In "Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant" Mark Feuerstein takes, as he calls it, "a walk on the wild side." Larry Gaye is a huge departure from the grounded Dr. Hank Lawson that the actor plays on the USA television show "Royal Pains."
"Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant" is in the same vein as "Talladega Nights." It's something you would expect from Will Ferrell or Steve Carell, but not Feuerstein who truly nails the comedic high jinks the film demands. The comedy works because Feuerstein plays it straight as Gaye truly believes that he's the sole Lothario of the sky.
As Larry Gaye, Feuerstein stretches to outrageous heights as a flight attendant who thinks he's debonair, but is really lacking in picking up on social cues. His arrogance is warranted, as he's one of the top flight attendants of the sky. Larry has no problem with balancing all the facets of his job, sometimes literally, with every part of his body, but when it comes to balancing his personal life, that's when it becomes tricky.
Feuerstein sat down with amNewYork to speak about what's next for Hank Lawson on "Royal Pains" and switching it up as Larry Gaye.
The first film I saw you in was "In Her Shoes." Did you ever think you would go into more comedic material when you were first starting out?
When I started acting I didn't really have an opinion of what kind of material I would do. When you start acting, you do plays. I did theater in college, and I did everything from "Twelfth Night" and "Henry IV" to ridiculous comedies and dramatic plays. I got a sitcom and suddenly I was a comedy guy. Then I got "The West Wing," and suddenly I was a drama guy. I get to play a character who's a little more earnest in "Royal Pains." The writers have done such an unbelievable job of building that character, and protecting that character, so I thought I'd take a walk on the wild side.
How did you first digest the character of Larry Gaye? He's so outrageous.
I thought this was my opportunity to have fun. To take a character that makes his own rules and then breaks them. I wanted to do jokes that were both physical and somewhat slap sticky. Jayma Mays and I were shooting the scene at the Benihana restaurant and we're playing these characters that are falling in love, but there just happens to be broccoli and carrots that are being thrown at us by the chef, and then suddenly his bloody pinky.
Did you have to research this role? I'm assuming you get the chance to fly around all the time and observe flight attendants.
Actually, there was. I've talked to every flight attendant I've flown with in the last two years and learned about what they love, and what they hate. Some of them miss the old days where there was a romance about it. I think the movie brings back a little bit of that romance.
It did remind me of the Pan Am times.
Yes, exactly. One of the flight attendants I met, Roberta, she's No. 9 of 2,300 flight attendants at Delta Air Lines and she was saying to me that they no longer play Mozart when you're walking on the plane. She remembers those Pan Am days when it really was a royal affair to be on a plane. I think Larry Gaye represents that romance.
Speaking of "Royal Pains," I saw that crushing proposal on the show. How do you think that rejection will affect Hank for the arc of the season?
It definitely affects him, and as a result of that -- the stark rejection by Charlotte -- he'll have to go out and look for love in many wrong places. We've had one guest on the show, Vanessa Williams, who was fabulous, so there's a potential romantic entanglement there. Since we're shooting seasons 7 and 8 this year, hopefully by the end of the summer Hank will find something a little more stable.
Is it easy to keep things fresh on a series that's in its seventh season?
The great benefit of being on the air for so many years is that the cast and I have a very familiar relationship. We have such a deep trust among us, and a deep mutual respect, that when we step on that set, it's a comfy living room that you've been living in for many years. We have each other's rhythms in our bodies, so it's great to be able to have that comfort level. Very few people get it because it's very rare that a show gets to last this long. So, I know in my heart that this is the holy grail of television.
Streaming: "Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant" is currently out on VOD.