Mmmm, mmm, mmm. It just ain't right to be as fine as Blair Underwood. The man wore a suit like nobody's business in seven seasons of L.A. Law, did the big-screen thing (opposite Julia Roberts, no less) in Steven Soderbergh's misleadingly titled Full Frontal and was one of the few fellows to make Miranda smile on Sex and the City. Now, he's got a bigger and blonder fish to fry as Heather Locklear's hunky nemesis (and possible love interest) on the new NBC series LAX. You might want to buckle up, though. With this example of God's best work at play, the idea of layovers just got a lot sexier.
TV Guide Online: Do you think if real airport employees looked like you and Heather, people would travel more often?
Blair Underwood: Aw, listen to you! [Laughs] Actually, the woman who is an executive director of the real LAX is this attractive blond who absolutely walks around in high heels. Heather was so happy. She was like, "See, I got backup here!"
TVGO: And you have some first-class chemistry with her.
Underwood: All I heard was how great Heather was. I ran into Courtney Thorne-Smith at our agency. You know, they did Melrose Place together. And she said, "Oh my God, you're going to work with Heather? I am so jealous." Let me tell you, to hear one actress say that about another actress is rare in this town.
TVGO: But it's not just you two being gorgeous and running around a concourse, right?
Underwood: In this age, after 9/11, people really want to see these guys take their job seriously. I think when NBC decided to make it a 10 o'clock show, that also decided the tone... and I love the banter, the witty stuff. But I am also hoping we'd have the chance to do some hard-core drama, some real-life issues.
TVGO: Speaking of hard-core, is it true you two won't be hooking up?
Underwood: Well, not yet, anyway.
TVGO: That's probably wise. Network TV may not be ready for that much sex appeal.
Underwood: We'd have to go to Sex and the City!
TVGO: Where I am sure you learned a few tricks.
Underwood: Yeah. I've been broken in! [Laughs]
TVGO: Speaking of broken, has it been hard to break out of the whole sharp-dressed-man thing? Because you've been stylin' since L.A. Law!
Underwood: I've always tried to find different ways to play characters, even aesthetically and visually. And in this one, my only rule was that I didn't want [my character] Roger to wear a tie. And I know that came from having to wear a suit and tie for so many years.
TVGO: Ties suck. So does flying. But playing an airline bigwig should probably earn you an upgrade, right? At least an extra bag of pretzels.
Underwood: My mother was flying out of L.A. and got stranded. So she called me and I said, 'Mom, you've got a son who's acting on a show called LAX. I know people there!' So I was able call somebody and they got her at the gate and took her to the first-class lounge. Then I went and sat with her for the next eight hours.