Talking with THE MIDDLEMAN’s Matt Keeslar   

Soo… you watched The Middleman pilot last week, right? What’d ya think?

I’ve actually seen quite a few people who liked it and are recommending it as the perfect summer fare. I hope some of you felt the same. The second episode, “The Accidental Occidental Conception,” airs tonight at 8/7c on ABC Family and, even though I won’t be able to watch it until later in the week, I can’t wait to see it.

Matt Keeslar stars in THE MIDDLEMAN on ABC Family, Mondays at 8/7c.Some of that may be due to the Matt Keeslar teleconference I particpated in last week. As Ducky said, that man is hot even on the phone. Here are a couple excerpts from the conversation:

What is your favorite part about working on the show so far?

My favorite part about working on the show is the great group of people that Javier, the creator, has assembled for us. It’s an amazing crew, a really terrific cast. Natalie Morales plays Wendy, the lead in the show, and she’s a very talented newcomer, along with Brit Morgan and Jake Smollett, who are also young and very talented actors. We have Mary Pat Gleason, who is playing my android assistant, Ida, and she is a really fun, terrific actress to work with, much more experienced than probably any of us on set.

The writing team has been really terrific too. They’ve put together what I think are progressively better scripts. Even though I was much enamored with the original pilot script, I think that the script has gotten better as they’ve taken more chances and looked at new and interesting ways of spinning the iconic comic book hero.

You’ve had a lot of eclectic roles in the past. Is that something that led you to really enjoy auditions for this role, and how is it different from other things that you’ve played so far?

This character is very different from other things that I’ve played and that’s by design, in a way. I like to look for different and challenging roles to play, just because it keeps my interest and it keeps me excited about doing something new, and I think that, in a way, the various and eclectic roles that you mentioned from my past have helped, because The Middleman is kind of a jack-of-all-trades. He knows a little bit about everything.

So, being able to do stunt work was important, and that’s something that I had experienced in the past. Being able to do a large amount of dialogue and learn it relatively quickly was something that I had experienced on The Last Days of Disco, as one of the other interviewers mentioned. Learning how to play a comic character who takes himself seriously was something that I’ve also been working on with other characters in another project.

I think that the eclectic characters that I’ve played in the past have helped me to put together The Middleman and, even though he isn’t a character all in and of himself, he kind of knows a little bit of everything.

How does your character evolves this season?

The evolution of the Middleman throughout the series is kind of tricky, because he starts off to be so enigmatic and the man of mystery. There are a lot of things about his back-story, his history that you don’t really get to know about throughout the course of the series, but, as the series progresses, you see how the Middleman is kind of trapped by his job. That he has a hard time having a life outside of fighting comic book evil, and is hemmed in by the impractical life of constantly having to save the world. So, when relationships develop, he often has to cut them short, because he can’t really devote his attention to anything other than his work, which is, I guess, a difficulty that many superheroes would face.

The Middleman, in particular, sees himself as one of the rugged individualists, sort of like a Randolph Scott character from a western, and has chosen a life of solitude. That is explored more and more throughout the course of the series and the difficulties that would ensue from somebody making those choices, so there’s a loneliness that he would ultimately experience, although we never get too much into the melodrama of that, but it is a part of who the Middleman is. The fact that his real family is Ida, his android, a dominating schoolmarm android, and his sidekick, Wendy, who is the only one who is really able to have a life outside of The Middleman organization.

What is some of the craziest stuff that you’ve had to do on the show so far?

In one of the episodes we battle trout craving zombies, people who have been bitten by Peruvian flying pike and have turned into zombies who crave the flesh of trout. Natalie and I were covered in fish gore and then tracked down by these trout zombies, so that was an odd thing.

I had a scene where I had to fight 100 Mexican wrestlers in a sandy Aztec pyramid set, which was a lot of fun, kind of hard work, but also pretty silly. The fighting styles ranged everywhere from WWF to Kung Fu. In general, the Middleman’s naiveté also beats him to make a lot of unintentional double entendre about sex, sexuality, and his own lifestyle choices, and those have been probably some of my sillier utterances throughout the show.

If you’d like to read the entire interview, Ducky posted a full transcript last week.

Don’t forget! New The Middleman tonight!

8:00pm, ABCFAM
“The Accidental Occidental Conception” – The Middleman and Wendy travel to the underworld to prevent a terra-cotta warrior from releasing a long-lasting rain of fire onto the Earth. The pair get assistance from fashionista Roxy Wasserman, but Wendy has problems focusing on the mission since she’s troubled by a disagreement she had with Lacey.

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