Eric McCormack Interview

Eric McCormack

Are you pleased with the reaction Perception has had in the UK?

It's been amazing, half the tweets I get are from people in the UK asking when it starts there, it was great be able to finally confirm it's return to them all!

So how is Season 2 going in the US?

It's great, we've built such a loyal following and I've been tweeting live every week which has been really fun.

Is it nice having that instant reaction now social media is at the forefront of television viewing?

It's fantastic, I never thought it would be so positive as there was a side of me going 'stop talking to me, and watch the show' but you realise everyone has a different level of engagement these days, it encourages people to watch it a second time too.

So Perception Season 2 - what do we have in store this season?

You'll see in the first episode there is a big revelation about Daniel that we as viewers know but perhaps everyone around him doesn't. Daniel becomes a lot more of an advocate and a voice for his condition and drives the cases he's working on with Kate based on his personal experiences with mental health. It's his empathy and advocacy in the second season which makes him also some kind of anti-hero.

He seems to take being 'outed' in his stride though, was it time he wanted everyone to know about his condition?

It's definitely out there now, and because of Scott Wolf's character Donnie, Kate's ex-husband, it becomes much more public. There is a moment where you think it's going to be awful for him, and it is briefly but I think he realises that the shame and secrecy he felt was completely against everything he stands for. He believes he's more himself off his meds than on, so he can't at the same time hide the condition, you almost have to wear it as a badge.

How is Daniel's state of mind? Do we pick up directly where we left off?

The ironic thing is his state of mind is great at the start of Season 2, but it's great in the way we (the viewers) don't want. And that'll be clear when you see the first ten minutes of the first episode, you think he's fine and that's that. But just relax... he won't be fine for long!

We have to show that being medicated is what most people living with the condition should be doing, it is recommended and is beneficial, but that doesn't make for a TV series so I like that he can look in the mirror and say yes I'm 'better', but he doesn't feel better, he doesn't feel like Daniel Pierce. It's quite a controversial thing to do for a US television programme, to suggest you go against your doctors orders!

It keeps it quite real though, are you still researching for the character? You mentioned you did a lot of research ahead of the first series.

I continue to read where I can, there was a whole bunch of stuff which came out around the time I was over in the UK last year about neurolaw and a lot of the themes we deal with in the show. So having a neuroscience expert as an assistant is going to get us into some grey areas in the real world in terms of law. Everything can be justified by something medical. It is a really interesting area and poses questions of sides. If you have a guy like Daniel who is putting everything down to our brains, then how do we judge criminals, how do we punish people if there is no free will, if it's all medical?

It's a whole new area, and how I represent Daniel's schizophrenia grows through everything I read too, continuity is really important to this character, it keeps it believable.

Do we find out more about why Daniel created Natalie?

I loved the end of the first season when the viewers realised that Natalie wasn't just a figment of his imagination, that even if he just saw Caroline for a short time he based Natalie's visual looks on her but everything else was a creation of Daniel's mind. He is now getting to know a very different person in Caroline, but the question very early on in the series is if you could have your fantasy girl come true, is that such a great thing? Is it going to be everything you imagined, and the second episode tackles that for sure.

We see a bit of tension between both Kate and Daniel in the opening episode but obviously last season there was a hint of feelings between them ? will this continue?

We tease the audience by suggesting he's doing so well and he's dating, you have to remind the audience of what they don't want. My mother-in-law told me how glad she was that he's taking his meds, but I knew she wouldn't mean that when she saw how different he was. Oddly, that's not the guy Kate is attracted to either, Daniel ironically thinks he could never have Kate because of his condition but ironically I think she likes the real Daniel, and it endangers her job sometimes but that's the man she likes and that's the combination that keeps the audience attracted too.

Kate's ex husband arrives in the form of Party of Five star Scott Wolf ? what was it like working with Scott?

I'm a big believer that you spend a lot more time with the cameras not rolling than them rolling so I wanted whoever we signed to be fun and someone we enjoyed spending time with, even though on screen he drives me crazy, and that's what Scott was ? it was instant. It's been great having him on the show, and I think it's fun for him because he doesn't usually play pains in the ass, he plays nice guys. There is definitely a nice guy at the centre of Donnie but he's a bit of a dick up front.

Is Scott here to stay?

He's around for the whole season yes, and when Ken (creator) said Kate's husband was coming in I said not for long right because I know it's going to drive Daniel nuts but you need those button pushers.

Will Max Lewecki still play a big part in keeping Daniel's professional life together? Has his career been affected by his episode at the end of the last season?

Yes absolutely, pretty soon Daniel will be back to his not well self and Lewicki is crucial to helping Daniel through that.

Lewicki needs Daniel as much as Daniel needs him right?

He does, and Max gets to be a comic spoil sometimes. We saw at the end of last season that Daniel takes him for granted but he definitely needs him very much. He was a nurse, that's how they met. He's the guy who took him away in a straitjacket and I think Daniel treats him badly but there is a real nice journey this season where we meet Max's brother and see more of his back story.

Will we see any more exciting guest stars in Perception this season, we had the lovely Jamie Bamber last season?

We've got a few actually, Jobeth Williams plays Daniel's mum and Judd Hirsch comes in to play one of Daniel's historical hallucinations which is probably my favourite of the season.

What are your favourite things about playing Daniel? It must be quite tough?

It can be tough but that's my favourite thing, we have a really supportive crew. I like having big speeches, hard words and hard emotions. The most enjoyable thing is that he's unpredictable, to me, to the audience and some of the crew too ? it's sometimes what happens when you are living with this condition and for the show it all keeps it interesting and alive.

Any other things in the pipeline for you Eric?

A couple of things but one of the things I'd love to do, and if it works then hopefully bring to the UK, is a one-man/evening with Eric McCormack. A show made up of stories and songs, not a cabaret as such but all songs that have something to do with the fantasies I had growing up of being a rock star, an actor and of a lot of the actors and musicians I've got to meet through my time and on Will and Grace.

It will included a lot of Will & Grace stories which I've told at parties for years, an autobiographical journey through my musical mind if you will. It's something I'm putting together with my friend Loren Gold, the keyboard player for The Who. We've been working on it for a couple of years, I'd love to have one performance in the can this Fall and hopefully do it all for charity initially, see if I can make an evening work.

What do you most enjoy doing when not filming?

I honestly most enjoy riding my Vespa around Vancouver or LA with my kid on the back and going to the beach, that most relaxes me.