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malcolm in the middle
christopher masterson interview

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getting the part, and getting in trouble

bbc host: hello, and welcome to tonights live chat with christopher kennedy masterson. christopher is ready to start answering your questions. heres the first question:

josh: how did you get the part on malcolm?

christopher masterson: it was a normal process, just like most other auditions. i went in and read for the producers and unlike other auditions, i didn't have to come back again and again. it only took one time which was nice.

ryan jerram: would you like malcolm, reese and dewey as your real brothers?

christopher masterson: yeah, i think they'd be good as brothers, only from time to time they'd become too much of a handful. their characters are all genuine and sweet.

jon baker: how did it feel to have a mother from hell?

christopher masterson: for me it's no problem because she's not really my mother but i imagine if she was, that it would make life a nightmare. nobody likes dealing with lois.

monkey: you are always getting into trouble in the show. what is the most trouble you have got into in real life, and what did you do?

christopher masterson: when i was 11, i burned a field down by mistake. it was an empty field, probably about 10 acres in size. me and my friend were lighting firecrackers and we ended up burning down the entire field. we got found out and i think i was grounded for about three months.

 

perfect writing, and embarrasing underwear

mark mason: the scripts of malcolm in the middle are always written to perfection! is there a large writing team working on the show? do the actors have much input too?

christopher masterson: we have roughly about 10 writers and they do such a good job that by the time the actors get the scripts they're almost 100%. it's very rare that we have script changes. on most of the other shows i've worked on you normally get script changes up until the day you shoot. it's good working on this show because the scripts are perfect when we get them. we can give suggestions for input and sometimes they take them but usually there's not much room for improvement.

tamasine baldwin: did you have similar experiences in your family growing up?

christopher masterson: yeah i would say similar but more deluded. i think most of the situations you see on malcolm are situations that you can imagine your own family being in only with less emphasis. we try and take realistic situations and bring them over the top.

steve: your stories in the show often seem to be strong enough for the military school to be the basis of your own sit-com. has this been suggested?

christopher masterson: no, it hasn't been suggested so far. i think that if it was, i don't know how interested i would be. when i watch the show, i love my own storyline but i can't imagine watching an entire thirty minutes in the military school.

vicky alexander: how would you feel if your father danced around in his underwear like in tonight's episode?

christopher masterson: hopefully not turned on!

louise m: your character smokes in the show, do you smoke in real life?

christopher masterson: i do smoke in real life. i'm trying to cut down because i've started coughing.

 

working with julia, and leaving military school

nikki: you have worked with some very famous people, including julia roberts. what were they like, and who would you most like to work with again?

christopher masterson: so far everybody has been very nice and cordial. i would definitely like to work with rupert everett again, he was the most fun so far, with lots of energy. i haven't had a chance to work with gary oldman, that would be a dream come true.

angela hamilton: how do you cope with fans recognising you when you are out and about?

christopher masterson: i don't mind it at all. it's nice if you get feedback on the show and people mention which are their favourite episodes. i think it's very flattering. i haven't had any stalkers so far. i may change my mind if i found a dead cat on the lawn!

louisa borthwick: where do you picture yourself in ten years time?

christopher masterson: i have no idea. i don't really think that far into the future usually.

lily b: what's your favourite episode of malcolm?

christopher masterson: the original pilot episode is my favourite so far. it feels like it has a lot of history as that's when we all met and it also made me laugh harder.

lee cross: are you working on any other stuff at the moment?

christopher masterson: i had about five months off and i did one movie, which was the sequel to scary movie, scary movie 2. we ended up going overtime so i didn't have chance to do anything else. now we're going back to work on malcolm tomorrow. i'm really looking forward to the new season. it should be cool and there's quite a few changes so they could be interesting. there's a pretty good chance that francis may be leaving the military school.

 

chicken suits, and acting with sticks

jack: if you were lost on a desert island, what three things would you take with you?

christopher masterson: my girlfriend, my house and my dog.

nikki: what is the strangest acting job you have ever been asked to do?

christopher masterson: when i was 15, my manager got a request for me to wear a chicken suit in front of our local restaurant and hand out fliers. i didn't end up taking that job.

chris newman: do you have any real brothers or sisters?

christopher masterson: yes, i have three brothers and a sister. one older and three younger. my oldest brother danny plays hyde on that 70's show and my younger brother jordan and my sister allanah act as well so we're a bit of an acting family.

gemma: what was it like to work with dragons in dragonheart?

christopher masterson: unfortunately dragons no longer exist so i was working with a long stick with a tennis ball attached to the end, and that was quite exciting. the problem with acting with sticks is that they don't give you much to work with and they also get temperamental!

jodie: if you could be one of your 'brothers' for a day who would you be and why?

christopher masterson: i would probably be reese. he seems to be so simple-minded so everything he experiences is fun. it would also be good to have no remorse for the day.

 

rehearsing, and not laughing at bryan

charlie cosham: how often do you rehearse?

christopher masterson: we don't work with a schedule like a normal show. on most shows you'll rehearse for three days and then you'll shoot for two days. on malcolm we shoot five days a week and we only rehearse only immediately before we shoot a scene. it's quite different from working on a normal show. you have less time to figure things out, you have to think about character stuff a little bit faster. it doesn't give the material time to get stale, which is nice.

tom lock: do you think francis is ever going to get one over on his mum?

christopher masterson: it's hard to say. i like to imagine that at some point he will but knowing lois that doesn't seem possible. i think if he ever does, by the end of the episode she'd redeem herself and he'd still get grounded.

zoe smith: what will be the next acting job for you after malcolm in the middle?

christopher masterson: actually i don't know. i had time to do a film this summer which has already come out and now i have another season of malcolm to finish. at which point i'll start looking for more work. i'd like to do some theatre if i get some time off.

sophie gooding: is it hard to stop yourself from cracking up during the funny scenes?

christopher masterson: sometimes yes, sometimes no. there are quite a few scenes with bryan cranston who plays hal where it is absolutely impossible to stop yourself from laughing. these scenes take so long to shoot as bryan makes everyone laugh over and over.

luther daniels: is it true you are going to play rachael's boyfriend in friends soon?

christopher masterson: no, i hadn't heard that one yet. it sounds like fun though!

 

sewer diving and radiohead

jodie smith: what job would you be doing if you weren't acting?

christopher masterson: i think most likely i would become a mexican sewer diver. there are these three guys in mexico city who swim through the sewers every day! they're responsible for keeping the sewers clear for the entire of mexico city.

nikki: would i be right in thinking that we neither know the family's surname, or even where they live?

christopher masterson: that is correct. we also don't know anyone's age, anyone's grade in school. i don't know why this is. i think it could be a private joke from our writers or maybe it's so that everyone can identify with the characters.

jolina love: what kind of music are you into?

christopher masterson: i like many different kinds of music. my favourite band is radiohead and i'm also a giant jeff buckley fan.

frankie washtell: where's the weirdest place you've been asked for an autograph?

christopher masterson: twice i've been asked in the toilet which is very strange. i had to insist on washing my hands first.

mike rainsford: do you prefer to hang out with the older members of the cast or the younger ones?

christopher masterson: i don't really have a preference. everyone on the show is very cool and they're all quite funny, so i'm just as entertained when i'm hanging out with the kids as i am hanging out with the parents or the crew.

 

inspiration and anakin skywalker

notorious n.i.c.ola: hi chris! have you been inspired by anyone for you to get where you are today?

christopher masterson: mostly i've been inspired by my mother. she is extremely driven and always makes every endeavour sound exciting. i think most of the things i've accomplished are a result of knowing her.

stevie: what's the weirdest thing you've seen about yourself on the internet?

christopher masterson: there's been quite a few strange things i've discovered about myself. one was that i would be playing the role of anakin skywalker in the last star wars movie. another was that i was living with two men who are also my lovers - that was quite exciting! i also read that i grew up in germany and gave up racing cars to become an actor. i wouldn't have minded being in star wars!

bbc host: that is all we have time for. here is christopher kennedy masterson with a final word....

christopher masterson: i speak for everyone on the show. we're all very grateful to everyone who watches, this is the reason we get to do it. so thank you.

bbc host: sorry if your question didn't get answered - there just wasn't enough time to cover them all.