David Hyde Pierce starring in psychological thriller

Sun May 29, 2011 9:43pm EDT
 
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By Melinda Loewenstein

NEW YORK (Backstage) - David Hyde Pierce, best known for his Emmy-winning role as neurotic shrink Dr. Niles Crane on "Frasier," will show a different side in the upcoming psychological thriller "The Perfect Host."

He plays a seemingly well-to-do, uptight suburban man set to be victimized by a criminal seeking refuge for the night. But Pierce's character has a dinner party to throw that night, and instead of playing hostage, he decides to play host -- and hostage taker. The film opens July 1 in Los Angeles and New York through Magnolia Pictures.

The actor is also venturing into directing. His first staging venture will be "It Shoulda Been You," a new musical starring Tyne Daly, set for the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, N.J., this fall.

HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH "THE PERFECT HOST"?

David Hyde Pierce: I think part of what drew me to it is that the character starts out in ways that are kind of similar to the way people are used to seeing me. But then what happens in the course of the movie allows me as an actor to move along with the character away from that way of people seeing me. And that's a great luxury because of course the flip side of the success of a long-running television show is people tend to see you only one way, so this is a nice opportunity for me to play off my more popular image.

YOU STARTED OUT STUDYING PIANO. WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED TO GO IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION?

Pierce: I loved music, but my real skill and a lot of the pleasure I got from it was as a performer, but not necessarily as a musician. I didn't really have the technique (and) I didn't have the interest. The discipline, the time, the solitude, the work required to really be a musician, I didn't have the drive to do that, whereas I could rehearse a play all day.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE MOST CHALLENGING ROLE YOU'VE PLAYED HAS BEEN?   Continued...