Entertainment

Kelsey Grammer on ‘Frasier,’ her kids in business, political jokes, more

When we first reconnect with Frasier Crane in the revival of “Frasier,” the character blossoms. Since leaving Seattle at the end of the original “Frasier” series in 2004, he has become a household name, having hosted a popular television talk show in Chicago for years. And although he remains unlucky in love, Frasier exudes more confidence than ever when we see him in the Boston Update.

“He’s certainly refined and more comfortable in his own skin,” Grammer says of his on-screen alter ego, first seen in 1984’s “Cheers.” ‘Before. He knows more. He is wiser.

The same could be said of Grammer. Sure, he’s not really Frasier, but having played the character for four decades, their paths are inextricably linked. Ask Grammer how he’s personally evolved over that same time period, and it’s hard to tell whether he’s talking about Frasier, himself — or both simultaneously. But it seems like these days he’s also feeling more comfortable in his own skin.

“I’m excited about life today like I’ve never been before,” he says. “And the work I do is part of that. »

Revisiting “Frasier” for Paramount+ gave Grammer plenty of reason to reflect on his journey and its very public ups and downs. Grammer’s problems in his youth, including several family tragedies and substance abuse problems, have been well documented. But just like Frasier, Grammer seems pretty optimistic about this stage of life.

Kelsey Grammer on ‘Frasier,’ her kids in business, political jokes, more

Dan Doperalski for Variety

“I would hate to speak out of turn and say that nothing can screw us up yet,” he says. “There’s always something that can happen and hit you on the side of the head. But I know this: I will take care of it. And it’s a good thing.

In interviews, the actor often chokes up when asked about the impact of the character, and particularly the people he has worked closely with over the years.

That includes several former colleagues, such as “Cheers” executive producer and co-creator James Burrows, who directed the original “Frasier” and the first two episodes of the revival. Burrows is also returning to direct the first two episodes of Season 2. “He trusts me, I trust him,” Grammer says.

Season 1 brought back Bebe Neuwirth — whose role as Lilith, Frasier’s now ex-wife, dates back to “Cheers” — and Peri Gilpin, who reprized her role from her former radio producer, Roz. In season 2, Roz considers leaving Seattle and we meet her daughter, played by Grammer’s own daughter, Greer.

Grammer can’t wait for more of his former co-stars, including Shelley Long, Ted Danson and David Hyde Pierce as Frasier’s brother Niles, to reprise their roles. “It’s just a matter of wanting to be on the show,” he says. “And if there’s a good story.” I would still like Shelley to come back and play Diane, for an added sense of closure to Frasier. Because now that he’s back in Boston, there are things that are going to happen, and I think she would be one of them. And Ted, we have some ideas for that.

But the new “Frasier” is not a retread of the original series, which ran for 11 seasons on NBC. Instead, it is
entirely its own thing, with a new cast and a new setting, as Frasier returns to Beantown to repair his relationship with his and Lilith’s son, Freddy (Jack Cutmore-Scott).

This father-child bond was also a feature of the original series, but between Frasier and his father, Martin (played by the late John Mahoney). However, the focus on Frasier as a father also hits home for Grammer – who talks a lot about his bond with his seven children (from various relationships).

“My children – my young children, my older children – the happiest I am is if they are all together in the same room,” he says. “My job allowed me to do that. I had this great experience. It has been painful and difficult, hard and tragic – all of those things. But boy, it’s a good life. And I want to pass that on to them.

Grammer points out that he never steered his children toward Hollywood, and yet most of them ended up in the business. Spencer Grammer (“Rick and Morty”) recently starred in the Lifetime holiday movie “The 12 Days of Christmas Eve” with his father. Greer Grammer (“Awkward”) has this upcoming “Frasier” concert. His younger children, with his wife Kayte (whom he married in 2011), also show interest: Faith, 11, is interested in animation; Gabriel, 9, recently auditioned (but didn’t get a role) for “Stranger Things” and James, 7, is already creating a storyboard for his favorite films, “Jaws” and “Ghostbusters.”

Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane

Kelsey Grammer as Frasier Crane
Pamela Littky/Paramount+

Grammer, who just finished writing a book about his sister (who was murdered in 1975), says the memoir will also include an element about his children and how they primarily gravitated toward the family business.

“Kayte and I were talking about how it’s really something for a child to follow in their father’s footsteps,” he says. “To think that all of my kids, at least the ones that have their hands up, are ready to take responsibility for their lives, are all drawn to this industry. And she said, “That’s something to be proud of.” So, I wrote that in the book.

He continues: “That’s something I never told them. I hope they’ll read it and realize, “Oh, so Dad’s OK with that.” Because I never wanted to impose myself on it. I never wanted to force them into the industry or interfere too much in their process. Because it’s a bit of a mixed blessing to have my last name. People pick on you. You may be attracting attention because of this. And there’s a disagreement about whether that’s good or bad.

In addition to bringing back “Frasier,” Grammer also wants to increase production of his Grammnet NH shingle, now headed by Tom Russo. Grammer found success in the 2000s producing hit series like “Girlfriends,” “The Game” and “Medium.” The new company, which has an initial deal with CBS Studios, is specifically looking at drama projects in which Grammer could star outside of “Frasier.”

After all, the actor still looks back fondly on the short-lived Starz series “Boss,” in which he played the mayor of Chicago, calling him “my favorite character I’ve played on television.” More recently, he was proud of several films released during the pandemic that “no one saw,” like “The Space Between.” And of course, he’s an integral part of two other franchises: as Sideshow Bob, who still appears from time to time in “The Simpsons”, and in the Marvel Universe as Hank McCoy – aka Beast – as we know. seen in “Les Merveilles”. »

“Who knows, maybe there will be another window there, which would be really amazing,” he says of his return to the MCU.

But “Frasier” remains priority No. 1. Particularly in this polarized era, Grammer (who, yes, we know, has controversial political views, which we won’t get into here) thinks “Frasier” works because it’s not political. .

“We avoid political jokes because honestly, they’re so locked in a time warp,” he notes. “Contemporary culture does not fuel any lasting comedy. It’s only funny at that point. And usually not that funny for half the people listening. I think it’s good advice to avoid this. “Frasier” has always endured because it talks about the things that are important: relationships, love, brothers, fathers, wives, sisters. Some things are universally funny, and it’s usually a character-situation-relationship. They are the stakes of all our narratives.

“Frasier” has always been character-driven, and aside from the father/son dynamic of Frasier and Freddy in the new series, there’s also the comedy between Frasier and his old pal Alan (Nicholas Lyndhurst), who convinces Frasier to tag along. a teaching. position alongside him at Harvard. Their boss is Olivia (Toks Olagundoye), director of the psychology department. Also present are Frasier’s nephew (and Niles and Daphne’s son) David, played by Anders Keith, and Freddy’s friend Eve (Jess Salgueiro).

Returning to “Frasier” wasn’t part of Grammer’s thinking for a long time. But once the idea came up again about six or seven years ago, and he realized he could balance a streaming-sized order with other projects, he was there. And being back in front of a studio audience, performing a weekly script like a stage. playing, only energizes him more.

“As they direct the audience to watch a recording when we begin, I say, ‘I would like to welcome you to church. This is where the things I believe in are brought to light – where we can laugh and cry together and improve our human experience together. It’s a very good thing to do.

It’s pretty awesome for Grammer that he’s now convinced that a 10-episode season isn’t enough to explore this stage of Frasier’s life. “I’d like to go to 14 or 16 shows over the next few seasons,” he says. “Because then the audience will feel like they can be sure they’re going to see more ‘Frasiers.’ I do not give up. I know a lot of people do it. It’s just not my nature.

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News Source : variety.com

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