Dan Bucatinsky is an American actor, writer and producer, best known for his role as James Novak in the Shonda Rhimes drama series Scandal, for which he won Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2013.
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Hi, I'm Dan Bucatinsky. I'm an actor, writer, producer, husband, dad and a celiac -- which means I have to be gluten free. But guess what? Pad Thai is gluten free so all is well.
Most of you will know me from my role as James Novak on the hit drama "Scandal". But now I play one of the Kevins on the NBC comedy "Marry Me" and Billy on the return of the HBO show I produce with my partner Lisa Kudrow.
I look forward to answering any questions you have about ANYTHING.
THANKS EVERYONE for taking part in my first AMA. Hope to see you all again. Keep questions coming on twitter : @danbucatinsky and on my website
Don't forget to watch MARRY ME Tues nights on NBC. and WEB THERAPY on Showtime Wed nights.. .and THIS SUNDAY the COMEBACK on HBO!!!
Thank you all.
Hi, Dan! I have a couple of questions.
1. What moment on Scandal shocked you the most?
2. Do you have any stories from the set?
3. Do you have a favorite episode to watch and/or shoot?
4. What's your favorite junk food?
Thank you so much for doing this AMA! :)
What advice do you think Fiona Wallice would give Valerie Cherish about The Comeback's comeback?
"I'm not sure who you are or who you THINK you are... but I don't believe anyone comes BACK from anything -- especially when they weren't there to begin with."
i had no idea who you were 5 minutes ago but those glasses you're wearing on your wiki picture are gorgeous, which has forced me to ask you:
what did you have for breakfast today?
Two eggs on a corn tortilla with tomatoes and fruit. And tea. and my glasses are Morgenthal Frederick. Thanks for asking!! :)
breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, fyi.
Hi Dan! What song would you have wanted to hear at James' funeral on Scandal had there actually been a funeral shown? P.s. you rock my world, literally
roberta flack singing "Killing Me Softly"... and thank you!!!
Hey Dan! I went as Aunt Sassy for Halloween, hope you like it! http://i.imgur.com/f2hsTFV.jpg
I was wondering what do you think Valerie Cherish's Oscar speech would be if she (rightfully) ever got one? Thank you blessing yoga hands
Wow. I wouldn't dare to speak for Valerie... I'm sure she's rehearsed her Oscar speech many... MANY times in the shower, in her car -- and everywhere else. I'm sure she would thank everyone who supported her over the years -- and hopefully thank BILLY!!!
Great costume btw!!
Have you ever been to Europe?
YES!!! I LOVE EUROPE. I was in Paris with my dad years ago... before he passed away... it's one of my fondest memories... Even earlier... I travelled to France Spain Italy and England after college with some friends. Then with my now husband, Don, we have a small cottage in Ireland.. so we go back often. But shooting UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN in Italy was a real highlight for me!! Gorgeous country! I can't wait to go back!
What a beautiful answer! Thank you :)
Thanks... I guess what I'd like to achieve in the future -- is to raise my kids so that they have confidence and self esteem. More than anything -- that's what I'd love to achieve. It's one of the hardest things, I think, being a parent -- especially not knowing if doing your BEST.. is enough. :)
Hi Dan! What's your favorite moment from shooting The Comeback (this season, or the first)?
There is a scene I got to play with VALERIE CHERISH which will appear in episode FIVE where BILLY throws a fit. it was a blast!! Just you wait.
I loved your performance on Scandal. Have you ever had any odd fan encounters?
Yes. Especially since being killed on the show... I was at the airport and someone came running up to me SCREAMING "You're alive!!! You're alive!"... guess some people forget it's all make believe. :)
Huge fan of the work you Lisa and Don do together! Is there a chance you'll ever do some work in Australia?
Wow that's far. Don and I have two kids in school so it would be hard for us to get away... but I've always WANTED to go to Australia... so instead, I have to settle for trying to master an Australian accent... I enjoy saying "fourdeen" (14)...
As a geneology nerd, I love "Who do you think you are." What's been your favorite moment from working on that program that didn't make it to air?
In the episode we shot with Gwyneth Paltrow -- we told a whole other story about her English ancestors who settled Barbados.. and it was really interesting... and I was there in Barbados with her for the shoot... I rarely get to travel for that show -- as I'm so busy with other projects as well -- so that was a real highlight.
I was so sad when you were killed off Scandal! Who did you working with and sharing scenes on that show the most? I am just reading your answer about the naked fight scene--what were some other funny behind the scenes moments? Love you!!
I loved working on Scandal. the cast was all very close -- even those of us who never had scenes together. I became very close with Katie Lowes who plays Quinn... we share a birthday... and she's like my little sister. I also loved how on the show -- when you had to call someone on the phone -- the actor would ACTUALLY call the phone so it would play real. Very dedicated, supportive bunch!!!
1. Will The Comeback or Web therapy ever be broadcast in Australia?
2. What has been your favourite episodes of Web Therapy & The Comeback to film?
I don't know about the plans for those shows being in Australia... I know season one of The Comeback is available on DVD and iTunes... I think they will also air there. Web Therapy? Not sure. We also are on iTunes and I will check with our international distributor to see if we are close to having our episodes down under! I HOPE SO!!!
Hi Dan! I am curious about how important/necessary you feel like college is for professional success?? Did your college experience factor into the success you have had so far?
My college experience was absolutely essential in forming me into the person that I am... and how I developed... and what kind of writer I was... and -- thinker. So -- in a practical -- does college lead to work in show business? Not always. but college is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL in learning about so many aspects of the arts and history and literature and science.. and helping you become a person who understands themselves -- all crucial for a successful career as an actor or writer.
Hi Dan I'd like to ask, what would you say your greatest achievement is so far and what would one thing would you like to achieve in the future?
I think the way in which I processed my sexuality... and learned to get over my fears... and come out of the closet... and become someone who integrated who I was into the work I eventually did -- was all part of becoming a man who was comfortable enough to marry another man -- have two gorgeous children (my true crowning achievement)... and then write about it -- and express my TRUE self as a writer and performer. I know. Long answer. But I think becoming authentically WHO YOU ARE -- is at the CRUX of all future achievements
Suggestions on how to rock a bow tie? How long did it take you to learn how to tie one properly yourself?
I watched a YOUTUBE video on how to tie a bowtie about a dozen times before the Emmys last year.. and I practiced and practiced.. and now I can do it without looking!!!
Web Therapy makes me giggle; thanks. How much is ad-libbed?
The show is ALL IMPROV!!! We write outlines of the story... and the beats.. but all the lines are improvised... although the director, my husband, Don Roos... talks into this microphone and we have these little earpieces -- so once in a while... he'll pitch some funnies for us to say!
Congrats on Marry Me getting a season order! Hopefully it makes it to Australia soon. Loved you in Scandal, what was your favourite scene to film? Any funny behind the scenes stories we wouldn't have hear before? The cast seems to genuinely get on so well and to have no ego issues etc - is that rare in Hollywood?
Also, eternally jealous that you got to work with the amazing Bellamy Young.
I loved so many scenes on Scandal... I loved the episode in season 2 where I was figuring out about the voting machine scandal... it was like I was on a procedural show... and I was uncovering a huge mystery. Also the emotional scenes with Cyrus are so fulfilling... and I loved all scenes that involved the babies and the little Ella. she was so so cute.
Bellamy is one of my closest friends... and one of the most talented people I know! I hope Scandal plays in Australia too! Thanks for writing.
Hey Dan! Really loving "Marry Me" so far!
How is it like working with amah-zing Casey Wilson? Also, any plans for another book?
Thanks for the AMA! Your presence is definitely missed on "Scandal" :(
Thanks so much.. I miss SCANDAL too.. but LOVING my new show MARRY ME.. and Casey and I hit it off RIGHT AWAY... we're good friends --even though I play her dad... we're having a great time. She makes me laugh -- so I break up all the time and we have to start over. I'm sure I'll get it together one of these days... Thanks for writing!
What was the best thing about bringing back The Comeback? & do you know if it'll be broadcast in Australia?
Don't know about when Comeback will be in Australia... but it was such a dream come true to do another season of THE COMEBACK nine years later. I don't think any of us imagined we'd ever get this opportunity... so we really did have kind of a ValerieESQE optimism about it.. .and it paid off. !!!
Dan! The BARE NAKED BRAWL was one of the most compelling scenes in Scandal.
Question: how does the fraternal nature among cast-members change after the writers decide someone is getting killed off? I've always wondered this.
I haven't noticed any change in my relationship with the actors on Scandal after James was killed. We're still all very close -- we just don't get to see one another as often... But everyone respects the writing process and a show like Scandal which is STORY driven ... so -- there isn't much of a change in the way the actors approach it.
Dan, you're my favourite on Web Therapy, your interactions with Fiona are so funny, hard hitting question, what makes you laugh and are you a ticklish guy? If so, where? :-)
I love doing Web Therapy -- and mostly getting to act with Lisa .. .SHE makes me laugh. And playing Jerome over the seasons has been such a gift... he's really gone on a journey but continues to TRY and ACT like he's still completely in service to FIONA but we all know he's really in service to himself. I AM ticklish... my kids tickle me all the time... usual places. In the kitchen. Upstairs sometimes... their room... :)
Thanks so much! I work with high achieving college students and that is exactly the way we try to help them see their college experience.
That's great to hear!
Lisa tweeted me JUNE 2013 saying web therapy season 2 dvd would be available soon in Australia. Still haven't got it, any news on that?
I will have to check with our international distributors about Australia. I hope to have some answers and we'll post to the WEB THERAPY facebook page... or TWEET me at @DanBucatinsky... I hope to get you some answers. We'd LOVE to be in Australia! Let your local networks know!
Hi Dan, you're so good in comedy, what are the similarities between filming Web Therapy and Marry Me, and what are the biggest differences?
Wow. Good question. Web Therapy is a show WE created... and there's always changing stories... and new characters... we also have a unique "modality" in that we stay in the environment of a skype type chat -- always... and never move. The show is completely improvised -- outside of the story beats we write in advance... and we do the show as a passion project for very very little money..
Marry Me has a more traditional network show with a network budget and a big writing staff... and while we are all encouraged to ad lib and riff and improvise at times... the scripts are SO WELL CRAFTED and have the creator, David Caspe's specific point of view -- and comedy style. The verbal machinegun rapid fire comedy that comes out in Marry Me is what I love... and feel so fortunate to be a part of.
How is work with Tony Goldwyn? As an actor & director.
I love Tony Goldwyn!!! He's a wonderful person in addition to being a brilliant actor and director. I met him years ago when he was an actor on my husband, Don Roos' film "Bounce".. then years later we met -- as colleagues on SCANDAL.. what a treat!
Dan, love your work! And love that you are friends with the delightful Lauren Graham - did you meet on MYOB? Wondering what happened to her WDYTYA episode?
YES! I met Lauren on MYOB... and we remained friends ... she is so talented. And i recently read her fantastic novel! We are hoping to have Lauren to WDYTYA.. it's all about scheduling... Not easy. But she's a gem!
Hi Dan! I love how you communicate, are you gonna write another book?
How can you reconcile work and family?
Among all the characters you interpreted, which one do you prefer?
Thank you! It was very cathartic for me to write DOES THIS BABY MAKE ME LOOK STRAIGHT? And it was about a very particular time in my life.. and when my kids were very young... I don't think I'll write another that goes into THEIR lives.. but I may write something else on another topic.. I'm still germinating... :)
Work and Family. yes.. .the biggest juggling act of them all. I take every day as it comes. And try and have quality, uninterrupted time with the kids when I'm home. then I compartmentalize... and go to work.. and keep my focus there... till I'm home again. But family is the most important thing to me. Though I think my work makes me a better, more appreciative Dad.
I have a very special place in my heart for James Novak and I always will. But I also LOVE playing Billy on THE COMEBACK and Jerome on WEB THERAPY... I've been very lucky
Sorry, another quick question came to mind!
In the last episode of The Comeback, why does Billy seem annoyed (?) that Mickey wants to come out at Valerie's party? When Mickey says it, Billy's face kind of drops.
God I feel like such a Comeback nerd asking this question. I love it.
I don't think Billy is annoyed. I think he's SHOCKED that Mickey would think that ANYONE doesn't know he's gay. It's more that. But billy does have a very short fuse... so his SHOCK is a very close cousin to his IMPATIENCE... :)
As a director, is an exigent one? I don't know how can he make it, he is actor, have coworkers, shoot with them everyday as an other actor, have a relationship with them and other day he is directing them and himself, How is possible this transition?
It is difficult.. but some of the best directors are also actors. I think they have a great way of communicating and an understanding... Tony is good at wearing more than one hat... he can juggle the BIG PICTURE... while still being sensitive to the smaller challenges of the actor. Tom Verica is another fantastic director -- one of my favorites on Scandal -- and also a great actor -- now on How to Get Away with Murder.