? I know you don’t know if she survives… but she has to survive, right?

Tim Daly: She’ll survive. Of course she will, yes.

Do you think there’s hope for them next season?

Tim Daly: I honestly don’t know. I mean, Pete seems to be going through some kind of midlife crisis of some sort because he’s alternately like a total dog out there, kind of banging chicks and then he becomes kind of sensitive and lovey. So I’m very confused about what exactly is going on with the guy. I love working with Amy and I think that he and Violet are good together, but I don’t know if that makes great drama, if everything is okay between them. It could be a whole other thing. I’m sure there are a lot of complications. Knowing Shonda it will be, whatever is the least convenient will be what happens.

What are you hoping will happen to Pete, even aside from Violet, just in general as far as storyline goes?

Tim Daly: I don’t really have a huge amount of hope for… I don’t sit around wishing about storylines so much. I do hope for the show that at some point a child is born in a very easy and happy way because every child that’s born, I think we’re scaring perspective mothers all over the United States. Every childbirth is a total emergency. It’s just a disaster. So I would like some woman to have a nice easy birth and be really happy. That would be great.

But then where’s the drama in that?

Tim Daly: That’s true. There’s always that, but I can always hope.

How do you feel things will go on in the practice now that Naomi took another job?

Tim Daly: It’s interesting because at the beginning of the last season there was this crisis in our financial life, this sort of power shift in the whole practice and Kate Walsh’s character sort of took over. Naomi had been the sort of guiding light and the force behind the whole thing. Whatever happens I hope that we really get into it because I think it’s interesting when these people who know each other for a long time have this business partnership and these friendships really get into some serious territory and thrash it out. There’s the makings of great drama there. There’s issues of betrayal and friendship gone wrong. There are still unresolved love issues between Naomi and Sam. There’s a lot of potential for great drama. There’s also, I think, a lot of potential for humor. I like it when the show is funny, too.

How do you prepare to play Pete? What’s your process when you get a script and have to prepare for a particular scene? Is it easier now after a couple of years doing it?

Tim Daly: Well, it completely depends. The thing about doing a series is that you have an idea about who your character is and you let your imagination work on that and in the case of doing a doctor show, or in my character’s case an acupuncturist, you do some research on what that is and you make up reasons why someone like Pete who was an MD would turn to a more alternative type of medicine. Then you start getting scripts and the scripts sometimes take your character to places where you couldn’t imagine him going. So you have to have a certain amount of flexibility in your preparation because a lot of times your character will have experiences that you just couldn’t have dreamed of, and they’ll have things in their history that you didn’t know. For instance, when I started the show I had no idea that my wife had died. That’s not something that we had ever discussed in the pilot. So you have to be a little bit flexible. I guess that’s the key when you’re doing a series, to be flexible. I remember when I was doing ‘Wings’ we were in our sixth season or something like that and the script came in for me and Steven Weber that our father had gone insane and our mother had killed herself or something like that. We were just thinking, ‘Holy shit. If we had known this we would’ve changed everything.’ It was just a part of our history that neither of us had ever envisioned. It’s one of those things about a series, you have to be flexible and yet try to help the writers and make yourself stay true to the emotional through line of that character is.

Is that a frustrating thing, learning something like that which so deeply could’ve affected the character had you known before?

Tim Daly: Sometimes it’s frustrating, but the thing is that I’ve been around in series television for a long time. So I know what the deal is and I hopefully know when to fight my battles and when to let things go. I do know though that there are going to be those times. So I’ve sort of reconciled myself to that.

I’m sure it’s exciting, too, because you can add it on top of everything you’ve done.

Tim Daly: Exactly. It’s not always bad. Sometimes you go, ‘Wow, this is cool. This is a fantastic twist to my character’s fate.’

Who’s your favorite character on ‘Private Practice’, apart from yours, of course?

Tim Daly: That’s really tough. I think it has to be Sam. Oh, this is what I hope. I’ll tell you what I hope for the show. In a large ensemble one of the things that’s hard sometimes is that we play a lot with guest stars, and I am dying to do more acting with the regular actors. I get to play with Amy Brenneman a lot. At first I got to play with Kate [Walsh] a lot. I would love to have more with Taye [Diggs] because I have the feeling, I mean when we started it was sort of understood that Pete and Sam were best friends. I don’t think that we’ve really explored that very much. I’d like to see, I guess, more guy stuff and what the real relationships between the guys.

Can you talk about some of the future projects you might have? You have a limited release movie that came out recently, ‘The Skeptic’.

Tim Daly: Yes. I had this movie called ‘The Skeptic’ which was out very briefly in the theaters and that I believe is available On Demand in some place or another. It was a very interesting role for me. It’s kind of a psychological ghost story about a guy who has big holes in his memory of the past. He moves back into a house where all these memories are sort of unearthed and you never really know if he’s actually being haunted by a literal ghost or if the things that are going on with him are in his own mind and he’s experiencing some sort of breakdown. Anyway, it’s an interesting movie and has some good kind of jump out of the chair scary moments. So that’s that. That’s out there someplace. What else? I produced a movie, a documentary called ‘PoliWood’ with three partners – Robin Bronk, Robert Baruc, and Jason Sosonoff, which is directed by Barry Levinson who’s of course an Oscar winning director. It’s about sort of the collision of politics, media and celebrity which is I think a terrific movie. It’s very thought provoking. So that’s hopefully going to get some sort of theatrical release. If not I’m sure you’ll find it on a cable channel or some television channel because it’s too good not to be seen by a lot of people. So those are the other things I’m working on.

Do you know if the documentary is going to any festivals?

Tim Daly: It premiered actually at the Tribecca Film Festival and other than that I don’t know.

If there was any show on right now that you could guest star on, which one would it be?

Tim Daly: Let me think. What would it be? It might be one of those FX shows like ‘Damages’ or another one I like a lot is ‘Breaking Bad’. It might be a show like that.

Good choices.

Tim Daly: Yeah. They’re just kind of out there.