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Interview: Henry Winkler on Royal Pains Finale

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Henry Winkler began playing Eddie Lawson, father to Hank and Evan, in the first episode of season two of Royal Pains on USA. Season two is coming to an end with its finale airing this Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 9pm ET.

I participated in a telephone interview with Henry Winkler about Royal Pains among other things. He was as sweet as anyone could be. Here is what he had to say.

How did you get involved with Royal Pains?
Producer Andrew Lenchewski was sitting at restaurant talking about trying to cast a father for Hank and Evan. My dentist and his wife were at the next table and overheard him.  The wife was a big fan and told them they should cast me.  When I got the call, I was thrilled because I was already a very big fan of Royal Pains.

What do you find most challenging about bring Eddie to life on screen?
To make sure that I can go toe-to-toe acting wise with MarK, Paulo, Jill and Reshma.

Are there any ways in which you are similar to your character of Eddie?
I love my children. I am misunderstood. I am annoying.

There seems to be such great chemistry among the cast of Royal Pains.
What you see is what you get. The camera does not lie. We’ve had such a great time together.

Why do you think people keep turning in to watch Royal Pains?
Because Royal Pains has such great writing. Actors can’t do anything without great writing. The beautiful scenery doesn’t hurt either.

What is Mark Fauerstein (Hank) like?
He has so much energy it is amazing. And he is a remarkable leader on set. He is so positive.

What would you like to change about your character?
I’d like him to be in every episode!

What do you like most and least about Eddie Lawson?
What I like least about him is that it is so difficult to look Mark (Hank) in the eye when he says to me that I left when he and Evan were 9 and 11. These are the most difficult moments to play because I really don’t like the character then.

My favorite thing about Eddie is his zest for life. And we’ve come to where he now is starting to really appreciate his sons.

After playing such a cool character life Fonzie, it is fun to play flawed characters like Eddie Lawson and your character in Arrested Development?

The character of Fonzie was as different from me as possible. He was tough and Italian. I am short and Jewish. He rode a motorcycle. I can barely ride a two-wheeler. However, I got my Bachelors and Masters degrees in acting and prepared to play any type of role.

Are you going to be back for season three of Royal Pains?
That is what I am lobbying for!

How would you describe Henry’s relationship with his sons, Hank and Evan?
Eddie wants Hank’s approval. Eddie has Evan’s approval but doesn’t fully appreciate it.

Do you have any new children’s books in the works?
My Hank Zipzer series is finished. (This is a series of children’s books about a dyslexic boy that Winkler co-wrote with Lin Oliver. Winkler, himself, is learning disabled). Yesterday, Lin and I finished our first novel in a new series for Scholastic. It is going to be a funny series for kids, which touches upon bullying.

How did you get started in writing?
There was a lull in my acting career and somebody suggested I should write a book for kids about my learning challenges. I didn’t think I could because of those learning challenges. I would say to kids that are worried that they can’t do something, there is more than one way to get to where you want to go, there is always someone that can help.

Do you have any advice for young people that want to go into acting?
Tenacity, gratitude and preparation. Think of yourself as paste, then throw yourself on the wall until you stick.

How did you keep yourself from being stereotyped after playing the Fonz?
Will. I believe in: If you will it, it is not a dream.

What television shows are you a fan of?
I love The Good Wife. Other favorites are the new Chicago Code, Modern Family, Burn Notice, and Rachel Maddow.

What are some of your favorite places?
I live in Los Angeles. My heart is in New York. My sole is in Montana where I fly fish for trout.

Do you have a dream role you would like to play?
My dream is to keep working and be finished with acting before it is finished with me.

If you’d like to hear more from Henry Winkler, you can follow his newly created twitter account, @Hwinkler4real. Don’t forget to watch the season two finale of Royal Pains, Thursday night, February 24, 2011 at 9pm, 8pm Central.

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