After doing a lengthy Random Roles interview with Michael McKean for the AV Club – he’s had a subscription to the Onion for about a decade, by the way, so he’s well familiar not only with the publication but also with the feature itself – we wrapped up before I’d actually gotten through all of the items on my to-ask list, but I couldn’t in good conscience keep the man any longer. As it was, we’d already gone over our allotted time, but he’d said, “My wife is bringing me home a burrito, so you’re good ’til then. But when the burrito gets here, you’re done.” I finally decided to just let him go before getting the word that it was time to wrap things up, but as it turned out, his wife had gotten home some time before, and he’d just let me keep asking questions, anyway. Great guy, that Michael McKean.
As we said our farewells, he’d said that he was going to be sending me an email with a link to a quote from Dave Grohl that he thought I’d enjoy. In turn, I told him I’d send him over the roles that’d been left on the list, saying, “These are all things that readers had requested, so if anything really leaps out at you as a great story, I’m sure they’d appreciate it.” So what did he do? He offered up a one-liner about every single item on the list.
Like I said: great guy, that Michael McKean.
Here’s what he had to say:
Young Doctors in Love (1982) —“Dr. Simon August”
Michael McKean: First big movie role; lot of funny people & good actors.
The Big Picture (1989) —“Emmet Sumner”
MM: I worked on the script and later helped with casting. I’d read Emmet’s lines in some scenes for potential Nicks, so Chris told me to grow a beard and do the part. So I did.
Dream On (1991-1996) —“Gibby Fiske”
MM: My accent got a little better over the course of five years. Shot in this pisspot of a studio in North Hollywood, but a truly fun set.
Coneheads (1993) —“INS Deputy Commissioner Gorman Seedling”
MM: I was cast as a Coneperson originally, but the actor they had for Seedling dropped out and I stepped in. Met a lot of people I’d encounter again.
Jack (1996) —“Paulie”
MM: We rehearsed the whole script, top to bottom, reading from the pages at Francis’ barn and environs. Very cool. The shoot was one day at Bimbo’s 365. Robin, Don Novello, Fran D. and…that’s really Francis Ford Coppola over there!
Primetime Glick (2001-2003)—“Adrien Van Voorhees”
MM: Great, amazing gig. Marty Short is a remarkable talent and a gent.
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law (2002-2005) —“Evelyn Spyro Throckmorton”
MM: Don’t remember much, but I laughed an awful lot.
Smallville (2003 & 2010) —“Perry White”
MM: My wife got me the gig. Sincerely, though, nice to be part of the DC universe.
Homeland (2011) —“Judge Jeffrey Turner”
MM: I read the pilot when they were originally casting a series regular. They sold the show and had me in for this other part. Nice day working with Mandy Patinkin and director Michael Cuesta.