"I'd like to say it was all planned. But the truth is, nothing was planned. It all started with boredom on my part and doing TV pilot after TV pilot that went in the tank or not even getting cast in stuff. So at one point I grew a mustache, just for grins." It fit the bill for "The Good Wife" so he kept it. Later he grew a beard for a play, and the folks at "Veep" liked it too. "Suits" wanted him clean-shaven, but that didn't jibe with his "Good Wife" look, so mustache stayed.
"It's a quality problem to have, is what I'm saying. And now I've got the beard again.
"I'm not anything but a hair-and-facial-hair actor," he said, letting the dry delivery of the line do the heavy lifting, a skill he's deployed to such wry effect throughout his career. "That's the extent of my talent: What hair and facial hair I have."
"Suits" airs 9 p.m. Tuesdays on USA. "The Good Wife" returns on CBS Sept. 29. The third season of HBO's "Veep" will air in 2014.
Old school Chicago
Forget the attitude on display at Ed Debevic's or Weiner Circle: None of it can rival what went on daily at Jerry's Deli, a now long-forgotten lunch spot on Grand Avenue. Filmmaker Tom Palazzolo's 7-minute documentary from 1974 ("Jerry's Deli") is among the finest Chicago artifacts of its time, putting the spotlight on a man who treated his customers with an endearing sort of horribleness. Don Rickles would have loved this joint. The short is available on YouTube, but the quality is less than ideal. You can see it on the big screen Friday, where it will be shown with a full lineup of other food-themed shorts including Gary Weimberg's 1979 Kubrick parody "$20.01: A Chinese Food Odyssey." At Chicago Filmmakers. Go to chicagofilmmakers.org.
The Black Harvest Film Festival continues at the Siskel Film Center with a collection of short films screening under the umbrella title "Love African American Style," including Derrick Perry's "Prospect" (12 minutes), about a Brooklyn-based photographer and the mysterious young woman he meets in Prospect Park. Screens Friday and Thursday. Many of the directors will be at both screenings for post-show discussions, though Perry will only be in town Thursday. Go to siskelfilmcenter.org.
After filming around town at foodie haunts including Graham Elliot, Topolobampo and Sepia, Chicago-based writer and director Jack C. Newell heads to Paris next month to finish shooting his microbudget resto-romantic comedy "Open Tables," which stars Joel Murray and top Chicago improvisers David Pasquesi, T.J. Jagodowski and Susan Messing. For more info about the film go to opentablesmovie.com.