‘Scandal’ Star Dan Bucatinsky Talks Producing With Lisa Kudrow And His Career GamechangerPosted: March 1, 2013
Most know Dan Bucatinsky as James Novak on the extremely addicting ABC hit Scandal, but if you really knew everything else he does during his “free-time” you would realize he’s just as busy as Olivia Pope. Starting off as just an actor in L.A., Bucatinsky soon became a writer, author, and a producer after meeting a certain friend. During a recent interview with him, Bucatinsky opened up about his hectic (but exciting) schedule and working with his business partner Lisa Kudrow.
“I’ve always sort of been a hyphenating kind of guy. Even in college I couldn’t pick my major and I wanted to combine three or four or five different majors and I did that,” he starts off. “I came out to L.A. to be an actor and writing became a means to an end to me. I was writing sketches and performing them and was writing plays and performing them. Every time I would meet an agent they would ask me, ‘Do you want to be a writer or an actor because we can’t represent you for both.'” The initial introductions grew to be a bit frustrating, but luckily he kept pushing forward. “I was always kind of unwilling to let go of all the things I loved to do. Maybe that’s a similarity between James and I. I like to write, but my first love is acting and I like to produce and I love being a dad. I find a way to do them all.”
And that certainly became the case when he linked up with Kudrow. After his husband Don filmed The Opposite of Sex with Kudrow in 1997, the two met and eventually decided to become partners. “While she was doing a final couple of years at Friends, Don and I would go Friday nights, tape nights, and hangout in her dressing room with Lisa’s husband. It sort of became this time for us to get to know each other better. I was writing pilots and I wrote a film in 2001 called All Over the Guy and Lisa did a cameo in the film for me. As time went on I was writing more and acting and Lisa was doing Friends and she had an opportunity to start a development company and Lisa and I decided to work together.” In fact, it seems like it was all meant to be. The two quickly realized that they even had taken part in overlapping years at Vassar College. “That was kind of an added bonding layer of our friendship,” he admits.
Since then the two have produced several pilots together such as The Comeback and the American version of Who Do You Think You Are? and are currently working on Web Therapy. And even though he may have played a waiter in a Friends episode (we do our research here) that wasn’t their first meet and greet. He actually offered to jump in during the “The One with Phoebe’s Birthday Dinner” episode after hearing from Kudrow’s dressing room that the crew needed someone. “So over the years we are friends first, but we have managed to maintain a very close friendship while also being business partners.” That way of thinking has clearly paid off. The duo is now approaching their 10th anniversary as partners together.
Bucatinsky is immersed in it all. When he’s not stopping by Washington as James, he’s collaborating with Shonda Rimes once again on Grey’s Anatomy. His new book ‘Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight?’ is now on shelves and he continues to produce. But, taking a cue from Scandal, what’s been his personalgamechanger in the business? Heading up his film All Over the Guy. Relating it to Harry Met Sally but with two male leads, the project “opened up a lot of doors for me,” he exclaims. “It helped my television career as a writer for sure, and it also helped me build confidence in a way over the last 10 years that has allowed me more access and has made me more courageous and make me feel like I can tackle big things even if they’re scary. So I have been somebody where when I get an idea in my head, especially over the last 10 or 15 years, I at least give it a try. It doesn’t always work out but I don’t like to say no to myself.”
And though he’s looking forward to some downtime at some point, for right now Bucatinsky is staying grateful and taking one day at a time. “I think this is the most I’ve ever taken on at one time and I am definitely feeling it,” he admits. “I try to take every single day as it comes. So whatever the challenges on that given day are, I try not to think about the global. If I think about the global it is really intense!”