Broadway comes to television tonight with the DirecTV premiere of Full Circle, a 10-episode series created by acclaimed writer Neal LaBute. Each installment takes place in the same restaurant where two characters have dinner. One then appears in the next episode, and so on and so forth, creating a character-driven chain-link effect that offers audiences, and the actors, endless opportunities for intriguing exploration.
The first stretch of episodes features Minka Kelly, Tom Felton (as her lover), Julian McMahon (as her aggressive entertainment lawyer husband) and David Boreanaz (as his best friend and client). I recently sat down with McMahon and Boreanaz to talk about this exciting endeavor and how social media factors into their lives.
ETonline: You two have incredible chemistry on the show, did you know one another beforehand?
David Boreanaz: See! We have something here, I told you Julian!
Julian McMahon: We're inventing a TV show [laughs]. It's going to happen.
Boreanaz: It's interesting because when we first started rehearsing, he'd already been working on the piece with Minka so he was immersed in that. Then he had to downshift to go to our piece, which was an extremely different energy. Everyone seems to have a heavy dialogue episode and then a big listening episode, so playing off those dynamics was kind of a cool exercise. But we really created a rapport in the rehearsal process. We were able to bring that to shooting and found that the chemistry came out.
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ETonline: What was the appeal of this project for each of you?
McMahon: I love playing a variety of characters; I even tried in the first piece to show a lot of different sides of this character. I tried to make it like four different people, as opposed to just one. I was lucky enough to have a piece that took him through a whole gamut of emotions.
Boreanaz: Honestly, it's really about digging into a character that is this good. It's Neal [LaBute] and all these great actors, and this expansive material and how thick it is. There's also always a sense of that fear factor involved in my choices. If I'm afraid of something, I know it's right in a strange way, so that enables me to challenge myself and stretch and have fun with it. This crazy, well-rounded, tempestuous guy who is looking for sound ground to walk on but find nothing but cracks was the biggest appeal for me.
ETonline: David, you play a comedian who comes under fire for a joke he makes on Twitter. In real life, you're fairly active on social media. Having starred on shows both before and after the medium became so popular, how important do you think it is to promotion?
Boreanaz: It's a factor but not an overwhelming one. I don't think it's an A-factor, it's part of a whole. It's more indicative of where we are in society. Part of it is also understanding how fast news can break. Twitter is breaking news that's not even on the AP wire. There are a lot of pitfalls in engaging with it -- sometimes it's right, sometimes it's wrong -- but I think it's a fun medium. One of the things that's funny to me is the people that follow you get so invested into your being that they get so upset when you don't tweet.
McMahon: I was going to ask, do you feel responsible to tweet consistently?
Boreanaz: You do! You feel a need to remain engaged. I don't know these people, so what do I owe them? It's just a function of communication, but when you start to get a volatile person wondering where you are because you haven't tweeted in 12 days, it's like, get out of the basement, go for a walk, throw some pottery, go to Vermont and hug a tree, dude [laughs]. Don't fill my timeline with negative energy
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ETonline: Is that obligation to engage what's kept you off Twitter, Julian?
McMahon: I just can't think of anything interesting enough to Tweet about ... well, interesting things that I want to tell people [laughs]. Tweeting wasn't around during Nip/Tuck, which was sort of the last big thing I did, but I do think it's an extraordinary tool for promotional purposes, but I, myself, would be anxious about the line. If I did it for myself, without a project, I wonder what the purpose would be.
Boreanaz: They always want to know what you had for breakfast.
McMahon: I have to be able to Twit when I want to, and not be yelled at for not tweeting.
Boreanaz: I'm going to send you to Tweet school! [laughs]
ETonline: You've both spent the majority of your careers working in hour-long dramas, which have incredibly grueling filming schedules. Does working on a project like Full Circle offer you a respite from that?
McMahon: I took the last few years off because it is hard work. We did Nip/Tuck for 8 years and would often shoot for 20 hours a day. Then you're also doing promotion or making a movie. The energy that is required can be sapping. We only did 12 hour days on this show, but they were exhausting. I was excited to go home and jump in the hot tub.
Boreanaz: You could Tweet about that!
McMahon: See, I'm learning!
Boreanaz: If you look at this piece and examine the consciousness of it and what the messages are, it's a much different format story-wise. You can't really compare it with episodic work. It's a platform for this amazing writer to express himself in a very stage-like environment, and I loved that. It allows actors to jump in and challenge themselves. But towards the end, we were cooked. It was a marathon.
Full Circle airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on DirecTV Audience Network.