?I wanted more Nelson Van Eddy,? explains Old Dogs & New Tricks? creator/actor Leon Acord, ?but I knew the guys couldn?t just keep running into him at bars and restaurants.? I had to figure out a way to embed him into the plot.?? [Spoiler alert: don?t read until you?ve seen this week?s episode at http://youtu.be/KpNH4wWuggY.
In this week?s episode, entitled ?Hard Bargains,? we learn that evil Nelson has not only been dumped by husband Dirk Evans (played in Season 2 by Greg Louganis) but that he?s also lost everything. So what?s a guy to do?? Propose merging companies with his arch nemesis Nathan Adler (played by Acord), natch!
We talked to Bruce about this new twist in the show, and working with Rutanya Alda, who plays his severe personal assistant, Barbara.
So we saw a different, softer side of Nelson this week ? or was this an act to get in on Nathan?s business?
Honestly, I think a little of both.? Nelson needed a quick soft landing and knew that ultimately the collaboration would be in his best interest.? If nothing else, Nelson is strategic.? He follows the principal of ?keep your friends close and your enemies even closer?.? I am also certain that Nelson feels he is superior to Nathan in personal and in professional situations, so perhaps he is hoping to slowly take over??? Although Nathan is pretty street smart himself so that would really be a battle!? A fun one to act too!
You?re so good at being bad.? Was it hard to bring out this unseen side of Nelson?
Well, thank you!? I love being the ?bad? one.? But remember, as an actor, I play Nelson as if he is always right and everyone else is in the wrong. It?s really the most plausible thought process to have when playing the character that rubs almost everyone the wrong way. I was very nervous about playing the role, but also very excited at the opportunity.? I wanted to make sure that he wasn?t just a two-dimensional bitch, so I have tried to bring out the humor in his character.? One reviewer stated, ?Nelson says the meanest things in the most disingenuous manner?.? So perhaps I accomplished my goal!? And no. I am not much like him in real life.? He is much wittier and a much better dresser.
So, does Nathan say yes to Nelson?s proposal?
Yes he does ? albeit grudgingly.? The situation is, ?they both truly need each other at this juncture in their careers.? They may despise each other, but they both respect each other?s business acumen.? So they develop sort of a ?d?tente? in the office.
Rutanya Alda, who plays your personal assistant Barbara Fierce, is almost as ?out there? as Nelson.? What was she like to work with?? Did you two collaborate on her character?
I just loved working with Rutanya!? She is such a giving performer.? I got so much electricity from her that I think I was giving off sparks myself!? Like me, she is a perfectionist about ?business? on camera.? Every single take she was ?spot on? with little bits of business, like handing me a tissue, or handing over the client list to Nathan. I always learn so much when I work with terrific performers like Rutanya.? We did the usual character discussion before we filmed, and I think our discussion really helped us to synchronize our ?meany? behavior. She is also nothing like her character off screen. She is sweet, extremely intelligent and we had several wonderful chats about the business and how it?s changing.
Viewers have really embraced Nelson, despite his evil nature.? Why do you think that is?
Well, historically people love the ?bad? character, especially when they are more of a nuisance or do it with a sense of wit.? I was a little worried because typically those roles are women?s roles.? I was afraid the audience might not accept my character as the male ?bitch?.? I wanted Nelson to have both a bitchy and a likeable side. It?s a struggle sometimes but even a mean character has to have some humanity.? I think perhaps people see the human side of Nelson in addition to his ?bitchery,? and this leads them to like him in spite of his behavior. And of course the witty dialogue by Leon Acord is a huge asset
Are you having as much fun playing him as it appears?
Oh my God, yes!? It?s a delight to slip into this character and his sassy wardrobe.? Who wouldn?t want to have bitingly witty dialogue to say and to always have the last word? Again, the writing for this show is so good it?s a treat to deliver it.
You have two more episodes this season.? Any hints about what we can expect?
More fun and fireworks between Nelson and Nathan.? And perhaps other sides of Nelson coming to light.? Who knows, maybe one day we will find out why those two are enemies!
Do you think the series will continue after this season?
Well, that?s up to the public and the producers.? I certainly hope so. I can see this series continuing on for some time into the future. We have a huge audience now. And the entire cast is so much fun to watch.? I sit on the sidelines and watch everyone work when I am not in a scene, just because it?s a treat to see all this talent in one room.? I would also love to see a feature film for Old Dogs.? Fingers crossed on another season or two AND a feature film!
What?s ahead for Bruce L. Hart?
Hopefully more acting jobs!? I did a pilot and a TV film intended for BET Channel this year.? And I did a short film for HBO.? I do have another recurring role on the Canadian syndicated TV series Boystown.? We did one season and there are plans to bring it back for a second season. It?s now available to watch on GayDirect.com and iTunes.? And I have signed to do a romantic comedy feature film with Ronnie Kerr in 2015 called What If You Fly?? And believe it or not I am still looking for an agent. Representation is hard to find. I want to keep working!!
Follow Bruce L. Hart?on Twitter?https://twitter.com/BruceLHart
Watch Old Dogs & New Tricks 3.2 “Hard Bargains”
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Rutanya Alda and Bruce L Hart