TOM EVERETT SCOTT (Southland) Exclusive Interview

Tom Everett Scott - Southland

I recently got a chance to talk to Tom Everett Scott who plays Detective Russell Clarke on TNT’s Southland.

As you guys know, last season ended with Detective Russell Clarke getting shot by his neighbor, and his fate was left unknown. As you probably guessed, Russell is back in season two, but he is in rehabilitation from his injuries, which leads him to deal with some new issues.

Tom Everett Scott talked about what’s coming up for Russell Clarke this season, his character’s relationship with Lydia, some of the new projects he has coming up, and much more. So enjoy the interview and don’t forget to tune in to Southland when it returns for its second season on March 2 at 10pm.

Can you talk about some of the differences from being on NBC and now on TNT?

Tom Everett Scott: Well, I think ultimately it’s just important that the show got an opportunity to continue to be seen and I’m just happy that TNT is so supportive of it and promoting it. Hopefully that just continues on that way.

Your character got shot last season but since I’m talking to you it’s safe to say you’re back. So can you talk about what’s coming up for Detective Russell Clarke?

Tom Everett Scott: Yeah. That was a real shocker. I didn’t know that I was going to get shot. It just makes it more difficult for my character to return to police work which I think he really wants to do. He probably didn’t realize until he wasn’t able to get back to it how important it was to him and it changes his relationship with his partner, Lydia. They do really care about each other. They’ve probably known each other for a while and have worked long hours side by side and so it’s just kind of rocked their world and you get to see that taking place.

You mentioned the relationship with Lydia. Is that going to become more of a romantic thing or is it going to stay professional?

Tom Everett Scott: Well, not to my knowledge, that it’ll be a romantic thing. I haven’t heard anything like that. I’ve heard other people who have seen the new episodes wonder about that but I think that they just truly care about each other. There’s something that passes between them in that first new episode, at the very end before she breaks down. It’s tough to look at each other and kind of face the truth, the hard reality of being shot and being out of commission. It’s very difficult. So that’s really what’s going on there.

Do you think he’ll get back into the force or do you not know that yet?

Tom Everett Scott: I do know. I just don’t know if I want say. I don’t think that I’m even allowed to but all I know is that that’s the challenge that’s facing him.

So we do find out if he goes back or not, right?

Tom Everett Scott: Uh huh.

What about his wife, what’s going on there?

Tom Everett Scott: That marriage is just a little rocky and that doesn’t even begin to describe it. I don’t think they have any kind of patch up. I don’t think that it ever gets any better but we’ll see.

Is she at all involved with his rehabilitation or do we not see that?

Tom Everett Scott: Yeah. She comes to the hospital. She’s there when Lydia comes, when she’s there one time but it’s not a good thing. They’re definitely not getting along. Even before the shooting they weren’t really understanding each other’s needs at all. This just kind of makes it even harder.

Is your character going to interact with some of the other characters at the hospital?

Tom Everett Scott: No, not really. Mostly you see just Lydia and Russell dealing with this situation.

Is there a character on the show that you’d really like to have a scene with that you haven’t yet?

Tom Everett Scott: Working with Regina King is more than enough for me in terms of us having a blast working together. It’s not like I’m needing to change it up but we all get along really well and so it would be fun to go do some scenes with Shawn Hatosy or Kevin Alejandro. I’ve done a few with Michael [Cudlitz].

Who’s you’re your favorite character on the show apart form yours?

Tom Everett Scott: Lydia is my favorite character. I thought that the first time I saw the show. I was like, ‘I think she’s the most interesting character.’ I play opposite her so maybe I’m biased but I just think she’s a great actress and just brings a great humanity to her role. I just feel for her.

As an actor how do you prepare for this character and now with season two how do you prepare for the back story and his getting shot and all of that?

Tom Everett Scott: Yeah. It’s kind of upsetting for the character and for me as an actor. It’s like, ‘Oh, man, now I have to limp? Now I have to walk with a cane?’ When they say it’s time for lunch they’re going to get their first and I’m going to get their last. That’s fine. That’s all right. I’m just kidding. I prepare for it the way that I would prepare for anything. It’ll be a challenge but I like that.

Do you have a specific ritual that you go through when you get a script?

Tom Everett Scott: Yeah. If I identify with something and if I’m fortunate enough to get cast in a role I just immediately start trying to do as much research on the character, on what he does for a living and learn about it, learn as much as I can and get all those kinds of things together so that it makes the acting so much easier.

Can you talk about some of you upcoming projects coming out?

Tom Everett Scott: I just did a movie called ‘Tanner Hall’ that was at the Toronto Film Festival and should be coming out pretty soon and I did one called ‘Mars Needs Moms’ which is a motion capture kids movie with Seth Green and Joan Cusack.

Do you know when that’s coming out?

Tom Everett Scott: I have no idea. I really don’t. That’s terrible. You’d think that I’d be better about it. I honestly don’t know about ‘Tanner Hall’ but I bet it’d be pretty easy to find out when ‘Mars Meets Mom’ comes out.

What about ‘Storage’?

Tom Everett Scott: I just finished that and it was called ‘Storage’. I think the new title is called ‘After The Rise’. That’s a low budget independent but I hear that it looks really good so I’m keeping my fingers crossed hoping that gets out to some festivals and gets some distribution and gets seen.

I see that you also did a short that you directed and wrote called ‘Glock’?

Tom Everett Scott: Yeah, me and my friend Michael McMillian wrote the script. It’s a short movie, only twelve minutes long and I produced it with him and I directed it and I played the lead guy. I just kind of got a bunch of my friends to contribute on it. I got some people to do some pretty big favors on that one and we just had a lot of fun. We went to a bunch of film festivals and I’m really proud of it. It was a lot of work for twelve minutes of screen time but it made me want to do more. Write more and do that side of the business.

Would you be interested in directing, say, an episode of ‘Southland’?

Tom Everett Scott: I think I would love to direct more, whether it was an episode or something else. Certainly I’d be definitely interested in.

Have you talked to the producers about that yet?

Tom Everett Scott: Oh, no, no. I don’t think that I’m quite there yet with my experience because that’s a pretty complex show. There’s a lot going on there. There are stunts and heavy drama. I need to work up to that. I need to do like a thirty six minute short and work my way up.

If you could guest star on any other show which one would it be?

Tom Everett Scott: That’s a good question. I like that. I think it’d be fun to be on ‘Mad Men’ and do that period thing with the smoking all those cigarettes. I don’t smoke though so it’d have to be one of those fake cigarettes like the chewing gum ones. I also really like that show ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’. That would be fun.

Those are completely different genres.

Tom Everett Scott: Yeah. ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’, I’m such a fan and it makes me laugh so hard and it’s also so awkward that sometimes I have to close my eyes. He just gets in such awkward situations.

Are you more comfortable with comedy or drama?

Tom Everett Scott: I kind of like both. There should be a little bit of comedy in everything or else it’d be so boring. They’re both good and they’re both hard, too.