If you’ve been watching this season of PRIVATE PRACTICE, you’ve seen Addison and Sam fall into a relationship that they weren’t anticipating [mild spoiler alert] and the tension of staying apart drives Addison to turn to an old familiar face – no, not Sloan this time – her good friend Pete, played by the fantastic Tim Daly. Earlier this week, I had the great opportunity to speak with him about his show, what’s coming up for Pete, the age old question of whether Pete will ever be happy, and how Pete’s changed over the years.
Jumping right in, I read an interview you did before this season started, and you said that you hoped that this season was nothing but trouble for Pete?
Oh yeah, he’s had a lot of problems [laughs]. This is the kind of show that’s driven on people getting into emotional difficulties. Certainly, Pete’s had his share. The whole thing with Violet, finally realizing he was able to have a relationship and want to be in love, I mean, Oh my God! It’s great.
What’s coming up for Pete? Is the idea of any reconnection with Violet done for right now? Or do you think that’s something we’ll see in the future?
I cannot speak for the writers, but I personally feel that that story is unresolved. For Violet not to come to terms on some level with her relationship with Pete and her relationship with her child would sort of gip the audience. On some level, I think that will re-enter the picture a little bit.
Talking a little bit about tonight’s new episode – I’m hearing rumors of vampirism striking the building?
Yeah, you know, these kids today, with their TWILIGHT fetishes, go around biting each other. I mean, [laughs] I shouldn’t make fun of it. The story is humorous, but it’s also about early teenage love, and how crazy it makes people. They have a fantasy that sort of goes awry, with this whole TWILIGHT thing.
How has the character of Pete changed from when we first met him to now?
Oh he’s changed a lot. I still think that he has the rakish womanizer in him; he’s certainly capable of that. I think he’s realized that he’s not only capable of, but sort of embraces a more stable and longterm relationship. He put that out to Violet, and I think, also, he’s realized, not only does he want a child, but he likes being a father. There’s something he didn’t realize would ever happen to him.
Will Pete ever be happy? That’s a big question that came up when I asked people for questions today!
I hope he’s not happy. That’s just boring. Always miserable and always having a lot of angst. But one of the things I love about Pete is that despite all these crazy things that happen to him, there’s something about him that embraces the human dilemma. He’s not overly judgmental, and certainly, he’s forgiven Violet a lot and her craziness. I think he enjoys human beings and he seems to embrace all the crazy things that go on on this planet. I hope he never loses that, whatever happens to him. But happiness is fleeting. That’s the myth of so many movies that the lovers get together in the end, and it’s the happily ever after fantasy. Anyone who’s lived for more than 14 years knows that that doesn’t always work out as usual!
I see people on Twitter harassing Shonda or someone asking “well why aren’t my couples together” and it’s not true to life. People don’t always end up happy.
There are plenty of moments of incredible happiness and joy and great periods, but there’s also constant struggle and strife and that’s part of the human experience, that’s what we get!
Do you have a favorite moment or storyline from the past few seasons?
You know, I still loved the whole pilot of PRIVATE PRACTICE. I loved Pete in the pilot. I loved grabbing Addison and explaining to her that he’s going to kiss her with tongue and that she was going to like it. It was just so bold and fun, and kind of out there.
Did you have to learn or shadow someone to learn more about the Eastern medicine techniques that Pete practices?
A certain amount. I actually think that I know more somewhat more about Eastern medicine through my own walks through life than what we portray on PRIVATE PRACTICE. So I didn’t have to learn that much honestly.
Is there a certain way that you prepare to play Pete or any character really? Is there a certain mindset to get ready for each role?
You know, no the only mindset that I have is that I try to find out what the truth is and tell it. There are a lot journalists, especially, not to lump you in there, they’re obsessed with reality, the reality of a situation, and frankly, I couldn’t give less of a shit. Reality is boring. Reality is brushing your teeth and getting that nasty spot off your pants. But the truth is really fascinating. And the truth can strike you in a million different ways. You walk into an art gallry and you look at a painting, and suddenly, you’re weeping. It’s like, why? It spoke to you. That’s what I’m most concerned with. If I have to do that by doing a lot of research, if it strikes me intuitively, then I do that. My quest is just to deliver the emotional truth of someone.
I want to talk a little bit about the advocacy that you have for the arts. Why did you get involved with Creative Coalition?
I had been searching for quite a long time to be involved in some kind of organization where I can give something back. I’ve been so fortunate, and lucky, even to have been born in the United States. But I didn’t know that much about environmental issues, or poverty in Africa, or childhood obesity; I’m not an expert on those things. What I guess I am an expert on is the arts, and the value of the arts in our educational system, which is disappearing unfortunately, and in our culture. I though, ok, this is something I can talk about with some gravitas. I’m in it, I’ve made my living doing it for a long time, and I’m thoroughly dedicated to the proposition that arts belong in the discussion. When we’re talking about manufacturing, we should be talking about the arts in the same sentence. It’s not something extra, it’s not a luxury item, it’s a part of our survival of a culture.
As a musician myself, even hearing that there are no longer music programs in schools, it’s so important that it gets back there!
There’s no question. Actually, I’ll give you a sneak peek. I’m directing a public service announcement for the Creative Coalition and I’ve been trying for the longest time to think about how to give a simple message about arts in education. I actually had a dream that I was singing the ABCs, and I thought, my god, that’s it. Virtually every kid has learned to read because they sing. You sing the alphabet to learn the letters, to learn to read, and the gateway to education is open to you. So ABC is my PSA concept!