Scott Bakula on Joining Desperate Housewives, Getting Thrown Under the Bus by Smash
After eight years, Scott Bakula was ready to kiss the ladies of Desperate Housewives goodbye — and with them, any dreams he had of guest-starring on the show. But he made it to Wisteria Lane in the nick of time.
"[Series creator] Marc Cherry and I had been bumping into each other. He kept saying, 'I want to have you on the show,' and I kept telling him, 'I love the show. I'd love to be on it,'" Bakula tells TVGuide.com. "I thought that the ship had sailed on this one."
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Bakula, who says he's a Desperate Housewives fanboy, could not have been more wrong. The Emmy-nominated actor is in the middle of a juicy four-episode arc playing Bree's ruthless attorney, Trip Weston. "It's bizarre meeting everybody because I've watched them all in their roles for so long and now I know almost everybody on the show," Bakula says. "I'm like a fan that got invited to come and play."
After years of following the women’s every scandal and salacious piece of gossip, Bakula said he never would have imagined the kind of role Cherry would dream up for him. “The actor inside of me is selfishly saying, ‘Gee, I hope it’s a good part and I hope it’s something fun.’ But you never know,” he says. But Bakula was all for what Cherry came up with: someone to spar with Bree!
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Trip was originally described in casting calls as someone who was conservative like Bree, but after Bakula's first episode, they rewrote the character as her liberal opposite. This would not only put Trip at odds with Bree, but also showcase her growth; in Season 1, Bree would never have been able to fall for a man who didn't share her beliefs. “They went for this idea of Bree and Trip being opposites and having to struggle with their relationship because they are philosophically different on pretty much everything in life,” Bakula says. Trip and Bree will soon clash when he discusses his many attempts to bring down the National Rifle Association in front of the gun-loving homemaker. “It creates some dramatic tension and some emotional issues that ultimately contribute to where their relationship ends up.”
The pairing also marks a reunion for Bakula and Marcia Cross. "I'm a big fan of hers," the actor says. "When she was a baby, she did an episode of Quantum Leap with me," he says. "We hadn't seen each other in 20 years." Desperate Housewives also reunites Bakula with Alyson Reed, who plays the judge presiding over Bree's trial. Reed was the Marilyn Monroe to Bakula's Joe DiMaggio in the short-lived 1983 Broadway musical Marilyn: An American Fable — a show which has recently returned to the spotlight thanks to the hit NBC drama Smash, which centers on the staging of a new Marilyn Monroe musical.
"I've watched it all," Bakula says of the series. "We had a really good laugh when we saw each other because we know that they've been throwing our failed musical under the bus on a weekly basis."
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As for Bakula's current leading lady, Trip may be trying to free Bree from murder charges, but of course their relationship will extend beyond the courtroom. "We explore that possibility, but it's difficult. Obviously, this is not just a throwaway case. It's treated with the weight that it deserves in terms of someone's life being at stake and I'm defending that person," he says. "Trip is attracted to her and the question is: what are they going to do about it? Does that affect the case? Does that affect their future?"
And after a spell of dating disasters (see: Keith, Chuck, Orson's creepy return) and a serious slut streak, will Bree finally find happiness with Trip? "It has been hard," Bakula says. "I was joking with Marcia. I said, 'Now how many guys did you kiss last week?"
Desperate Housewives airs Sundays at 9/8c on ABC.