"I Think Selling Pot Becomes a Way For Him to Have Something to Do"
MP: I'd love that! Jack is hilarious and so much fun. It would be so fun to do the "assistants episode."
MB: Does not being in every episode of a season affect the way you work with your co-stars? I mean, I know you come from a theater background, where half the point is developing strong relationships with other actors through the rehearsal process. So I'm wondering: How do you create a connection with actors when you're only with them for a limited time?
MP: It does force you to speed up the process. Rehearsal for me on both shows is pretty much limited to, "Read the scene once. Read the scene again to block it. Read the scene one more time to let the cameras watch, and then go get changed." But I'm lucky that on both of these shows, I'm working with really great actors. I think it's coming in with a strong choice, playing it off another person, and just allowing it to be quicker than if you're in a play.
MB: With all the stuff you do on film, where the process is so much faster, do you feel like you actually get to use what you learned in your theater training at Yale School of Drama?
MP: Part of what they tell you is that they're training you to be able to instinctively respond, to train the instrument to be open. And I think that's really key in television and film. Oftentimes, you're responding to a piece of tape on the side of the camera, because the other actor is working on something else or has to be in the make-up chair and they just need the reaction. And you think, "Well, that's not what theater training is about at all, to act to a piece of tape," but I think it gives you that skill set to be able to bring up what you need to.
MB: Just for the sake of full disclosure, do you remember that time we were in graduate school together?
MP: Yes. Yes, I do. Write it down!
MB: Who can forget academic year 2002-2003, right? But now, let's totally shift gears.
MB: Are there differences between working on a cable series and a network series?
MP: The budgets are a lot different, so you have to work within the constraints of whatever that is, and generally, networks have a lot more money than cable shows. But I feel like [30 Rock and Weeds] are pretty similar, in that the writers are all interesting and creative and fun. I don't sense the network or cable presence the way that the creators might, but it seems like both shows have been given the license to run with it.