Warning: This interview about the “Lesser Evils” episode of The Magicians contains spoilers.
This week’s episode of The Magicians will be remembered for two things: The “One Day More” production number that got Eliot ready for battle, and the introduction of Sen. John Gaines (Covert Affairs‘ Christopher Gorham), who just learned that he is the demigod son of Reynard (Mackenzie Astin).
Gorham — who’s also currently recurring on the CBS comedy 2 Broke Girls; now in Atlanta filming the CW pilot Insatiable with Dallas Roberts and Alyssa Milano; and putting the final touches on his directorial debut, We Love You, Sally Carmichael, ahead of announcing regional theatrical and digital release dates — spoke with Yahoo TV about how his multi-episode appearance came about and what’s next.
How did this role come your way?
Christopher Gorham: It was so funny. I was a fan of the show, and [co-creator] Sera Gamble and I went to UCLA together; [executive producer] Henry Alonso Myers, who is a friend, was a writer on Covert Affairs; and [co-creator] John McNamara actually gave me my very first job in TV as the most baby-faced Marine ever and that Marine’s evil robot twin on his show Spy Game back in the day.
I have a lot of connections to the show. It’s a Jake 2.0 reunion with Keegan Connor Tracy [who plays Professor Lipson] — brief, but fun for us. But really, it came about because I took my car in for maintenance and went walking for a cup of coffee and literally ran into Sera on the street. We started talking and she said, “You know, we’ve been talking about you. We’ve got this role coming up on The Magicians for a few episodes. Are you around? Are you available? What’s the story?” That was basically it. I told her that I’d love to do it, and then they called and made an offer and that was it.
I can see why they thought of you: we need to believe that Sen. Gaines is a good guy, but he has to get intense at moments. What was it about the character that made you say yes?
The way that Sera pitched it to me, she said, “White privilege is in the zeitgeist right now and is being discussed a lot. So we want to play with that idea, and we’ve created a character that has god privilege.” This is a guy who genuinely feels like he has pulled himself up by his bootstraps and done it all on his own, and he has to go through the difficult experience of acknowledging at some point that his life has not exactly unfolded as he thought it had.
I was a bit surprised that he went with Reynard. In your mind, did he go with him to protect the people around him or because he is just genuinely curious about his father and where he comes from?
Honestly, I think it’s both. I think he’s genuinely a good guy. He really has been trying to do the right thing. And of course he wants to know more. He doesn’t know how bad Reynard is — that comes later. There is certainly some curiosity there.
It is interesting that he is a politician, especially in today’s world. When Reynard takes him, it leaves you with the question of, “Is he going to corrupt him?”
It’s interesting what they’re doing with playing with the idea of power, and it’s the well-worn sentiment that absolute power corrupts absolutely. But we’ve got a character here who has been totally ignorant of how power has corrupted him. What is he going to do now that his eyes have been opened to exactly how powerful he is and how he’s been using it? That was really fun.
Probably not fun was being tied up in a closet when the gang kidnapped Sen. Gaines. How did that compare to what you went through on Covert Affairs?
The torture that poor Auggie went through at the end of Covert Affairs, being hung up by a hook, was a lot more challenging than being tied up by Jade Tailor [who plays Kady].
Fair enough. Sen. Gaines is a very different character than the one you’re playing on 2 Broke Girls, Bobby [the new boyfriend of Beth Behrs’ Caroline]. How are you liking doing comedy again?
I haven’t done a sitcom since Out of Practice, and to be back doing it again is a blast. That role was another one, kind of like The Magicians, that came up out of nowhere. I guess something happened with their schedule and they had been trying to find somebody for that part for a while, and then suddenly needed someone in 24 hours. I went in to read the day before I started working on that job.
It’s this Italian contractor. I get to play a little accent. I’d been growing my beard, because it was Christmas break and nothing was happening, so I just left my beard, and then I threw on a little hint of a tattoo because I thought it’d be fun, and they liked it. Now I’m stuck with this little fake tattoo, which is literally all that you see on camera.
Do you anticipate that role continuing?
Yeah, I hope so. The last two [episodes] of the season are great because they’ve got the Candy Andy/Bobby showdown over Caroline next week, and then Randy comes back in the finale. We just shot the season finale and they haven’t been picked up for their seventh season yet, but I think it’s looking good, and if they do come back, then, hopefully, I would be back as well in some capacity. We’ll see. I’m doing that pilot right now, too, so I guess things depend on what happens with that.
The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Syfy. 2 Broke Girls airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBS.
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