EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: James Tupper talks SAMANTHA WHO?

I had the chance to spend some quality time chatting with MEN IN TREES star James Tupper to discuss his upcoming (open-ended) gig on ABC’s SAMANTHA WHO?  Read on to find out why he likes this role, what drew him to it, and what he would say to his MEN IN TREES fans!

MTOT: You and Christina Applegate have such great chemistry. It seems so natural.
James: Oh yeah, she’s great. It’s always funny coming on to a show.  You never know what’s going to happen.  She’s been such a leader and so friendly and kind to me.  When we’re not doing crossword puzzles, we sit there joking around.  I always say the same joke to her when we’re filming.  I always look at her, and I go, “I love you in this one”, like meaning the scene.

For someone who hasn’t seen the first episode, how can you tease this new character that you’re bringing to the show?
I guess, Samantha, kind of reluctantly agrees to team up with her mom.  They start a real estate business.  She’s made a decision that she’s going to stick to a really good course.  I come on as her first client (Owen) and I guess I end up kind of throwing her.  She’s always in the primordial battle between good and evil, like being the bad girl or an angel.  I think I’m an advocate for the angel.  I’m a billionaire environmentalist whose done good in the world.

I read a description of a character that said “The kind of guy women want to be with and men want to be”.
You just described every description ever written about soap opera or daytime television roles [laughs].  I think Owen has problems.  He’s a guy that’s trying to do right by the world, but really gets caught up in some of the politics. Subverts his own human instincts; he would rather try to do something for orphans.

Why did Owen interest you? 
You know what, I would sit around in the evening.  I watch the show with my girlfriend Anne and her son Homer.  And Homer’s a big fan of it.  He loves it.  And that’s really big time, because he only likes kids’ programming but he’s very advanced and anyway, he loves this show.  So when I got a call about it, I was very excited.  I had read a lot about Christina, I had never met her.  She’s been great and helpful.  I feel just lucky to be here.  Happy to be here.

How many episodes have you been locked in for?
We don’t yet.  It’s kind of open-ended.  I love being here.  It’s so weird to jump in my truck and drive to work in Los Angeles and not have to get on the plane.

After the first episode, do you get to interact more with the rest of the cast?  It looks like you’re only with Christina and Jean in the first one.
Oh no, yes, no, I meet Todd, and we end up hitting it off, sort of “hitting” it off, quote unquote.

Can you tease anything else about what’s coming up?
I also have an ex girlfriend.  I think that when Todd meets her, it throws him off course, if you know what I mean.

Why do you think people should be watching SAMANTHA WHO?
I kind of found it by accident.  I think it comes down to Christina Applegate’s magnetic charm and comedy.  She’s such a funny, brilliant woman.  She’s the leader on the show.  It’s a little bit like TWO AND A HALF MEN. The lead on the show is someone you really want to watch.  I think that she has that.  I don’t what you call that, charisma? 

She certainly seems to; everything I watch with her, she draws you in.
Right.  I think she fills out this character perfectly.  I think it’s her that’s struggling, the bad girl that’s struggling [laughs].

What else do you get to sit down and watch on TV?
I’m really into BOSTON LEGAL.  I like a lot of sitcoms.  I like TWO AND A HALF MEN. I like ACCORDING TO JIM.  I like that new Christian Slater show.  I think that’s really brilliant and he’s fantastic in it.  MY OWN WORST ENEMY I think it’s called.  Of course, I like to sit around with boys and watch football.

Who is your team?
I’m for the Patriots.

Oh well I’m an Eagles fan, so I’m not sure I can let you slide!
[James laughs]

What else do you have coming up?
I shot a movie a few months ago called ME AND ORSON WELLES.  It was shot by Richard Linklater, a great director out of Texas.  We shot this beautiful little film.  It’s kind of like an ensemble piece although Zac Efron is the lead in it.  I got to play Joseph Cotton, the old time classic movie star.  Known a lot to our parents’ generation, I don’t know how much we know.  It’s a movie about a theatre production in 1937 of “Julius Caesar” put on by Orson Welles and it’s seen through this young person’s eyes, coming into the company.  It was really fun to shoot.  It just premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and it got great reviews.  I don’t when it’s going to be released or what’s happening with it.

Is there anything else you want to say to fans?  I’m such a fan of MEN IN TREES, I just want to add how sad I was to see it go!
It took me months to get over it, to let it go.  It feels better to work on the show.  I don’t know what to say to make them feel better.  I still get stopped, and people say, “Oh you’re Jack from MEN IN TREES” and then I have to tell them that it was cancelled.  Watch SAMANTHA WHO?

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