Randy Harrison Talks “Such Good People”

Tuesday, April 14th 2015

By: Adri M
Source: thebacklot.com
Edited by: Marcy

Randy Harrison and Michael Urie star in Such Good People, a comedy of errors about big home-owning dreams, murder mysteries, and dog rescues. Randy talked to us about the new film (out today on DVD/VOD), what he’s been up to during his long run as a stage actor, his Queer as Folk roots and more!

TheBacklot: If I’m not mistaken it has been a while since you’ve done film. What about Such Good People tempted you away from the stage?

Randy Harrison: I knew when I got in front of the camera next, I wanted to do something totally different from Queer as Folk. This sort of slapstick comedy came to me and I thought the script was something very different from anything I had done before and Mike Urie was already attached. I know and  admire him so all of those things kind of aligned and the timing was perfect as well and I thought, why not? Let’s do it!

I had a lot of fun watching this film, especially the acting chemistry between you and Michael Urie, was it just as fun working with him?

Yeah, it’s a very small New York circle of theatre actors and he’s associated with a theatre company that I’ve also done plays with. In the past we’ve done readings but nothing to this extent. It was a joy. I felt very lucky to be able to work with him– especially on a project like this because he’s so experienced in comedy. I learned so much from playing off of him.

My first thought at the beginning of the film was that the set up reminded me of a play, with most of the misadventures set in that fabulous dream house. Did you feel any of that familiarity in the script or was it a big change going back in front of the camera after your extended time on stage?

Yes and no. I think because Queer as Folk happened so early on in my career and it’s been so long since I’ve been on camera, I sort of neglected that I spent 5 years on a set. I ended up learning a lot of things that I took for granted at the time about acting to the camera and about how a set is run. When I went back to it, I thought it would be more foreign than it was. But I actually spent a lot of time on a set once in my life, and it was surprisingly comfortable for me.

Your character struck me as a heart of gold type of guy, lover of dogs and committed to doing the right thing. What did you enjoy most about playing him in this film?

I just love their flaws, I love how they had such high ideals about who they wanted to be and they fell very very short. I thought that juxtaposition was funny, their desire to be these altruistic and caring people while at the same time they had their selfishness and the contrast between those two things, them talking a better game than they’re able to play. It’s both noble and sort of ridiculous and I think in a less comic extreme sense it’s something you see in real life.

There is a lot of house lust on this movie, you find the perfect house and you just have to have it – but so does your sister. Have you experienced that sort of obsession with home-ownership or maybe just those house makeover shows?

I grew up in a neighborhood which was a suburb of Atlanta and new houses and mansions pop up all the time and I used to pass by those mansions and become obsessed with what kind of life I would have in those homes. But as an adult I’ve definitely found that that sort of materialistic desire can be torturous if you give into it. So I don’t really do that anymore.

Have you had the opportunity to portray any darker or even villainous roles in your career? Is it something that interests you?

Oh yes. On stage I’ve done lots of different dark characters – on Equus, for example, or on Waiting for Godot. I feel like I often play darker characters, I think because of the juxtaposition of my physical appearance. I like playing off the expectations.

I heard your dream role would be as the Doctor or as his companion on Doctor Who, so I’m guessing you’re a fan. What are some other shows you’re into at the moment, would you like to be a part of any of them?

I would love to do almost anything on TV at this point. I love Broad City, House of Cards. Black Mirror I think is incredible. There’s a lot of great stuff happening on TV and on the internet.

The magic of Netflix and the internet allows for a whole new audience to see you as Justin on Queer as Folk. How does it feel to know people are watching that part of your career and becoming fans? Does it make you want to come back to TV at all, maybe in a completely different role to showcase how your acting has grown in the past ten years?

It feels like a time capsule when I come across it on Netflix, but I’m so happy that people are discovering the show and I’m definitely interested in doing more camera work. My theater work has been deeply valuable to me but I know not as many people can access it.

With the now widespread representation of LGBT characters, or at the very least of gay men, a lot of people point back to Queer as Folk as groundbreaking. When you’re at home watching a show or a movie, do you see these roles and characters and think that your work in Queer as Folk had a part in opening the doors for that representation?

I don’t think about it directly. I see all these new gay characters and all these different subject matters and portrayals that affect the LGBT community. I mean I see it and I’m deeply grateful I feel like the progress has to do with so many different things that have happened, I feel like Queer as Folk and my work– and our work– was a small part of it, but so much was happening both political and social. You know we were part of that zeitgeist at an important time and it was meaningful to people, but I don’t think any of it has been because of Queer as Folk directly. But I’m grateful to have been a part of that.

Often interviewers will bring up Queer as Folk from the get go, does that ever frustrate you at all?

I’ve embraced it now. I think initially right when it ended I was anxious – because I didn’t have any other experience under my belt and because I was younger as an artist – I was anxious to talk about what I was doing and what I wanted to do and that I could do something different from Justin. But at this point I’m just grateful to have been a part of something in my career that affected many people so deeply. My career has been drastically different, I’ve done so many kinds of roles now. I understand it’s the most well-known thing that I’ve done and I’m so grateful for it.

Okay last thing, since Such Good People is an indie film that isn’t being advertised in front of every cat video on YouTube, can you give us your one-sentence best pitch for the movie?

Well it’s hilarious, a couple is thrown into these insane situations that they have to confront– it’s like one of those absurd 80s comedies and it has some great talent, I think everyone will really enjoy it.

Such Good People starring Michael Urie (“Ugly Betty”) and Randy Harrison (“Queer as Folk”) is available on DVD/VOD starting today, April 14.