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Interview: Josh Zuckerman

Josh Zuckerman is definitely no stranger to the CW network. He appeared in over twenty episodes of the hit series Beverly Hills, 90210 as Max Miller. Fast forward several years and he is back on the network, this time as the lead in the comedy series Significant Mother. New episodes of the comedy air every Monday night at 9:30/8:30c.

Josh has also appeared in series such as Kyle XY, Desperate Housewives and CSI: Miami. On the big screen, he's appeared in the hilarious comedy Sex Drive, Austin Powers in Goldmember and Feast.

Today, Josh sits down with us to talk about his new comedy series, what it’s like to be the lead on a television series and how he would handle the situation his character has to deal with in Significant Mother.

Pop Culture Principle – Significant Mother was originally intended to be a webseries. How did it morph from that to a television series on the CW?

Josh Zuckerman – We were originally a show commissioned for the CW Seed, which is a kind of an incubation website for the CW network. We were commissioned for three episodes and we went ahead and shot those with the hope that they would be premiered on the CW Seed and people would watch them and like them enough that the CW network would order more webisodes or bring us to network.

That never really happened because they just kept it within the network and then ultimately decided to order it straight to series for the network.

Pop Culture Principle – What was it about the pilot script for Significant Mother that made you want to be part of the project?

Josh Zuckerman – I thought the dialogue was hysterical and I loved the scenario and how the show was setup. I like how it took that concept and ran with it, but didn’t rely on it. It was explored from a comedic perspective, but also a real world, gradual evolution of how the characters would deal with that situation.

Pop Culture Principle – Can you tell us the basic premise for Significant Mother and a little about your character Nate Marlowe?

Josh Zuckerman – Significant Mother is about a young, Portland restaurateur who returns home from a business trip to find out that his mom and his best friend, who is also his roommate, started sleeping together. Once he discovers that, it all unravels from there and he has to figure out how to cope with this potential dating relationship.

As his mom and best friend decide what they are going to do with their relationship, he has to be there every step of the way and learn how to accept it because of course, he loves his mom and his best friend and he isn’t getting rid of them. His friend and his mother have decided to throw this monkey wrench into his life.

Meanwhile, he’s a very career driven and very passionate about his business and food. The relationship between his friend and his mom is constantly encroaching on that territory as well and potentially jeopardizing his business. What adds fuel to the fire is that his dad, who is separated from his mom, is constantly trying to break up this new relationship as well. So, it’s just this huge mess that he keeps getting pulled into and hilarity ensues.

Pop Culture Principle – The series boasts an amazing cast including Krista Allen and Jonathan Silverman? What was it like working with them on set?

Josh Zuckerman – Every single member of our cast came to work entirely prepared and came with ideas and a can do attitude. They arrived knowing we were making a comedy and wanted to have fun in the process and help each other out. They wanted to try things that may work or may not work and we were definitely encouraged to try things by our executive producer Chip Reid who also directed eight of the nine episodes.

Everyone has their own, unique personalities. Nathaniel Buzolic is a bit of a troublemaker on set in the most charming way possible. He’s a bit of a showman in between takes and that makes for a great atmosphere because during a long day, the crew looks forward to what prank he might pull or joke he might make. Everyone in the cast is just so generous and a lot of fun to be around.

Pop Culture Principle – Being that Significant Mother is a comedy, were you allowed to play around with the script and do some improvisation or did you have to stick strictly to the script?

Josh Zuckerman – It’s a situation where we are encouraged to get one take that is exactly like what is on the page and then we can play around and pitch ideas. Rich Keith and Erin Cardillo, who both created the show, were always present and always open to conversations about scenes, about dialogue and just open to so many ideas.

Pop Culture Principle – If you were in the same situation as your character Nate, how do you think you would handle it?

Josh Zuckerman – I feel like I would crawl into a closet, curl up into a ball and start crying.

Pop Culture Principle – This is your first time as the lead in a series, do you feel any added pressure being the lead for Significant Mother?

Josh Zuckerman – Yes, I think I do to some degree. I’ve been fortunate enough where I have been the number one on a call sheet before for a feature film or a television movie. It’s always a little scary, but at the same time, it’s really nice because you have a responsibility and it’s nice to feel like you can set the tone by the way you conduct yourself. It’s nice to feel like you can throw ideas out there they may not be great, but people will listen to what you say and you may find something in those ideas.

You feel like the host of a party when a guest star or a day player comes to set. At the end of the day, you want what everybody else wants. You want the product to be as good as possible and you want everyone to have a good time. Being number one on the call sheet isn’t usually the first role an actor gets.

Usually, your first role you get, you are number thirty on the call sheet and you know what it’s like to be someone who just comes in and you know how scary it is. Being number one on the call sheet, you feel like you can be that person who can warmly welcome that actor who is number thirty on the call sheet which I wish someone would have done for me when I was number thirty on the call sheet.

Pop Culture Principle – Besides the premise of the series, what do you think will make Significant Mother stand out against other comedies on television today?

Josh Zuckerman – The writing to me is so rich, so clever and so inventive. I just don’t mean the dialogue, but also where the story is taken. I am always looking for adventure in a story and watching this show, I think people will fall in love with this world and the characters.

The characters are really loveable and every actor does such a fun and charming job. I feel like that is a huge part of the battle in attracting viewers is getting people to want to watch and care about the characters. When they see that these characters care about each other, I think that changes the landscape.

The show has a particular feel because it was shot in Portland and that makes our show stick out. It’s a different focus on Portland than Portlandia or certainly Grimm. It is its own unique brand of Portland and that’s a huge draw as well.

Pop Culture Principle – What can fans look forward to with the first season of Significant Mother?

Josh Zuckerman – There are a few things that I can mention. We have some amazing guest stars this season. Right of the bat in episode two, we have Denise Richards joining us as a cougar which is the best way to describe her character. She was a blast to work with, so lovely and very funny.

Then we have Linda Gray from Dallas who is coming in to play the family grandmother. We have Terry Kaiser, who played Bernie in the original Weekend at Bernie films, joining us midway through the season. We are doing an homage to Weekend at Bernie’s in that episode. We also have Jerry O’Connell joining us later in the season as a real estate agent who gets pulled into a lot of hijinks.

We would like to thank Josh for sitting down and chatting with us. You can catch new episodes of Significant Mother every Monday night at 9:30/8:30c. You can also get all of Josh's latest news and project updates by following him on his official Twitter account here.

**Significant Mother photos courtesy of Scott Patrick Green/The CW - 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved**

**All other photos courtesy of Vince Trupsin**

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