No matter what projects David Schwimmer has done, he can’t seem to shake off the “Friends” role that made him a star.
After a turn toward drama on HBO’s “Band of Brothers,” and coming off the critically acclaimed “The People v. O.J. Simpson” on FX, Schwimmer once again displays his dramatic chops on AMC’s new series, “Feed the Beast,” premiering Sunday night.
“David’s the only one we went to for this role,” “Feed the Beast” showrunner Clyde Phillips told Business Insider when we asked if his “Friends” reputation factored into casting. “I had seen him in ‘O.J.,’ I had seen him in ‘Band of Brothers.’ He was just terrific, and a real good, genuine guy, a real mensch.”
“Feed the Beast” features Schwimmer in the role of Tommy Moran, a father of one who’s struggling with his grief over his lost wife. His childhood friend, Dion Patras (Jim Sturgess), re-enters his life after getting out of prison, and talks Tommy into taking one last shot at their dream of opening a restaurant. Set in the Bronx, the series tackles racism, the mafia, family, and drugs.
A lot is packed into the show, and it demands emotional depth in Schwimmer’s performance, which Philips hopes will help get viewers past his much-loved “Friends” stint.
“He very much does not want to be known for the rest of his life as Ross Geller,” Phillips said. “In fact, I gave him, as a gag gift, a fake tombstone. It said ‘Ross Geller, 1994-2004, Friend,’ to let him know that we’re putting a bullet in the head of Ross Geller with this show.”
As an example of the actor’s work, Phillips pointed to a scene on the first episode in which Schwimmer is attending a grief counseling group.
“He breaks down with tears in his eyes and we all have tears in our eyes,” the producer, whose credits include “Dexter” and “Nurse Jackie,” recalled. “I wrote it and I didn’t think it was going to go there… He’s a very, very gifted actor.”
“Feed the Beast” premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. on AMC.
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