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Dan Levy Gets Candid About Re-Learning How To Act After Schitt’s Creek: ‘It's Physically Programmed In Me To Do The Wrong Thing’

 Dan Levy in Schitt's Creek.
Dan Levy in Schitt's Creek.

There’s no real downside to creating an iconic television character. For one thing, you have job security. Which then comes with a lifetime of residual pay. Sure, you can get typecast as a certain brand of character. But because everything in Hollywood is circular, it just means you’ll end up playing that character again in the eventual reboot/reimagining that makes its way to a streaming service. Right, Full House cast?

Dan Levy has a different take on this conversation, however. For six wonderful seasons, Levy played the flamboyant and opinionated David Rose on Schitt’s Creek, opposite his father Eugene Levy, the brilliant Catherine O’Hara, and the exquisite Annie Murphy. If you miss the cast, we have suggestions on how best to keep up with their careers. For Levy, that means using your Netflix subscription to watch his directorial debut Good Grief, in which he also stars. But as he told the ReelBlend podcast during an exclusive interview, his Good Grief character couldn’t be more opposite of David Rose, and that meant Levy – the actor – had some habits he needed to break. As he explained:

I had to physically train myself out of the habits that I had formed playing David Rose on Schitt's Creek. Mark, in this movie, is so still and so reserved and so avoidant. Coming from 80 episodes of a television show where no reaction was too small , it was almost like I had to physically be aware of how little I had to do, and how still I had to be in order to be this person. And how hard that was at times to rid yourself of the habits that are formed of playing a character that is so elastic, and so larger than life.

I write at length about how the advent of streaming and the introduction of prestige cable has blurred (and basically removed) the line between television and movie stars. Now we get Jodie Foster in a new season of True Detective, or Kate Winslet in Mare of Easttown. It can free up an actor to attach themselves to a limited series, allowing them to continue pursuing upcoming movies, but also giving them the chance to chase great material in different formats. Still, as Dan Levy continued to elaborate on his time as David Rose, he wouldn’t change a thing, and he appreciated the evolutions it allowed him to explore. He went on to tell the ReelBlend hosts:

It's a rare thing to be able to play a character for as long as I did and still be excited by them, and continue to add to them. And by the end, I mean, the character of David Rose when we found him in the pilot episode is so different than where we find him at the end. He's way more comfortable in his skin. But as a result, the performance got bigger and more reactive. And so, yeah, it's in me. It's physically programmed in me to do the wrong thing as an actor. You know what I mean? It's one of those rare occurrences where it's like, ‘Can we try that? But really go bigger now!’ I'm acting opposite Ruth Negga and Hamesh Patel. I can't be doing what I've done around wonderfully subtle, gorgeous film actors. It's a very different craft.

The top directors, actors, and writers continuously stop by CinemaBlend’s ReelBlend podcast for in-depth conversations about their craft, so make sure you have subscribed on whatever service you use to download and listen to podcasts. In the meantime, Good Grief is available on Netflix.