|AOL chat, pt. 2
|AOLiveMC5: Here's a question from JUSTME768: Question: I really enjoyed your work in Sophie's Choice and
in the TV show with John Forsythe. What are your current projects? And, was it a thrill working with Meryl
PMacNicol: It was a thrill working with Meryl, as well as everyone else on that film, cast and crew alike. That
film was the closest approximation to a symphony performance I've ever experienced in this medium.
Everyone played better than they'd ever played before and possibly ever will again. I'm still deciding on
future projects, but I sincerely hope to direct a small independent film this year.
AOLiveMC5: ChuckM895 would like to know: Question: How do you prepare for such a role as Renfield in
Bram Stoker's Dracula? He was a crazed lunatic servant of Dracula.
PMacNicol: Playing lunacy is enormously liberating. Easy, in a sense. The restraints are off, and you're
running wild-eyed through the sets for 2 1/2 months. I felt like the Mad Hatter on a summer holiday. The
preparation was all in the accent. A good English accent is a must for anyone who calls themselves a trained
actor, and I hope mine passes muster on the other side of the pond.
AOLiveMC5: Clairey wants to know: Question: What was it like to work with Mandy Patenkin? Is he anything
like his character was?
PMacNicol: Mandy and I were supposed to play two fellows who really didn't like each other. Go back to the
pilot and see for yourself. What happened, was that we became the best of friends. We're still enormously
close, and I've even considered buying land which neighbors his own. He is intense, intelligent, instinctual,
what other I-words are there? I really love him. And that's not just Hollywood hyperbole. He's wonderful to
play opposite and our scenes together are some of my favorite.
AOLiveMC5: Wmonica asks: Question: What do you think about "chats" in cyberspace?
PMacNicol: This is the most fun I've had in a chat since -- wait a second, I've never had this much fun in a
AOLiveMC5: LProff asks: Question: Peter, what kind of role model do you think your Chicago Hope character
projects to young boys from a single female parent relationship?
PMacNicol: Oh, a good one I hope. Your question is more interesting than my answer. Let's see, certainly his
intelligence, his aggressiveness in court is nicely balanced with his soft, sweet side. Notice I keep saying "is"
instead of "was". (Sigh) I've failed you. My answer is stupid.
AOLiveMC5: ChapelHee wants to know: Question: I thought it was interesting that although the preseason
hoopla was about Mandy leaving, you seemed to be the focus of that last show. How did it come about that
you both left at the same time?
PMacNicol: Sheer, strange coincidence. God's truth. I didn't decide until October. Mandy had decided in the
AOLiveMC5: Shaftu006 has a suggestion for you: Question: Maybe PMacNicol should join the "ER" cast next
PMacNicol: It would be fun wearing scrubs! On our show, I wore them every chance I could get, which I
think was once.
AOLiveMC5: BelTor2 asks: Question: Which character are you more like in real life? The counselor from
Addams' Family Values or Chicago Hope attorney?
PMacNicol: Well, they're all inside me, which I guess is kind of spooky. Actors are like little villages. We have
all of these people inside of us, beggars and kings, saints and villains, counselors and councils. I'm like
everybody I've ever played, and even more like everybody I haven't played yet. Stick around and meet the
rest of me!
AOLiveMC5: Lisaloo sends this question: Question: I loved you in the Faerie Tale Theatre tale of The Boy
Who Went Out In Search Of The Shivers. Why did you take that particular role to play?
PMacNicol: I took this because I love Fairy Tales and I adore Christopher Lee, who you know from the
Hammer Dracula films. Actually, that entire cast was a marvel. David Warner, Frank Zappa, and Dana Hill.
AOLiveMC5: DTWFEMANA would like to know: Question: Your character on CH had real empathy? Are you as
warm to the problems of humankind?
PMacNicol: Well, I don't turn a deaf ear to the woes of Bosnia and Rwanda. But I'm sure I could be a lot
more compassionate. That's a good thing about this holiday season. It can act as a string around the finger,
reminding us of giving more and taking less.
AOLiveMC5: Peter, we only have time for one more question. This one is from FW DeeTAl: Question: I
haven't seen your latest with Leslie Nielsen as Dracula but I'll bet it's a riot. Rumor has it Nielsen is wild on a
PMacNicol: I don't know about wild, but he does have a whoopee device which he holds onto like an
asthmatic does his inhaler. He proud to say he had demonstrated it before royalty. I told him he should be
AOLiveMC5: Folks, since Peter arrived late tonight, we're going to stay a little longer an answer some more
questions. IV22 wants to know Question: Is Mandy as weird as the doctor he plays?
PMacNicol: No. But I'm sure there is a portion of Geiger in him or he wouldn't have an approach to the
character at all. That stands to reason.
AOLiveMC5: ChapelHee asks: Question: It seemed like your character on CH went from comic relief, to a
more serious character. Did you enjoy playing one more than the other?
PMacNicol: Well, I brought the comic aspect in with me. That was just my way of entertaining myself. While I
waited for more to do in the series. It wasn't really until episode eight until the writers found a stride with
me. The balancing of comedy with straight playing was established from episode eight on. Before then I was
a little schizo I think. Some episodes I was only comic relief, some episodes just a straight man. By the end of
the season David had found a beautiful teeter-totter quality to Birch.
AOLiveMC5: This one is from JenLCB: Question: Hi, Peter! Glad you made it. I was wondering if you had
thoughts on another prime time drama or sitcom, or theatre, or if you're going to concentrate on film?
PMacNicol: Oh, Jen! How in God's name are you? Jen, if I don't direct my own little movie by the end of 1996,
then I think I'll wither away and die. As for concentrations, small independent films interest me more than
anything else because the parts are so much more colorful.
AOLiveMC5: DRexrode asks: Question: So what became of your little daughter that was on the show?
PMacNicol: Well, Alicia is with Geiger. The little actress is with her real mom in Hemmet, California.
AOLiveMC5: NoFear010 asks: Question: Hello Peter MacNichol, What kind of music do you like?
PMacNicol: Everything. And I mean everything except high shrill operatic voices. They scare me. Oh, and I'm
not a huge fan of reggae.
AOLiveMC5: OK, here's our last question (for real, this time). This is from LeapYearD: Question: Peter, how
did you become interested in the bagpipes? How long have you played? Long live the eel!
PMacNicol: Bless you for saying long live the eel! I second that! As for the bagpipes, I have been smitten
with that instrument since I was 3 years old and I was watching the Stooges, and I believe it was Curly who
opened up a closet door to reveal a skeleton playing bagpipes. They were trying to dehaunt a Scottish castle
or something. The plot memory is vague, but the droning of those pipes was emblazoned on my memory. I
started playing in college.
AOLiveMC5: Peter, thank you for joining us in Oldsmobile's Celebrity Circle tonight!
PMacNicol: In closing, let me say to all of you fans of Chicago Hope, I could not have asked for better year
and a half, or a better role. That's a long time I got to stand up at the plate and my gratitude for the show,
its creators, its cast, its crew, and most particularly, for its audience is unbounded. I will miss you all. But only
Alan Birch is dead. Actors live and die and are reborn a thousand times in one lifetime. That's the magic of
AOLiveMC5: Thank you, Peter. And thanks to you, audience, for some great questions. Good night, everyone!
OnlineHost: Our sincere thanks to Peter MacNicol for joining us in the Olds Celebrity Circle this evening. If
you "tuned in" late, be sure to stop back tomorrow at about this time for an edited transcript. It will be "live"
at keyword: OLDSMOBILE. Thank you and good night!
OnlineHost: Copyright 1995 Oldsmobile; licensed to America Online, Inc.