For most people, wrapping their brains around what actually happened in the Enron scandal is like experiencing a permanent ice cream headache. But Broadway, of all places, is trying to make sense of the debacle for the masses with its latest offering, “Enron.” Even “24” veteran Gregory Itzin, who has taken on the role of Enron President Kenneth Lay, had some trouble with the details.
“I get the concept, but do I get the machinations totally? Part of that I consider when playing Ken Lay — he gets it but he doesn’t want to get all of it, if you know what I mean,” says Itzin of the man who mysteriously died as the company began to crumble.
Playing the recently deceased was a challenge in itself, says Itzin, who notes that you have to up your game when the person you’re portraying can easily be found in the flesh on YouTube.
Speaking of Internet research, Itzin has earned a reputation on the Web for “often portray[ing] arrogant or unsympathetic characters in a position of authority,” according to movie database site IMDb.com. Does Itzin, who memorably plays evil United States President Charles Logan on “24,” have a problem with that?
“I think it’s pretty accurate, don’t you?” he says with a laugh. “I tend to play fairly arrogant people, self-centered, on their own mission. I don’t think it’s me. If I do it well and convincingly and the story line is progressed through me, that’s a gift.”