Now that Season 2 of The Politician has dropped on Netflix, I guess I can relay my experiences without breaking any NDA.
When I first went in to audition, I actually hadn’t seen Season 1 yet. There are just so many shows out there, and although I try to keep abreast of them, every once in a while one slips by. Since there was no time to see any episodes before my audition time, it would just have to wait until afterward.
Well, when I finally sat down to watch it the next day, I was blown away. It was so smartly written and brilliantly acted that I entered that place that actors shouldn’t really go post-audition – I hoped I would get the part. Fortunately, the Fates weren’t paying attention or something that day, because I got the call that I booked it!
I was so excited, yet things were so busy that I only got through like half of the episodes before I had to go in for my wardrobe fitting. I had a wonderful time joking with the costume designer. When I was in one option, I said, “I’m just a guy going to vote!” And he offhandedly replied, “And to get pushed aside by Bette Midler.”
Say what? I wasn’t sure I even heard him right, since that was totally unexpected. Of course, I couldn’t ask him to repeat himself without looking like an idiot, so I waited until I was out of there to look up the show on IMDB (which I usually wait until after seeing a show to do). Sure enough, there is Bette Midler playing “Hadassah,” which is the name of the character mine interacts with. She and Judith Light don’t appear until the last episode of Season 1, which is why I hadn’t any clue they were in it.
At that point I entered another room which is off-limits to actors – I got really nervous about being in a scene with legends like that. Fortunately, by shoot day I had worked through it and was ready to work.
Actually, that was “shoot days.” Since most days cover about five to six pages of screenplay at most, the fact that our scene was eight and a half pages meant that it had to be split into two consecutive days.
We started the first day with a run-through of the whole scene. Mostly the director (actually the show creator, Ian Brennan, who directs about one episode a season) would talk to the regulars and whoever had the upcoming dialogue, so I waited quietly off to the side to wait my turn. When it got up to the point of our exchange Bette said, “now who is my gentleman?” Without delay I spoke up, “I’m your gentleman.” Then we went through our lines a couple times while Ian and Tim (Norman, the DP) figured out the blocking.
Those two ladies were two of the nicest people I’ve worked with yet. I was a little afraid to approach them between shots, and when I finally did I found out I needn’t have been. They even were willing to have a picture with me, but as we were all in costume, they didn’t want to take the risk of getting me in trouble.
On the second day, they were mostly doing the second part of the scene after Ben Platt and Julia Schlaepfer enter and they have their dueling news conferences. So most of that day was essentially being background for continuity, except near the end.
Ian said he wanted to get a shot of me reacting to the craziness going on as I left the voting booth. He did this after he confided in me that Tim told him he thought I was the funniest man he’d ever seen. (Holy crap!) So, they set up the shot, and place the four stand-ins over where the regulars had been doing there thing so I would have an eye-line. I looked away for a second, and when I looked back, there were Bette and Judith standing where the stand-ins were! They are such professionals that they wanted to give me something to react to in order to make that second of show a little better. So they stuck around to do this even though they were done for the day. That is class and professionalism right there.
These were easily the best two days of my career so far!