The actor tells us about good TV, bad movies and playing dumb, smartly.
Matt LeBlanc, 44, is currently starring in the second season of the BBC/Showtime comedy Episodes, in which he plays himself. Born and raised in Newton, he attended Newton North High School. Best known for his role as Joey Tribbiani on the legendary sitcom Friends, he won three Emmy and Golden Globe nominations and a Screen Actors Guild Award during the show’s 10-year run. LeBlanc played the character for two more years on the spin-off Joey, while on the big screen his credits include Lost in Space, Charlie’s Angels and its sequel. For his work on Episodes, LeBlanc earned an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe Award. He lives in Los Angeles.
How difficult is it to play yourself?
It’s a real stretch. Seriously, the character isn’t very much like me. The point of the character is sort of the public perception of celebrity—in this case, me.
I’m just a quister mush. [Translation from Newton slang: a good, stand-up guy.]
It’s harder to play dumb convincingly. But if you only play dumb, nobody believes you’re smart, so maybe that makes it harder.
This little French guy at the airport in Paris grabbed onto me like a rash. That was strange.
I haven’t shaken it, and I don’t think I ever will. I’m proud of it, so I have no intention of trying to shake it.
No, but I did love that show.
Episodes The Office
It definitely mocks that trend. English TV is sort of a sounding board for the American networks. And Episodes is a mockery of that.
Top Gear. Basically, it’s a talk show, and there are three hosts. They test cars and have these wacky adventures all over the world. They do things like hitch a pair of campers to two cranes and smash them together to see which one is the toughest. The show is done at an airfield, and they have a racetrack. Everyone who goes on sees how fast they can go. It’s pretty entertaining.
Not really. I’m not a huge sports fan, but if I’m going to root for a team, it’s definitely going to be the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics or Bruins.
No. You can’t hit your elders.
Not really. I’ve made some bad moves, but I learned from them. I wouldn’t have that knowledge if I hadn’t made some mistakes.
Don’t eat the donuts at the craft-service table.
That I was a cokehead.
It’s pretty f***in’ quista, mush! How’s yours?
I think it’s supply and demand. People want it, so the networks make them. If nobody liked them, trust me, they wouldn’t be on TV. Same thing with the tabloids—if people aren’t buying them, they’re not going to be there.
No. Why should I?
Opinions are like a**holes. Everybody’s got one, and they all stink.
C’mon, that’s an easy one. Matt LeBlanc.
Yeah, I am. I make lasagna, homemade pasta, sauce, meatballs. Eggplant parm is my mother’s specialty.
The show? You gotta go with Farrah Fawcett. The movie? It’s a toss-up, I think, between Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu.
No. Drew knows how much respect I have for her. She’d be angry if I said she was the sexy one.
I think the wall of segregation is coming down slowly. Television and movies are very different. Movies are an event. Television is in your home. It’s like being a part of the family.
Lost in Space
You didn’t like it?
Gimme your address, and I’ll send you a check. I didn’t make 10 bucks off of that movie, by the way.
I think you should probably ask Demi Moore.
I’ve met him.
Your mother. [Laughs.] No, just kidding. I don’t really have one.
No. I’m my own man, goddamnit!
DeNiro’s part in Raging Bull. He so inhabited that character. It was a perfect performance.
Raging Bull, Scarface and maybe Forrest Gump… oh, and Ed. [Laughs.]
Boxer briefs. And it’s good that was your last question because I just opened my first beer.
Credits: Photographed by Andrew Stiles; wardrobe styling: Caley Lawson/The Wall Group; grooming: Barbara Guillaume/Exclusive Artists