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Interview with Lee Pace of Pushing Daisies

Interview: Lee Pace on the Whimsical World of Pushing Daisies

As Ned on Pushing Daisies, Lee Pace plays one of the sweetest characters on television. I was lucky enough to score a few minutes on the phone with him this week to talk about the second season of Daisies, what's coming up for Ned, and what it's like to be on a show that's so outside the box. Here are highlights:

Has the show changed at all going into season two?
I think it has a lot. I think Bryan [Fuller]'s figured out a different way to tell the stories . . . With playing Ned, at least, I wanted to pick him up a year after the show had ended [last season]. So he's been with Chuck for a year, and he's a little more enthusiastic about life, he's a little more prepared for the curveballs that he's gonna be thrown this season.

And how did the events of season one change Ned?
Chuck coming to life was probably the biggest thing that's ever happened to him in his life. Ned is someone who's created a world around him that he understands and that he's comfortable with — he can make pies and give them to people. And then he's got Emerson pulling him along on these cases and making his life more complicated, and now he's got Chuck making his life more complicated. This season, Chuck is wanting a little more independence, which scares Ned, because her independence means someone could find out about him and what he can do, which is his worst fear.

Has playing Ned changed how you're perceived at all?
I think it has, actually. I've played a lot of bad characters in my life — not bad, but kind of rough, complicated characters, and Ned is such an adorable, sweet guy that I think people think that's who I am. . . . I am not unlike Ned — I'm pretty shy and kind of reclusive, but not as much as Ned. I should probably never describe myself as adorable.

Lots more from Pace on the mysteries of Ned, the feedback he hears about the show, and what he'd do with Ned's power, so


Ned is also a pretty mysterious character, and we've learned a lot about him through the flashbacks with little Ned and little Chuck. Are there any things that surprised you about him when you read them in the script?

A few episodes down the line in this season, Ned — we're dealing with a lot of his past and family issues, like issues with his own father, issues with Chuck's father, killing him, and Ned gets a little angry. Ned gets a lot angry, actually, and it's good because that was kind of a surprising scene to read and those were fun scenes to play, fun to kind of stretch Ned a little bit. He's not defensive. He's a very active character. He's got hangups, he's got complications in his life, but you never get to see him get angry.

Do you have a favorite death or favorite awakening scene?
There's one on next week's episode when we're at the nunnery. I bring to life a nun who's been killed, and I think it's one of the funniest "alive again" scenes we've got because she's played by Mo Collins from Mad TV, and she's just really foul-mouthed and really funny. It's a really, really funny scene to have a nun talking the way she's talking.

There's really nothing this whimsical on television. When you got involved with the show, did you think there was anything risky in doing something that was so far outside the usual realm of US TV?
I don't think about it as risky at all, because I think it's a good show and I think you can't really go wrong if the material is quality because then you'll get a quality director and you'll get good actors to work on it with. It comes from Bryan Fuller, and that's already really good. . . . I didn't really see much of a risk on it being outside of the box. Those are all kind of things in its favor.

What's some of the most interesting feedback that you've gotten about the show?
One thing that I hear a lot is that people want to hear a kind of mythology about the show — like if there's going to be a way that Ned and Chuck will be able to touch at the end of the show. And my thinking is that this is what separates it from a comic book or a superhero story. There is no mythology. Ned is discovering his powers as the audience is, really.

The show's really known for its tongue-twisting dialogue. Are there any particular lines that you had a really hard time getting down?

Honestly, every day I've got one speech that I cannot — I have to motor through it and say it all really quickly. And it's never easy stuff that I'm saying either, it's all like "Happy Time Temp Agency." You fit all these words in your mouth and it's always really tricky, there's no way around it. I go in in the morning and I learn the lines and I shoot the scene and then the lines just go out of my head.

If you're just walking down the hallway, do you ever brush up against Anna Friel and freak out?
We actually bump into each other all the time — all the time! Anna will kind of run up and give me a big hug — earlier this week, she did it, and I kind of flinched a little bit, and she kind of jumped back and was like, "Did you just flinch when I gave you a hug?" I was like, "I'm sorry, I don't know where that came from!" It's just playing Ned. I shouldn't be flinching when a beautiful girl like Anna Friel gives me a hug, but I flinched! That's weird, that's odd, that's not normal.

If you had Ned's power, do you think you would see it as a blessing or a curse?
I think it would be kind of a curse. It's caused Ned a lot of trouble, the power. I wouldn't particularly want it. I wouldn't want it at all, actually. But he was able to bring Chuck back to life — I don't know, it's complicated! As all things in life are.

Source and copyright 2008 ABC, Inc.

Join The Conversation
Maribug Maribug 8 years
He is just too adorable. What he was saying about flinching when Anna Friel hugged him made me laugh, and I love how he tends to sometimes blush when interviewed about her/their relationship. Cuteness overload.
Ineedclarity Ineedclarity 8 years
Great interview. He is so handsome. I swear if I ever saw him in real life, I would be speechless.
briggs313 briggs313 8 years
LOVED the interview buzz ... he's so cute i love him! I missed last night's episode because of my stupid DVR ... looks like I'll be catching it online tonight! My theory uis that the return of his father will be beneficial! He will have the same powers Ned has and will be able to explain it a little! And hopefully maybe something silly like during a full moon or something he can touch Chuck!
he is hott!
sharshar sharshar 8 years
Thanks, Buzz! Aww, he gets even more adorable when he thinks he isn't :)
pinky-tuscadero pinky-tuscadero 8 years
Buzz you ask the best questions. Wonderful interview!
TxRdRaider TxRdRaider 8 years
Thanks for the great interview!
Lily-Inferno Lily-Inferno 8 years
Ugh! Why does Lee have to be so damn cute? I adore this show completely. I can't believe its taken me this long to finally watch it.
Chica8a Chica8a 8 years
luv this show :LOVE:
fifafifa fifafifa 8 years
Loooooooooooooove this show. Completely obsessed! And loooooooove adorable adorable Lee Pace! Fleur, I just watched Miss Pettigrew and thought the same thing - "dreamy" is the perfect description of LP. :)
mnp mnp 8 years
I love this show! I'm not sure why there were on the verge of cancellation. // OMG, californiagirlx! No way! I'm starting to feel bummed, too.
MrDPember MrDPember 8 years
I love this show!!!!!! Please don't get cancelled!
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
P.S. I know I'm probably going to get flagged for this but I've been hearing several rumors that Lee Pace is gay. I know some people hate speculation about a celebrity's sexual orientation, but I was kinda bummed when I heard about this. I don't have a problem with homosexuality or anything, it just makes it harder for me to picture his character in love with Chuck. I know, I know, I got to separate fiction from reality...
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
Thanks for the interview Buzz! I love Lee Pace. He does seem like a sweet and adorable guy :)
Allyace Allyace 8 years
This show is not morbid or gross in any way. Esp in comparision to something (awful) like CSI or (actually good) like House. Usually there is like 2 minutes of them in a morgue and the person usually doesn't look gross (just pale). As for this line: "I should probably never describe myself as adorable." I hope he doesn't mind that we call him adorable instead :).
stephley stephley 8 years
I saw Pace at the gas station once, and he IS adorable.
jasmint jasmint 8 years
I love this show and wish more people would be more open minded and watch it. My mother says it's too "morbid" for her -- yet she watches Lifetime movies and regular crime shows? I suppose the morgue scenes can get a little graphic, but other than that, it's a full-on fairytale that I think both kids and adults can enjoy. Lee Pace and Bryan Fuller can do no wrong.
Gabriela14815884 Gabriela14815884 8 years
I love this show. What a great interview :D
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
This is a show I wish I could watch...but it's so gross and graphic I don't want the kids to watch it...and it's a little too gross for me too. Some of the parts I did watch were an off-beat comedy I can appreciate.
terryt18 terryt18 8 years
Super excited about this show coming back! It's a wonderful show. I've been telling EVERYONE about it. Watch Pushing Daisies, people!
fleurfairy fleurfairy 8 years
I just saw Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and Lee was soooooo dreamy in that movie! I'm in love now.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 8 years
I actually can't see him and Anna in real life without feeling freaked out if I see them touch. With all the bad news, I'm really happy to have this show around.
seven7 seven7 8 years
Thank you for this interview! Love the questions...and the answers!
psterling psterling 8 years
I love this show and Lee Pace is absolutely adorable!
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Love the interview, Buzz! While he may not describe himself as "adorable," I certainly would. Pushing Daisies is such a wonderful show; hope that viewership picks up soon.
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