TVGuide.com: Which real-life billionaire is your Dirty Sexy Money character, Simon Elder, most like?
I see him as a chocolate Richard Branson because of his incredible vision for the future and the fact that he's not intimidated by anybody. He has more money than the Darlings put together. He's very comfortable in his own skin. He's not bound by America's notion of what he should be because of how he looks. He's a maverick. He's going to go for broke. And he's been very successful at that.
TVGuide.com: Simon speaks a lot of languages. How many do you speak?
Underwood: Me? Just English. Every time I'm speaking a different language, I have Ian, a dialect coach on set, making sure that I say it right phonetically and that it's the right flavor, too.
TVGuide.com: The episode titled "The Game" sparked a lot of Web chatter because of its high-stakes poker game. Do you think there are real games like that out there?
Underwood: I would venture to say there probably are. When you have that kind of money, you play with those stakes. You've got to do things to keep yourself interested and entertain.
TVGuide.com: What's the highest-stakes game you've ever played?
Underwood: I've played in Vegas. But I'm frugal with my money. I've got a wife and kids, so I'm not trying to gamble away anything.
TVGuide.com: Simon is seeking vengeance on the Darling family. What are your thoughts on revenge?
Underwood: My feeling is [to] leave that to a higher power. "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord." But Simon Elder is not an advocate of that philosophy.
TVGuide.com: Right. Vengeance is his. You shot 13 DSM episodes before you ran out of scripts. What else does Simon have up his sleeve?
Underwood: All I can say is that it's getting juicier. You've already seen that Karen Darling is his next target. And there's a lot more that he does. Let's just say this: They both enter into this union with an agenda. And I think they're both taken aback by what actually happens between the two of them and it affects the whole game plan for the Darling family.
TVGuide.com: Let's move on to The New Adventures of Old Christine. What's coming up for sexy fourth-grade teacher Mr. Harris?
Underwood: I'll be in the first, second and fifth episodes. And when the show returns, they're actually a couple. They're dating. But of course it can't be happy, because Christine has issues. She has a very busy life with her gym and her son and his schedule. It's challenging to find time to spend together. Whereas Mr. Harris is a single man.
TVGuide.com: You have three elementary-school-aged children. Are there any hot teachers at their school?
Underwood: You're trying to get me in trouble. I've got to go on that campus every other day.
TVGuide.com: Why, are you on the PTA?
Underwood: No. But I drop the kids off every morning, if I'm in town. But yeah, there are a couple of cuties. I had a hot teacher in high school. I took typing because she was the sexiest teacher there. I can type 100 words a minute, thanks to Mrs. Janie Williams.
TVGuide.com: Alex, your character on HBO's new psychodrama In Treatment, thrives on precision and order. Did you use your army-brat upbringing as an inspiration?
Underwood: My father was a high-ranking military officer, but he didn't bring that stuff home. It wasn't like The Great Santini, if you remember that movie with Robert Duvall. He was cool and laid back. We call him the Man of Steel and Velvet. So I would not say I had a strict upbringing. But we had discipline. And I administer the same kind of discipline to my children.
TVGuide.com: How so?
Underwood: Respect. Respect for parents. Respect for adults. Say, "Yes, ma'am," "No, ma'am," which is both military and Southern. I grew up mostly in the South. Out here in California, when my people first heard my kids saying, "Yes, sir" and "No, sir," they looked at me like I was crazy. And I was like, "Hey, that's right. That's the way I was raised." Also, we've instilled a sense of honor, respect for our country, and duty. A sense of doing what you have to do and not complaining about it and not whining about it. The "get it done" mentality.
TVGuide.com: You've got 50 credits on your résumé. Which of your old jobs are you surprised that people keep bringing up?
Underwood: By far Krush Groove. [Laughs] It was my first lead in a studio film. It was a big deal for me. And everyone who was around me was huge. Here I am, 21 years old, and I am with Run DMC, Curtis Blow, the Fat Boys, Sheila E. They were huge.
TVGuide.com: Plus you got to make out with Sheila E.
Underwood: Hello. It's a hard job, but somebody's got to do it!
TVGuide.com: You're an eligible bachelor on all your shows, but in real life you've been married for 13 years. How did you and your wife, Desiree, meet?
Underwood: We met at an after-party at a club out here called 20-20. It was the premiere of The Five Heartbeats. Remember that movie with Robert Townsend? We started talking. And we closed down the club. I got her number and we hooked up a week later. Our first date was April 7, 1991. And we've been together ever since.
TVGuide.com: Oh, sweet... you remember the exact date.
Underwood: [Laughs] I'd better remember it, because she'll remember it.
TVGuide.com: Since you two got married, you've ended up on all kinds of hottest and sexiest lists. How do the accolades affect your relationship?
Underwood: It's not even an issue, really. In fact, she finds humor in it all around. Neither one of us takes it too seriously.
TVGuide.com: Why? Because she's seen you with sleep in your eye?
Underwood: [Laughs] Maybe so.
TVGuide.com: And your kids?
Underwood: It's interesting. They really can't see a lot of what I do. They're too young. Wednesday nights, Dirty Sexy Money comes on and I don't even know if they know it's on. All they know is [that last season] Kid Nation came on Wednesday nights and they could TiVo it. But in terms of that other thing, they don't quite get it and they find it odd. "Why did she ask Daddy for an autograph?" My daughter loves Hannah Montana. I took her to the Hannah Montana concert and it was insane. So they have people that they like. And the youngest goes to Disneyland to see Mickey Mouse. I try to put it in a certain context for them. And they're like, "Well, whatever."
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