Gary Cole: Hot and Cole

Once best known for playing the rugged, sensitive talk-show radio host on TV's "Midnight Caller," Gary Cole went big-screen by donning a wig in The Brady Bunch Movie, and now he's at it again.

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Though Gary Cole's good looks served him nicely on the stage as a member of Chicago's revered Steppenwolf troupe, as well as on TV in the cult faves "Midnight Caller" and "American Gothic." it's his prowess in polyester that has thus far garnered him his biggest success in films. As clueless patriarch Mike Brady in The Brady Bunch Movie, Cole's Robert Reed tribute was so dead-on that even some of the other actors didn't recognize him without his Afro. This summer the Illinois native shimmies back into a leisure suit for the kitschier-than-ever follow-up, A Very Brady Sequel.

DENNIS HENSLEY: Let me try to guess the plot of A Very Brady Sequel: Mr. Brady runs away with Marcia?

GARY COLE: No.

Q: Mr. Brady runs away with Greg?

A: No. You never know, but that would be another movie.

Q: The kids sing and dance?

A: Yes, a couple of times. Thankfully, I don't. What happens is Carol's husband, who we know from the TV pilot has passed away, returns. He wasn't really dead.

Q: Is your character's virility threatened by the return of the first husband?

A: As threatened as he can be, being as oblivious as he is.

Q: He seems the most oblivious of all of them.

A: I hope to think so. I'm proud of that fact. My take on it was to get as vague as you could get.

Q: Did you do a Mike Brady message on your answering machine?

A: No. I left it at work with the wig.

Q: Same wig as last time?

A: No, it's not. Apparently the first wig--which I called the helmet with wings--is missing in action.

Q: Did anyone ask RuPaul? He was in the first movie, and we all know he has a thing for wigs.

A: Fingers would point there. I don't know if anyone investigated that.

Q: Did you keep any of the clothes?

A: I kept the golf shirt from the first one.

Q: What is it with golf clothes? Why are they so ugly?

A: Maybe its to distract the other golfer when he's trying to swing. He takes a look at somebody's pants and then goes off the ball.

Q: I imagine you'll he doing the opening credits in the boxes again. Now, since Mike is in the center square at the bottom, he only looks up and to the side. Did you ever blow a take by looking down?

A: No. but I did blow a take where I left the square and didn't come back in time. In the first movie, I kind of fell out of the frame and as the screen goes black. I'm not in the picture.

Q: What were you doing?

A: Oh. it was something sexual having to do with Shelley Long.

Q: Were you surprised at how well The Brady Bunch Movie did?

A: It was one of those things where it could go either way. I figured it obviously had some kind of built-in audience, but I didn't know if it had enough to sustain it. The first one didn't really open against anything, so it'll be interesting to see how the sequel opens in the middle of summer.

Q: Did the first one help your career?

A: Anytime something does well, I don't think it hurts you. What it did do was, I got some inquiries for some situation comedies. That had never happened before. Up until The Brady Bunch Movie, no one had ever thought of me for a comedy.

Q: Does anyone ever recognize you as Mr. Brady?

A: No. Most people recognize me from "Midnight Caller," because it ran three years and it's still on cable.

Q: Did your life change dramatically when you landed that series?

A: Yeah, but we shot in San Francisco and when you're not in L.A., it's different. My name was a little more recognizable, but it wasn't like a juggernaut because the show wasn't on fire like "ER."

Q: You also starred in the series "American Gothic," which was recently canceled. Do you wish it would have kept going?

A: I'm kind of glad it's over because it's just hard to live out of town for months.

Q: What's your next movie?

A: I'm doing an independent film called Santa Fe. It's a stylized, absurdist, almost no-budget movie. I play a guru junkie--he'll follow anybody. We find out in a flash-back that he was at Waco. It's a comedy...a dark comedy.

Q: What was Clint Eastwood like to work with on In the Line of Fire?

A: A low-maintenance individual. He likes to get it in one or two takes. It's surreal when you come face-to-face with somebody that's an icon you grew up with, but you have to get past that and do the work.

Q: What did you get made fun of for when you were a kid?

A: I got grief for wearing white socks. At the time, there was some-thing about white socks that was not cool, and I wore my white socks a little too long, apparently.

Q: Are you married?

A: Yes, I've been married for four years to an actress named Teddi Siddall-Cole. We have one daughter, who's three.

Q: Three's probably too young to get into The Brady Bunch.

A: She visited the set of the first movie and was a little scared. I think she knew it was me, but it made her uncomfortable. You know, something was very wrong with Daddy's hair.

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Dennis Hensley interviewed Rob Morrow for the May issue of Movieline.



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