When Leon Acord originally created the comedy web series Old Dogs & New Tricks (returning for its second season Wed. Jan. 30 at olddogsnewtrickstheseries.com), the show included the character of the acid-tongued ‘frenemy’ ‘Nelson Van Eddy’ – but the character didn’t show up until the show’s fifteenth episode. But then Acord got an email from actor Bruce L. Hart.
“Bruce was very complimentary and so enthusiastic about the show,’” Acord says. “We struck up a correspondence, then meet for coffee. After getting to know him, and watching his film Homewrecker, I began thinking of him for Nelson Van Eddy – even though Bruce is as nice as Nelson is evil!”
Acord moved Van Eddy’s first appearance to two episodes of the first season, and Hart’s snarky performance was such a hit that Nelson Van Eddy returns for half of the new season’s ten episodes.
We talked to Bruce about dressing well, the perils of shooting outdoors, and why Nelson takes such delight in terrorizing Nathan Adler.
What was the biggest surprise returning on set to film Season 2 of Old Dogs?
There were a lot of people on the set as extras when we shot my first scene, and I was stunned that they all knew who Nelson Van Eddy was. I mean Nelson appeared in just two scenes in Season 1. I guess I didn’t realize how many people saw the character and apparently liked him. Or maybe like to hate him! (laughs) The second surprise was that we shot some outdoor scenes. Being a “certain age,” I always worry about outdoor lighting because it can be harsh. However, the production company had anticipated this. We had all sorts or diffusers and special reflectors to ensure that we all looked great in high definition. Truly a high class act in terms of the production values and amenities for the cast and crew. And a real treat!
Your character, Nelson Van Eddy, seems to take particular pleasure insulting Nathan. Why do you think that is?
Without the help of [writer] Leon Acord, from whom this character sprung to life, I think I’d need to take an “educated guess”. I think Nelson is competitive with Nathan and it translates into being mean. I am certain that Nelson is insecure and that makes him into someone who needs to be better than everyone. Perhaps in the past there was some unintended slight from Nathan Adler that Nelson perhaps misinterpreted thus leading to this lifelong antagonism towards Nathan. I strongly suspect at one time in the distant past those two were friends.
How much of Nelson is Bruce?
Not much to be honest. That’s why I love to play him so much. He’s one of those characters, like Joan Collins as Alexis in Dynasty, who is always well turned out, has a witty barb on the tip of his tongue and makes people sit up and take notice. In real life, I am never as fastidious in my dress and I am not as quick with the witty repartee as Nelson.
In your show’s first season, all the characters had some nude scenes. Will Nelson be dropping trou anytime soon?
Wow, I don’t know. I have certainly done my share of scantily clad scenes in other projects. I did a bed scene in Homewrecker and recently appeared nude from the back in the TV series Boystown. I’m open to doing it of course. Just not sure if audiences want to see Nelson “taking it off”.
You’re back for several episodes in Season 2. What despicable plans does Nelson have in store for Nathan?
Yay! Yes I am, and I am so happy to be back. I really can’t give you any specific details. But suffice it to say Nelson sticks the knife in and twists a little. And there is a big smack down between Nelson and Nathan! And Nelson gets in a few barbs to the other Dogs as well. All while wearing the right clothes and looking his evil slinky best
Some could argue that the four ‘old dogs,’ being somewhat immature and self-absorbed gay men, aren’t the best role models for the gay community in this day and age. How do you react to that?
Oh my God. I have never heard anything but positive comments about the show and its creators. There is nothing like this out there representing older gay men. This series is groundbreaking. I am proud to be a part of the production representing just one of the many types of gay people in the community.
Any special moments we should look out for in Season 2?
As I mentioned, look for a “smack down” between Nathan and Nelson. I wish could say more! But no spoilers! Season two is truly a cornucopia of fun with ten new episodes!
Finally, do you know which of the characters is marrying Greg Louganis’ character?
Wouldn’t it be fun if Amanda Abel’s character [Lydia Lasker] marries Greg? I think she would make a great cougar! Sorry, we are all under a gag order not to reveal the secret. But who knows? Keep in mind they are all eligible bachelors…even Ross Stein since he has his own marital woes!
Connect with OLD DOGS & NEW TRICKS:
Bruce L.Hart as ‘Nelson Van Eddy’
Leon Acord and Bruce L. Hart