Paul Adelstein previews PRIVATE PRACTICE: “Cooper’s thrilled, and maybe naively so”

Tonight’s all new PRIVATE PRACTICE deals with the bomb dropped at the end of last week’s episode where Rayanne, I mean Erica (AJ Langer, who is always awesome, no matter where she is), told Cooper that thanks to their one night stand 9 years ago, they have a son.

For a character like Cooper, who has wanted children since the day we met him, this comes as a delightful surprise.  But how is this going to affect his family, his friends, and his life in general? Paul Adelstein and I spent some time discussing exactly what this means for Cooper, and where the show goes from here –

Quite the bomb dropped at the end of the episode!
[laughs, maybe maniacally]  What did you think?  Did you think “be careful Cooper” or were you excited for him?

It’s excitement, because you know how much he wants kids. So it is excitement, but it’s also this idea of, but he just told Charlotte there would be no more surprises ha!

How long have you known this storyline was coming, and how are you feeling about it, as an actor, getting to play this for Cooper?
They told me about it right at the beginning of the season.  Yeah, I’m very excited about it.  It’s juicy for Charlotte and Cooper, because it really pushes their buttons.  Cooper, obviously loves kids, he’s always said he wants to be a father, and Charlotte has always said she’s a little ambivalent about it.  And they’re very bonded, they’re in a great place right now, even though he kind of screwed her on the cord blood thing, that was a little bump in the road.  But this is a bigger bump in the road, and it’s going to be a real test for them, how to navigate it.  So from an acting standpoint, I thought, oh what a great idea.  It’s rich.

And it’s not something that is so out there, that it couldn’t really happen.  It’s nice to see these very real characters explore a very real situation.
Right, yeah, it must happen all the time, especially in this day and age, where you can find people.  It actually happened to someone I know.  He found out he had an older brother, his father didn’t know about, etc, etc.  It must be a common thing, and it’s fun to explore.

I read an interview that you had just done about this last episode, and it sounds like something he’s not going to keep from Charlotte right away.  In another show, this could be a whole long drawn out secret.  But she’s going to be pretty involved.
Cooper’s thrilled, and maybe naively so.  Where, he wants everybody on board with this thing.  He wants to be a dad, so he doesn’t see a downside, again, maybe being a little naive, or he’s certainly told that he’s being naive, by Charlotte, and by his friends.  He wants to share this.  This is exciting new for him.  As crazy as it is, it’s a real change for him, but a welcome one.

What can you tease about what we’ll see in the coming weeks, dealing with this reveal?
You’ll see Cooper questioning Erica, and I think with a healthy dose not cynicism, but reserve.  He’s trying to suss out what her motives are.  And then gets to meet Mason, and he’s smitten, for lack of a better word, with this kid.  And with that, he just kind of commits.  Other people in the practice really caution him against this, and they try, people that will remain nameless, to step in front of this thing and stop it, or at least slow it down.  Because they feel like Cooper’s maybe putting himself, them, in a difficult situation.

With the character of Erica – it has to be approached like, does she have ulterior motives?  Do we know what she wants?   I’m sure that’s not something he’s thinking about right now because he’s excited!
That’s very well put, and again, speaks to Cooper’s soft spot, so whether she has ulterior motives or not, Cooper is almost unconcerned with that.  There’s this kid in front of him, saying he’s his father, or at least she is, and that’s is primary to him, that’s primary to Cooper.

There are of course the questions that come up on the message boards, and in comments on recaps, worried that the Erica character could be a wrench in what is a solid Charlotte and Cooper marriage.  Will it play out that there’s a romantic angle to it, or right now, is it just about Mason?
It’s certainly not romantic right now.  But you know, it grows exponentially.  I mean, you have Cooper’s relationship with the kid, Charlotte’s relationship with the kid, Cooper’s relationship with Eric, and Charlotte’s relationship with Erica.  I mean, you’re not just dealing with an 8 year old boy in a vacuum.  He’s got a mother.  So if Cooper wants to have a relationship with him, he’s going to have to have a relationship with Erica, and Erica is going to have to have a relationship with Charlotte, so there is a lot to navigate there.

You can imagine with how close that the team has gotten, like an extended family, that this is going to affect them, as well as the Cooper and Charlotte side of it.
Absolutely, absolutely!

What would you love to see play out for Cooper, through this arc.  What, as Paul, would you love to have happen for Cooper?
You know, I go where they send me.  I trust Shonda so much.  She always writes things that you don’t see coming, and I think that’s really exiting to play.  In Cooper’s best of all possible world, he’s kind of an insta-dad.  He has this son, and everyone should be happy with it, and it should be hunky dory.  Obviously, it’s more complicated than that.  And that’s going to play out.

Why do you think that now is a good time for people to get invested in PRIVATE PRACTICE?
I think, what it’s really exploring now are these adult themes.  Addison is a woman who is trying to have a baby by herself, even though she’s in a relationship.  Pete and Violet’s marriage is under a great deal of strain.  Cooper and Charlotte have this bomb that’s just been dropped in the middle of their lives, and it’s all very real, and I think what a lot of people deal with every day, and I don’t think it’s the kind of stuff you see explored on TV.  That couples with these great medical stories.  I feel like the show has really hit its stride this year.  As good as the writing has been, I think it’s stepped up.  We’ve shot some great episodes thus far.