Bill Engvall (The Bill Engvall Show, Blue Collar TV, The Jeff Foxworthy Show) is known for his funny. He’s great at comedy (whether it’s standup, television, or movies), but just recently, he showed off he’s more than just a comedian. His guest role last year on Leverage led into his new guest spot last week on HawthoRNe, and he’s quickly proven he can do drama just as well as he can spin the funny.
Plus, check out the picture… He looks damn good in that suit, doesn’t he? Very official-like! 😀
I got to speak to him last week one on one about his guest starring role in TNT’s HawthoRNe. He really is so friendly and easy to talk to, it was much easier than I was thinking it would be going into it. Check out the questions I asked him below and the fantastic answers he gave about his role in the show, the cast, and what else he has coming up.
TV Is My Pacifier: I know from reading up on the episodes and seeing the first of them last night that you play an Internal Affairs detective who is investigating Detective Nick Renata. In your own words, can you tell me a little bit more about your character and the role you play in the show?
- Bill Engvall: Jimmy Dupree is this guy who is an internal affairs cop. He’s kind of a good ol’ southern boy who’s got a real dark side to him. He comes off with the… Oh, you know, he’s everybody’s buddy. He’s taking you out for beers, and ‘Hey, I’m just asking a few questions. You’re not in any kind of trouble.’ Next thing you know, I’m throwing handcuffs on you. What I really wanted to bring to life with this character is that he has his flaws — a lot of them — but he’s a good cop. He’s been thrown into this kind of mix that he’s gotta figure out who did what and why did this go down. I think people are going to be real surprised over the next two episodes, because there are some real major twists and turns in this. I wish I could tell you all of them, but…
It was a dream come true getting to act off of Jada [Pinkett-Smith, Christina], Marc [Anthony, Detective Nick Renata], Mr. Vartan [Michael Vartan, Tom]. I really grew as an actor over that three week period of shooting that thing, because I’ve worked… You know, I learned early on that if you’re going to do a scene with Jada Pinkett-Smith, you’d better bring your A game, ’cause she don’t lay up. That was great, because it forced me to be the best I could be, and you know, I’ll tell you this… It was fun, because even scenes when she wasn’t in the scene, she’s watching it. She’s there for you if you have questions or maybe she has a suggestion. And that’s just what it is, just a suggestion. She doesn’t come to you and say ‘Do it this way.’ She says ‘What do you think about this?’ and I go, ‘Ooh, I like that.’ So very helpful, very encouraging, and you can not imagine how much fun it was to do. Plus, for me to get in the face of Marc Anthony… That was awesome.
Jump with us to see what else Bill had to say.
TV Is My Pacifier: The storyline with Christina getting attacked, which led to her losing the baby, and Detective Renata’s actions are very dark, even for a drama like HawthoRNe. It’s really quite different from your previous roles on television. How did the casting for this come about? Had you seen the show before? What made you want to do this part?
- Bill: I had seen the show before, and… Listen, I was as shocked as anybody. They just called. You know, last year I did an episode of Leverage, where I got to play a bad guy for the first time. It was in a show called “The Boost Job.” I guess they saw that and said ‘Hey, he can do drama,’ and so they called and said, ‘Hey, we’re doing…he’s an internal affairs cop.’ And if I’m not mistaken, it was basically just a one show shot, and then they turned it into a three show arc, and so I really got to expand on this guy and bring him to life. It was a dream come true. I mean, what a wonderful cast to work with. They were very supportive, and even those scenes when they weren’t on camera but they were in the scene, it wasn’t like some PA came in and read the lines for you, they were there and in their characters, and helped you out in every way they could. It really made it easy.
In between scenes, [Jada and I] are sitting there yappin’ and talkin’. Me and Marc Anthony exchanged phone numbers. So…you just go ‘Wow, this is really cool! This is the way it’s supposed to be.’ I think a lot of actors would do themselves a huge justice if they would watch these people and how they behave on camera and off camera. There was no egos and no ‘I’m the star and I’m not gonna do this.’ It was awesome.
TV Is My Pacifier: Tell me about what else you have on your plate coming up. Any other guest spots on TV? Any lead roles? Any more Blue Collar Comedy? You are the host of Lingo on Game Show Network, right?
- Bill: I’m so all across the board. I’m hosting a game show on the Game Show Network called Lingo. Then I just finished shooting a Hallmark movie up in Vancouver called Kiss at Pine Lake, that will be out later this summer, I believe. I’m hoping to start talks with Turner about my own drama series.
Thanks to Bill for the great chat! I really enjoyed it. Feel free to contact me when you have your new show! 😉 Everyone else, catch Bill and the rest of the cast on HawthoRNe on TNT, airing Tuesdays at 10/9c.