TV Guide: What can you tell us about your character on 24, deputy chief of staff Reed Pollock?
Lowe: I don't want to give too much away, but Reed has somewhat of an ulterior motive. He does things to further his agenda and the agenda of an organization of people he represents. What's interesting is that I don't even know who they are.
TV Guide: Do you mean you, Chad Lowe? Or you, Reed Pollock?
Lowe: I, Chad Lowe, don't know. When I got the role, I went in and met with the producers and writers and all they gave me was a broad stroke of where they're going with him.
TV Guide: Did they use words like "evil" and "henchman"?
Lowe: God, no. I'm not sure that I would agree with Reed's point of view, but I can certainly see his perspective. I think he feels like a patriot and that he's doing the right thing for the country and is proud to be serving Peter MacNicol's character, Tom Lennox. He's well intended, if maybe misdirected.
TV Guide: Misdirected? He does something truly horrible this week!
Lowe: It's a pretty big event that I'm involved in. But I think the jury is out about how people will respond to Reed Pollock. Today, somebody in the elevator of my condo looked at me sideways and said, "I don't think I like you." [Laughs] Then he said, "... on 24."
TV Guide: Have you been made a regular?
Lowe: No. I'm going episode to episode. Every time I've read a script, I always read it knowing that it may be my last. I'm not dead yet, I can tell you that much.
TV Guide: How does it feel to be on a hit show at the same time as your brother Rob?
Lowe: It's nice. There have also been many, many patches when we've both been unemployed.
TV Guide: You used to be on the same ice-hockey team as Kiefer Sutherland. Denis Leary once said he's one of the best celebrity players he's ever seen. True?
Lowe: Ah, um... I was surprised by how good Kiefer is, but I don't know if I would go that far. Maybe according to Denis he's the best. I think there are a few people I might put ahead — Matthew Perry is a very good hockey player. Most actors fancy themselves tough guys to some degree. But it's a great equalizer.
TV Guide: On a recent appearance on Larry King Live, you were asked about your new girlfriend, Kim Painter, and you said, "It's not serious." Was this news to her?
Lowe: Everything was fine. [Laughs] It's a new relationship, and I was trying to deflect — as awkwardly as possible. We met coincidentally. She produces Carrie Fisher's one-woman show. I'd called Carrie to ask her to participate in a function I was putting together, and I dealt with Kim. We clearly had a fancy for one another and decided that maybe we should go and have coffee. We're in the nice stages of an early relationship.
TV Guide: Last August your ex-wife, Hilary Swank, told Vanity Fair about your heretofore unpublicized substance-abuse problem. What's it like being unable to control how a personal issue becomes known to others?
Lowe: That was my ex-wife's press. She chose to speak out for whatever reason and say what she did. I didn't bring it on, and I didn't ask for it. I thought I'd address it in my own time.
TV Guide: Any unexpected big changes that come with nearly four years of sobriety?
Lowe: I don't spend my energy figuring out how I measure up. Humility really takes you out of the arena of where one fits in — in a marriage, in a career, in life. There's a saying, "I may not be much, but I'm all I think about." [Laughs] I'm glad I'm not all I think about anymore.
For an inside look at the controversy surrounding 24's depiction of torture, pick up the Feb. 26 issue of TV Guide.
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