Former Chicagoan Joe Lando might be most recognized for playing Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman‘s Byron Sully, but after tonight’s highly anticipated Perfectly Prudence premiere on the Hallmark Channel (8 p.m. ET/PT), we’ll see him channel some chauvinistic acting chops (ahem, at first) as Jack Jameson, Prudence McIntyre’s (played by Jane Seymour) handsome producer.
The movie is a sequel to the highly rated 2008 Hallmark Channel Original Movie, Dear Prudence.
Joe was kind enough to join me for a laid-back second interview full of laughs (read the first interview here), to talk about being reunited with Jane Seymour, rekindling their famous on-screen chemistry, and the projects he has in the works.
I’ve been checking out these videos you’ve both been posting on Jane’s blog and they’re great. You’re so relaxed, which is so unlike you.
Thanks! Are they working out ok?
They are. From what I’ve heard via fan feedback, they’re a hit.
Well then I guess I have a regular, non-paying gig at Jane’s house.
You know, Jane was talking about starting up her own talk show. You could be her co-host.
That would be great. I know she’d love to have a talk show.
I would be more of her Jerry Lewis.
The comic relief?
Yeah… comic relief. It’s funny you say that. I can make fun of Jane sometimes, and she doesn’t even take a second, she just keeps going.
I know! I think that’s what’s so funny about you two. You have a natural, easy friendship and it shows. She just shoots you a look and moves on.
I know. ‘Shut up Joe,’ she’s probably thinking.
Lucky for me.
So let’s talk about Dear Prudence or Perfectly Prudence as it’s now called.
Or At Home With Prudence or Prudence II, we were like… whatever Prudence. Yes, let’s speak about that.
It’s like Prince. It needs a symbol at this point.
While I’m sure you’ve been asked some of these questions before, I know that you and Jane obviously have a lot of history. Your families know each other. Based on all of that, is it hard to separate your friendship from your professional life when working on a project?
We act pretty professional in my opinion, but I think it’s also, too, how can you not let your private life or your personal life come into play to a certain degree when you’re working together? I mean, you know each other.
It’s not that much different when we walk off the set, and we’re just walking around talking. It’s not that crazy different, and once we get to the set, we have a bunch of different tasks we have to do.
I think that’s kind of the feeling of it. You have a certain amount of stuff you have to do… it would be like if you went into the office, and you had to get out a story, and you give it to your editor and your editor’s your buddy, your friend outside of work. But when you’re at work, you’re working. And that’s just the way it goes. That’s the way we work together.
That’s great. You always hear about actors that don’t get along on set…
We don’t quarrel. But then again, I think our biggest fights are way behind us, and that kind of ties in with Prudence and reality. There are a lot of different layers to this story, and some of them are very obvious and some of them aren’t.
I think the ones that aren’t obvious are inside jokes, or just things for Jane and I, but for the most part, there are parts of the story that parallel our lives because the writer watched us interact together at Jane’s house on a couple occasions, saw me cooking in the kitchen, saw me relating to Jane and her kids, her other family, her sister and all of us were there together.
Picture Jane’s house, too, which rivals the house we shot in, with similar views, and you saw the house we shot in in Grand Rapids. It’s like that but with a view of the ocean. Rob saw us working together so it mimics a lot of aspects of our real life. Art imitating life or life imitating art.
Jane hinted that you were looking at some real estate in Grand Rapids.
I look at real estate all the time, especially now in this down market. Sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach, but I just try to kind of gauge what’s going on in an area, and I know how depressed the Michigan economy was in general. In looking at Grand Rapids, I can’t help but think that it’s a place that in ten years will be great. Good schools, beautiful scenery, there’s lots to do… it has winters though.
You’re a midwestern boy originally, so you should be used to that.
So, yeah, I like to look at places, and to look at that house and that piece of property, and know it goes for what a piece of dirt goes in my neighborhood makes you stop and think, ‘That wouldn’t be such a bad quality of life.’ A smaller piece of property paid for in Michigan, wow!
I have to confess, when I first heard you were filming in Michigan, I immediately thought of Detroit. And nothing against the good folks from there of course, but you know, it was a huge surprise to see how gorgeous Grand Rapids really is.
Funny, too that now that we visited, my son has been asking to vacation in Grand Rapids this summer.
I’m going to take my kids, too! Next summer, we’re doing the long road trip to Chicago and then up to Saugatuck and that area of Michigan, so I might get my kids up as far as Grand Rapids and show them the town and everything. It’s so close to Chicago.
We drove up the night before and it wasn’t too bad, especially with the John Ball Park Zoo and the art show that was going on.
Oh yeah, you have to time it for that. Otherwise, the town is kind of empty.
It’s such a vibrant place with the art show.
When we first got there it was Gay Pride Week, then when they left, it was really quiet. The hotel was quiet, the town was quiet. Then some conventions passed through, the art show started, and then it was how you saw it, with people in the streets, food, live music, it was really fun. But that was solely from the art festival, and next year I think it’ll be even bigger. This is only the second year they’ve had it.
It got a lot of great press so we’ll have to shoot for that.
Tell me about working with Jane. Obviously, it’s not the first time you’ve worked together. Do you feel it’s easy to drum up the old chemistry and fall into whatever roles are required of you?
Well, it’s funny you asked that, Pilar.
You know, you think about it before you go on the set, and we’d been rehearsing, and got a feel for how it was going to play, even at Jane’s house before we went to Michigan. And that eased us right back into it.
Maybe Jane was more nervous about it, wondering if it would click and work in this context and this show, with these characters, and we really didn’t’ know how it would go until we were doing it, and in my opinion, it worked out just like we used to work together.
The chemistry is still there, and on a show like this when you’re not doing it week after week for years and years, it’s more light and fun for us, because we’re not thinking we’ll be here tomorrow and we can just do it again. That can get kind of tedious.
Doing a movie like this it’s like, ‘Hey! If we do one of these once in a while, it would be fun!’
It’s a fun, mini reunion.
Exactly. It’s our Ocean’s Eleven. So if we do it again it’ll be Ocean’s Twelve.
We’ll call it Prudence Twelve or Team Prudence!
Yes, and we’ll shoot Prudence in Vegas, it would be a heist we get involved in.
No, but I think we’re thinking amore along the lines of Hawaii.
I would definitely have to visit that set and tell my editor that it’s very important to immerse myself in the culture and surroundings in order to prepare for the interview.
That’s right! The history and the tradition. All very important to a writer. We’ll work on that for you then, Pilar.
Sounds good to me. Just to be clear, I’m open to a heist in Vegas and a shoot in Hawaii. You could do both!
It might be a booking dilemma. It would have to be some place in Hawaii where we stay in a hut on the beach. Wouldn’t that be terrible?
It would be like Lost, and you could take over some remote area for Prudence.
So tell me what we can expect from you in 2011.
I just finished another film with William Shockley who was on Dr. Quinn with Jane and I. William wrote, produced and starred in this movie called Thriftstore Cowboy, and it has the guys from Brooks & Dunn in it. It’s an urban cowboy kind of story, and I play a really not very likable redneck cop. I shaved my head for that one.
Ooh, I was thinking mullet.
I went to a local barber and there was a boxing/martial arts gym next door, and I saw all these guys coming out with these tough guy hairdos, so I just told the guy to give me a haircut like that.
So he basically put the one attachment on the razor and just shaved my head. That was a look. I came home and my wife was like, ‘Oh my God.’ You could see my scalp. The hair was all gone.
Have you ever done that before?
Not to that extent. The only way I could have gotten less hair was if he’d shaved it with a straight razor. But it was kind of liberating. It was cool. It’s not an attractive look but I liked it for the role.
When you walk around in character looking like that, and you put on the cop sunglasses and uniform, and think of all those cops that pulled you over…
So that is what I did with William just a few weeks ago.
Then there’s another project called Spotlight I have coming up. I just finished it when I saw you in Michigan. After that, I’m just in line looking for more gigs. I have something I’m trying to develop myself, but hopefully Prudence does well and we’ll have an opportunity again to speak about it, and have a chance to work together again.
That would be great! And now that you’ve had appearances on Melrose Place and The Bay, will we see more roles like that, too?
The Bay is just a little project, an experiment some people I know are doing, so I pitched in. But, I’m looking for paying jobs. That one was just for fun. I like doing all that stuff, but I would love to get back on a series on a regular basis, but we’ll see. I’m feeling positive about 2011.
I did promise your Facebook fans that I would ask you one question from them, and they unanimously voted to know about the scene when Jane slaps you in the movie.
It was a real slap and it was fun for her.
And for you?
At first she was hesitant. She didn’t want to do it, but I said, ‘You really have to let go and slap me,’ and it gives you a different reaction and so she did. It didn’t hurt. Ok, well maybe one hurt. There were a few.
Jane did call you quite the He-Man for going whole hog with it.
Well, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have to tell you though, there was one time when I was in a movie with Nicolette Sheridan when I said, ‘Go ahead and slap me, and she was like, ‘Are you sure?’ and I said, ‘Yeah! Go ahead,’ and that’s what she did. And it was like, ‘Oh my goodness. Is that a bell ringing?’
It got a great reaction out of me, that I couldn’t have acted, it just worked out great.
Well, no pain no gain as they say.
Jane didn’t look like she was trying to take my head off and she hit the same spot every time, so I wasn’t worried I was going to get poked in the eye or anything. Some actors are just so uncoordinated. I’ve been punched in the mouth so many times by guys where I’m like, ‘Did you have to do that? You couldn’t have just faked it?’
Joe, as always, thank you. Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday.
Thanks, dear. I’ll see you Hawaii.