Topher Grace has a pretty great That ‘70s Show origin story

Maureen Lee Lenker
·2 min read

Watch the full episode of CouchSurfing streaming now on PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.

When Topher Grace first got his breakout role as Eric on That '70s Show, he was as clueless as, well, Eric.

On a new episode of PeopleTV's Couch Surfing, he reveals the wild origin story of his career as an actor, explaining that the scene from That '70s Show they were revisiting was only his fifth time ever acting.

"I had a weird origin story where I was in a high school play, and I was really only in that because I sprained my ankle and I couldn't be on the tennis team," he says. "I was at a boarding school in New Hampshire and the girl who did the sets, her parents were big-time Hollywood producers and produced That '70s Show and Third Rock From the Sun."

When Grace got to Los Angeles as a USC freshman, he got a call from those producers inviting him to come audition for what would become That '70s Show. "I'd never auditioned for anything in my life," he recounts. "This is how green I was, they said, 'Bring a headshot and a resume.' Ok, I can do a resume because I worked at Dunkin' Donuts, I worked at Sun Coast video; I know what that looks like...So I brought it, and it was like this terrible resume of jobs I did at the mall and the picture was me and my friends at Six Flags."

Everett Collection

Grace says looking back now he'd tell his 19-year-old self to enjoy the process more and not spend so much time being scared. He also reflects on the fact that now in 2021, as much time has passed between when the show premiered as had between the show and the 1970s when he took the job.

"I remember thinking when I got the role, 'The '70s, what were the '70s and bellbottoms?' I had to do all this research," he marvels. "Do kids who are 19, the age I was then, do they look at 1998 that way?"

For more with Grace, check out the video above, and head over to PeopleTV for his full Couch Surfing episode.

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