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As Ed Mackenzie, the affable second husband of Monterey prima donna Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon), Adam Scott was probably the most honest person on HBO’s Big Little Lies. That said, there is one whopper he hid from the audience: In the final episode, when Ed steps up to the mic at the big trivia-night gala and performs Elvis Presley’s 1970 favorite “The Wonder of You,” that’s not actually Scott’s voice coming out of the character’s mouth. The actor previously revealed his lip-syncing duplicity to Conan O’Brien, and confirmed it when speaking with Yahoo TV recently. “It’s not me singing. I promise you, you would not have been as impressed [by that scene] if it was me singing!” (Irish singer Conor O’Brien is the one crooning Elvis in the scene.)
Even though he wasn’t crooning to Witherspoon in the moment, Scott calibrated his performance to communicate what was transpiring between Ed and Madeline underneath the Elvis façade. “It was about Ed forgiving Madeline,” Scott says of the deeper implication of that scene, which occurs in the wake of her near-confession about her affair with theater director Joseph. “He finally figured out what was going on, so this was him going through the process of forgiving her and then professing his unconditional love for her as well.”
Ed’s Elvis moment also won viewers over to his side in a big way, which wasn’t necessarily the case earlier in the show’s run. “In the middle of the season, people had their suspicions about me,” Scott says. “They told me that I was creeping them out!” Not to the extent that his co-star Alexander Skarsgard creeped the audience out, of course; the Emmy-nominated actor told Yahoo TV that “people don’t like him anymore,” thanks to his role as domestic abuser Perry Wright. “I didn’t get the scorn that Alex is getting,” Scott says. “The way the story is framed, you have to suspect everyone, so I don’t blame [viewers] for being creeped out by me. But Ed was a pretty harmless guy, as it turned out.”
Like Big Little Lies fans, Scott is still waiting to hear whether the rumors of a Season 2 are more than just wishful thinking. Coincidentally enough, he already has a prior one-and-done HBO series on his résumé: 10 years ago, he was part of the network’s ensemble drama Tell Me You Love Me, an emotionally frank (and sexually explicit) depiction of three couples in various stages of crisis. Scott and ed played husband and wife Palek and Carolyn, who seem eager to start a family, but had that desire challenged by a fertility crisis as well as their own emotional insecurities.
Mixed critical reaction, along with middling viewership, led to the show’s demise after its first and only season — the curious can find it streaming on Amazon Prime and HBO Go — but Scott says it’s an experience he was glad to be a part of. “At the time, it was different than anything else on television, but 10 years later, you can see how TV has grown in that direction. It doesn’t feel quite as stark as it once did. It’s nice to hear that there are people discovering it.”
For fresh Scott sightings post-Big Little Lies, you can check out the new film Fun Mom Dinner, starring Toni Collette and Katie Aselton, which opened in limited release on Aug. 4. And he’s currently shooting episodes for his new Fox series, Ghosted, in which he and Craig Robinson play an odd-couple pair of paranormal investigators. The show’s pilot screened at Comic-Con in July, but Scott says that there will be some tweaking before it makes its official premiere on Oct. 1. “It’s going to be slightly different than what it is right now, but there are things left in the air in the pilot that will continue throughout the season,” he teases. “There’s a season-long investigation that will take the characters to all these crazy places, and there are also episodic cases they’ll work on.”
Asked whether his Ghosted commitment will preclude him from reprising his role as Bad Place representative Trevor on the second season of NBC’s acclaimed afterlife comedy, The Good Place, Scott keeps our hope alive. “I really don’t know! The Good Place is an incredible show.” And that’s no lie.
Fun Mom Dinner is in theaters now. Ghosted premieres Sunday, Oct. 1, at 8:30 p.m. on Fox.