Air Jordan meet… Air Greenwood. As the levitating surfer, Mitch Yost, on HBO's new mystical surf-noir drama John from Cincinnati (Sundays at 9 pm/ET), veteran film and television actor Bruce Greenwood takes the sport to new heights. Here he (surf) waxes poetic on sword dancing, acting with poultry and why he believes he can fly.
TV Guide: Why does Mitch levitate?
Greenwood: I'm not privy to that information. You have to make up theories in your mind, but chances are my guesses are not going to [match] what [show creator] David Milch (Deadwood) comes up with.
TV Guide: Do you guys talk about it?
Greenwood: That kind of question is not one that he would give you a straight answer to. He would say something like, "Because gravity ceases to work against you." It would become some sort of Socratic afternoon. I know that there are forces at work that we don't understand, and they will be revealed.
TV Guide: Is it coming from John?
Greenwood: Mitch may feel that it's coming from John, but that's a small take on its origin. It's bigger than John.
TV Guide: How do they do the levitation scenes?
Greenwood: I've got a few tricks in the bag, and this is one I never used. It was either that or sword dancing. I can also wiggle my ears.
TV Guide: Do you surf in real life?
Greenwood: I can look reasonable coming out of the water. I can waddle in and stand up, but that's it. I worked at surfing a bit [for the role]. The first thing I learned is to fall sideways so you don't crack your neck. I took a couple of really stunning falls to figure that out.
TV Guide: Any interesting stories from the set?
Greenwood: None that I want to see in TV Guide. I'm not in any scenes with the magical parrot [Zippy]. That's a whole contractual thing. I've worked so much with four-legged animals that I had to draw the line at the parrot. I shared a scene with a chicken once, and I realized that no actor in the world can steal focus from a chicken. So no parrots. You got to really dig your heels in.
Use our snazzy new Online Video Guide to go surfing for some John from Cincinnati clips.
Looking for more fresh fare to watch this summer? The July 9 issue of TV Guide details our guilty pleasures. Try four risk-free issues now!
Send your comments on this Q&A to email@example.com.