I recently got to speak to Edwin Hodge about his guest role as Wade in TBS’s (formerly ABC’s) Cougar Town. We spoke about his character and the relationship with Busy Philipps’s Laurie, the cast, working with his brother Aldis, and what’s coming up on his plate.
Jenny: How many episodes will you be in, and how much will we learn about Wade?
Edwin: As of [the time of the call], I believe I’ve shot three or four episodes, and you definitely dive in to who [Wade is] and the growth of [Laurie] and [Wade’s] relationship in the beginning of this season, so it’s actually pretty interesting.
Jenny: Will most of your scenes be with Laurie, or will we see Wade interact with the rest of the cast?
Edwin: I’ve been fortunate to kind of interact with everybody in the cast a little bit here. Dan [Travis] and I have been friends for God knows how long, probably about eleven or twelve years, and just working alongside him again has been a pleasure. Working with Courteney and Ian, Josh… It’s just non-stop laughs with these guys.
Jump with me to read more from Edwin.
Jenny: The cast seems like a huge group of just friends filming as they hang out. Was it hard to come in and be a new person in the group?
Edwin: No, not at all. They were very, very accommodating and welcoming. Like I said, I knew Dan, so getting [along] with him was a breeze. Busy…her personality on the show almost mirrors her personality in person. She’s just very vivid and alive and [bright]. She has this very engaging personality, and jumping into scenes with her… I was nervous because one, it’s a comedy, and I never ever think that I’m funny. So to be surrounded by these actors who have done this show for [three years]…they have a specific rhythm and comedic timing. Trying to mirror that or trying to add to what they’ve already brought to their audience was a little nerve-wracking. Courteney directed my first episode [before], and she directed a couple of episodes I did this season, so it’s familiar now, and like I said, they are all nice. Josh and I actually played in the same basketball league for three years, so I knew him prior. So it’s been one of those easy times…easy days at work when I go and I’m happy to go. I remember being invited out to lunch with Dan, Busy, Courteney, and Coco, Courteney’s daughter. We took one of the studio lot carts, and we were driving on the street and went to the restaurant. We just had a fun time. It was really crazy.
Jenny: Can you tease about what’s coming up for your character? Have you been deployed again, or are you still there in person with everyone?
Edwin: When you see my character, when you get re-introduced to my character again this season, I have now acclimated myself into the circle. I’m…there to stay, essentially. [Laurie and Wade’s] relationship…there’s a huge turn—I’m not going to tell you exactly what that turn is, but it does set precedence [for the rest of the season].
Edwin: Yeah, that’s a huge deal. A lot of fans want to see Laurie & Travis together, and you know, it’s interesting to see how the writers have taken my character and kind of made him…almost the villain as far as Dan’s character is concerned. But you know, they play up the jokes a little bit more. We moved networks, so the jokes can be a little bit racier.
Jenny: At the end of last season when he was on, we got to see a lot more dimension to Wade because he was there…not just on the computer or hearing about him through Laurie. That will help engender good feelings toward him, even from those Laurie/Travis shippers.
Edwin: Yeah, my character on this show…he’s a very lovable guy, and you can tell that he’s absolutely in love with Laurie. The way the writers have written him…they’ve written the character in a way that people will like him. There’s nothing bad about this guy. He’s genuine in his feelings, and Laurie knows this. I think with Travis, he’s one: dealing with the idea of maybe not being able to be with Laurie at the same time he’s dealing with the idea of moving on and trying to find a new love in his life. There’s this dynamic that’s going on that’s very familiar to anybody. I’m sure somebody might have been in this situation at one point or another. They’ve definitely taken big steps to make sure my character is likable. We don’t want him to be the bad guy. We want there to be a specific reason and a valid reason as to why Laurie would want to be with this guy and why Travis might be slightly envious. The writers are doing a great job with it and the show.
Jenny: You guest starred on season 3 of Leverage with your brother, Aldis, who I’m a big fan of. How was that experience, especially in relation to guest spots on comedies like Cougar Town, and is that something you would be interested in doing again with him?
Edwin: Yeah, of course. At any given point, I’d love to work with my brother. In my opinion, he’s a genius at what he does, and any time that I can appear on screen with him and work alongside him, it only helps me. Any guest spots I do, whether it’s comedy or drama or dramedy, it’s another stepping stone. It’s another educational tool that I can take with me throughout my career. Watching my brother grow on his show and become the iconic kind of character that he is for his show and how the people are very, very engrossed in what he does and his relationship with Parker on his show…it’s very endearing and in many, many ways, humbling because he has worked so hard, and I’ve been working just as hard. We might actually have an opportunity to work on a show together, doing a guest star spot, so we’re trying to hopefully get that locked in [soon].
[One funny story he mentioned about filming the episode he did of Leverage… He talked about how they both sound alike, so they never did a scene together…never actually spoke in the same scene. He said, “They had to [manipulate] the script so Aldis and I were never, ever in the same shot at the same time.”]
Jenny: You were in Red Dawn, which just came out in November. Can you tell us what else you have coming up?
Edwin: As of [the time of the call], I’ll be heading to Paris [soon] to work on a video game for a French-based company called Quantic. But then I also have The Purge coming out May 31, with Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey, and that one’s kind of like a political suspense thriller. It basically takes what’s been going on with the economy and the idea of the socialistic individuality within our nation, and it kind of puts a drastic and slightly morbid twist on that idea. We deal with the poor, the sick, the needy, and the rich and how those two worlds differ, and at what point do we get back to our sense of humanity and humility and just start caring for one another again. I think it’s something the audience will be surprised to see. The director, James DeMonaco, he did a brilliant job. Production in general did a brilliant job. We had twenty-two days to shoot the entire thing, and probably eighty percent of it is by flashlight. It was a pretty fun experience. I’m excited for people to see that and for myself to see it, as well. … It’s a beautiful cast, a beautiful film, beautiful story, and at the same time, it’s a roller coaster ride. Once the movie gets started, it does not stop until the end.
Thank you again to Edwin. He was a pleasure to speak with. Cougar Town premieres tonight on TBS at 10/9c, and look for Edwin appearing in new episodes beginning in February!