JOHN LARROQUETTE: GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT DANIEL RADCLIFFE, BOOKS & PROTEST VOTES
Since his EMMY winning days as Assistant D.A. DAN FIELDING on NIGHT COURT, JOHN LARROQUETTE has had his own sitcom and guest starred on everything from BOSTON LEGAL to CHUCK and PARKS & RECREATION.
The New Orleans native is currently hoofing it up on Broadway opposite HARRY POTTER star DANIEL RADCLIFFE in the revival of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING. It’s going so well, he just received a TONY nomination for his work.
In our chat (which took place a few days before the TONY noms) JOHN LARROQUETTE talked to POPEATER about “perfect gentleman” DANIEL RADCLIFFE, his obsession with first edition modern books, the joys of playing TV villains and his Gothic Southern Catholic boy roots.
NICKI GOSTIN: So this is your Broadway debut. Dream come true?
JOHN LARROQUETTE: I think there are only so many places an actor can act and make a living. The high class problem of being on a TV series for the last 25 years or so is it never gave me the freedom to be able to donate the time for a run like this.
NG: Considering how famous DANIEL RADCLIFFE is, he’s surprisingly normal. Right?
JL: Yes, he is. I wasn’t surprised. I didn’t know anything about him before being offered the job and I thought well, we’ll see who he is and if we get along. He’s incredibly well grounded and a consummate professional. He’s a workaholic. He’s serious about it and he has wonderful talents. I worked with another child star toward the adolescent part of his career and he was a little more troubled. DAN is a perfect gentleman.
NG: I assume you’d seen HARRY POTTER movies before you met him.
JL: Yes, I had. I became aware of the book through a friend of mine very, very early on. I read the first two and liked them very much. I collect modern first editions.
NG: What’s your favourite first edition?
JL: That’s sort of like picking your children. But I would say emotionally I have a couple of copies of A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES by JOHN KENNEDY TOOLE and it’s very personal for me because it’s set in my home town of New Orleans. My area of collecting is 20th century fiction. So all the big names of 20th century fiction. I have about 8 to 10,000 books. A large portion of that is dedicated to the works of SAMUEL BECKETT.
NG: Do you have a special library?
JL: I have a library. In California you don’t have to worry so much about bugs and humidity. The thing you have to worry about the most is light. CATCHER IN THE RYE, it’s got a red cover and it goes around the spine. If it sits on the shelf for a long time the red on the spine fades. So I have boxes built that look like the book and the book goes in the box.
NG: Does the cleaning lady have to put on special gloves to clean?
JL: No, it’s not that bad and I dust my own bookshelves and rotate them occasionally so weight is distributed evenly across the boards.
NG: Do people think you’re that misogynistic guy from NIGHT COURT?
JL: Perchance when the show was on that was more prevalent. But as time went on and I did other stuff they realized I was an actor. That show was on for nine years and that character made an impact. Regardless of how misanthropic or misogynistic he would become sometimes, people would pull for him because they realized deep down he was vulnerable and soft and not really an evil person. Just not a very socialized one. I think villainy has a little more spice to it than the hero a lot of the times. So it’s fun to play.
NG: Any sitcom you haven’t been on that you’d like to be on?
JL: I think a show that would be fun to work on is MODERN FAMILY. I think it’s very well done. It’s a very good show.
NG: You’re a member of the Libertarian party. Correct?
JL: That’s not true in the strictest sense. I think my protest votes over the last twenty years has been to always vote for whatever milkman or accountant that the Libertarian party was running for President just because of my feelings about politicians all together. I would just like really smart, compassionate people in office. I don’t care what stripe they are. The old saying is we get the leaders we deserve.
NG: You have a very deep sonorous voice. You sound like you could be a cantor.
JL: I’m about as far away from being Jewish as a French Catholic boy from New Orleans can be.
NG: You seem like quite a serious guy.
JL: I know a lot of comic actors and as a group we’re serious people. SAMUEL BECKETT said there’s nothing funnier than unhappiness. To be really funny you have to be familiar with the dark side, with the pain of life to put it into a light that might be humorous. I’m not a misanthrope but I read a lot of very serious stuff.
I’m a Gothic Southern Catholic boy.