The scathing comedy House of Lies is back for a third season of dirty dealings, rampant sex, dashed hopes and dysfunctional families — both blood and business. Star Don Cheadle, nominated for Golden Globe and SAG awards for his performance as ambitious management consultant Marty Kaan, shares some scoop.
TV Guide Magazine: Though you're best known for big movies — such as the Ocean's 11 and Iron Man franchises — you started in TV, didn't you?
Cheadle: When I graduated college about 30 years ago, I was able to get guest spots and arcs on lots of TV shows, roles that now go to established actors. I had been doing those and theater when I got Picket Fences [in 1993], which most people would say was my first break.
TV Guide Magazine: What was so appealing about House of Lies that you returned to series TV?
Cheadle: It was a great script: really, really funny and dark — my sense of humor.
I couldn't anticipate where the characters were going. Also, I'd never seen a character that dealt with the world that Marty does. Management consulting? The ruthless nature of it was intriguing.
TV Guide Magazine: After being a star at a hotshot firm, this season Marty starts his own management consulting business. How's he doing?
Cheadle: Marty has managed to cobble together enough capital to hang a shingle, but his pod, the people he worked with for the last two years — Jeannie (Kristen Bell), Clyde (Ben Schwartz) and Doug (Josh Lawson) — are scattered. The band broke up. [Laughs] Season 3 is about figuring out if they can get back together again.
TV Guide Magazine: Marty is a somehow appealing blend of utter arrogance and desperate neediness. Is that about right?
Cheadle: He's a mess in the best way. At work, he's a world-beater who has all the answers, but his personal life is wreckage. It's fun and interesting to play somebody who has it all together in one area and no handle on the forces in another part of his life.
TV Guide Magazine: Is he capable of a grown-up relationship with Jeannie?
Cheadle: He wants to be. When she confronted him about it last season, he blew the opportunity. He has a lot of psychological damage. She's damaged as well, so maybe they deserve each other.
TV Guide Magazine: What lessons have you learned by playing a management consultant?
Cheadle: It's something I don't want to do [laughs] — even though it involves a lot of acting. It's not for the faint of heart. If you can hold on to your soul, you've done a great job.
House of Lies airs Sundays at 10/9c on Showtime.
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