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Interview: Lee Pace of "Pushing Daisies"

Interview: Lee Pace of "Pushing Daisies"

My most-anticipated new show of the season, ABC's "Pushing Daisies," premieres tonight, which means it's just a few hours until you all get to see the fantastical world of the Pie Hole for yourself. (Can't wait? Yum has a preview of the tasty pies).

A big part of the show's magic touch comes from Lee Pace, who plays Ned, the pie baker who learns at a young age that he can bring things back to life — including, in the pilot, his childhood sweetheart, Chuck Charles (Anna Friel). You may recognize him from The Good Shepherd or "Wonderfalls," but it's Pace's sweet turn in this show that could make him a star. At the TCA press tour in July, I chatted with Pace about working with director Barry Sonnenfeld, playing such a good guy, and — of course — those pies.

How did you get involved with "Pushing Daisies"?
I'd done movies the past few years — I know that sounds so pretentious; I just mean to say that I really wasn't looking at TV scripts. I heard that Brian [Fuller, the show's creator, whom Pace worked with on "Wonderfalls"] was doing a show, and I was just curious to see what he was doing — I wanted to read it, be like, "Congratulations, good luck, knock 'em dead, it's gonna be a big hit." And I read it, and I was like, this is actually really really good. This character is better than a lot of characters I've ever read, and I kind of want to play it. I thought about it, I talked to Brian a lot, and it just got to be too compelling to turn down, and I decided to do it. And I'm so glad I did because the cast we assembled is unbelievable. Barry Sonnenfeld is a genius, and I will work with him on anything ever. He's great.

When you read the part of Ned, what was it that grabbed you?
What I loved about him is that he's someone who gives life. He's a good guy. He's a good-hearted person. He brings positivity and generosity to people. His life is complicated, and he lives a very sheltered, funny life, but he's got a gift. He's not one of these antiheroes who's going to destroy his life and everyone around him, you know? We're putting something out into the world that is a good thing.

Lots more from Lee, so

The show is a romance, but it's a very non-traditional romance.
We'll never be able to touch! Chuck and Ned are soulmates, absolute soulmates. But they're also young people who are trying to figure out their life and the future, and of course they want to meet someone and settle down and have a real love life and a real sex life. But they just can't with each other.

What just killed me was the scene in the pilot where they're clasping their hands behind their backs because they can't touch each other.
Expect a moment like that every week — some kind of moment of "Oh, no, I wish they were together, but they're not!"

What are some of the factors that influence the kinds of roles you take?
Every part you get is like you get a great problem-solving mission. With The Good Shepherd it was a big complicated geopolitical problem to solve. With this one, it's a very personal love story. That's no less difficult, but it's different.

How did you prepare to be back on TV?
It's hard — TV is a very specific thing. But I was very clear-headed going into this. I think TV is a really interesting business. It's really, really interesting trying to do something that is appealing to as many people as possible. I think that's fascinating, and I think this [show] could do that.

I think Ned is one of the sweetest characters I've seen on TV.
Oh, Ned is so sweet. Barry's so funny — he's like, "Just be nice and charming!" And I'm like, "Oh no, but [Ned]'s dealing with blah blah blah," and he's like, "yeah, yeah, yeah, just smile and be nice and charming."

Are the pies real?
A lot of them are plastic.

First photo Source
Second photo copyright 2007 ABC, Inc.

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Join The Conversation
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 8 years
Love him!
sugarbox sugarbox 8 years
he is SO cute, i was surprised, because i didn't think so when i saw the all the advertisement. when i actually saw him act it was great. ned is so sweet and lovable and lee is so good at playing him! i loved it.
Moley25 Moley25 8 years
Wonderfalls and Dead Like me were amazing shows and this one seems like it could be, too. I just hope they keep it on the air- it seems like they always take the really special ones off in order to play more shows like Everybody Loves Raymond.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
i was glued to my tv last night, i gave up watching Top Model (it replays on sundays) to watch this show. It didnt dissapoint! I loved wonderfalls, dead like me, and i love Jim Dale (listening to Book 4 as i type for the third time!) What is great is that Anna...is actually the girlfriend of David Thewlis who plays Lupin in the HP Movies! Sigh.....it just made my heart all a flutter
onesong onesong 8 years
i LOVED the show!
demeter demeter 8 years
He is so so so cute, I love him! And I adored the show! Possibly the cutest show ever!
girlfriday girlfriday 8 years
I am excited about this show too. Also - because I heard it's narrated by the fantastic Jim Dale. For all you HP fans out there, Dale is the one who narrated all the Harry Potter audio books. He was SO fantastic doing those. He does all the voices and everything. Now, when I reread the books, there will be parts when I hear in my head the distinctive way he says things like "The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black" and "Honestly Ron!" /end-HP-fandom-trip. Sorry. Anyway, that's exciting to me because I'm a nerd.
LizWinchester LizWinchester 8 years
Oh my goodness.. I'm so much happier now! Thanks for the update!
alexlove alexlove 8 years
I've never seen him in anything before, but he was so cute on this show!
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
LizWinchester — You can check out some details on Molly Shannon's role over here. It's just a guest-starring spot, so I wouldn't worry too much about it if you don't like her. She also just got cast as a lead on a new NBC show, so I don't think she can possibly be around "Daisies" too long.
LizWinchester LizWinchester 8 years
I saw the pilot, or Pie-lette, at Comic-con and I *cannot* wait to see it again and then every episode to follow. Wednesday is Lee Pace day for me from now on. The show was quite stunning visually and the cast was delighful. The chemistry they all share is a big draw for me. Plus, they gave us free pie after watching at Comic-con. Gotta love it!! Rumor has it that they cast Molly Shannon for a role, so that is completely disappointing. Hopefully all the other brilliant elements will keep her from killing what makes the show so great. With any luck they'll realize the mistake.
nlw nlw 8 years
I LOVED Wonderfalls and him in it. I have them on DVD and watch them all the time, so I can not wait to see him back on TV again. This is the one new show that I have been dying to watch.
Nitachequita Nitachequita 8 years
Looking forward to the show (and finally getting the visual of Lee as Calpernia out of my head!)
efahey efahey 8 years
I watched it last night, I looooved it! It reminds me of the movie "Big Fish" in the visuals and how it feels like a fantasy-land. I loved it, cant wait to keep watching
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Looking forward to watching this. Thanks for the great interview, Buzz!
em1282 em1282 8 years
Love this guy and the show looks awesome...can't wait for it tonight!
geohiker geohiker 8 years
I really loved Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me; I will follow Bryan Fuller to any new shows!
lala788 lala788 8 years
i like his name (the same as mine) and i really like the show , i only see just one ep but, it look really fun show and i think it could be one of my favorite shows.
EatYourVeggies EatYourVeggies 8 years
He's gorgeous and the show sounds like it's going to be awesome. I'm so watching it tommorrow night.
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