Our Exclusive Interview with Harry Hamlin
We had the absolute honor to get a few minutes to speak with the world renowned actor, author and family man Harry Hamlin to talk a little bit about his family life and his incredibly memorable years in Hollywood.
(909) Harry Hamlin, it’s a pleasure to meet you. You are an incredibly talented actor, classically trained at Yale University. You’ve performed stage, television and film in so many iconic roles it would be hard to pin down a favorite, from Perseus in “Clash of the Titans” with Lawrence Olivier, to your Emmy nominated reoccurring role as Jim Culter on AMC’s “Mad Men”. Do you have any personal favorite roles that you’ve portrayed?
(Harry) It’s often said that the first staring role on film is the most memorable for a lot of reasons and I think that holds true for me. Playing Joey Popchick in the Larry Gelbart spoof, MOVIE MOVIE directed by Stanley Donen has to be at the top of the list. Working opposite George C Scott, Eli Wallach and Red Buttons for my first movie role was truly memorable and quite an auspicious beginning.
(909) Having touched on every stage do you feel you have a preference for any one media? Such as the stage, or television?
(Harry) I think I’m at my best on stage and I love live theater because there is something dangerous and exciting about working without a net. But, I just love to act…on stage, on a soundstage, on location…in the shower…wherever!
(909) Are there any roles that you’ve wanted to play but haven’t? If you could cast yourself as any character on any project, is there something that you have in mind?
(Harry) I’ve been working on Richard from RICHARD III and George from WHOS AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLF. I’d go just about anywhere to play those parts. I’ve already played them in the nude…in the shower.
(909) I imagine a lot has changed in the movie industry since your debut film “Movie Movie” in 1977. Working in film and television today 40 years later what changes would you say you’ve noticed the most? Good or bad.
(Harry) The movie business has changed about 180 degrees since I started. The emphasis has gone from stars to stories and mainly comic book type stories. The advent of digital has changed everything by making special effects so available. And green screen is used more and more for exotic locations. The acting process is the same though and the craft is still the craft.
(909) Your Grandfather was the founder of the International Council of Museums, your father helped design the Saturn V rocket and I’ve read that you also have a degree in Psychology and have a big interest in fusion energy advancement. How do you feel that these studies have affected your career?
(Harry) I’m certain that my studies of behavioral psychology have been a big help in building characters. I still keep a copy of the DSM 5 close by! I’m not sure my addiction to Quantum field theory and the Standard Model of Particle Physics have done much other than distract me from the craft. I am a huge proponent of Clean, non-radioactive Fusion Energy and I started a company called Tri Alpha Energy in 1998 to bring clean Fusion to the world. Check out my TED Talk on the subject. Google “You Don’t Have To Be A Rocket Scientist by Harry Hamlin” and you will find it on You Tube!
(909) What’s the process like for Harry Hamlin when it comes to picking a role to play, and preparing for it?
(Harry) I know immediately when I read a script if it’s something I want to do. Maybe it’s a sixth sense, I don’t know, but I know right away. Usually I’m drawn to quirky characters who inhabit their world at slight right angles to the generally accepted norm. I do as much research and preparation as I need to so that the role fits like a glove on day one.
(909)What sort of interests and hobbies do you have off stage?
(Harry) I’m an adventure traveler and my favorite off duty pastimes are scuba diving and mountain climbing. I especially like diving on sunken ships and have dived on Spanish galleons in the Caribbean and World War II supply ships in Micronesia. Just dived the Great Barrier Reef with my daughter in November. I also play acoustic guitar for my nine-year-old Rottweiler, Lola! She seems to like it.
(909) You and your family have taken part in two reality shows now “Harry Loves Lisa” and now Lisa is on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” What are some of the ups and downs of taking part in a reality show? How has that experience been for you?
(Harry) Lisa and I are always coming up with kooky ideas to keep busy during off times and industry strikes. During a writer’s strike we decided to come up with our own reality show called “I LOVE LISA”, mainly because Lisa shares some of the domestic challenges with Lucile Ball from “I LOVE LUCY”. We sold the show as “I LOVE LISA” but the network got cold feet and changed the name to “HARRY LOVES LISA” and it just wasn’t the same. It never quite hit the mark I wanted to hit due to network interference so I’d say it wasn’t the most satisfying experience. As for RHOBH, I try to keep my head down as much as possible for fear of taking a stray bullet!
(909) By the time people get to read this issue of the magazine it’ll be time to celebrate Mother’s Day then Father’s Day. Do you have any funny antidotes or fond memories of a particular mother’s day? How do you celebrate with Lisa and the kids?
(Harry) Since I delivered both kids in the hospital, Mother’s Day is something Lisa and I kind of share. We celebrate Mother’s Day as a family, usually at brunch in Malibu but Father’s Day kind of comes and goes with a whimper.
(909) Are there currently any upcoming projects that you’re allowed to talk to us about?
(Harry) As for upcoming projects, I will be working again with Nick Nolte and Sela Ward on GRAVES for season 2.
It was a real pleasure to spend some time getting to know Harry, and we encourage you to get to know him even better by picking up a copy of his autobiography Full Frontal Nudity: The Making of an Accidental Actor, checking out his TED Talk on YouTube and of course stay tuned for the next Season of “GRAVES” on EPIX.