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|04-29-2008, 02:24 PM||#1|
I'm Rich Bitch
Join Date: Feb 03, 2002
Location: What Ain't No Country I Ever Heard Of...They Speak English in What?
'Back to You' actor Josh Gad adjusts to life in spotlight
Amid the swirl of recent weeks, Josh Gad has learned one of life's rules:
Being a movie star - well, a movie co-star - is a big thing. It draws way more attention than being on TV or on Broadway or in a forensics competition.
"Since '21' opened, I've had a lot more people coming up to me," Gad said. "It's amazing what can happen when you're projected on a 50-foot screen."
Now he's back to TV duty: On Fox's "Back to You," he's Ryan Church, the young news director who's overwhelmed by his high-powered anchors.
They're played by Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton, which means Gad doesn't have to fake being overwhelmed. "I was a huge fan of 'Cheers' and Kelsey," he said.
Then again, he has often played overwhelmed souls:
• On Broadway. He took over a key role in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," playing William Barfee.
• In "21." He plays Miles, best friend of the central character, Ben. Miles obsesses on a robotics contest; Ben obsesses on beating the casinos.
The common thread to this - and to his real life - is the notion of entering contests.
Big surprise in store
As a high school kid in Hollywood, Fla., Gad was a forensics champion. In his sophomore year, he went to the national finals in Minneapolis, Minn.
"You're up there with thousands of people watching you," he said. "I was terrified, absolutely terrified."
He finished third that year, then came back to win national titles in original oratory and humorous monologues. Forensics people kept reminding him about previous champs - including Oprah Winfrey, Robin Williams and ground-breaking politician Barbara Jordan.
Clearly, something big should happen to Gad, too. He studied theater at the prestigious Carnegie-Mellon University, took the "Spelling Bee" role and auditioned for "Back to You" in Hollywood. "They said, 'Great job, but we're looking for someone very different.' "
Then came the surprise. He was wrapping up his "21" scenes in Boston when someone called about the "Back to You" role.
"He said, 'You have to be on a plane in the next hour-and-a-half. They just let go of the actor who was playing Ryan.' "
Gad had to reschedule several things - including proposing to his girlfriend. (He did later; she said yes.) He landed the TV show.
"It feels like a throwback to the comedies of the '80s," said Gad, who grew up with his older brothers, watching "Taxi" and "Cheers" and more.
Like those shows, "Back to You" is taped in front of an audience. "It's an exciting form for us, because we love the audience," co-creator Steven Levitan said.
And "Back to You" is directed by a master of the form. "I call Jim Burrows 'the Spielberg of sitcoms,' " Gad said.
Burrows was the principal director of "Cheers" and "Taxi" and "Will & Grace" and more. He directed many of the "Friends" and "Frasier" episodes, plus lots of pilot films.
"He's amazing," Gad said. "He comes up with these little things that make it work."
This is big-time TV ... even if it doesn't get him noticed the way a movie does.
The Key to the Kingdom of Heaven: John 3:3
Money Doesn't Buy Happiness...But I'd Rather Cry in My Private Jet
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