On last Sunday's Desperate Housewives, George overestimated Bree's desire to see him stay alive, and instead ODed on sleeping pills chased with booze. Did the funny pharmacist's portrayer see the end coming? TVGuide.com got a hold of Roger Bart to talk about that most curious George as well as his forthcoming — and very "swishy" — turn in the film remake of The Producers.
TVGuide.com: A pre-op transsexual.
Bart: You know, I was up for that!
TVGuide.com: No you weren't!
Bart: But I hear she's amazing. She's so nice, isn't she? I love her. One of the reasons I would have loved to have hung around [Housewives] a little bit longer was to do scenes with her.
TVGuide.com: Yeah, I was going to say that you "only" got to work with Marcia Cross, really.
Bart: Oh yeah, pretty exclusively. It would have been great [to act opposite the others]. I also like working with guys, too, so that would have let me work with Nicollette [Sheridan]! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Going in, did you figure, "I'm playing a slightly creepy and weaselly pharmacist, so my days are numbered"?
Bart: Yes, I did, but I had hoped it would last longer, obviously. It was kind of an interesting opportunity. In the very first episode he was written sort of Eddie Haskell-y, sort of Leave It to Beaver. "You look so lovely today!" It was so funny, I thought, "Where is this going?" I shot about two scenes and [series creator] Mark Cherry said, "Do you know where he's going?" and I said, "No, but I'd love to know." He said, "Well, he's going to stalk Bree." I thought, "Well, that's kind of fantastic." And it seemed after the few episodes were over — I was originally hired for three — it seemed rather incomplete, I hadn't really gotten into any stalking, I was just staring at the drugstore surveillance tape, which was indeed very creepy. But once I knew I was going to really stalk her, I started to layer in a certain oddness. I find that, as someone who has come out the stage door many times, on [Broadway's] The Producers and in other projects where you're face-to-face with the more exuberant fans, you often find that the edgy ones are one breath away from being very angry at you. They love you so much they hate you. A stalker has that mix of adoration and anger and hate, and I thought that was an interesting balance to play with, kind of like Eddie Haskell meets Tony Perkins meets De Niro in King of Comedy. I used to play it that George loved Bree so much that he hated her, and after about six episodes I found that I had made myself, to some extent, indispensable. As soon as I started to provide "Rexie" with pills, I knew that we were going to have to conclude it.
TVGuide.com: Right, they'd have to bring his story full circle.
Bart: This show is called Desperate Housewives, it is not called "Desperate Pharmacists" — although I very much look forward to my spin-off called "The Funny Pharmacist," which reeks of being a hit.
TVGuide.com: Did you have a favorite episode or scene?
Bart: There were a bunch, man. I really enjoyed the scene where George told the kid [Bree's son] to go to his room; I loved falling down the steps and yelling, "Aw, geez, aw, geez," as I walked out to the sidewalk on my crutches. "I don't need you! I don't need anybody!" That became kind of my anthem at work — the crew guys would yell it at me.
TVGuide.com: Were you sad to say goodbye to Marcia?
Bart: Yeah. It was sad saying goodbye to a lot of people there. It was a really cool group. I feel like we made a lot of good work. I wouldn't call it a party, but we did laugh an awful lot.
TVGuide.com: Hey, maybe George has a smooth-talking twin brother out there?
Bart: Aw, man. That'd be awfully fun! But I think America's probably had its fill. Part of the success of the show is its turnover of colorful people who have come and gone, and all of them have been effective. And Marcia needs to be with somebody who is a big stud who she's attracted to! One thing I long for in my professional life is to play a scene with somebody who finds me attractive. "Ew, he's so creepy, blah-blah-blah." Well, yeah, you try doing 13 episodes with somebody who recoils every time you get close to them! Of course I don't look attractive, you know?! I love Marcia, she's pretty swell.
TVGuide.com: Were you psyched to reprise your stage role in the film remake of The Producers? Not everybody did.
Bart: Not everybody did, so I feel very lucky. I remember the first day we were on the set together, Matthew [Broderick], Nathan [Lane], Gary [Beach] and myself were all kind of going [Imitating Lane], "Oh man, we're lucky to be here."
TVGuide.com: They could have gotten, like, Ashton Kutcher.
Bart: Yeah, totally. But fortunately we lucked out and got to make the movie and that's going to be great. My kids can be embarrassed for years to come! And their kids, too!
TVGuide.com: What's your one line to sum up your character, Carmen Ghia?
Bart: "Swishy." [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Which newbies' performances should we look out for?
Bart: Will Ferrell — when they first mentioned him as Franz Liebkind, it was one of those no-brainers. He's perfect, he definitely inhabits that crazy space, that insanity that Kenneth Mars brought to [the original film]. And you can't get a much more authentic Ulla than a girl named Uma [Thurman]!
TVGuide.com: What are you up to now?
Bart: I'm making a little independent movie called Doubting Thomas in New Mexico, and then, as you know, I'll be releasing The Producers [in limited release Dec. 16]. After that, I hope to have a quiet Christmas with my two kids.
TVGuide.com: And then start production on "The Funny Pharmacist"!
Bart: Exactly. "The Funny Pharmacist"! I mean, how great is that title?! We'll see.