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PopEntertainment.com > Feature Interviews - Actors > Feature Interviews A to E > Mark Deklin

 

Mark Deklin in "GCB."

Mark Deklin

Kickin' It With the GCBs

by Ronald Sklar

 
Copyright ©2012 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: April 15, 2012. 

The TV vet talks of the joy of GCB and the heartbreak of Lone Star. And why the reboot of Hawaii Five-O kicks ass.

“I don’t think Good Christian Bitches was ever going to be a title like that for television,” says actor Mark Deklin. “They shortened it to GCB, which is what everybody would call it anyway.”

Smooth move for the new ABC hit comedy series in which Deklin, in a rare turn, co-stars as a closeted husband. The show is based on the bestselling book by Kim Gatlin, and produced by Sex and the City producer Darren Star.

“He’s a cowboy and a clothing designer,” is how Deklin explains his character, Blake. “He’s a rancher and a horse breeder. He runs the western wear division of a clothing company. [The character and his wife, Cricket, played by Miriam Shor] have a really fun and interesting marriage. They love each other madly and have a fantastic time together. But there is wackiness in between.”

Very much like Deklin’s own career, which has touched such projects as Charmed to Frasier to GSB’s common comparison, Desperate Housewives.

“I think people will tune in expecting a certain animal,” he says of the easy parallels to Housewives, “but it has its own voice. More than anything else, I think people will be struck by how funny it is. Even though it’s an hour-long format, we’re making a comedy.”

The cast of "GCB"That’s a long way from his last most notable series, the critically acclaimed but short-lived Lone Star. It appeared very briefly on Fox in 2005. 

“When you go into a project, there are so many variables,” he says. “I’ve done what I thought was great television. I was so proud of Lone Star, and we lasted two episodes. You can just never tell, but I’m really hopeful. [GSB] is getting a lot of buzz, and I think it’s going to transcend people’s expectations.”

A long-embattled veteran of series television, Deklin knows how to roll with the punches and the ratings.

“That whole week was shocking,” he recalls of Lone Star’s cancellation. “I remember seeing a photo in USA Today, with a picture of our lead guy, and the headline said, ‘The best television show you’ll see this year.’ A week later, we premiered, and the ratings were not what we wanted them to be, and not what the network wanted them to be. So we were put on the chopping block. After just one episode!

“The day we got cancelled, I wasn’t working that day and I was with my family. I was holding my daughter in my left hand, and we were laughing about something. And the phone rang, and it was one of my producers with the bad news. And it was this wonderful moment where I was holding my daughter, and it put it all into perspective. I felt myself feeling really tranquil about the whole thing. Like ‘oh, well, we got cancelled,’ but what really matters is that I have this beautiful, healthy girl in my hands. And that is so much more important than a TV show. That was one of those life-metaphor moments.”

Retro-lovers have also seen him recently on the CBS Hawaii Five-O reboot, whose character’s future remains in question and rests solely on the survival of GCB.

Mark Deklin, Miriam Shor and David James Elliott in "GCB."He says, “Once we wrapped production on GCB, I got a call to come back to Hawaii. They brought me back, but essentially CBS would have to ask ABC for permission every time they wanted to use me. And I can see how that would be annoying. In the episode they brought me back for, I get shot. But I don’t die. And I thought that was kind of clever because it leaves the door open for them. So if GCB becomes a big, fat hit, I suppose my character will disappear from Five-O. But if we’re not, maybe I’ll get called back and they’ll say, ‘hey, you recovered very well.’ So we’ll see how that plays out. It’s a nice problem to have.”

Deklin also guested on Hot in Cleveland where he had the pleasure of working with legend Betty White.

“It is everything you expect it and want it to be,” he says of White. “When I talk about Betty, I always use the word ‘yummy,’ because I can’t think of a word that describes her better. She is such a delight. First of all, at 90-years old, she’s sharp as a tack.  She just exudes sweetness and light. She’s got a wry sense of humor, and she can give it, but she is also gracious and courteous and kind.

“My daughter came to the set, and she and Betty really hit it off. It was a great set to work on. Betty and my daughter became buddies: a 90-year-old woman and a two-year-old little girl who both look like they have known each other for years. And it’s really cool to see.”

Mark Deklin in "GCB."In addition to acting, Deklin is in great demand as a fight director, showing actors (among them Kevin Kline) how to make it look easy — and meaningful.

“A lot of fight directors come from the world of stunts,” he says,  “and I have great respect for that world and those guys. But they don’t necessarily understand the actor’s process. They understand how to build a fight, how to make it really cool and really great looking. But I’m not working with stuntmen. I’m working with a Shakespearian actor or a musical theater actor. I have to build the fight to their bodies and really adapt it to them. And really make it an extension of the story that they are already telling as opposed to a separate event. And I do think I am good at that because I am an actor. I can work from that angle. They are professional actors, but they are not necessarily professional stuntmen. You have to adapt accordingly.”

Adapting is a life skill that Deklin knows well.

“I have to remind myself that I’m very blessed,” he says. “It’s very easy to grouse and grumble and be very frustrated. To say, ‘Why don’t I have this?’ I do have these moments where I feel that way and then I say, ‘Hold on a second. I have been lucky enough to make a living doing what I love to do.’ I basically made a living for the last 20 years doing what I love. I’m not super rich and I don’t need to be. I am able to make a living and I have a family that I am able to support. That feels terrific. There is pride in that.

“I grew up in Pittsburgh. My dad was a building supplier. I grew up on construction sites. It was a very blue-collar environment. For that reason, I didn’t really pursue acting as a career until I was 25. In my mindset, I was like, ‘I like acting, but it’s not really a job.’ I feel like I had to have a viable living. And I feel like I proved that. And there is a real satisfaction in that. If I retired tomorrow and I never worked again, I can look back and say I had a good ride.” 

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Copyright ©2012 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: April 15, 2012.