Skeet Ulrich (center, photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images), in Scream (left, screenshot: Scream) and Riverdale (right, photo: The CW). Graphic: Jane Harrison.

Welcome to Random Roles, wherein we talk to actors about the characters who defined their careers. The catch: They don’t know beforehand what roles we’ll ask them to talk about.

The actor: Skeet Ulrich may have spent years suffering the slings and arrows of critics who’ve described him as Johnny Depp Lite (not to mention far worse things), but it’s easy to endure these sorts of remarks when you’re in a bona fide box office sensation like Scream and co-starring in a film that‘s nominated for Best Picture (As Good As It Gets), even if your role does end up getting cut down dramatically. In recent years, Ulrich has spent the majority of his time on television, starring in such short-lived cult favorites as Miracles and Jericho, but he’s just been upped to series-regular status on the latest CW sensation, Riverdale. If you need a quick Ulrich fix before the show’s second season kicks off in the fall, however, he can currently be seen in the new comedy Austin Found, now in theaters and on VOD.

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Austin Found (2017)—“Billy Fontaine”

Skeet Ulrich: They brought it to me—it was just a standard offer for it—and then I met with the director, Will Raée, and we hit it off. He’s a very, very smart, talented filmmaker. And I just fell in love with the story. I think it has such an interesting look at today’s culture, our obsession with fame, and how it can even overshadow parenting. And then from Billy’s perspective, it looks at how love and lust can get you into a bad situation. He’s sort of blinded by his lust for this old flame and then suffers the detriment of that. I just fell in love with the idea of it and the notion of it, and then the cast was extraordinary.

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The A.V. Club: It’s a great ensemble.

SU: It really is. I love Craig Robinson. He’s so talented and funny and understated and real. And Linda [Cardellini] is obviously exceptionally talented. And then Ursula [Parker] was just amazing. I couldn’t believe this young girl was that present.

AVC: There are definitely some elements of Raising Arizona in the DNA of the film.

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SU: There’s a lot of Coen brothers feel to the whole thing, both visually and storywise, absolutely. But to that movie specifically, in terms of the plot, yeah. And I believe Will had the Coen brothers’ editor come in and look at his first cut of it, and he loved it.

AVC: It’s got to be nice for you to do a comedy. That’s an acting muscle that you don’t get to flex very often.

SU: No, I don’t. And I love doing it. My hat’s always off to comedians and the skill involved. That’s a whole other thing, a different side of storytelling. I was fortunate to do a few comedies through the years—I mean, for the most part, my role in As Good As It Gets was more of a comedic bent over the movie, and I had the good fortune to work with Leslie Nielsen before he passed on this broad, broad comedy that Bob Spiers directed—and I’ve always enjoyed it. I did a lot of it onstage in New York and stuff. The fun of comedies is that you treat them as seriously as you do a drama. It’s just that it’s a funny scenario. That sort of a tack is interesting. You’re used to saying things quite differently when you’re that angry or serious, and yet you’re saying things so absurd. It’s quite a challenge!

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Chilly Dogs (2001)—“Kevin Manley”

AVC: Not only did you work with Leslie Nielsen on Chilly Dogs, but you got to work with Rik Mayall.

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SU: Yeah, and I grew up watching The Young Ones, so I was probably about as star-struck on that film as I’ve ever been. Lochlyn Munro was in it, and Natasha Henstridge, but Rik and Leslie were the reasons to do it, just to get to work with those guys. And [director] Bob Spiers, who had worked on Fawlty Towers and AbFab. English humor is quite different from the American tack on it, so it was interesting to see their perspectives versus Leslie’s perspective. But it was a good time. A lot of fun.

AVC: I’m obliged to ask if Leslie Nielsen had his fart machine with him.

SU: It’s funny you say that. That’s his signature, but I wasn’t aware of it prior to that. But, yeah, he had it with him everywhere he went. And he used it prolifically. [Laughs.] I didn’t know it was a whole thing, but it clearly was.

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AVC: Yes, it was.

SU: He would do it in the elevator. We were primarily on Blackcomb Mountain outside of Vancouver, at Whistler, so unfortunately the wind tended to dissipate the comedy of it outdoors. But anytime you were inside, it was gonna happen, and the few indoor scenes we had… Yeah, it was definitely going to make an entrance into the scene.

Weekend At Bernie’s (1989)—Extra (uncredited)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)—“Thug” (uncredited)

AVC: It looks like your first on-camera work was as an uncredited extra, first in Weekend at Bernie’s and then in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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SU: Well, I was an extra, but I was really just working for beer money. I was a marine biology student at the time. But that was the thing that sort of turned my head toward storytelling, watching how it unfolded and seeing the collaboration. It just became very interesting to me, and that kind of changed my whole mindset about life and career and… thank god. But yeah, I started out doing it for beer money when I was at UNC Wilmington, and then it wound up being a whole lot more.

Then I started consuming films and it just took over everything I thought about all day long. So I started building sets for the theater department for UNCW, and that led to watching plays and then getting lost in that whole world. And then I was fortunate enough to get into [David] Mamet’s program at NYU, and my mom had moved up from North Carolina to New York to be with my stepdad. And it was just a blessing, the timing of it all, to be entering when it was pre-Giuliani New York, which was a very different New York than it is now.

Primarily because fledgling artists could afford to live in Manhattan. I had a neighbor who was a professional opera singer, who I listened to every day as she practiced her scales. You’d hit the streets with the energy that used to be New York: “I’ve got to achieve, I’ve got to be better, I’ve got to learn more, I’ve got to do more, I’ve got to try harder.” And from a NASCAR world, I was suddenly lost in the arts. And I never looked back. I worked so hard. I went up with a typical Southern accent and post-traumatic stress from an open-heart surgery that gave me this hunched-over, caved-in-chest look. And Mamet’s program, he hired the best speech and voice and body workers and dance teachers and all that, and it just transformed me, through their diligence and mine. So that was kind of my entrée into the arts in general and theater specifically, and then later film just seemed to happen naturally.

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Ride With The Devil (1999)—“Jack Bull Chiles”

SU: What a great film. It’s really the only unseen Ang Lee movie. October Films was our original distributor, and he had just won for Sense And Sensibility. It was a seven-month shoot, and during the shoot, October Films was bought by USA Films, and their first release was The Muse, with Sharon Stone, and Ride With The Devil was supposed to be their second release. And they became so terrified. I mean, the film is multi-themed, but the whole notion that there was a black Confederate soldier scared the shit out of them, so they let it out for four days and then shelved it. And [Lee] went off to make his next film, and Ride With The Devil just kind of went away. We were at the Toronto Film Festival with it, opened the festival with it to massive success, as all of his films are received. But it just never hit the theaters, really. Anytime someone comes up to me and mentions that movie, it always starts a conversation, because it’s one that people rarely mention.

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AVC: When I mentioned on social media that I was going to be talking to you, several readers requested that we ask you about it. So there’s definitely a fan base for it.

SU: Oh, really? Good! It’s funny, I was living in Culpepper [Virginia] for a while. I bought 500 acres there when I was 27. I was fortunate enough to be offer-only on films, so I moved there. And the house that I moved into—I later built a new place—was an 1850s Civil War surgeon’s operating room. My bedroom was his operating room. So I was deep into my Civil War education and just learning, learning, learning, and then I had a chance to meet with Ang and [screenwriter] James Schamus and talk about the film and the script and the Civil War in general. So it was interesting timing to get to do that movie, and it’s a hemisphere of the war that most people don’t know much about. I certainly didn’t. Living in Virginia, you’re certainly in the heart of Civil War country, where people would be the most interested in it.

Miracles (2003)—“Paul Callan”

SU: That’s what brought me back to L.A. The dot-com crash at the end of the ’90s kind of did film in for a little while, and I was sort of falling by the wayside a little bit in film. My kids had been born—my twins—and I’d taken a year off, and I’d done a couple of movies I probably shouldn’t have done, in a career sense. And Miracles was my first stint in TV. But when I read that pilot script, I was just blown away and had to be a part of it, so I moved everybody to L.A. from Virginia and started working on it.

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That story and that whole “God is now here, God is nowhere” is still to this day one of the most creative pieces of writing I’ve ever seen. And [writer and director] Matt Reeves is obviously doing really well now, with the Planet Of The Apes movies and Cloverfield and everything he’s doing. What a talent. The second I sat down and met him, I was, like, “This guy is a phenomenal storyteller!” And he’d already done Felicity and was already well-known, but he’s a phenomenal director and a great human being.

AVC: Were you surprised when the series didn’t take off? Series with non-traditional religious themes aren’t generally known for having long life spans.

SU: Well, the frustrating part is that it did take off. It did really well. We were the show that aired after the Super Bowl, and we had over 10 million viewers. And then Bush started bombing Iraq, and we were pre-empted for war coverage. And then because we lost the momentum, they shifted the day of the week it aired and didn’t tell people. It was an odd combination of why it didn’t last. But it did take off. It had a massive following and was doing well, and the stories were good. So it wasn’t anything we did or that the fans did. It wasn’t failing. It was just the timing of everything at that moment killed it. And it’s unfortunate, because I think it had a lot of story left in it—much like Jericho—but then between Desert Storm and the way networks do things, it just went away.

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AVC: Richard Hatem has said that they had already started working up storylines for the second season.

SU: Uh-huh. He’s so talented. I was blown away by that experience. It was like doing a film on TV. I wish it had had a chance to survive. It was one of those things where the head of Disney—because it was an ABC show—didn’t want it. When they were deciding on what shows were getting picked up and what weren’t, he didn’t want it. And two of his executives said, “Well, we’re quitting, because if you don’t see this, we’re not working here.” And ultimately it got picked up, obviously. But it was a really interesting character and story: a guy whose job is to debunk miracles, and yet he’s a religious man and ultimately loses his own faith, and where that leads. I just really enjoyed it.

It was a challenge, because I’d only done films, and suddenly I was working 80 hours a week and learning seven or eight pages of dialogue with 1-year-old twins in the house. It was exhausting. I’d never known work like that. It’s true, when people tell you that there’s nothing harder than a one-hour drama. It’s brutal, the workload. It changes you. But I was so compelled to tell that story that I just didn’t sleep.

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Jericho (2006-2008)—“Jake Green”

SU: That series was just so compelling. I’ll never forget: It was right around the fourth episode, maybe, when we see the missiles launched across the sky, and North Korea was testing missiles two days prior to that. Now it’s nothing new, but at the time it was kind of unheard of. Kim Jong-il didn’t test that many, so the timing involved was really eerie.

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Unfortunately, it wasn’t a show that was a CBS-type show. Now they have their summer miniseries that are sort of similar to it, but they had never really stepped outside of cops and lawyers and doctors, and they were scared of it. Lennie [James] and I spent a couple of hours every night rewriting it, and fortunately we were all on the same page: the producers and Carol Barbee, Lennie and I, and really, the whole cast.

I’ve done a lot of stuff in my career, and you hope you make friends while you’re doing things, and you hope you’ll keep in touch with a lot of people, but the way careers go, one person goes this way, another goes that way, and it’s hard to keep in touch. In fact, Alicia [Coppola’s] husband was over here yesterday. We talk, all of us, all the time. Tim Omundson just recently suffered a stroke, and producers and actors and everybody were showing up at the hospital and showing up at his house. That became a real family, that group of people, and I think it was felt from an audience perspective. You could feel that connection somehow. But plotwise it was just a really interesting notion of what this world could become and what do we do if it does?

We were close [to a third season] about four or five years ago. Karim Zreik, one of the producers, called me and said, “Netflix has a schedule, they have budget, they have locations. Are you in?” I said, “Absolutely, with one proviso: That first script back has to time-jump five years, and the world has devolved way lower than we could ever have imagined.” And they were on board with it. And CBS wouldn’t sell it. The deal wouldn’t work for them.

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AVC: I didn’t realize it had gotten that close. That sucks.

SU: It’s so frustrating. Because the thing that killed that show was the marketing strategy that they had for it. Lost was in its fourth season when they split it into basically two 11-episode half-seasons, with a three-month hiatus in between the 11th and 12th episodes. But they had four seasons, and they had a following, and they did a massive amount of marketing when they broke between the 11th and 12th to let people know when it was coming back. And CBS wanted to use that model of marketing for Jericho. And it killed it.

I mean, we had a big fan base, but they didn’t do the marketing to let people know when it came back, and then when the numbers dropped, they blamed us. So it was really frustrating. I think, because we were such a family unit, we all wanted to come back and do those seven episodes [for a second season], but we were bitter about it. I mean, they cut our budget in half to do those seven. Our D.P. and most of the people that’d helped tell that story had gone off to other jobs. We typically shoot an episode in eight working days, and they made us do it in seven. So they brought us back, but they didn’t. It left a bad taste in my mouth, that whole experience. It seems like every series I’ve been a part of, there’s been some sort of frustration, business-wise.

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Back (2009)—“Richard Miles”
Gimme Shelter (2010)—“Billy Jost”
Anatomy Of Violence (2013)—“Adrian Raine”
Babylon Fields (2014)—“Fr. Harries / Twin Junkie Brother”
Stay (2015)—“Shane”

AVC: Not to intentionally build on that frustration, but you did several pilots between Jericho and Riverdale that didn’t get picked up.

SU: Oh, my god, and there were some incredible ones. Anatomy Of Violence was one of the most incredible pieces I’ve read. Written by the guys who wrote Homeland and that producing team—Alexander Cary, Alex Gansa, and Howard Gordon—and Mark Pellington directing. That was our second pilot together, because he also directed Back. And it was just an incredible story. Fox made it for CBS, but when they cut it together… The problem with a lot of TV is that you’ve got people who aren’t trained storytellers making story decisions. They took a plot point that was the very first scene of the show, one that sets up Amber Tamblyn’s character and why she does what she does, and they moved it to a flashback near the end, so when they tested it, everybody was, like, “Oh, she’s just a bitch.” She wasn’t. She was justified based on what was supposed to be the first scene of the show. So it kind of destroyed it.

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But it was so compelling, based on a true account of a sociologist out of UPenn, Adrian Raine, who wrote a book called The Anatomy Of Violence that hadn’t even been released at that point. I played him, and he’s one of the foremost behavioral scientists and has traced the roots of violence into the womb, certain minerals that are lacking in the hippocampus, etc. A vast amount of research, spanning four decades. But unfortunately it didn’t go.

Yeah, there was a slew of interesting pilots. Stay, that one was directed by Jon Turteltaub. They were all interesting. But you just never know.

The Craft (1996)—“Chris Hooker”
Last Dance (1996)—“Billy, Cindy’s Brother”

SU: I had known Robin Tunney prior to either of us working much in film, if at all. We’d met in New York—I was still at NYU—and we became friends. She lived in the East Village, and I lived just north of the East Village. I was off doing Bruce Beresford’s movie Last Dance, and I guess she had talked to Doug Wick, who produced The Craft, and said he should look at me for the part. So they flew me out, and I had a few days off from the other film, and I went to Doug’s house and read scenes with Robin. I was, like, “Wow, I never thought about this side of the business.” We weren’t that deep into the internet era, so it wasn’t like you had accounts of how people got jobs and this and that. I was, like, “Oh, my god, you mean I don’t go into a little room?”

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I was staying with a friend of mine who I had grown up with in the NASCAR world. His dad worked with my mom at the sports marketing company my mom started, the first one in NASCAR. And he had come to New York as a marketer and started seeing plays that we were doing in New York and decided he had to be a storyteller. So he quit his job, and I set him up with a friend in L.A., and when I would come to L.A., I would save my per diem and stay with him and my other friend. And that’s Scott Cooper, one of the most talented directors out there. So when I think of The Craft, I always remember standing in his backyard, running lines with him. He was trying to be an actor at that time, so he looked up to me in the way that I now look up to him.

The Craft is something that’s jumped generations. And now it’s even being remade. Or maybe it already has been remade. But I was horrible in it, in my opinion. I was so green. I look at it now, and people talk about it, and I go, “Oh, god, I was so bad.”

Chill Factor (1999)—“Tim Mason”

AVC: When you mentioned that there were a couple of movies you shouldn’t have done, was this one of them?

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SU: I mean, maybe, maybe not. I had… very specific reasons for doing it. [Laughs.] They may not have been the best reasons. But I had a blast doing it. It was right at that dot-com crash time, where the studios were playing around with the idea of doing $30 million action films instead of the $60 million they had been spending. You know, it’s a far-fetched plot, but so are most action films.

But Cuba [Gooding Jr.] and I had, like, 12 scenes cut out of As Good As It Gets, so he and I had worked together on that. And he’s one of the funniest human beings I’ve ever been around. So that experience was a blast. I could not wait to leave set every day, my stomach hurt so bad from laughing all day long. So it was a great time and, you know, there are a lot of people who really like that movie. I don’t necessarily see why, but they do.

We were in Columbia, South Carolina, for half of it and all over Utah for the other half, and it was fun. I’m not an action hero kind of guy, but that was kind of the point of it: He’s this Jake Green-esque person who you wouldn’t think of as being able to save the world, and suddenly he’s put in that position and rises to it. Not to make it deeper than it is, but I had a good time on it, and I made a lot of money on it. Two very good reasons to be a part of it!

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As Good As It Gets (1997)—“Vincent”

AVC: You mentioned that you had something like a dozen scenes cut out of As Good As It Gets. Was an entire subplot cut?

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SU: Yeah, it was really a four-hander. There was a whole relationship that developed between Greg Kinnear’s character and mine. And [James L. Brooks’s] first cut of the film was nearly five hours long. I had to fly out to do looping, and Jim met me in the parking lot and told me what happened, and I was crestfallen. He was remiss about it, because we spent a long time making that movie, and I was there for most of it, and to know that there was going to be very little of what I’d done in it… But he gave me the painting that Greg supposedly does in the film, and that’s a story in its own right.

When I was 18, I’d gone from North Carolina to D.C., and right at that time, at the end of the Cold War in ’88, the Smithsonian did a 10+10 exhibit—10 Russian painters, 10 American painters—and they paired them up and did mixed media pieces together. And one I was just blown away by, and I had never forgotten the guy’s name: Billy Sullivan. So when I got to New York, they were, like, “Oh, we need you to sit with the painter.” And it was him! I couldn’t believe it.

So suddenly Jim was giving me the painting, which is of me, so I didn’t want it in my house, so my mom has it. I gave it to my mom. But that was sort of a comeuppance of losing all those scenes. And I think I’m the only one who has them. I have them on VHS, which may be degraded to the point of no return. I hope not. I haven’t looked at them in forever. I should probably pull ’em out of the attic and try and get them digitized. I’m sure it probably already is too late, but you never know.

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The Newton Boys (1998)—“Joe Newton”

SU: When I did The Newton Boys, I wound up staying on a 600-acre farm that I got from the location manager for, like, 50 bucks a month. The only thing method about me is that I tend to stay in residences much like the character would. So The Newton Boys being what it was, I wound up there, and I fell in love with the idea of a farm, so when I left there, that’s when I went and bought that farm in Virginia.

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My fiancée had never seen [the movie], and we were visiting my mom and dad in Florida a few weeks ago, so we watched it. I hadn’t seen it in a long time, but it’s a fun story. And it’s [Richard] Linklater outside of Linklater’s comfort zone at that time, having never done a studio movie up to that point. There were a lot of battles for him in regard to how he liked to tell stories versus suddenly this consortium of opinions that he had to bow down to. That being said, it’s an incredible ensemble, a very interesting story, and it’s something where you suddenly felt indebted to a family. There was word that the [Newton] grandkids were going to be on set, so it suddenly took on a seriousness—despite the nature of the film—of having to live up to the research. So we spent a few weeks in preproduction, fine-tuning the story as best we could, and then we just went at it. It was a lot of fun. And about a six-month shoot. They don’t do shoots of that extent anymore. I’ve had a few that were five months, six months, even seven months. Now you’re seeing them compressed to two or three months, max.

AVC: Given the guys playing your fellow Newton brothers, surely you must’ve all gone out and painted the town red together at some point.

SU: You know, one time I do remember driving the wrong way down a one-way street with my “brothers,” as it were. But they all rented pimp pads in Austin. I was back in Dripping Springs, which was, like, 30 minutes outside of it, on that farm. So they were all in town, and I rarely got into town. But I do remember that one time! It was fun.

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AVC: “Pimp pads”?

SU: Yeah, well, that’s kind of what they were. Now, I don’t know what they were doing there, but they were these modern, beautiful apartments. And I do believe that’s where the McConaughey bongo story wound up happening. And Linklater… I had not seen him in forever, and when he did his screening of Boyhood at CAA, he asked me to come. His daughter was, like, 6 when we were shooting The Newton Boys, and she was on the set all the time. And I hadn’t seen Ethan [Hawke] in a long time, and I saw him there. He’s such a dynamic personality and such a nice guy, and so inquisitive and interesting and fun to be around. But Rick is just so talented, as everybody knows, and Boyhood just blew me away. Such an incredible idea and execution. I was lucky to get to work with him, that’s for sure.

Scream (1996)—“Billy Loomis”
Touch (1997)—“Juvenal/Charlie Lawson”

AVC: Scream seems to have been the real game-changer for you.

SU: Yeah, in a way. I’d done four films up to that point, and the one I had literally completed the day before I flew up there to do Scream was for Paul Schrader, the Elmore Leonard story Touch. I was playing the second coming of Christ days before I was playing the most tortured serial killer that horror had seen at that time. And I had a very short amount of time to start to figure the guy out and to switch from the second coming of Christ to this guy.

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I was fortunate in that the hotel suite they gave me had two rooms, so I used one just to sleep, and the other one… I was 26, I think, when I made it, and I was playing a 17- or 18-year-old, so I went straight to the mall and bought every hard-rock poster and black lights and everything, and I turned the other room into Billy’s room. And I’d sit in there and just read about John Wayne Gacy and play the most satanic music I could find and just try and find him rather quickly in that environment. It was interesting. In my mind, it was a documentary about two high school serial killers, and that’s the way I approached it. I sort of negated any of the tongue-in-cheek humor of it in my mind. So when I finally saw it, I was blown away by what it was, and how terrifying it was, but also how funny it was.

There was a point early on where Miramax pulled the plug on it, and it took Wes [Craven] cutting together that opening with Drew [Barrymore] and sending it to Bob and Harvey [Weinstein] to get them to let us keep going. So that movie was so close to not even happening, and we were in Napa Valley feeling like some independent film. We shot, I think, five weeks of nights to start. It was so much fun and yet so dark at the same time, both literally and figuratively.

It’s unbelievable the money it made, the success it’s had, the fact that it’s still popular 21 years later. It’s jumped generations. People still watch it and they’re still loving it. Matt Lillard and Neve [Campbell] and I have gone to these signing conventions for the 20-year anniversary of it, and it’s amazing how rabid that fan base still is for that film.

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Law & Order: Los Angeles (2010-2011)—“Rex Winters”

SU: I could say a lot of things that would probably come back to haunt me, but probably one of the least creative experiences I’ve ever had. And the whole NBC-Comcast thing did a major disservice to that show. I mean, the talent involved in that show, acting-wise, was phenomenal. That cast was insanely talented, and yet we were all strangled. And then the whole firing. The only time I’ve ever been fired in the 27 years I’ve been doing this, and the reasons were just nebulous. It had a bit to do with [Bob] Greenblatt’s takeover, coming from Showtime to NBC and wanting to make his mark, and Dick Wolf’s love/hate relationship with NBC. There was a lot going on at the upper echelon that had nothing to do with the day-to-day of making that show and the results of it. And the only comeuppance I had is that they lost six million viewers after I was killed. And I was laughing on a beach in Italy when I heard.

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AVC: When the hammer fell, I sent a message to your publicist and asked if there was any chance of getting you on the phone to talk about what happened. I got a very polite reply back that basically said, “No, but don’t take it personally: He’s not talking about it with anybody.”

SU: Yeah, I don’t think I’ve talked much about that experience at all. But I think Corey [Stoll] is amazingly talented and I loved working with him. And Alfred [Molina], we’re Facebook friends and chat through there occasionally. Terrence Howard, I haven’t seen hide or hair of since, but obviously he’s doing well.

But, yeah, they have their formula and that’s what they go by, and they didn’t want to hear anything outside of that formula, so there you go. That’s the result.

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Riverdale (2017-)—“F.P. Jones”

AVC: After all of those pilots, the success of Riverdale has got to be both a pleasant surprise and a nice reward.

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SU: It really is. It was something that was brought to me, and Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa] was very kind in wanting me to do it. The way he approached it, I was blown away by the writing and the skill of it, and then when I saw the pilot, even more so. So I jumped at the opportunity. They initially went, “Would you do three with the potential of doing more?” I said, “Yeah, sure!” And then it just kept growing. And now I get to go do a bunch of them.

And I love that group. They’re all very talented to be as green as most of them are—incredibly talented—and they’re great people. I’ve kept the Virginian in me in L.A.: We have a chicken coop and gardens and stuff at the house, and Cole [Sprouse] and K.J. [Apa] were helping me build the chicken coop. They’re solid people that are so nice to go to work with every day. And in the nature of a true ensemble, I’m not there 80 hours a week, week in and week out, so it’s quite luxurious, actually.

With the writing being so rich and so interesting, I’m excited by Riverdale. Even though I never really saw myself doing a CW show. [Laughs.] But the material is what matters, and you’ve got to remove any sort of notion of the “where” when you read something like that and it’s that compelling. I have a couple of Roberto’s plays that were off-Broadway runs, and he’s an exceptional talent. The show’s meant to get a lot darker as it goes forward, and I’m excited by that.

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