Interview: Greg Kinnear talks new FOX series ‘Rake’

Interview: Greg Kinnear talks new FOX series ‘Rake’

Interview: Greg Kinnear talks new FOX series ‘Rake’
January 23
14:41 2014

Preston Barta // Film Critic

The North Texas Daily had the chance to sit down and talk to Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Greg Kinnear, who makes his broadcast television series debut in the bold, new legal drama “Rake,” created by Peter Duncan. We talked to him about playing Keegan Dean, a criminal defense lawyer with a comedic and chaotic life, in FOX’s new series.

You and your character are both charming guys. Are there any other ways that you relate to your character?

Greg Kinnear: “We’re both horrible gamblers.  The most obvious connection is that I have no skills in that department and he seems to be tortured by his own lack of ability as well. But, I don’t know, I mean, similarities— the truth is I don’t know that there’s a lot. I think it’s what really attracted me to the character when I saw the Australian show and kind of the zone they were playing in— not only the ensemble nature of the show, but just this, Keegan himself with the inability to not get out of his own way and his kind of needs and wants and addictions, all sort of snowballing around him constantly and just that notion of two steps forward, three steps back seemed like a fun zone to play in.

Not that I don’t have my own little bag of self-destructive traits. We all do, but he has them in such a flawless rate, such an ease of his ability to miscalculate and to set off little personal landmines around his life so regularly that it really seemed like a fun area to play around in. I hadn’t played an attorney before so one that was dealing with that kind of world seemed like a great plan.”

How has playing an attorney changed the way you view the court system?

Kinnear: “Well, I never really had considered how. I had just always assumed that people who might have gotten themselves into some sort of legal entanglement would eventually sit before a jury and kind of go through this whole sort of straightforward, very clean process of justice.

And I think what the show has done, because we have lawyers working on it and just through conversations and just through stories that we work on, the truth is that you learn that there is not a straight through line on any of these cases, that they’re all varied.  Many of them never go to trial or the ones that do have a whole different expectation than the ones that don’t in terms of the outcome and how they’re negotiated.

So much of the process seems inconsistent to me. And, obviously, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Maybe it’s a reason that the legal world has over the years had so many films and television shows about it. There’s just a great sort of imbalance to the process, an imbalance to the outcome and justice is not always served fairly for sure. That’s been made very clear talking to a lot of the guys we have access to and we try and represent that fairly in the show I think.”

Greg-Kinnear-and-the-cast-of-Rake.

You mentioned that this show is based on an Australian show. How is this show similar or different?

Kinnear: “Yeah, that’s a good question. Well, listen, in terms of its format, one of the most significant changes that we’ve had to embrace is being on a network where I think we have 43 minutes or 44 minutes or something like that and Peter Duncan’s Australian show was like 58 or 59 minutes and that time change has been a real difficult sort of readjustment that has been something we’re conscious of.

Obviously, in an Australian show you always had kind of a case, sometimes more significant one week, sometimes less significant another week, which is still the tempo we follow here. But you can’t really reduce down the case. The case is going to be the case, so what ends up being compromised is the additional time to deal with the sort of orbital world of these pivotal characters in my life and my life and their lives, which is one of the coolest things about the show I think is the ensemble element of it.

We worked really hard to cast great actors in this ensemble. I think they’re all excellent. And that aspect has really come up in the last few shows. It starts a little Keegan-centric as the show kind of starts, but it really evolves and you get to know all these characters a lot more. But there are limitations just with time. As far as the cases, sometimes there is some stuff that we have taken from the Australian show, some of the cases, some of the story lines.

But I would say a lot of it is its own thing and has kind of organically found its own place. So I don’t know what the percentage would be to give you for that, but maybe 30 percent [or] 40 percent kind of comes from the Australian show, but I think the rest of it feels very different.  So I feel like the balance is good.”

“Rake” premieres tonight at 8 p.m. on FOX.

Photos: Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Greg Kinnear (R) makes his broadcast television series debut in the bold, new legal drama “Rake,” created by Peter Duncan and executive-produced by Peter Tolan and Michael Wimer. Also pictured L-R: Ian Colletti, Miranda Otto, Tara Summers, Necar Zadegan, John Ortiz and Bojana Novakovic. Photo courtesy of FOX.

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