The thing about CHRIS NOTH is, well, everything. He’s got it all: style, substance, and a gargantuan talent that has dazzled millions for years, including yours truly. On both the small and big screens, he’s upped the game in such memorable roles as Detective Mike Logan on the popular procedural Law & Order, iconic Mr. Big on Sex and the City, and most recently, as Peter Florrick opposite Julianna Margulies on the award-winning CBS drama The Good Wife. The versatile, in-demand actor also has a Broadway play in the works that’s already receiving great buzz. He’s a hot commodity! So I was especially thrilled when he agreed to indulge me in a little homage to James Lipton from The Actors Studio for this special Diary exclusive.
Your role as Big on Sex and the City significantly etched its mark in pop culture. However your entire body of work spans decades, and you’ve enjoyed enormous success in both television and film. Would you say there’s truth behind legendary acting coach Stella Adler’s assessment that “talent lies in choice?”
That’s a great question. Yes I agree. I think she was talking about the choice actors make in deciding their actions and character choices. What roles on film and/or television are you most proud of? I haven’t done anything in TV or film that makes me proud. Maybe someday. The closest I’ve felt to being proud are some of the plays I’ve been in. Do you feel cursed or blessed with any of your roles? Both. The Big role has been a blessing, and a curse. I really think that says it all! In the broad landscape of your acting career, where is your focus today? My focus is the same: find material that chal- lenges and says something about the human condition. Last summer, we put on Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus at Classic Stage Company in New York City. I found playing Faustus to be a fulfilling, if not frightening experience. But then all stage work is risky, which is why I keep going back to it.
Are the roles offered to you today different than a decade ago?
I actually just turned down a role because I don’t want to play another dad. But I should probably stop that because soon there will be grandpa roles! I’m also pretty much done with parts that resemble Mr. Big or Peter Florrick.
When you look back on your career, is there any one decision you wish you had made differently?
I wish had taken auditions more seriously when I was younger, though I likely did that because I was scared. My training comes from theatre, where the basis is a four-week rehearsal, a process in which a character continues to deepen. In an audition, you have to know the material so well that you can be totally free to do anything. You can’t just go in and wing it. You’ve got to really prepare for that moment, and I don’t think I did enough. I think there were missed opportunities because of it.
As a family man, do you make different choices when you read scripts and contemplate future roles?
I used to love any script that took me far away. I was in Jakarta in 1987 doing an action movie that nobody ever saw – you can’t even find it – but the experience of living there was phenomenal, exciting, and life-changing. However, with a child, could I do that now? No. I am fortunate though. I have an extraordinary situation with The Good Wife. They shoot me for two days and then I get to be home with my family in L.A. I’ve also had many opportunities to do the theatre, which I love. I’ve done one Broadway show and a slew of Off-Broadway.
Ready to go Lipton?
What’s your favourite sound?
SJP, Julianna Margulies, or me in an elevator 40 flights up?
I know it’s me!
Chris, thanks so much for taking the time to chat. You have a huge Montreal fan base that’s going to love this Diary exclusive. Wishing you so much love and success with future endeavours.