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July 14, 2009

Gary Weeks 16

Gary Weeks guest stars in the season eight debut "Mr. Monk's Favorite Show" as Mr. Cooper, the head of The Cooper Clan, which is, you guessed it, Monk's favorite show. Gary was featured in season two of USA's Burn Notice as Campbell. His other credits include The Office, Chuck, Veronica Mars and 24. Gary has also written and produced two feature films, Deadland (2009) and 29 Reasons to Run (2006) which won numerous film festival awards.

Although he now lives in L.A. close to the action, Gary is originally from Georgia, attended Georgia State University and still calls Georgia home. In fact he had just returned from Georgia when he answered all my Monk questions.


How did you get the part on Monk?

I was actually extremely lucky with some good old-fashioned right-place, right-time timing. I got a call from my agent asking if I could make it to the studio in a few hours for a same-day read for producers. When I looked at the sides (the audition dialogue), I had a great feeling about it. I thought that even though I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, I felt like if I just fully committed to the absurdist comedy, I just might pull it off. It was a fun read, and since I am talking to you about it now, I must have done something right I guess.

Why do you think they chose you for the role? It's sort of the Monk version of Mike Brady, right?

That’s always a tough call; I have no idea, honestly. But I do feel like I physically look the part, I made them laugh in the audition, and I did feel good when I left the room so I like to think that’s a good sign.

Mr. and Mrs. Cooper

Then again, Mr. Cooper is a very exaggerated caricature of Mr. Brady, so I was actually hired to act badly in a way, so take that with a grain of salt too. But no matter how you slice it, I was just honored to have gotten a chance to play such a unique role on one of the best shows on TV.

What was your concept of the character? How did you approach it?

It’s hard not to think of the original Robert Reed Mr. Brady character, and Gary Cole’s [Dexter Larson, "Mr. Monk and the Playboy"] fantastic movie turn with it, so I played around with splinters of that, adding large doses of my own Dad, who was definitely a man’s man but had a very unique timing when he spoke “fatherly” to them as kids… and then I threw in some of my own tricks. Mr. Cooper’s over-the-top physicality was a great playground.

Favorite Show 13
On the set of
"Mr. Monk's Favorite Show"
Where were your scenes shot?

We shot all of my scenes on a sound stage with an amazing built-from-scratch “Cooper Clan” home on a soundstage. The production design and art departments did astounding work. It was beautiful.

How long did it take?

We shot it like a 3-camera staged pre-lit sitcom (like the original show), so it actually flew by. But then again, time flies when you’re having fun, right?

What do you think you may have brought to the role that wasn’t in the script?

I love improv, and Randy (our director) really made me feel comfortable to play around with the character, which was a true gift. Tony Shalhoub is so amazing to bounce off of, and I hope we created some comedy in places – It sure felt like we did. Not to mention that I also had a stellar guest cast around me, so it all felt effortless and fun. I just hope it comes off that way.

What’s the atmosphere on the set like?

They are all fantastic people, who really do have fun. It says a lot about a set when people enjoy their work, and don’t take themselves too seriously. One of the best I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

Gary Week 3

Who was the director of the episode and what was he like to work with?

Some directors just “get it” and Randy Zisk is that guy for sure. He’s a brilliant director and really made me feel empowered to take chances. As an actor, I couldn’t have asked for better. He got the shots he wanted, and he did it with a smile. I’d work with him again in a heartbeat anytime. He’s class.

What was the most memorable moment during filming?

During our first take, an afro-donning Tony comes up at one point in the scene and gives me a big hug and he held it uncomfortably long. It took all I had to not break and start laughing the first time he did it. His timing is impeccable, and he’s so much fun to work with. I knew right then how special a memory I was making there.

Did you watch Monk before you got the role?

Of course! It really is one of the best shows on TV, and I feel honored to have been a part of it.

What do you enjoy most about acting?

Every single character is unique, and it’s hard to pinpoint, but I love creating, and I love interacting with people. That’s a lot of what it is to me. It’s creating a character, then seeing what happens when that character is faced with obstacles life throws at them. Feeling that. Sometimes its very joyful or very painful to experience, but there is nothing like truly being in the moment. It’s really tough to put into words, but I do know this: I love what I do, and I feel blessed to get to do it for a living.

What has been your best acting experience so far?

THE BEST? I have been so fortunate to have some amazing experiences and I would put Monk very high on that list for sure. Each one is so different, it’s hard to say which is the best… but recently, I had a fantastic experience recurring on another USA show Burn Notice, and I got the pleasure of acting in a big scene toe-to-toe alongside my brother Tony in the movie Deadland, and he really nailed it. That was pretty special thing to be a part of.

Gary Weeks in Burn Notice

And your worst?

THE WORST? I try to focus on the positive, so mum's the word there!

Which do you find most rewarding acting or writing and why?

I love them both. As a writer, I love being the first person to meet a character, hear their first words, see their first actions, and feel their plight and joys. I won’t repeat what I said about enjoying acting, but I just truly love it. I hope I will never have to choose one, because they are both a huge part of my life.

Professionally speaking, what’s the one thing you’d most like to do that you haven’t done yet?

Wow… Um… Well… Everything! I have been doing this for a while now, but I always feel like am just getting started. Every project is something entirely new, and I really love the process. So I guess for now, I’ll just keep smilin’ and stay true to whatever happens next.

What’s next on your agenda?

Gary Weeks 14

Gary Weeks 4
Gary Weeks in Deadland

I wrote, produced and co-starred in the feature Deadland, which is running at film festivals now and will be released by the end of the year, so keep an eye out for that (see And of course, thank all of you for watching Monk, and I hope you have as much fun watching this episode as I did making it. See you August 7th for the season premiere. I’ll be watching it too!

Gary Weeks' Web Site

Gary on IMDB

Gary Weeks on The Commuter Show

Gary Weeks 13


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