A Minute With: Thomas Middleditch on nerding out in life and on TV

Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:11am EDT
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By Mary Milliken

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As the star of the new HBO tech-world comedy "Silicon Valley," Thomas Middleditch might be channeling an early version of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, with his hoodie, ginger hair, social awkwardness and twitchy nervousness.

"But it's not a one-to-one Zuckerberg," says show director Mike Judge (of "Beavis and Butt-head" fame), while Judge's collaborator Alec Berg says "there was never a moment in any of this that was like 'Do it more Zuckerberg.'"

Until he landed the lead role of Richard, a computer programmer with a coveted compression algorithm, the 32-year-old Middleditch had played mostly smaller, "crazy guy" parts. Now, the comedy writer and actor gets a second season after HBO renewed "Silicon Valley" based on good reviews and ratings for the first few episodes of season one.

Middleditch talked to Reuters about his own nerdy back story, his big step up to an HBO show and the challenge of replicating his director's panic-induced vomiting.

Q: Mike Judge says you've done some programming.

A: I've made HTML, built some websites, figured out some Flash stuff ... little computer programs like that, on my own, but I wouldn't call myself a coder.

Q: How has that experience working with technology helped your development of your character, Richard?

A: I know nowadays I come across as a very social, really cool person. But in elementary, junior high, high school, I had a very nerdy background, not only in computer programming, but also in videogames and nerdy stuff. That all definitely helped connect with the world.   Continued...

Cast member Thomas Middleditch attends the Los Angeles premiere for the new HBO comedy series "Silicon Valley" in Hollywood, California April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian