January 24, 2014 1:00:06 am
Popular television star, Matt LeBlanc on new Episodes and life after Friends
After winning over audiences and becoming a household name as one of the six lead characters in NBC’s hit sitcom Friends, actor Matt LeBlanc has found an unconventional way to carve a new chapter in his career; playing a nastier version of himself.
LeBlanc, 46, who spent 10 years playing the dim-witted but lovable Joey Tribbiani on Friends, has found a new lease of life on television playing the reckless and rude character of Matt LeBlanc on Showtime’s Episodes, a role that has already won him a Golden Globe award. Episodes, now in its third season, premiered recently, showcases its leading characters tackling the dysfunctional personalities running the complex and convoluted back end of Hollywood’s television industry once again even as they try to make a hit television show. Sitting at his publicist’s office in Beverly Hills, a jovial LeBlanc talked to Reuters about life after Friends and blurring the lines between fiction and reality on Episodes.
What do you enjoy the most about playing a version of yourself in Episodes?
It’s actually quite fun to play basically the public’s perception of the celebrity. So it’s not accurately me at all. Sometimes it’s right on the money, and sometimes it’s way off base. I’ve really stuck to my guns about not differentiating which is which, because a lot of people ask me how similar am I to Matt LeBlanc in the show, and I think that, to me, is relevant. My job is to make you, the audience, believe I am Joey Tribbiani or I am Matt LeBlanc, that’s an actor’s job, to have this seamless interpretation of a character.
Were there any ‘no-go’ areas of you life that you didn’t want drawn in?
Yes. In terms of my family, I am divorced and have a daughter and have two step kids. In the show, I’m divorced and have two sons. And that was enough to not have it mirror my life too much in that area.
We still see a lot of camaraderie between the Friends cast, often doing guest spots on each other’s projects. Will you reunite with any of them in the future of Episodes?
I don’t know. It’ll always be great to work with them. It’d be a different kind of guest spot for them to do this because they would have to play themselves, a version of themselves that they’re comfortable with.
After Friends and Joey, you stepped away for a few years. What were you able to reflect on during your time away?
The things I did think about in terms of my career were the most recent thing, the mistakes I felt that had been made on Joey, and things I saw, mistakes being made right in front of me and I could have put my foot down and didn’t. I think I learned from that, I’m not the smartest guy in the room but I’ve been around for a while now and I do have an opinion that I believe in, and from that point on, I will voice my opinions and interject
. … From 1994 to 2006, I had my nose to the grindstone, took a trip here and there, but I was such a slave to work and when that all ended, I was like, ‘Wow, my life hasn’t really advanced that much’. There was a marriage that happened during that time that I didn’t maybe pay enough attention to, or I didn’t have my priorities sorted as they should have been. Live and learn, I guess.
It must have been good to get that perspective?
Stepping back and looking on it, I think what I came away with was that work is not the most important part of life. At 46. Nice. Maybe I am Joey!
Spielberg tops Oprah Winfrey as most influential celeb: Forbes
Director Steven Spielberg on Wednesday dethroned media mogul Oprah Winfrey as the most influential celebrity in the United States, according to an annual study by Forbes magazine that was dominated by film directors. Spielberg’s influence was boosted by his most recent film, Lincoln, which earned 12 Oscar nominations last year including best picture and best direction, and grossed $275 million at the global box-office.
The magazine said the 67-year-old director’s ability to attract foreigners to a U.S. drama about the back-room dealings and minutiae of 19th-century Washington politics spoke to his prowess. Lincoln grossed $93 million in foreign markets.
Forbes said that 47 per cent of people surveyed rated Spielberg as influential. “A celebrity’s ‘Influential’ score represents how that person is perceived as influencing the public, their peers, or both,” Gerry Philpott, president of E-Poll Market Research, which conducted the study for Forbes, told the magazine. Winfrey, 59, who topped the list with 49 per cent last year, slipped to 45 per cent this year, which Forbes said could be due to her retreat from the spotlight while running her cable television network OWN. Film director and Star Wars creator George Lucas placed third despite working little in the public eye in recent years. He sold his Lucasfilm company to Walt Disney Co for $4.05 billion in October 2012. Directors Ron Howard and Martin Scorsese placed fourth and fifth on the list respectively. Other high-ranking celebrities in the top 10 of the list included television physician Mehmet Oz, ABC TV journalist Barbara Walters and U2 singer and activist Bono.
E-Poll Market Research ranked more than 6,600 celebrities on 46 personality attributes. Forbes did not say how many people participated in the survey.
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