Rick Yaeger: Hello, everyone. It’s Rick Yaeger from “One Question Interviews.” Today, I have a guest who has nearly no digital presence whatsoever. He’s one of those rare guys that isn’t on Twitter, he isn’t on Facebook, but he is on “One Question Interviews.” His name is James Denton . Check it out.
Rick: Hey, everyone. I have my buddy Greg Grunberg to thank for introducing me to my guest today. He played Mike Delfino on eight seasons on “Desperate Housewives” and played the creepy Mr. Lyle on “The Pretender” before that. Ladies and gentlemen, James Denton, welcome.
James Denton: The creepy Mr. Lyle who was missing a thumb because he crossed the Japanese Yakuza. That was a great role and a pretty good show. “The Pretender” was on for four years and probably deserved a better run. But yeah, everybody for better or worse probably knows me as the Wisteria Lane plumber.
Rick: The Wisteria Lane plumber, and last a lot of us saw, you were getting shot by mob hitmen. [laughs] So you seem…
James: Yeah. I went out with a blaze of glory.
Rick: You seem to have healed up OK.
James: Yeah, it was good. People always come up and go, “Yeah, I’m really sorry they killed you.” But it worked out great for me because we have a minimum, so it didn’t cost me any money, and I got out three months before Doug and Ricardo. It’s always fun to get shot because you’ve got the blood line running up one leg and the electric line running up the other. As a guy, it’s really fun to do special effects, so it worked out great for me. So when people apologize for it, I just kind of chuckle inside because everybody was kind of ready for it to be over, I think.
Rick: Yeah. Well, and they always, as soon as a show ends its run, the talk of the feature film starts up.
James: I know, that would be the only bummer, right? I wouldn’t be in the movie. If there was a film version, although Marc Cherry and our producers were so great about the family feel of that cast, I bet ‑‑ in fact, I feel certain ‑‑ if there were a movie, which there never will be…
James: …for all kinds of reasons, they would find a way to get Delfino in there. It’d be flashbacks for Susan or something.
Rick: Well, I’m sure it just wouldn’t be the same without the whole cast.
James: It really wouldn’t. They’d find a way to flashback us in there. I doubt he’d go hire Nicollette, but you never know.
Rick: Well, there’s what, over 50 some‑odd people have died on that street. I think they should just close it down.
James: I know. It’s a very dangerous place. Yeah, I think 52 or 54 people we killed, yeah.
Rick: It’s on the Universal Studios tour? That’s…
James: Still, yeah.
Rick: Because I went for my first time. My dad promised me when I turned 10, that he’d take me to California, go to Disneyland, Universal Studios.
Rick: Never happened. [laughs]
Rick: So last year, my fiance and I, we went through the tour, and it’s like this is it.
James: Yeah, it’s pretty cool.
Rick: You’re never sure whether they’re driving you through another Wisteria Lane, or is it the authentic?
James: Right. No, that was the one because it’s the only set, the only sound stage in town that had a city street that we could use. So you can imagine that NBC Universal charged Disney a pretty penny to shoot up on that street. But yeah, we had to shoot around the trams coming by, and we also had the houses from “Animal House” and “Leave It to Beaver” and “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” and “Ozzie and Harriet.” Those were all those houses that we just put ‑‑ kind of refreshed the facades to make it look like they were all in the same neighborhood.
James: Yeah. It’s up the road from the airplane disaster from “The War of the Worlds,” too.
Rick: It’s a pretty cool tour. End at the “Psycho” Bates Motel.
James: Right. Tough neighborhood.
Rick: [laughs] Yeah, very tough neighborhood. It’s like people drive by Wisteria Lane. Oh, yeah, 50 some‑odd people died on this one. Oh, yeah, just keep driving. There’s a plane crash. [laughs]
James: Don’t slow down, don’t slow down. The worst part is you around the corner, and if you stop, you’re at the Bates Motel, which is no better.
Rick: So we have no idea how many people are in that lake.
I was doing some research, and you trained with the Boston Red Sox?
James: Well, they were nice enough to let me come take part in spring training. It was the year right after “Housewives” hit, so the show was really big, and I had a friend that was associated with the team. Yeah, they let me come in and take some BP and put on a uniform and field balls and hang out with the guys for a guy. And it was really fantastic. They couldn’t have been nicer.
Rick: But you’re seriously into baseball.
James: I’m seriously into baseball. I’m seriously not any good at baseball…
James: …which is probably why I love it so much. I was a pretty decent athlete, a four sport letter man in high school, but just horrible at baseball. Of course, as a kid, that’s what you love because of the challenge, I guess. So yeah, I’m a big ‑‑ as you can see, everything in my office, my bobble‑heads back here. Almost everything in here is baseball‑related. So yeah, I’m kind of a baseball nut.
Rick: I kind of jumped over it, but what are you up to these days? Let people know what you’re…
James: Well, speaking of which, I just got back last night from Arizona for spring training, although this is not going to air for a while. So going to baseball games. I moved to Minnesota with my family. My wife is from here. We didn’t want to raise our kids in LA. We love it here. They love it. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s a family move.
I thought I was semi‑retired, but it’s been a busy year. I’m about to shoot a movie with Marlee Matlin and Jamie Kennedy called “Squatters.” I’m about to start on that next week, and it’ll probably be out in the fall. Then, I definitely have a movie called “Grace Unplugged” in theaters October 1st, with AJ Michalka.
Really pretty, early 20s singer, sings with her sister as “Aly and AJ.” Most people know her from that.
She’s also the daughter in “Secretariat.” Really good actress and a great singer. We play father and daughter… singers. That was fun, to be able to play and sing in that with Kevin Pollak. He plays my manager. Great guy. So that’s “Grace Unplugged” in the fall.
Rick: Pretty busy. Well, as you know, the show is called “One Question Interviews.” Technically, I haven’t really asked you any questions yet, but I’ve got a thousand different ones, ranging from the profound to the profane. I’ll choose one at random.
James: Somewhere in the middle.
Rick: Somewhere in the middle, somewhere. I’ll ask you the question. You can answer it seriously or in a funny voice, if you want, and everyone goes home happy. Well, if I interviewed Kevin Pollak, he’d probably do it as Christopher Walken.
James: He would, and it would be hysterical.
James: I’ll spare you.
Rick: Well, let me get the randomizer here.
James: Does the randomizer make a funny noise? [makes electronic noises]
[electronic noises play]
Rick: Many things about you have me curious, but I can only choose one question. Your question is… What would your Academy Awards acceptance speech be?
James: Wow. Not something I need give a lot of thought to.
Rick: [laughs] Come on.
James: This might fall under the category of “wasted time,” but it’s a good question for anybody just because it tells you a lot about a person. I thought about that, not so much for Academy Awards, but when we were still doing the SAGs and Golden Globes and Emmys. You watch people do it, and you think hell, what would I do? Hugh Laurie had one of the greatest speeches ever when he just cut up all the names of the people he might thank and put it on a piece of paper and put them in his pockets.
He just drew out and thanked the first three people that he drew, and one of them was the script supervisor. They were people he barely knew.
But that was hysterical.
Rick, I would thank my wife because people make fun of you if you don’t. That’s become the rage, is they didn’t thank their husband. They didn’t thank their wife. But I certainly would because she deserves it. She carried the load while we were in LA.
I would not thank my agent because none of them deserve it.
I would thank my manager, John Crosby, who discovered me in a play in Chicago in 1994 and made me move to LA. I had no interest in moving to LA. All my friends had moved to LA and had struggled or failed, and I was very happy doing Chicago theater. That was what I did. But he convinced me you’ll work, you’ll work. Come on out, come on out. He manages Shia LaBeouf and Rene Russo and John Hurt, and that’s about it. A very small house. But anyway, he’s still my manager because just loyalty. I never would have moved to LA if John Crosby hadn’t dragged me off the stage in Chicago.
I’d thank my kids for putting up with me being gone so long. They really hate it. There’s a lot of travel involved.
I’d probably stop there before the music played.
Rick: Yeah, they’d play out.
James: I might thank Rick Yaeger for the added exposure in my early retirement.
Rick: Very good. I like to be mentioned. [laughs] Thanks James. It’s been great to finally talk to you. I’ve been out in the fringes of “Band From TV” for a long time, and I’ve never actually gotten to talk to you yet.
James: Yeah, I know, because where we have mutual friends, and I know even James Kyson had sung with the band.
Rick: Oh, really? I didn’t know that.
James: So you interviewed James and, of course, Bob and Grunny. But I’m sure you’ll go through the bunch, because they are really talented, like Scotty Grimes, Eddie Matos, Adrian Pasdar, Jesse Spencer. Jennifer Love Hewitt sings with us. It’s been a fun charity thing. I mean, nobody would ever let us on stage if it weren’t for charity.
But those other guys are really talented. I’m not much of a musician, but Bobby and Scott Grimes are unbelievable. So is Adrian. When you get Adrian, make sure and ask him about it.
James: Adrian Pasdar and myself, the only two actors not on Twitter.
Rick: That’s true. There you go. I was just going to bring that up. First off, make sure everyone, check out James Denton in his new movie this fall. It’s “Grace Unplugged,” you said?
James: “Grace Unplugged.” It should be out October 1st.
Rick: October 1st. You’re not on Twitter.
James: I’m not. I just feel a little old for it. I feel like you know, do people really care? I know it’s a good self‑promotion tool, but I am sort of semi‑retired now after “Housewives.” I’m just kind of doing theater and smaller things. And Facebook, I tried, but I just kept offending people. I’d try to keep it small, and I wouldn’t friend anybody, and it kept hurting peoples’ feelings, and I hate that. So I’m off of Facebook, too. So if you think it’s me on Facebook or Twitter, it’s not.
Rick: It’s not him. So just to set the record straight, don’t check him out on Facebook or Twitter. Do you have a website or anything?
James: I do. There is a website. There’s a jamesdenton.com that a really wonderful woman keeps up. I don’t have anything to do with it because that, too, felt a little self‑serving to me. But she’s wonderful, and she has fun with it, so there’s a lot of info there. But pretty much, I guess you’d have to just go to the Google machine and search James Denton news.
I don’t know. There’s not much these days. I’m getting old, Rick. [laughs]
Rick: Well, there’s going to be an interview soon.
James: Well, this fall’s going to be busy with the two movies, and so on. But you can always, there is a jamesdenton.com, and she does a great job with it.
Rick: So that link and not too many others are going to be right down here below our faces.
Rick: That’s a good idea. I’ll link up to that. Those will be right there. They should have been there already. They’ll also be on onequestioninterviews.com in the show notes. Everybody, this is Rick Yaeger for “One Question Interviews.” Thank you so much for watching, and check back next week. Bye‑bye.