Amidst the many, many manly-men populating the small (and did I mention testosterone-heavy?) Alaskan burg at the heart of ABC's Men in Trees is actor James Tupper. As Jack, a strong-and-silent type, he makes Anne Heche's transplanted relationship coach, Marin Frost, rethink everything she thought she knew about the other half. Here, on the occasion of Men in Trees' regular-time-slot premiere (Fridays at 9 pm/ET), Tupper shares with us his adoration for his new home and his bubbly leading lady, and teases what's to come.
TVGuide.com: You've actually caught me in the middle of an edit on the weekly blog that Men in Trees' Emily Bergl (Heche's on-screen gal pal, Annie) is doing for us.
James Tupper: No way! She's so awesome.
TVGuide.com: And a good little writer, too. My wife and I really enjoyed the Men in Trees pilot. It's one of those rare shows 24, Lost and Prison Break excluded that she and I both can watch.
Tupper: [Laughs] That's great. It's a bit like a fire department, isn't it, all those guys up there in this town of Elmo....
TVGuide.com: What's interesting is that even though the show has this female lead, it seems like we're going to be exploring the male mind, as well.
Tupper: Yeah. [Executive producer] Jenny [Bicks, Sex and the City] really has amazing insight into relationships, and she brings a special knowledge to the show. The writing crew is a mix of men and women, and before we started shooting they were all meeting for 12- to 15-hour days, fighting the male-female battle. [Laughs] I kinda think they got it right.
TVGuide.com: What is it that Abraham Benrubi's bartender says in the pilot? "Women want it all from a man. We can't give it to you."
Tupper: Exactly. The writing is really wonderful.
TVGuide.com: According to Emily's blog, you're filming this in Vancouver?
Tupper: Yeah, and we shoot the exterior stuff in a small coastal town north of Vancouver.
TVGuide.com: It's definitely passing for cold.
Tupper: Oh, it's been plenty cold! [Laughs] It's been plenty cold. It's really beautiful here, with all the mountain ranges... in case you're not inspired enough by working with Anne Heche.
TVGuide.com: I see they didn't waste any time getting you two undressed and horizontal.
Tupper: [Laughs] That's true. It's a great way to get to know someone.
TVGuide.com: As characters or as actors?
TVGuide.com: What do you think about Anne, based on the time you've spent working with her?
Tupper: Oh, man, I'm a huge fan. She's the real deal. I think she's been through a lot in her life and it's made her into this person who has a tremendous amount of love and energy every single day. It's unbelievable, because she never seems tired and is always bubbling with energy.
TVGuide.com: You feel that energy on screen, and it makes her character's assorted relationships, with Jack or whomever, very engaging.
Tupper: Yeah, I think we have that special little glimmer for each other that makes it so fun to play scenes together.
TVGuide.com: Is the show going to take it slow with Marin and Jack?
Tupper: Well... I'd say maybe not, but maybe. [Chuckles]
TVGuide.com: What are we to make of the "Lynn" tattoo on Jack's arm?
Tupper: Well, there might be some past heartbreak there, what do you think?
TVGuide.com: Lynn could be a guy's name, too.
Tupper: That's true! That's hilarious....
TVGuide.com: What helped you form Jack as a character?
Tupper: I have an uncle who's a fish and game biologist back home [in Nova Scotia], and I remember as a kid that he would disappear for a week or two at a time, salmon fishing or whatever, and he was definitely one of my favorites. When I read this role I thought a lot about him. I grew up in a place that was really wild and beautiful, and as a kid, the places I always felt the calmest were in the forest or on my own. It's funny because I've spent my life living in cities, but I really relate to the calm that comes from being in the wild.
TVGuide.com: Are you anticipating any backlash from the Alaskan tourism board for this town being portrayed as some spinning-class-less, cell-phone-unfriendly wilderness?
Tupper: No, they haven't launched anything at us yet. [Elmo] may be a small town, but I'm sure Anchorage has a lot to offer.
TVGuide.com: I'm looking at your Friday-night competition: A procedural (Close to Home), reality TV (on Fox), Deal or No Deal and wrestling on the CW. I think you have some good positioning there.
Tupper: I feel like the show is really special because it's offering something really different. We got the numbers for the [pilot sneak peek] on Tuesday and we won the time slot. We were very excited to find that out. Hopefully, fingers crossed, the show does really well. I really like the tone of the writing, that there is a really strong reality in the humor, that you can really get into these characters and buy that they're living in a real town. I'm so excited to be working with the people in this cast, because every single one of them brings something special to it.
TVGuide.com: Yeah, for heaven's sake you've got John Amos! The dude rocks.
Tupper: I know! He's so great, so perfect. He throws a bull's-eye every time. I'm a lucky duck. I feel like I'm awake in a dream.
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