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<i>Men of a Certain Age</i>: Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher Talk About Their Age

It's an unusual group of guys, to be sure. Scott Bakula is known for his science-fiction roles on Quantum Leap, Star Trek: Enterprise and Chuck. Andre Braugher is best known as a cop on Homicide and Hack and a doctor on Gideon's Crossing. And, of course, everybody loves comedian Ray Romano. Together in Men of a Certain Age, they're three odd musketeers, but they provide a little something for everyone when they sit down at their table in the diner to talk about life, work, families and women. We sat in on a roundtable with Bakula to talk about his one-foot-out-of-the-game actor character, and later with Braugher to find out about his car-salesman family man. (We gave Romano a pass.) Plus: Bakula's Chuck situation and Braugher's Star Trek dream!

TWoP: What do you think will get people to tune into your show?

Scott Bakula: Well, I think that there's really nothing like it on television, three men our age talking about life without a franchise, without it being cops or doctors. We're not talking over a body on a table; we're at a diner talking about what's going to happen with somebody's dad or their mortgage or their kids or with Ray, talking about the size of his nose. I mean it's a great slice of life, and again, it's from this male perspective. So I'm hoping that people are going to find that interesting and intriguing. And then, when they get there, they're going to find a show that's very funny and also very, very moving.

What first attracted you to the project?

Bakula: Well, I thought the script was great when I got it and I loved this idea of how they had written these three men and their kind of history. And the humor of it I thought was fantastic and different and surprising. And then I just loved this character of Terry. I just thought he was so not like me and so kind of irreverent and happy-go-lucky and Peter Pan and one of the Lost Boys at the same time. I just thought he would be so much fun to play.

With him being different from you, how are you able to relate to the character?

Bakula: Well, I'm a very physical person, and he's very much into his health and what he eats and working out and getting out in nature and all that stuff, which I certainly can identify with. And he's a little bit of the thinker of the group, in a funny way, and I can relate to that a little bit. I mean, he would like to go deeper in his life, but he doesn't really have any opportunity to do that. So that's kind of where our similarities end, because obviously I'm in a committed relationship with lots of kids and responsibilities, and he's the exact opposite of that.

Does that make playing Terry a challenge?

Bakula: Yes. He's a little bit of a challenge, because he's just not like me. Fortunately, I have a few friends who are a lot like him or are almost exactly like him, so I've been able to kind of pull on their life experiences and my conversations with them and talk with them about what's really going on for them at this point in their lives. They haven't been married, don't have families, are still out there dating and calling me and saying, "I don't get it. What's going on with this girl? And I'm saying, "She's 22, that's what's going on with this girl." But he's also a blast to play. I had so much fun just being that actor at an audition and having the audition going poorly. I mean, just because I've been there and I know what that feels like, and I think that that's great. It's like a play within a play kind of, the actor playing the actor. And it really is fun.

Is this struggling actor character your worst nightmare?

Bakula: I don't know that he's my worst nightmare. I mean the reality is, I've been in this business a long time. I've known a lot of actors and not everybody that I know has made it. And lots of people have branched off into other things and lots of them are happy doing that. I think what makes [Terry] kind of sad, in a way, at this point in his life is he hasn't quite given up yet. So he's still hanging on, and I think that's the hardest thing, when we see people that we care about and they're hanging on too long, whether to a relationship or whether it's to a dream or whatever it is. I've been very fortunate in my life and in my career, and I should be able to make a living for the rest of my working days if I choose to. Not everybody can do that, and we joke as actors that each job is the last job you're ever going to get.

Would this role preclude you at all from ever re-appearing on Chuck?

Bakula: It does not preclude me, and we all love each other. So if they write it, I will be there.

And now Braugher...

TWoP: What brought you to this particular show?

Andre Braugher: It was suggested to me that Ray and Mike [Royce] were doing a single-camera show, and that there might be a role that I would be interested in. So I read the pilot script and thought it was terrific and thought that all of things that made "Everybody Loves Raymond" a hit were still intact. The carefully observed human comedy is there, and I really dug this character. I dug the fact that he's struggling for competence and not succeeding. I've always been interested in new challenges, but I've also always been interested in being an excellent comedian. And it really takes studying with a master to get a part of that, so I felt like I got that with Ray.

Do you personally relate to your character, Owen?

Braugher: In a lot of different ways. I mean, I'm involved in the same stuff that Owen is, which is that I've got two living parents and a bunch of wild boys at home and a wife and crazy co-workers and best friends, and I love them all, but they drive me absolutely up the wall, you know? And I think that's the thing that everyone can relate to about these families is that, boy, they love each other to death, but they're driving each other absolutely crazy. I mean Joe and Owen and Terry have known each other for 30 years, and we give each other a lot of shit, and we complain, but nobody ever changes, you know what I mean?

What's it like working with a cast of people with so much experience? You've all done these big huge things on your own, and then you've come together.

Braugher: Well I think it's great, because we're all sane, and we understand what's at stake, and we're all very good at what we're doing. So it's about the work, you know what I mean? And it's about bringing this thing to fruition. So we have something really good to show the American public, but you know, Ray and Scott and myself, we're all fathers. We're all husbands. I think we can really relate to these characters. And we've been through a lot of different artistic experiences. I mean, Ray did a lot of standup and 9 years on a half-hour comedy show in front of a live audience, and Scott has done a lot of science fiction and speculative kinds of drama, and then I've done a lot of procedurals and medical shows, what they characterize as gritty. But you know, at the bottom of it I think we've brought of life experience that really forms the shows and the characters.

After all the different projects that you've tried, is there anything that you haven't done yet that you're really looking forward to trying?

Braugher: I haven't done the Star Trek series, but that time will come.

Men of a Certain Age premieres Monday at 10/9C on TNT. Discuss this show in our forums.

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