A Minute With: Matt LeBlanc on new 'Episodes' and life after 'Friends'

Wed Jan 8, 2014 2:34pm EST
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) - After winning over audiences and becoming a household name as one of the six lead characters in NBC's hit sitcom "Friends," actor Matt LeBlanc has found an unconventional way to carve a new chapter in his career; playing a nastier version of himself.

LeBlanc, 46, who spent 10 years playing the dim-witted but lovable Joey Tribbiani on "Friends," has found a new lease of life on television playing the reckless and rude character of Matt LeBlanc on Showtime's "Episodes," a role that has already won him a Golden Globe award.

"Episodes," now in its third season, premieres on Sunday, and will see its leading characters once again tackle the dysfunctional personalities running the complex and convoluted back end of Hollywood's television industry as they try to make a hit television show.

Sitting at his publicist's office in Beverly Hills, a jovial LeBlanc talked to Reuters about life after "Friends" and blurring the lines between fiction and reality on "Episodes."

Q: What do you enjoy the most about playing a version of yourself in "Episodes"?

A: It's actually quite fun to play basically the public's perception of the celebrity. So it's not accurately me at all. Sometimes it's right on the money, and sometimes it's way off base. I've really stuck to my guns about not differentiating which is which, because a lot of people ask me how similar am I to Matt LeBlanc in the show, and I think that, to me, is relevant. My job is to make you, the audience, believe I am Joey Tribbiani or I am Matt LeBlanc, that's an actor's job, to have this seamless interpretation of a character.

Q: Were there any 'no-go' areas of you life that you didn't want drawn in?

A: Yes. In terms of my family, I am divorced and have a daughter and have two step kids. In the show, I'm divorced and have two sons. And that was enough to not have it mirror my life too much in that area. Aside from that, the marching orders have always been for all of us that I don't mind being the brunt of the joke if it's a great joke. If it's worth it, I'm game. If it's just low-hanging fruit (then no).   Continued...

Actor Matt LeBlanc poses for a portrait in Los Angeles, California, December 18, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson