HART OF DIXIE: Tim Matheson Talks About Directing The Series, What's Next For Brick and the 'Exciting' Finale - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

HART OF DIXIE: Tim Matheson Talks About Directing The Series, What’s Next For Brick and the ‘Exciting’ Finale

April 9, 2012 by  

HART OF DIXIE is back!

It feels like it’s been forever since we last checked in with Bluebell, but the show finally returns tonight with the first of six brand new episodes.

Not only that, but tonight’s episode is extra special because the man Zoe thought was her father comes into town and series star Tim Matheson (Brick) directed the hour.

To find out what’s happening in tonight’s installment — and to find out what else is in store for the Breeland family — I hopped on the phone with Matheson to see what he could share…

What is Brick up to when the show returns?
Tim Matheson: I’m going to continue hiding any affection I have for Zoe Hart and try to make her life more difficult. But it’s hard with Rachel  (Zoe). Darn it, she’s so adorable and talented and…just gorgeous, you know? She’s like — I think for me, and for Brick, I think the thing is that I keep having feelings for her, like another daughter or something. And it’s hard to overcome those feelings to still be mean to her. [Laughs]

Do you see there being a time, sometime in the future, where he actually does break down eventually and take her in, to an extent?
TM: You know what? I think so, and I think that it’s one of the great things about being on this show is that the writers are constantly absorbing what the characters are going through. They see what the actors bring that they may not have anticipated that was there beneath the page or beneath the characters’ behavior, and then they go right to it in the next episode. And I think that, more and more, Brick has been allowed to let his humanity leak out — his feelings, positive feelings, about Zoe leak out occasionally — and, you know, because you can’t watch somebody go through hard times and as a human being, not have feelings about that. And I think that he certainly does.

Bluebell is one of those magical little towns that we all wished we lived in, where, despite people’s differences, they do learn how to get along and make the best of a tough situation. I think that’s the charm of the show, and the audience responds to it, and the characters — they’re all so human, and they make so many mistakes, but they learn from those mistakes, and they learn that, yeah, we all do make mistakes, but we go on, you know? It’s what we do.

Does Brick have any interactions with Zoe’s “father” when he comes on? Is there any kind of, like, “Oh, I can see where she’s coming from. I can see what she dealt with as a kid, etc.?
TM: I do. I think that my character feels very sympathetic towards her because of the situation she found herself in and she finds herself in. And you know, it’s one of the most dramatic episodes, because the character, Ethan Hart, we’ve talked about [him] every episode, involved [him] in the plotline, the storyline, from the very beginning, about the man she thought was her father, turns out not to be her father, but she’s looked upon him as a father all her life, and then he’s disengaged from her and cut off from her, and she has feelings and resentments and needs all wrapped up around him, and now he shows up in Bluebell, and it’s like, “Oh my gosh.”

And they have to work together as doctors, so you can’t let your personal feelings get in the way of yourself doing a professional job, and so, it was great. It was great as a director to be involved in that and be working with two of the realest, most honest actors I think I know — Rachel Bilson and Gary Cole (Ethan). They just bring it every time they step up to the stage, so it’s wonderful.

You have a lot of experience in directing, but was there anything different or unusual about your HART OF DIXIE directing debut?
TM: Well, I was nervous, only because I know these people as an actor, you know? And I do different kinds of shows normally. I do a little broader comedy and a little more action, like USA shows, sillier and this show has a lighter touch to it, a sort of a more, kind of, fantasy — how should I say it? It’s just a more delicate tone than most of the shows I do. And I didn’t want to muck it up, you know? And I was nervous that, that I would do that.

But I must say, working with such wonderful actors and our regular cast — and I say this objectively — this is one of the strongest casts I’ve ever worked with. That includes THE WEST WING and BURN NOTICE and COVERT AFFAIRS and PSYCH and ANIMAL HOUSE and a lot of things that I’ve done. And I’ve been on a lot of shows that were train wrecks, you know, that the creative writing staff is there and certain actors aren’t prepared, you know; they don’t have any idea what they’re doing or the tone of what they’re doing — there’s any number of things that could go wrong, and knock wood, we’ve been blessed with a tremendous creative team, both in front of and behind the camera, and I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t muck it up. [Laughs]

That’s fair. I mean, that’s a fair concern cause if you “muck it up,” which I’m sure you wouldn’t, you still have to see these guys the next day at work, and they could give you grief about it.
TM: I know. I said they could fire me as a director, and then the next day, they’d go, “Oh, by the way, you’re called at 7 o’clock as an actor.” And it’s like, “Oh, geez. Isn’t that going to be awkward?!”

Yeah. That’d be a little bit awkward. Going forward, which daughter is he going to have more trouble with?
TM: I think, you know, in the tradition – and I was blessed with strong women around me as I grew up, and my mother is from Nashville and my grandmother is from Richmond, V.A., and so I know strong Southern women, and I think that there’s no lack of them. So we have strong women on our show, and I think that Magnolia is big trouble. [Laughs] She’s big.

But there’s no more complex character than Lemon Breeland. I mean, she’s seemingly got an iron will, but there’s a soft side of her and a vulnerable side of her that we haven’t seen at length, and that’s the part that I, as a father, steer for and look out for the most and always, you know, just got my ears pricked up just to make sure that’s not getting the best of her, she’s not following into some traps there, you know? But you know, as a father or two girls, 24 and 25, I sympathize with Brick. [Laughs]

Yeah, I can’t imagine that. But, for Lemon, she’s getting closer and closer to her wedding. Is she going to be relying on her father if doubts arise, or is he going to be trying to steer her in one direction or the other?
TM: He’s always going to help her, but I think, yes. I mean, I think that she’s pretty capable during all this to handle it, so there are a few scenes and a few moments where doubts do arise and she feels that she has brought all this upon herself. And it’s that great fatherly moment where you can share with each child your own experiences and say, “You know what? We’ve all made mistakes, and we as humans always will make mistakes. And it’s something that you have to just forgive yourself for and move on because the person who lives a perfect life doesn’t exist, and, you know, you can’t expect that of yourself.” So you don’t want somebody to be too hard on themselves because we’ve all done it. We’ve all done horrible things in our lives, I’m sure, and wish we hadn’t and wish we could do again. And I know I, as a father, that those are the moments that really sort of make you put your arm around your child and say that, “These are the wonderful things about you, and those are the things that are going to reach into your life, and just don’t, you know, you won’t make this mistake again, I guarantee you. You learn.” And I think that’s what he tries to share with Lemon.

Well, that’s good. I know you also directed the season finale. Were there any particularly memorable or difficult shots that you can tease that you had to do?
TM: Oh gosh, yes. I mean, there are, there is a near-hurricane, there is a dream sequence, there is some steamy sex. there is goats, baby goats, pelicans and swans and…what else? And all the dots are connected in some relationships.

And what was so wonderful about doing the finale is while some storylines were connected and completed that have been sort of hanging up in the air much of the season that you think, “Oh, oh they’ve wrapped that up,” what we find out is that once you’ve, once you’ve resolved one storyline, you basically open the door for so much more coming ahead. Creatively, it opens more doors than it closed, even though a lot of situations were resolved and stories were completed.

It was very exciting, and it opens some doors for my character, Brick, too, for next year, knock wood, that it will continue on because there’s a lot more ahead, and he deals with certain things in his life and completes certain things that had been holding him back, you know? So it’s very exciting.

Are you perhaps referring to the unresolved issue of Lemon and Magnolia’s mother?
TM: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. You know, he sort of completes that whole part of his, of his life, and works to move on.

HART OF DIXIE airs Mondays at 9 PM on The CW.

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