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Slice of Life: Q&A with ‘Nip/Tuck’ Star Julian McMahon

[IMG:L]Just after shooting a scene opposite costars Dylan Walsh and John Hensley on the set of Nip/TuckJulian McMahon walked off the set and into his trailer for a chat with Hollywood.com. McMahon, who plays resident bachelor Christian Troy on the hit show, kept the spoilers off the record, but talked candidly about the show’s move to L.A., Christian’s love life–and more.

HW: How has moving the show from Miami to LA really like reenergized the character, and the cast, and the show itself?
Julian McMahon:
Well, how has it not energized any part of us? It’s so wonderful to have a successful show but the burden of having a successful show is that you need to do it consistently and play the same character, and write the same character, and shoot similar sets and all that kind of stuff. I wonder sometimes if part of being an actor is because you kind of enjoy being a gypsy to a certain extent. You enjoy finding new families, and enjoying new company, and all that kind of stuff. What this does is it kind of enlivens everybody in a very significant way. We have brand new sets. We have new characters to write about, new scenery, everything. It’s brought it to life again. There are a lot of other factors that have gone into that as well. The show, we’re doing it better now than we’ve ever done it.

HW: Is there more to it than just the move?
JM:
First of all it’s that the scripts aren’t as dark and kind of disturbing as they were. It’s the fifth year of the show and I think, for myself, I’ve given myself a license to play. I think that all the actors have been given a license to play around. I mean there’s no point in not.

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HW: Do you feel there is more comedy to the show than there ever has been?
JM:
This is the funniest it’s been. I always thought it was going to be a funny show. I don’t know what the hell happened, to be honest. I wasn’t a really big fan. There you go. That’s what happens. And now, as far as I’m concerned, we’re where the show we should have been five years ago.

[IMG:R]HW: Will Sean’s success with Hearts & Scalpels create a wedge between the two as the season goes on?
JM:
They’ve always got their tit for tat stuff. One of them gets something and becomes good at something or becomes successful because of a surgery or a TV show. The other ones always tries to get back. He’s not quite as obvious as I am. It’s always about that competition between the two of them. I think that’s kind of what makes the show interesting, the way that they have these two people that can’t live without each other, but at the same time do stuff behind each other’s back and in front of each other. You just think, “Oh, my God. How would you ever maintain a relationship with somebody like that?” That’s the guise.

HW: Are there any upcoming episodes that could only be based in L.A.?
JM:
You’d be surprised when you fly around the world and find out how it’s not only here that things actually happen. But because Hollywood is this place where things are just written about all the time, and it’s the center of attention, that’s why things happen here. But don’t think that you don’t have a New York stockbroker who’s just as whacky and weird as Christian. That’s more than just possible. It’s a reality. There’s this whole concept of people wanting to be famous. But people want to be famous in their own jobs. Like a really good plastic surgeon, a lot of them want the recognition of what they do too. Some of them do it just because they love it. Aside from the real TV show aspect, and the entertainment business aspect of it, I really think you could find those people anywhere. We go so over the top it’s not realistic. It’s ridiculous. If you take Christian down and put him in some kind of reality, which he’s never in, but if you put him in some kind of reality, there’s a guy in Phoenix who’s probably the same. There’s a guy in England. There’s a guy in Australia. That’s just people.

HW: Where is his charactering going this season, in relationship to his son?
JM:
He’s not a very applicable father. I don’t think he knows how to parent. He’s tried though. Not much happens with the relationship between them really. Matt’s just a world-class asshole really. You don’t get a more horrific example of a human being. But then look at his parents, look at me, and look at Sean. How could you not be screwed up?

HW: What about his love life? Where is that going this season?
JM:
He just likes sex with a lot of people and that continues. But I always thought that should continue, because that was him. I thought that was the interesting part of the character and it’s also the way we get to express him.

HW: What else is coming up for Christian this season?
JM:
Episode six is another hysterical one. Christian is so pissed that Sean’s having this huge success on this TV show, the Hearts ‘n Scalpels thing, that he does a reality TV show.

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HW: Is it in the vein of Doctor 90210?
JM:
Yeah. Exactly … It’s not very successful, which sends him into a deeper decline. It’s another great episode. It’s good and funny.

[IMG:R]HW: How does Sean react when he finds out Christian is going to be on TV as well?
JM:
Well, the only reason they actually say yes to it is if [Sean]’s in it, which is another thing that Christian hates, because now he’s got this credit in the TV world. They’ll only agree to do the show if he’s in it, so I have to talk him into doing it. That’s the only way I can get myself on TV, is actually asking Sean if he’ll be in it for me.

HW: Does Christian play around with the idea of leaving L.A. after all these ups and downs?
JM:
No. He’s pretty determined to stay here. What happens after that? What do we have after that? He’s doesn’t give up on stuff. If there’s one attribute I can say to his personality at all that I admire, it’s his ability to stay steady, and kind of work through things. At least he attempts to, whether you agree with what he does or doesn’t do, which I most of the time don’t agree. He tries though.

Nip/Tuck airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX

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