Quick Chat with Blair Underwood
Playing the mysterious Simon Elder on ABC's Dirty Sexy Money -- not to mention past screen-steamers like Jonathan Rollins on L.A. Law, Miranda's boyfriend Dr. Robert on Sex and the City and New Adventures of Old Christine's hunky teacher Mr. Harris -- it's no wonder Underwood ranks so high on the TV's 50 Hottest TV Hunks -- Ever countdown over at AOL Television.
Underwood dished to us about his love for Donald Trump's reality TV show, his Barack Obama connection and what kind of trouble is coming up on Dirty Sexy Money.
You were just named #25 on AOL TV's 50 Hottest TV Hunks of all time ...
I made the list! [Laughs] Damn, I hit right down the middle. Alright ... I'm so honored. Thank you. Of course, I have to laugh [at that stuff], but listen, I've been called and will be called worse things in my life, so that's not too shabby. [Laughs]
Is playing Simon Elder on Dirty Sexy Money as fun as it looks?
I am having so much fun. You know, when he came on the show last year, there was always a mystique about him, but he was very ambiguous, and the audience was very ambivalent toward him. They just didn't know how to take him. This year it's very clear that he's sinister, it's very evident that he has an agenda, and we actually see that side of him. He's ruthless ... he's out of control!
And now we get to see Simon with Nola, Lucy Liu's new character on the show. Has she been a good addition to the cast?
She's terrific -- and what a sweetheart! She really is. I had never really met her before and didn't know what to expect, but she brings a whole other energy to the show, and sex appeal and an audience ... just a good vibe all around.
What can we expect coming up for Simon Elder?
Oh man -- wow. Simon just continues to weave his way into the world and lies of the Darling family. It becomes much deeper and much more sinister and juicier, week by week.
Now that you're only doing one TV show, and not New Adventures of Old Christine and In Treatment too, do you find yourself with a lot of free time?
[Laughs] Not a lot of free time actually. I have a book out now called In the Night of the Heat ... it's the sequel to a book called Casa Negra ... I produce the series and am very involved in the creative aspect of it, but we're also trying to raise the money for the films. It's a character I want to play: he's a former gigolo -- hello! [laughs] -- all his clients are very wealthy women from all over the world, he speaks seven or eight different languages, he's very worldly. A murder happens around him, so he sets out to find the murderer and realizes he's pretty good at this detective work.
Do you have a favorite guilty pleasure TV show?
It's not on right now, but I would say The Apprentice. [Laughs] You're obviously looking at a very successful entrepreneurial mind -- I'm always interested to see what Trump is talking about, and the contestants are always interesting to watch.
You know there's a Celebrity Apprentice now ... any chance we'd see face off against Trump one season?
Ah ... can't do it. [Laughs] Can't do it. I like sitting on the sidelines and watching.
You've spoken a little recently about your L.A. Law character's similarities to Barack Obama, that Jonathan Rollins was somewhat based on Obama.
Well that's a misnomer -- not based on him at all. My character was the president of the Harvard Law Review. It was just an ironic coincidence that four years into the show, I was invited to go to Harvard to speak to the law school. After we spoke, we went out to dinner with some of the students, and at that dinner I remember meeting this tall guy with big ears, and he introduced himself and said, "I am the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, so in essence, you are me, and I am you."
Needless to say, you were a big supporter of his ...
I've never publicly campaigned for anybody, but I did -- I went on the campaign trail, went to a few states, went to the primaries. I'm just very proud of what he and his campaign have pulled off, and also of what this country has done in electing him. It's extraordinary.
So is there pressure now to buy your kids a puppy too?
Oh please, my kids have been sweating me for a year and a half. Now they're like, "Look -- the Obamas are getting one!" And my daughter, who just turned 10, is like, "Daddy, when are we gonna have a playdate at the White House?" [Laughs] Yeah right.
If they did an L.A. Law remake, would you be up for it?
You know, I would so enjoy seeing the cast and hanging out with them now, but I think that particular character ran its course. I don't know where else to go with that character ... except the White House. [Laughs]
What role do people recognize you from the most?
You know what's interesting? It kind of depends on what's really in repeats at that time -- I hear Sex and the City a lot, and I only did five episodes! I think partially because it was their final season, so it got a lot of attention ... I hear that more than almost anything. That and Set It Off, which I did many years ago with Jada Pinkett and Queen Latifah. That has become a classic in many people's minds.
And do you have a dream role?
Oh that's easy: Marvin Gaye. I have been wanting to play that role for the longest time ... we'll see. Maybe one day, I'll get a chance to play Marvin Gaye.