Actor Dorian Missick spent several years policing the streets of L.A. on "Southland," but even that might not have prepared him for his latest role as dueling exes with Brandy on "Zoe Ever After," about a mother and her famous boxer husband who have different views of how their divorce should go.
What did you think of this show when they first pitched it to you?
When I first thought about it, the thing that attracted me to it was that Brandy was doing it. I wanted to work with her. And I'd been actively looking for a comedy project after "Southland," which was really heavy. Regina and myself were the comic relief at times on that show to kind of make up for the heaviness, but I wanted to take it further and do a full-on comedy.
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It's a comedy, but it does have its moments of seriousness.
Yeah. Which is another reason why I wanted to do it, because it's not just a "three lines, tell a joke, three lines, tell a joke" kind of format that you get a lot of times with sitcoms. I like the fact that you kind of explore all aspects. You can go through every emotion through an episode of "Zoe," and that part was exciting. It's kind of a throwback to the sitcoms that I grew up watching, like "Cheers" or "the Cosby Show," that kind of thing where they were comedic but they also dealt with the issues of the day and dealt with them in a way that they weren't beating you over the head.
What do you think of the idea of starting this couple off so contentious?
I was concerned in the beginning, like, "Where are we going to go with this?" But anybody who's ever been through a big, heavy breakup, it's very rarely clean. I mean, this is a couple that's been together for 20 years and they have a child together. You know it's not just going to be a clean break. It's about watching a couple work through the pain.
Which can be a challenge to make funny.
Yeah, which is why I wanted to do it. Anytime you read something and you think, "How the hell are they going to do this?" that's usually the one you want to jump on board. Because if you can predict it before you even read it, to me as an actor it's not really worth doing.
How does it change your approach to a character when you're playing someone who, in the world of the show, is famous?
It doesn't really that much. His fame is more of a backdrop in the show. It's the same as if you're playing a rich guy; that's just his reality. The little bit of notoriety I've had and being around people who are super-famous, it's really about how other people respond to you. It doesn't change your core values or your behavior, it's just that you have access to better things in life. You don't have to make reservations at restaurants anymore, you have those kinds of benefits. But in terms of how you approach your life and solving problems, it doesn't change that much. At the core, he's a father going through a divorce with the love of his life.
What was it like working with Brandy?
We had to do a screen test together, and two seconds in I knew this was going to be the job. I could kind of tell. She came out to the lobby and we talked before we went in and did the scene in front of the network and stuff, and we hit it off at hello, essentially. We walked into the room and the energy changed. Everybody was so excited to do the scene, and that energy continued out through the entire shoot.
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