Neil Patrick Harris: “I always operate with a fair amount of self-loathing when I’m performing”

neil-patrick-harris-hedwig

It might be hard to believe, but when Neil Patrick Harris takes the stage in Hedwig and the Angry Inch in the spring it will be the first time in nearly a decade that Harris has been in a Broadway musical. Sure, in the meantime we’ve seen Harris sing, dance, host the Tonys (four times) and direct the Off-Broadway play Nothing to Hide, but Harris hasn’t been in a Broadway musical since Assassins had a brief run in 2004.

Yet as he tells The New York Times, performing as the titular transgender woman from East Berlin in the Broadway debut of the 1998 Off-Broadway hit is the exact opposite of taking it easy.

One of the ways Harris is preparing for the role is by over-doing it in his personal life. While most actors might choose to rest before during a lengthy run on Broadway, Harris hopes that by running himself a little ragged he will give his on-stage performance, “a sense of desperation that helps me be on point more often,” though he adds, “My therapist doesn’t think that’s the best way to process all of this.”The schedule is quite daunting for Harris — he will perform the 100 minute musical seven times a week, including twice in quick succession on Saturdays (a 7 PM performance and a 10 PM performance), and without having an understudy in case it gets too much for him. Even if it does get too much, Harris suggests, “I’m trying inappropriate things that might hurt my voice, to see what I can do.”

Still, one can’t blame Harris for making the most of his current popularity. After starring as a brilliant teenage doctor on Doogie Howser, M.D. from 1989 to 1993, Harris struggled a bit to find substantial roles. While he always was working, most of the roles he had weren’t high profile. But after a hilarious turn playing a fictional version of himself in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and landing the role of Barney Stinson on the television sitcom How I Met Your Mother, Harris hasn’t stopped working since. Still, when he reflects on the lean times he admits, “Skipping college wasn’t the right decision, at the end of the day. But it was a weird time. I was a little anxious to show I wasn’t a one-trick pony — that I wouldn’t do one series and then never work again. I was auditioning a lot but wasn’t getting many jobs. I was just recognized as Doogie for a while.”

Despite his recent success Harris confesses that his Hedwig role is a little daunting, particularly when it comes to singing like a rock star. He explains, “I always operate with a fair amount of self-loathing when I’m performing. The minute I think, ‘You’re killing, Neil, you are aces,’ it’s when I misspeak or stammer or get something wrong. And look, I don’t have the rock ’n’ roll scream. I’ll have to mark that out vocally. If I go crazy and start screaming, I’ll blow my voice.”

But after Hedwig he intends to slow down somewhat — especially if he manages to land a role in a very successful movie. He points out, “If either of my next movies is financially successful, it puts you on a markedly shorter list for other larger-scale movies. So I want to wait and see, and maybe not be so voracious. A busy week like this isn’t my favorite speed, you know. One of my New Year’s resolutions was contemplation. I wanted to spend a little more time thinking about what I’d just done, and not being so mindful about what I will be doing. I’ve spent years looking ahead, overly conscious of needing people to approve of me in order to feel that I succeeded. Hedwig feels that way about herself, too. And like her, I’m anxious, but my fearless quotient is higher than it’s ever been.”

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/alec-baldwin.jpg
Alec Baldwin On Keeping SNL Fresh, His Daily Routine and His Ideal Role
Alec Baldwin is an ordinary guy. Well, that’s what he said in a recent Reddit AMA, anyway. The actor took the chance to open up about what his average day was like, holding the public’s interest and why he chooses not to do many films any more. “My average day is pretty ordinary,” he says. […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/steve-buscemi-boardwalk-empire.jpg
Steve Buscemi’s “Ask Me Anything” Chat on Reddit: “I don’t think you can point to any one character and say that that’s ‘me'”
"With any role I play, I only have myself" - Steve Buscemi
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/sally-field-hello-my-name-is-doris.jpg
Sally Field On Improvisation, How She Chooses Her Roles and ‘Hello, My Name is Doris’
“There’s a dearth of roles for women. I turn down a lot of stuff because there’s just nothing in it for me to do.” – Sally Field   Actress Sally Field put in an appearance at SXSW last week to promote her new film, Hello My Name is Doris. Michael Showalter has directed the movie […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Will-Ferrell-Get-Hard.jpg
Will Ferrell on His Comedy Roots, ‘Get Hard’ and His Favorite Roles to Play
Ferrell was on hand to take part in a Q&A and spoke more about how working with Hart came about. When asked if he chooses his projects based on who he wants to work with, or the script itself, Ferrell explained that each project was different.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/daniel-dae-kim.jpg
Hawaii Five-0’s Daniel Dae Kim Talks Directorial Debut: “The first day I had to yell action, it was kind of odd”
Hawaii Five-0‘s Daniel Dae Kim, who fans know best as Chin Ho Kelly, recently made his directorial debut on the CBS series. Kim shared his experience with The Hollywood Reporter, saying that his experience was “weird at first,” as he had to direct his co-stars. “The first day I had to yell action, it was […]