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What brought you to the acting program at Case Western Reserve?

A

The way I found it was flipping through a copy of American Theatre magazine. My dad and I were sitting in the audience of an improv show in Minneapolis, and I saw the ad for Case that said they take eight students every two years and pay for everything—a full tuition waiver and a stipend. I said, "I'm going to go there." My dad basically said, "Yeah, good luck." For my audition I had to do two monologues and a song, and, to my dad's surprise, I got in.

Q

Do you remember the song?

A

Unfortunately, I do. I sang a poorly done, ill-advised version of Ol' Man River. I've never lived that down. They love that story at Case.

Q

You met your wife, Virginia, in the acting program at Case Western Reserve, and now you have a 2-year-old daughter, Bea. Is she going to be an actress too?

A

I hope not. I know that when Jeff Bridges was accepting his Oscar for Crazy Heart, he said something like, "This is for my parents. They loved show business, and they wanted me to love it, too." I thought about how cool that was and how it would be neat to share this family business, since both Virginia and I are actors. But I also know that it can be really hard. I've seen people not having as easy a time as I've had, and I don't wish that on Bea.

Q

Is there an actor on whom you've patterned your career arc?

A

No. I don't think you can really do that. There are actors who I admire, who made good choices, and I love their work. Jimmy Stewart. Philip Seymour Hoffman. Jeff Bridges. Those are some of the big ones for me.

Q

Do people recognize you as Harry Crane and stop you on the street?

A

They don't say, "Hey, Harry!" but they'll say, "Are you the dude on Mad Men?" It depends on where I am. It happens all the time when I'm in New York because we have a really high viewership there, and it's a "New York" show.

Q

You've done well-received roles in episodes of series like The Office, Ugly Betty, Law & Order and most recently Burn Notice, and now you're into the fourth season of Mad Men. Is TV where you see your future?

A

Anyone who tells you they don't want to do movies must have had some horrible experience that I haven't heard of yet. I can't imagine why you wouldn't want to do more movies. But that being said, I love TV. I love the consistency of the work. I love knowing that for five months out of the year I have a job. If TV will have me, I wouldn't mind sticking around for a while.

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