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ABC News Now
David James Elliott Talks about Dad's Home and Scoundrels

June 17, 2010

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DJE:   David James Elliott
MO:    Meg Oliver, Host

MO:    The new ABC series "Scoundrels" is about a family of small-time criminals, that are forced to change their life style after the head of the house, Wolf West, gets sent to prison.  David James Elliott, who plays Wolf West, joins us this morning.  And David, welcome.  Thanks so much for being here.

DJE:    Thank you.  Thanks for having me.

MO:    A very different role than what you've been doing for the past decade on JAG.  Tell me, first of all, about the crime the family is involved in.

DJE:    Well, small time crime.  I don't know what you would constitute small time.  You know, they're not bad guys.  He just has a slightly skewed vision of how to make a living.

MO:    Alright, so it's a little quirky, kinda fun.

DJE:    It's quirky.  They call it a dramedy.  It has dramatic elements and comic elements that really support one another.  It's like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. (MO/Laughs)

MO:    You didn't have a lot of time to prepare for this, because there was another actor that was already playing Wolf West (DJE/That's right) and then you came on board.  How was that?

DJE:    Well, I was a little nervous.  Obviously these people had been working as a unit for two weeks before I had arrived.  I had been in the Amazon with my family for the two weeks they had been shooting,  And I came back.  I got a call the afternoon of the morning I arrived, and said if you want it, they're offering it to you, but you gotta leave tomorrow.  But they were great.  They were wonderful.  I got a call at the airport from Virginia Madsen and said, 'the whole family's over here.  We're having a barbecue.  You gotta come over, meet everybody'.  Immediately I was welcomed, and it was nice.

MO:    Well, it's gotta be hysterical playing apart from Virginia Madsen.  What's that like?

DJE:    Yeah, she's great.  Everybody on the cast is great.  Virginia's a doll, a real pro.  I mean, there's not a bad egg in the bunch.  We're just having the best time.

MO:    Alright, we've got a clip when you're in prison talking to Virginia.  So let's take a look at that--take a look. (DJE/Okay) (CLIP)

MO:    So what do you think watching that?  Seems like its a little quirkier than that, but that seems pretty serious there.

DJE:    That's a serious moment.  Yeah, it's a pretty quirky show.  So it's certainly a great departure from Harmon Rabb, Jr.

MO:    So what is it like playing a bad guy, after playing a good guy for so long?

DJE:    It's nice.  It's certainly nice to wear different clothes.  You know, I'm digging it.  I'm just having a great time.  It's nice to play--to try on a different skin.

MO:    Now this premieres this Sunday, June 20th.  (DJE/Yeah, June 20th at 9 o'clock)  But on Saturday you have another Hallmark Original Movie that's coming out.  It's "Dad's Home" is what it's called.  This is another--this is a pretty serious role.  It's about a workaholic single father.  How different was that to play, and what was that like?

DJE:    That was--interestingly the children were the same ages as my children.  I have an older--a 17-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son.  This daughter was, like 16 and the boy was 6.  There was the same age difference, and very similar personalities, too.  It was odd.  It was great--I mean, it made it really easy.  And my buddy (referring to Bradford May) directed the film.  He had directed 50 episodes of JAG.  So it was really comfortable.  Like putting on an old shoe, you know.

MO:    Well, I understand it wasn't completely serious.  You had a little fun with the kids.  A little food fight broke out or something on the set.  What was that all about?  (Laughing)

DJE:   No, that was part of the show. (MO/Okay)  They had a food fight.  No family film is complete without a food fight..... (MO/Right)

MO:    Now I know you've been happily married for many years, 18 years I think, is that right?  Congratulations.  (DJE/Thank you)  You mentioned that you took your family to the Amazon.  What was behind that?

DJE:    Well, I saw a film called "Crude", which is about an oil disaster in the Amazon 10 times as bad as the one we're looking at in the Gulf.  It's just simply horrific.   And the Amazon had always fascinated me, and we were offered this amazing opportunity to go and stay with an Achuar tribe deep in one of the most pristine bio-diverse areas of the Amazon.  So as dangerous as that might be, speaking about disease and bugs and stuff like that, life is not without risks, so.....

MO:    How challenging was that, especially to have a 7-year-old along for that?

DJE:    Well. you know, I was concerned.   We went and got our shots, and I figured we're in God's hands.   And you know people go there and they come out fine.  So I just assumed that that would happen with us, and we went in.  And it was just a great opportunity to show my children that LosAngeles is not the world.  It's a pretty big place, and there's a lot of amazing, different, diverse cultures, so.....

MO:   Fascinating stuff.  Thanks so much, David, for coming along. (DJE/Thank you)  Good luck this week-end--You've got a lot going on.  (DJE/Thanks)  "Dad's Home" airs this Saturday June 19th at 9 pm Eastern on the Hallmark Channel, and "Scoundrels" premieres Sunday June 20th at 9, 8 Central.  That's all the buzz we have for you today.  I'm Meg Oliver in New York.  Thanks for watching.