When I first heard that you’d been cast in the revival, I thought you might be playing the Elvis-like Conrad Birdie.
A lot of people asked me if I was playing Conrad. I remember them talking to me about playing Conrad in the [1995 TV movie remake], but I see myself much more as an Al than a Conrad. I’m much closer to a neurotic, nervous people-pleaser, and I’m also too old.
Some blogs actually seem obsessed with how youthful you still look.
It’s funny, because I haven’t had one ounce of Botox or any of that. I finally got gray hairs in the past couple years, and I wore it on ER, but they made me cover it up in this show. I don’t want to be one of those weird-looking guys who gets old but stays looking young.
Though it helps sell tickets, the Broadway community can sometimes be cold to the casting of TV and movie stars, which can lead to what I call a “Julia Roberts backlash.” Do you feel welcomed by the Broadway family?
No matter what happens review-wise, I very much feel accepted by the community. In fact, I feel more accepted here than I do in television and certainly in movies. I feel that I’ve paid my dues, somewhat, by doing the three other shows. I wouldn’t have deserved to get Albert right off the bat because I needed to prove myself and learn. The only way I’ve ever grown in my career is to put myself in a very difficult situation, which is what you do when you do Broadway. Everyone’s off in Hollywoodland, making movies and TV, thinking what they’re doing is so important, but when you come to Broadway you see how hard these actors really work — and it’s really about the work because there’s not a lot of money involved, no perks, no big fancy trailers. This is my fourth Broadway show, and every time I’m a completely new person at the end of it.
On the subject of star casting, do you have any plans to meet for a drink with A Steady Rain stars Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig after your shows one night?
Hugh’s an old friend of mine and it’s such a small community, so I’m sure I’ll run into them. Some woman asked me the other day, “Is there a place where all you heartthrobs hang out?” I said, “Yes, it’s called the Hollywood Heartthrob Club. We just sit around and talk about how hot we are.” There is a great bar, Bar Centrale, where everybody goes after their shows, so it’s a good place to see your fellow actors.
Doing Broadway makes you very accessible to fans. Do you like stage door situations?
I’ve never been one of those people who doesn’t like meeting fans. Look, I grew up wanting to be a star for all the wrong reasons: I wanted to be famous, have money, and meet chicks. It wasn’t until after it happened that I realized there was a craft to be learned. So I enjoy it, and I’m not bullshitting you. It’s the same reason I have Twitter, which is the new way to get close to the people who support you. Kevin Spacey talked me into it, and then I talked Bob Saget into it, and now Saget’s got four times the amount of followers I do.
Do you notice many gay fans at the Birdie stage door?
I am seeing a lot more guys than normal coming to the stage door, and I take a picture with them. It’s very sweet. I hope that I’m accepted as being gay-friendly. I think gay people are proud of Wedding Wars.