When Nip/Tuck premiered on FX three years ago, the character of Matt McNamara, played by John Hensley, was your regular high-school student. Since then, things have become a bit more... complicated. Last season he was involved in an affair with his life coach, Ava, a woman twice his age. Next he discovered that his father's business partner is actually his biological dad. Then he found out Ava was once a man. (And you thought finding a date to the prom was stressful!) TVGuide.com recently caught up with the closely shorn actor to get an idea of how things got so out-of-hand.
TVGuide.com: The character of Matt had a pretty tumultuous run there on Nip/Tuck. Do you miss doing scenes that aren't extremely intense?
Quite frankly, I tend to have a hell of a lot more fun with the intense scenes. Part of it is the ability to sink your teeth into the material, but the other thing is that it's all make-believe and it's nice to go to work and have a situation where you can take big risks. Oftentimes, it's in those little moments of risk that things can be discovered.
TVGuide.com: Show creator Ryan Murphy has taken Nip/Tuck's story line to some pretty outlandish extremes. Do you ever have any idea what's in store for Matt before you get the scripts?
: Not really. Occasionally I'll get a slight indication where the character is going, but when you get eight writers in a room, the story is bound to change from episode to episode.
TVGuide.com: Well, did you know from the start that Ava would eventually be revealed to be transgender?
Hensley: I had no idea. As a matter of fact, we were given that episode one act at a time. I had no clue until I received the third act, so that was a big reveal for me, as well. The only thing I knew about Matt and Ava's relationship was that Matt falls head over heels for her. They told me, "Matt falls for this woman and she will turn out to be this season's villain." I knew that much going in, but I had no idea that Ava would ultimately be revealed to be a former man.
TVGuide.com: Wouldn't Matt have known something was "slightly amiss" considering he was sleeping with Ava?
Hensley: Again, I didn't know [for] the entire second season, so when the reveal did come, what could I do?
TVGuide.com: Did you ever ask the writers about the plausibility?
Hensley: The die was already cast, so what's the point? I did ask some questions, because Christian knew right away that she used to be a man. I asked, "Is this something that Matt's supposed to be into?" Their response to me was that Matt didn't have enough experience with women to know that there was something different; he just thought that's how she was made. Hey, you've got to take what the writers give you.
TVGuide.com: Whose idea was it to have Matt shave his head this season?
Hensley: Well, I know Ryan's been toying with the idea of shaving people's heads since the show began. Though I'm the first recipient of the honor, I'm not the first person who was discussed as being a shaving candidate.
TVGuide.com: Does being bald make the character edgier?
Hensley: Yeah, I suppose so. It takes away a lot of mask. You have nothing but a head there, so you don't have a lot of cover. I honestly don't miss my hair. I feel like when you commit to something, you commit to it — you give what is asked of you. They wrote it in and that's the way it went.
TVGuide.com: Do you know who will end up being revealed as The Carver?
Hensley: To be honest, I really don't know. That said, I can tell you that I feel very strongly that it's not Matt. I think he would make the least sense. There's no accounting for what they might choose to do, but if you watch the trajectory of my character, even though at moments he's been horribly misdirected and misguided, he's just not that type of methodical [killer]. If he ever did anything like that, it would be out of a fit of passion and he probably wouldn't get away with it. Other than that, I think it's wide open. My mom thinks it's Erica, Vanessa Redgrave's character. I'd find it hard to believe it's Sean or Christian, but other than those two, it literally could be anyone.
TVGuide.com: Do you think Ryan Murphy knows who it is at this point?
Hensley: I think he does know. It's like finding out that Ava was a man — my mouth was wide open when I read that, I thought it was brilliant, a great twist and from out of nowhere. But then, if you go back and look over the show, it's not out of nowhere. She had Matt break into the office to steal these mysterious pills she needed. Christian even says to Matt, "Do you have any idea what these are for?" There were all these subtle hints that Ryan had sprinkled over that story line, so when he reveals The Carver, I think there will be all these traceable steps.