Audiences know him as Mark Cullin from Kyle XY or Max Miller from 90210 but now we’ll get to know actor Josh Zuckerman as Nate Marlowe in The CW’s newest comedy series, Significant Mother.
Significant Mother focuses on story of Nate Marlowe, an up and coming restaurateur whose world is turned upside down when he returns from a business trip to find that his best friend and roommate is now dating his recently separated mother.
To throw in another twist, Nate’s father is now determined to win back his mother, putting Nate in a very unfair position between his separated parents and his best friend.
Significant Mother premieres tonight at 8pm on The CW.
What was your audition process like for Significant Mother?
“It was one of those rare occasions where the role was actually offered to me. The story goes that they had sent out a breakdown for this role of Nate Marlowe and at the time the show was called Mother Effer. The breakdown said they were looking for a Josh Zuckerman type. I’ve never really been a type before as far as I can tell but my manager saw the breakdown and then called them up and said, “Well, would you be interested in the actual Josh Zuckerman?” [Laughs]. As it turns out, they were. I was out-of-town so I couldn’t even audition for it if they had wanted. They had to offer it in the time frame they had, so they did and it worked out fantastically.”
Originally Significant Mother was for the CW Seed. How did you react when you found out it was actually going to be a 22 minute comedy on the CW?
“We were all over the moon because that was really amazing. I remember we finished … We’d shot three episodes for CW Seed about a year ago here in Portland. We were all hoping of course that they would show it online at CW Seed and people would really like it and then they would order a few more episodes, either for CW Seed or they’d say, hey, let’s bring this to network! It worked out even better than that because they didn’t even show any episodes online. Nobody has ever seen these before and we’re bringing it straight to network. It was what everyone hoped for and beyond.”
What was the difference, besides it being shorter, shooting for the Seed verses for the network?
“Well, one of the big differences of course was we had to recast a role and it was a main role and that was Nathaniel Buzolic – I never get his name right [laughs]- was playing Jimmy, Nate’s best friend, having a relationship with Krista’s character.
From just a practical standpoint, there’s a larger crew and probably more ambitious stories because we had a bit more of a means to expand the breadth of our set and whatnot.
It was a strange thing because it was also a bit more of a network presence I think, which is always interesting. We were this rogue web series and then we were a bit more mainstream. We still had our rogue character that was appropriate to the Portland atmosphere but there was a little more of a network presence.”
Where did you guys shoot the pilot?
Is that where you shot the entire series?
“Yeah, we were lucky enough to go back up there and actually overlap a few of the same crew members and whatnot.
I’ve never heard a bad thing about working in Portland and I would never say one. I just thought it was just a wonderful place to shoot and just a great city and really friendly people.”
Significant Mother is one of the CW’s fist half hour comedy.
“Jane the Virgin is an hour and a dramedy. They had a show, Backpackers I think it was? It was on the CW Seed when they bought the network, I think about a year ago, and that was, as I understand, a straight out half hour comedy. Then Crazy Ex-Girlfriend I think might be another one. They’re really moving somewhat in that direction. They’re always trying to broaden their content.”
How does it feel to be apart of this transition? To have your show be somewhat of a test subject?
“You’d think it’d be a bit of pressure, but I think we’re all just really excited! We really know what we have and we’re thrilled about the show and thrilled to share it with people. We feel like if CW has a shot of changing people’s opinion or expectation of the network, we are happy to be the ones to spearhead that change!
I think it’s a really strong comedy to do that and appropriate because it fits the demographic really well for the CW. It also I think broadens it a bit because of the nature of the varying levels of comedy that I think is in our show.”
Can you tell us a bit about your character, Nate?
“Yeah. Nate is a foodie, a Portland foodie. He’s a restauranteur so he’s very much about au cuisines, I don’t know if I’m mispronouncing the French word, and very cultured in that. He also has a hipster flair, but maybe in terms of wardrobe, he’s very narrow in terms of how he plans his days and how he expects his life to turn out. Very business and career driven.
He loves his best friend who he grew up with and now is his roommate. They’e been friends since they were five or six. He loves his mom who was such a presence growing up and his dad, but his dad was often busy with work and so he wasn’t around as much.
When this new development happens and he comes home and finds out that his best friend is sleeping with his mom, it’s the most outrageous event that could possibly happen in his life. It kind of derails him for awhile, especially because he tends to overreact to things that are outside of his expectations.
To anyone else of course, it would be outrageous and alarming, but to him it’s just world shattering. That’s where a lot of the fun starts. It goes to some really hilarious places from there.”
Since Nate was described as a Josh Zuckerman type, what are your similarities and differences to him?
“I think that Nate certainly overreacts more so than I do but he’s a little high-strung and I definitely understand that or have understood it in the past. I do find myself there as well, where he stresses out easily and I share that. He also wants what’s best for everyone around him and I totally get that as well.
I don’t know what they meant by Josh Zuckerman type, I’ll have to ask them, but I think they meant this kind of … I don’t know, the butt of the joke. I feel like my whole life I’m always picked on, but in a lovable way, not in a bullied way. I think it started in elementary school, but in a way that everybody loves picking on me because they can get such a rise out of me, so maybe they love seeing how I react to things.
I think that that’s probably one of the great things about Nate as a character. How he reacts to everything and how he tries to keep everything under control, which is of course impossible to do. I probably share those qualities.”
I know you’ve been asked this and I know you will continue to be asked this, but how would you react in this situation if it was really your best friend and your mom.
“Shocked of course is the word, but I would be, I think hurt beyond repair. I would just be sickened. It’s funny because Nate kind of goes through the stages of grief, in the handling of their relationship and I feel like it would be similar.
Mine would be a lot more … I don’t think it would be as vocal. I think he takes it better than I would have actually. [Laughs]. It would be a lot of, “I need to be alone. I can’t, I can’t. I gotta go, I gotta go.”
You’re also doing the play, Cock, in LA. Which ends its run in August. Can you tell us a bit about that and your role?
“Cock is about a gay man who’s in a relationship with fellow for 7 years. He breaks up with this fellow and falls in love with a woman for the first time. It’s really about him deciding between the two and deciding whether he’s gay or heterosexual. It’s about what that really means or does he have to decide his sexual preference or can he just decide who he loves. It’s a really, really great play.
Everyone who’s seen it is very excited and enjoys it. We’re often getting the feedback that, “We usually don’t like theater but this is really good.” We’ve had a lot of fun with it and we have a fantastic cast. It’s just a small little theater.
Besides Cock and Significant Mother, what other projects are you currently working on?
“I’m currently developing an animated show with a friend of mine and beyond that we’re doing a lot of publicity for Significant Mother. It’s premiering tonight, and we’ll continue to do that to make sure people have a chance to watch the show. I think it deserves that. If it doesn’t, it’s been fairly quiet.
It’s funny how, as an actor, because you don’t know what’s on the horizon a lot of times. You feel like maybe nothing’s there and there always is something there, provided that you keep at it and enjoy what you do.”
Significant Mother premieres tonight, so what scene are you most excited for people to see?
“I think I’m most excited for people to see a certain hopscotch scene.”