Six months after “Dexter” ended its eight-season Showtime run, title star Michael C. Hall is involved in other projects — including his participation as one of the celebrity “correspondents” in Showtime’s global-warming documentary miniseries “Years of Living Dangerously,” premiering Sunday, April 13 — but he admits traces of Dexter and his “Dark Passenger” remain.
“It’s been a bit busier than I had anticipated,” Hall tells Zap2it of his career lately. “I went and shot a movie right after the show ended (‘Cold in July,’ slated for a May opening after being shown at this year’s Sundance Film Festival), then within a few days, I was off to Bangladesh [for ‘Years of Living Dangerously’]. Then I had a couple of weeks off before the play I’m now doing, so I’ve been busy. And that’s been good. I certainly appreciate, not just consciously but even subconsciously, how playing a part for that long develops certain muscles that aren’t necessarily going to serve you in a new context,” Hall adds of his tenure as Dexter that earned him Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Television Critics Association Awards. “I’m still aware of the residue of that experience being in me, but I feel it trickling away.”
It isn’t that way for many “Dexter” devotees, though, since Hall still finds them coming up to him “all the time” to talk about the show. “They’ll ask me about the ending,” he confirms, “and tell me why they found it troubling or unsatisfying, or on the other hand, they want to distinguish themselves by saying they liked the ending. I think it would be really foolish or naive to think a stranger is coming up to me because they want to talk about the weather … though after ‘Years of Living Dangerously,’ maybe they will.”
Now starring on Broadway opposite Toni Collette, Marisa Tomei and “August: Osage County” writer Tracy Letts in “The Realistic Joneses,” Hall reflects that the theater is “really where I come from. The work I’ve done on television has been great, but it’s prevented me from really doing much on stage. “I’m interested in doing new things, but I don’t want to disregard the relationship I have with Showtime.”
Michael C. Hall has made a career of playing men with something to hide, the sort who manage their anxieties by pouring themselves into their work, which in the case of his two best-known television roles happened to include embalming and burying the dead (on “Six Feet Under”) and…
Actor Michael C. Hall sat with the WSJ to discuss his Broadway play, “The Realistic Joneses,” and his coming film “Cold in July.”
I really like this review:)!!. It starts out:
Plays as funny and moving, as wonderful and weird as “The Realistic Joneses,” by Will Eno, do not appear often on Broadway. … Broadway has long been a place inhospitable to the truly active currents of contemporary theater, so the opening of Mr. Eno’s play at the Lyceum Theater on Sunday night, in a production insured against instantaneous death (one hopes) by the presence of a few name stars — Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall and Marisa Tomei, alongside the less famous but no less gifted Tracy Letts — is an occasion worth celebrating.
Mr. Eno’s voice may be the most singular of his generation, but it’s humane, literate and slyly hilarious. He makes the most mundane language caper and dance, revealing how absurd attempts at communication can be. He also burrows into the heart of his characters to reveal the core of their humanity: the fear and loneliness and unspoken love that mostly remains hidden beneath the surface as we plug away at life, come what may.
…for all Mr. Eno’s quirks, his words cut to the heart of how we muddle through the worst life can bring. As Jennifer says to John, recalling a seriously strange encounter they had in the grocery store: “You were funny and weird, and you made me feel better. And I remembered people can do that. That talking with someone can make you feel better.”
So can eavesdropping on people talking, which is what you might call the theater. For all the sadness woven into its fabric, “The Realistic Joneses” brought me a pleasurable rush virtually unmatched by anything I’ve seen this season.
I think Variety is being more pragmatic than negative about the play, which is understandable since the play is more experimental than the conventional Broadway fare on offer. Doesn’t mean it’s not great. One critic called it plotless and hence pointless, which is pretty limited on his part. Sure, this kind of existentialist material is a risk on Broadway, but the producer Jeffrey Richards and the cast seem very aware of this risk, and of the fact that Will Eno’s works have always divided audiences and critics. The play itself has won praise from not only the New York Times, but USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, Chicago Tribune, Newsday and more. So whether it is great or not is obviously subjective. As to whether the show will be able to complete it’s run - the 2 week long previews have brought in solid box office numbers, and word of mouth seems to be strong. Broadway World has 15- 20 min videos interviewing audience, cast & crew members, colleagues, industry-types, etc. It is being highly regarded as a worthy risk…one that is showing signs of paying off.
Hmm… I haven’t had time to be thorough but the reviews seem to find the performances very good/excellent but the play itself not-so-great. This review starts out:
It’s the words, stupid. That’s what Will Eno keeps telling us in his hypnotically quirky plays. What separates the men from the beasts? The words. What saves humanity from extinction? The words. What keeps us from killing ourselves? The words. So what happens when language starts slipping away? That’s the existential nightmare that this madly interesting scribe depicts in “The Realistic Joneses.” Operating under the gold standard set by helmer Sam Gold, the marvelous cast — Tracy Letts, Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, and Marisa Tomei— savors every syllable as if it were their last.
The all-star cast not only brings out character nuances that would be lost in a less savvy production, they might even manage to keep the house open for much if not most of the show’s limited run. But word is bound to get out that Eno’s tragi-comic sensibility is hard to digest for anyone who hasn’t already acquired a taste for it. So, while there’s an air of mystery about this piece, the biggest mystery is what this downtown show is doing on Broadway in the first place.
Maybe the tragic-comic vibe is indeed not for everyone? Well either way I am glad they regard performances as great/excellent :)
ugh I seriously wish I could see the play. You guys can’t even imagine how much I envy those of you who can go… ;)
MCH, “Chicago” photoshoot
by Miranda Penn Turin, 2003
Sorry, not sorry…