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December 19, 2014

Chris Lowell From 'Private Practice' Talks Explosions, 'Veronica Mars' and George Clooney (VIDEO)

by Jane Boursaw, posted Dec 2nd 2009 8:33PM
Private Practice, Chris Lowell as Dell ParkerAlthough Chris Lowell says he's "no Zac Efron," we beg to differ. The boyish actor has co-starred with everyone from Kristen Bell (one of his best friends) in 'Veronica Mars' to George Clooney in 'Up in the Air.'

But you might know him best from his role as Dell Parker, the receptionist-turned-midwife on the hit ABC show 'Private Practice.' If you've been missing Dell from the show this season, never fear. He has an "explosive" episode coming up Thursday night, in which his wife and daughter land in the hospital after a fierce explosion in their home.

We caught up with Lowell, who after apologizing for his raspy voice and noting it's because he's ill and not sexy (again, we beg to differ), gave us the skinny on playing a surfer dude, being typecast as an assistant and working with George Clooney.Private Practice, Chris Lowell as Dell ParkerAlthough Chris Lowell says he's "no Zac Efron," we beg to differ. The boyish actor has co-starred with everyone from Kristen Bell (one of his best friends) in 'Veronica Mars' to George Clooney in 'Up in the Air.'

But you might know him best from his role as Dell Parker, the receptionist-turned-midwife on the hit ABC show 'Private Practice.' If you've been missing Dell from the show this season, never fear. He has an "explosive" episode coming up Thursday night, in which his wife and daughter land in the hospital after a fierce explosion in their home.

We caught up with Lowell, who after apologizing for his raspy voice and noting it's because he's ill and not sexy (again, we beg to differ), gave us the skinny on playing a surfer dude, being typecast as an assistant and working with George Clooney.

So, Dell married Heather! Did you see that coming or was that kind of a surprise?
Well, it sure as hell surprised me. It surprised everybody. It's one of those times where, like a lot of times on our show, Chris Lowell will get into an argument with Dell. I'm like, you freakin' moron. But sometimes peoples' virtues can be their faults. Dell is certainly someone who is a blind idealist, and I think he tries to see the good in everybody, including his psycho ex, drug addicted baby mama.

I believe Violet's exact words were that you were "facilitating Heather's addiction by taking her back every time she gets clean."
Yeah, exactly. And frankly, it's the same reason that we love him, because he's the person who kind of shines a light when everyone else has gone to the dark side.

I love the scene where Violet and Naomi are trying to have a marriage intervention with Dell, and he's telling them all the weird stuff they do, and yet he's supposed to take relationship advice from them.

I really loved that episode because I think Dell was speaking the opinions of a lot of people in terms of, who the hell are Naomi and Violet to give relationship advice?! And when he goes off on Violet about her decisions regarding Lucas, a lot of people in my family were calling me up going, "Yeah! Hell, yeah! You tell her."

So you have a big episode this week with the explosion at Dell's house.
Right. We're doing two episodes back to back, and it's the second episode. I remember showing up at work being all excited that we're going to blow something up. But let me tell you how they blow things up on television nowadays. I walk to my car and there's a big studio light that goes off in the house behind me, and someone with a 2-by-4 pushes the car and I pretend like an explosion just happened. Then they go in later and add CGI and visual effects to make it look a lot cooler than I remember it being. But it was a really fun episode to shoot.

Private Practice, Chris Lowell as Dell ParkerThis season has been really great. I've been watching the show since the beginning, and it just continues to get better and better.
Yeah, I agree with you, and thank you for saying that. I absolutely feel like Shonda [Rhimes] has, with each episode, cemented herself in the voice of the show and characters. It really is a beautiful thing to watch grow.

I've loved seeing Dell evolve from a receptionist to a midwife. Is he fun to play?

I remember doing the pilot, with 'Dell enters, shirtless, slow motion, with a surfboard.' And I was like, oh God, what have I gotten myself into? This is not what I signed up for. But Shonda created this character that everybody thinks is sort of shallow eye candy in the first season, and set up this big area where he has to prove himself to everybody.

Is it fun on set? It seems like you guys must have fun working together.
It's an absolute atrocity. Every day is like going to work in a coal mine. No, I think anyone would tell you it's a real blessing. Everyone is so supportive and loving, and we all tell jokes and invite people over to each others' houses ... it's a real family. Most shows die out pretty young, but for us to be in our third year, it's a real blessing. And they just love on me because I'm like the little runt, the little brother, so that kind of gives me an extra padding of unabashed affection.

And you worked on 'Veronica Mars.'

Yeah, Kristen Bell is one of my best friends. I've had the pleasure of working with some really great people, and Kristen is just a beautiful, talented young lady.

You show up in season 3, right?
Yeah, and I get my ass kicked in it!

And you're in 'Up in the Air' with George Clooney. Tell us about your character in that movie.
I play George Clooney's assistant, so I'm getting used to answering phones a lot, because I've basically done it on the past few jobs. On 'Private,' and then I played Clooney's assistant, and also my 'Private' co-star, Paul Adelstein, played his assistant in the Coen brothers movie 'Intolerable Cruelty.' So it's just one after another.

Is Clooney as goofy as everybody says?
What a total scumbag! No, he's not. He's a legend who definitely lives up to his reputation. He's one of the nicest people I've ever worked with. The last day I was shooting, he didn't have to be there, because he's not on camera and they usually have a stand-in read lines. But Clooney came in on his day off in his street clothes and just sat behind the camera and read lines with me for hours. Man, I'm not Zac Efron. I'm no big somebody that needs to be impressed. I'm like the friggin' surfer dude on that 'Private Practice' show. So here's this number one celebrity going out of his way to do his part. He's a very, very good person.

Here's a sneak peek at season 3 episode 10, 'Blowups,' the second of two episodes airing Thursday beginning at 9 p.m. on ABC.

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