Veteran Hollywood actor Beau Bridges will take working on Broadway any day over performing in front of a live studio audience.
The septuagenarian plays father Tom Miller in the new comedy The Millers which starts on Network Ten on Sunday.
Bridges’ character leaves Carol (Margo Martindale), his wife of 43 years, to live with his daughter.
Carol in turn moves in with their son Nathan (Nelson Franklin) who has split from his wife.
The Millers, a family broken up like a cheap easter egg, is filmed in front of a live studio audience, which has proved very challenging for Bridges.
He told AAP from the set in LA that despite working in the industry for more than 60 years, he has only once before worked in front of a live audience for a TV show.
And that was more than a decade ago in a one episode guest role on the comedy Will And Grace.
“What’s unique for me is that it’s a multi-camera show in front of a live audience,” Bridges said.
“As an actor, it makes you use every tool.”
The Emmy, Golden Globe and Grammy Award-winning actor compared the live studio taping to his time on Broadway in 2012.
“We had weeks and weeks of rehearsal to perform in front of a live audience,” he said. “On this, you have four days to get ready to put it on.”
To make things harder, lines are often re-written at a moment’s notice when a punch line bombs, meaning you can never be sure of a one-take scene.
“The writers are watching in front of a live audience and if a line doesn’t get the reaction they want, they change it and try something new and they do it again and again.”
He said the upside is that the writers and the actors know straight away if a gag works.
There’s no second guessing what a viewer thinks or disguising a poor joke with canned laughter.
The Millers was created by Greg Garcia, who was also behind the hit comedy series My Name Is Earl, in which Bridges had a recurring role as Earl’s father Carl Hickey.
It was Garcia’s involvement that drew Bridges.
“He’s vastly talented and I really like his scripts and that grabbed my attention,” he said.
“His humour is more laughing at the situation than just jokes and I like that sense of humour.”
* The Millers premieres on Sunday, April 27 at 7pm on Network Ten.