‘Second Chance,’ which premieres tonight on FOX follows the life of Jimmy Pritchard, a 75-year-old former King County, Washington sheriff who was morally corrupt and later disgraced and forced to retire. After he is killed in a robbery at his son’s home, Pritchard is brought back to life in the improved body of a younger man by billionaire tech-genius twins Mary and Otto Goodwin. However, despite having a new life and a chance to relive his life and find a new purpose, the temptations that led to his career being tarnished continue to haunt him.
Creator Rand Ravich and actor playing Jimmy Pritchard, Robert Kazinsky, sat down to discuss what fans can expect with the new series.
What actually connects you to this character, Rob, and what did you find about Jimmy that you found so fascinating and that gives you an in to playing him?
Rob: Well, when I read the script—I only read two good pilot scripts in pilot season, and this was one of them. This character was very—I’m not your typical 32 year-old guy. I’m kind of grumpy and cantankerous and a bit weary myself, so there was an element of it just feeling kind of right in my soul.
Then I looked at this guys, and I thought my father’s this age, and my father is pretty, pretty close to Jimmy Pritchard in a lot of ways, so there was an opportunity to play this grumpy side of myself and represent my father on-screen and how my father would react to all these things and the out-of-date mannerisms which have kind of died with the modern philosophization of manners. There was a time when men were gentlemen, and they stood when their lady entered the room, and they did things the right way before politicians and lawyers and social media got involved and Jezebel got involved with what is socially right and wrong.
Once upon a time, you just knew what was right and wrong. There was an element of this old-timey justice bringer, this old-timey family man, this guy who just is indicative of everything that once made a man, and putting him in this now defunct time period of today, there’s something really intriguing about that, something really heart-warming about it. It’s nice to sit there and say hey, you can be a gentleman again.
Rand you’re writing for a young character and an old character. Do you view it that way? Do you look at it as two different characters playing the same person?
Rand: No, I look at it as an old man being reborn in a young man’s body. It’s always, for us, I think for Rob and for myself, with me writing and Rob acting, it’s always one character. It’s Pritchard, he’s looking out through new eyes, but he is re-entering the world because he—when he checked out of the world 15 years ago and shuffled off to his Barcalounger to end his days, he had stopped growing and stopped being part of the world, but now he’s re-entered.
But he is that person, so he has to learn all these things again. Only his body is young. His attitudes have been formed, like all ours have, and are pretty rigid and take a beating as he re-enters the world. He is not ready for 2016. It’s one guy down there, one guy who is changing, but one guy.
Rob, what was your inspiration to become an actor?
Rob: Really long, long, long-winded question. It would take, really, a long, long time to explain. I’ll try and sum it up into a couple of sentences. There’s only two things I’m good at in the world, and acting isn’t one of them, but for some reason, people keep giving me chances, second chances.
It was never on the agenda for me to do this. It was always just—I love film and I love storytelling. To sum it up as shortly as humanly possible—God impossible question. To sum it up as shortly as humanly possible, it was the only thing that really inspired me in life was film and TV and telling a great story. I’m just very lucky that I get to do it.
Do you think the world—I guess it could be open to both of you—do you think the world would be better if everyone could be brought back to life and have a second chance?
Rand: I don’t know if the world be better. I’m not sure it could be worse, but the thing, just to spin it towards this character, is that Jimmy Pritchard didn’t—what we love about this character is that he did not ask for a second chance. I’ve read a lot of stories where somebody says if only I could do it one more time. This guy liked his life. He liked being an old curmudgeon. He had basically given the finger to the world that I’m done with you, and that’s the guy that was dragged back practically kicking and screaming to this second chance. That’s what we love about this character is that he did not ask for it; it came to him.
Rob: There’s this whole nature versus nurture thing as well. If you brought people back, they wouldn’t be different people, and that’s what Jimmy messes with as well. He has all these other opportunities in his new life, but people are still people.
Rob: He’s still prone to the same desires, the same needs, the same fallibilities. If you brought everybody back into an already over-populated world, there’d just be a queue of people lining up to kick Hitler in the nuts.
Rand: Right. It’s that thing when you say I wouldn’t make those mistakes again, you probably won’t; you’re just going to make all different ones, which is what we love about the character, too. He’s very far from perfect and his trying and failing as he gets this second chance is what makes him so lovable and interesting.
Did you have to do anything physically to get into the mindset of this character, to get into his body in order to embody him?
Rob: Well, I’ve been a fighter most of life, lots of boxing and jiu-jitsu and lots of stunt work, lots of injuries. I’d say my body isn’t far off of a 75 year-old man’s body. Even yesterday, I woke up and I couldn’t move my head at all. I think my physicality fits quite nicely with an old man.
Rand: In your favor, in this technological world where people are just pushing buttons, Rob has a tremendous physicality that the old man Jimmy Pritchard’s lived a life on the street and was dealing with people and putting his hands on people. Rob has that physicality of an animal, a real person out in the world, which is very gratifying for the character. It works very well for it.
Rob: Thank you, Rand. You just saved my a**.
Rand, what do you think it is about the show that’s really going to draw in so many viewers?
Rand: I think there are a lot of moving parts to the show, and I think there’s a lot of really interesting questions to ask and characters are going into, but the fundamental element which weirdly enough is how we ended up with our final and best title is the thing that everyone thinks about, from the kindergarten playground on, if only I had a chance to do that better. It’s driving home from every party. It’s when you get out of class or a marriage or a relationship or any experience, what could I—God, I wish I had been there and could do it again.
So, the idea of a second chance, the idea to go back and repair what you’ve done to your family and what you’ve done to your town and watching the unintended consequences ripple out of what you didn’t expect to happen this time, I think, because that’s a question everybody asks, and the specificity of the second chance in relation to family—I wish I had a second chance with my family, with my son, with my daughter. I think that is questions, I think, we’ve all asked, consciously or unconsciously. I think that’s what’s going to draw people in.
Catch the show on Wednesdays at 9pm EST on FOX.