Get Adam Goldberg on the phone from his Los Angeles home to talk about his new show, The Unusuals, and the first thing you'll hear is, "Sorry, one second—it's like Dr. Doolittle over here with these three dogs and this cat. Oh, and I've got a friend passed out on the couch. It's like a melee over here."
[Cheesy voice-over] Adam Goldberg's life is unusual both onscreen and off! At his house, it's like a melee and maybe a menagerie, too, and on TV, he has brain cancer!
Thanks for writing my story for me, Adam Goldberg!
"Embellish the rest and misquote me. It wouldn't be the first time. Actually, I would prefer if you would misquote me in an effort to make me sound more articulate."
Want more Goldbergian goodies, only a little embellished? Yeah, you do, because he's awesome. Come on down...
It's a very New York series, and you're an L.A. guy—how do you handle the transition?
Well, I'd finally got my house here in L.A.—right as the market was peaking, actually.
You must be very proud.
I'm extremely proud. It also means I can never sell it. I have to live here, so that was difficult. But I flipped a little emotional pathos button and put it in the off position and spent four and a half months completely disconnected from myself and my surroundings to deal with shooting in New York in the winter.
Your character, Eric Delahoy, is a detective with cancer. How does he cope through the course of the season?
How he deals with it in the pilot is not necessarily how he deals with it—it's not like Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon. It just sort of sets him off on this journey, which oftentimes includes total denial. There are episodes where you wouldn't necessarily know that Harold and I's problems are there, but we're dealing more with the circumstances of the case, and then there are whole episodes where we have these sort of googly issues.
Googly like what?
Well, Harold in particular has this sort of paralyzing obsession with death and mine is more of a journey. I don't talk to anyone about it on the show. None of the other characters know this guy is going through this. He seems to unravel at times, but other times he keeps it pretty close to the chest. Sometimes he's this working tough-guy detective, and other times he ends up having a very unlikely existential journey, the likes of which I think this guy never would have had otherwise.
Most of your scenes in the pilot seem to be with Harold Perrineau's character, Leo Banks. Does it stay like that or do you start crossing paths with Amber Tamblyn and Jeremy Renner?
At first we were all off in our own show, in your relationship with your partner, which is really at the center of what these guys do. But as the nine episodes we shot progressed, we start to splinter off a little bit more and do a little more integration with the other characters. I liken it to Robert Altman's Short Cuts where they all start out separated and then the stories eventually overlap. But there's never necessarily, thankfully, those scenes at the end of the episode where we're all sitting in the bar, you know?
No sad-song soundtrack over a scene where you all smile and cry simultaneously?
There was an orgy scene though.
Yes, the one that took place in my head.
Anything you want the fans to know to look for in The Unusuals? Anything you're particularly proud of?
Yes, oftentimes I forget to zip my fly up. Almost invariably if I go to the bathroom, someone's gotta tell me that the barn door is open. So I'm quite sure this must have happened during the course of our shoot. The hours were long, and the pee breaks were many.
You've been warned, people.
The Unusuals premieres tonight at 10 on ABC.
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