October 18, 2009 in Features

A big step for Walsh

Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel
 
Associated Press photo

Dylan Walsh
(Full-size photo)

Dylan Walsh isn’t into the whole spiritual psychobabble deconstruction of acting.

He’s a lot more blunt about taking on an iconic villain role, the title character in the newly released remake of the sleeper thriller hit of 1987: “The Stepfather.”

“This is a chance for me to take that stereotype that I play on TV and to flip it upside down,” says Walsh, “the good brother” in the FX Channel’s troubled-plastic-surgeons dramedy “Nip/Tuck.”

Sean, his character, is the “goody-goody” surgeon who loses at life, love, the works. So maybe Walsh, 45, is ready to move on. Playing a stepfather with a twisted, violent past was just the thing.

“It was great fun playing this, because in a given scene, I could be two guys, both versions of this man – the sweet guy who tries to take care of his ‘family,’ and then I turn away and the camera catches some sort of darkness that comes over my face,” he says. “That is a good time for an actor!”

Walsh might have been reluctant to take on a role that seemed to hang over the original film’s star – Terry O’Quinn, lately of “Lost” – and hold him back.

“But I’m already known for the TV show, so I might dodge that,” he says.

Like most Americans, he’s not on his first marriage, “and my two kids from a previous marriage have a stepmom.” But he figured out what makes this stepfather tick.

“I try not to think ‘villain.’ That’s important,” Walsh says. “Because what sets this guy apart, at least on the surface, is how he wants a family.

“In his mind and in his thinking, that’s all he wants. The way it comes out is skewed, perverted, but as it starts, all he wants is a wife and children. …

“I went to the set thinking about the guy who was struggling to have a family, to make that family work. And I just trusted that the dark stuff would just come to me when the need arose.”

He avoided seeing the original film, “because I am very impressionable. I’d just end up imitating Terry O’Quinn and that would be deadly!

“But now that ours is finished … I’d love to see it and meet Terry.”

Walsh thinks the timing couldn’t be better.

“My kids have stepparents. Their friends at school have stepparents,” he says.

“The movie is playing on a really common fear, right? You know it’s just a natural thing to wonder, ‘How sinister is this new person in our family?’ ”

The birthday bunch

Singer-guitarist Chuck Berry is 83. Actress Dawn Wells (“Gilligan’s Island”) is 71. Actress Pam Dawber is 59. Actress Erin Moran is 49. Actor Jean-Claude Van Damme is 49. Jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis is 48. Actor Vincent Spano is 47. R&B singer Ne-Yo is 30. Country singer Josh Gracin is 29. Actor Zac Efron is 22.


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