Many readers may be familiar with Teddy Sears' performance in the acclaimed TNT show Raising the Bar, while others may recognize him from one of his many guest starring roles in shows like Law & Order: SVU, Mad Men, and Ugly Betty, to name a few. He will be starring alongside Jerry O'Connell and James Belushi in the new CBS legal drama Defenders this fall.
TH: A belated happy birthday to you. How did you enjoy your birthday this year?
TS: Thank you. I spent my birthday with my girlfriend who, ironically, has the same birthday. Crazy, right? It was a pretty mellow day for us-we went out to breakfast, hit a museum, and spent the evening with a few family and friends. Perfect.
TH: Your family is about as American as it gets with your family dating back all the way to Plymouth, MA in 1630. What does that history and lineage mean to you?
TS: It's definitely cool to be able to trace my family's history as far back as we can. I'm fascinated by it, really. My dad and one of my brothers and I went out to Cape Cod to do a little investigating about a year ago and discovered an old family cemetery in the woods in East Dennis, MA. It was immaculately preserved and contained something like 100 headstones marking the graves of some of our earliest ancestors. It just floored me.
TH: What did you enjoy most about working on Raising the Bar?
TS: Raising the Bar was my first series, so that in itself makes it special for me. I'd have to say working with actors who I grew up watching and admiring was probably the best part, people like Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Jane Kaczmarek and John Michael Higgins. And I got to create and develop a character which is always great. And of course working with Stephen Bochco; the guy's a legend.
TH: Did it come as a surprise that TNT didn't pick up Raising the Bar for a 3rd season?
TS: Yeah I was surprised it didn't get picked up but it's not atypical. It wasn't a rating juggernaut and that's what TNT needs to compete with USA. They'll get there-they have a crop of promising shows coming out soon. They just needed to clear the decks and we were the ones to go. It's too bad because people were loving the show, but it's exciting for me because now I'm free for the next thing.
TH: I read that you had planned to do a triathlon relay last year with a couple of your former castmates from Raising the Bar (Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Jonathan Scarfe). Did you guys wind up competing and, if so, how'd you do?
TS: Mark-Paul had to drop out because he went off to New York to do a Broadway play, and Jon Scarfe bailed once MP left, so I just jumped into a relay with a couple other guys and we ended up coming in 3rd place. I did the swim leg. It was a blast.
TH: You enjoyed a lot of athletic success in high school and college, were sports your first love or have you desired to be an actor since childhood?
TS: I had no aspirations whatsoever of becoming an actor when I was young. I did sports from a very young age-my brothers and my sister were the same way, but I wouldn't call it my first love, more like the first thing I committed myself to that proved to be valuable on so many levels. Now I've done the same thing for acting, and it's funny-just like with sports, or anything really, when you commit yourself to something, great things happen.
TH: Of the different guest star roles that you've had, which one did you enjoy the most and why?
TS: This is tough, because I've been lucky to appear on such great shows. Mad Men was memorable, mostly because it was such an experiment. I shot that before the show aired, and I had no idea that anyone would even tune in to see it. It was a brief appearance, but I got to be a part of that world, which is exciting. Ugly Betty was another fun one. I got to kiss Salma Hayek. How cool is that?
TH: You've mentioned in past interviews about the long process to find success in Hollywood; did you ever think about giving it up along the way?
TS: Oh yeah. I definitely experienced self-doubt at times, especially in the beginning. I can remember moments where I had to ask myself if this was really what I wanted to be doing, and the answer always ended up being yes. And it seemed like just when I doubted myself the most, something great would come along and reaffirm things for me. Life's funny that way sometimes. Just when things are at their worst, something happens to keep you grounded.
TH: What can you tell us about your upcoming projects? I see that you've been cast for the show Defenders with Jerry O'Connell and Jim Belushi.
TS: It'll be interesting to see what happens with Defenders. It's a legal drama starring James Belushi and Jerry O'Connell for CBS and is created by Carol Mendelsohn. From what I hear, CBS is high on the show, but so much depends on the other shows being developed and how this show fits into their Fall schedule. I play an ADA on the show, and I just played an ADA on Law and Order: SVU as well. That show will be coming back in the Fall, and I look forward to going back on that one if they'll have me. Either way, I'm excited about what's next.
TH: We end all interviews with word association, so I say "wombat" and you say...