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'Graceland's' Aaron Tveit talks transitioning from Broadway to TV

Date June 06, 2013

By Jethro Nededog

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - One of the coups of USA's new darker crime drama, "Graceland," was landing Aaron Tveit.

For years, Hollywood has tried to find some way to bring the Broadway star into series television. Despite a recurring role on "Gossip Girl" and a few guest star turns, "Graceland" finally nabbed the actor.

"I had an acting teacher tell me years ago that if you play someone, you want them to be the best at whatever they do," Tveit said during TheWrap's set visit in Fort Lauderdale.

"It's not fun to play someone who's an OK salesman," he continued. "It's fun to play the best car salesman. So, that's the other thing that I really loved about Mike is that he's a brilliant agent, and he kind of has no field experience. So I thought it was very interesting to see how all those things are going to come together, and I just was instantly drawn to it."

Tveit first got Hollywood's attention after doing Broadway's "Wicked" and "Next to Normal." Most recently, he was part of the celebrated cast of the film adaptation of "Les Miserables."

Now, he plays Mike Warren, a newly graduated FBI agent assigned to a multi-agency safe house in Manhattan Beach, Calif. dubbed "Graceland."

Talk about the adjustment of going from a stage to a television series.

It's something that I've had to work on a lot. I was doing "Gossip Girl" while I was doing "Next to Normal" on stage. So, I was actually doing those two jobs at the same time for a while and that was really interesting because I'd be on stage all day and then I'd go to work on a stage. Working on camera in film and television is a much more technical medium at the outset, how to tell the story through using the camera frame. So, I think once I had put in a lot of work, it started to really point at the same thing for me. Like, I find that I'm able to do the same for preparation and character work and homework, but it's just how I then present it is different.

How will Mike evolve this season?

Aaron Tveit: Mike is thrown right in it. I mean he's someone who's very prepared for this job, but he just kind of doesn't actually have the sea legs. But I mean they - they drop him right in the water and kind of tell him to figure out how to swim right away. So I have to, I have to learn really fast what happens. Then over the course of the season, just the-the situations that we've all been put in a very short period of time, uh, he-he grows up real quick. I grow up real quick in the show.

Does Mike have a romantic interest this season?

I'm such an East Coast guy that being out on the West Coast and being in this situation is so not what he bargained for. And then I meet this beautiful girl and she happens to be spending the summer out here. She's from the DC area, and we kind of you know bond over that. And then you know that gets very complicated, too, because I really care for this girl, but then I literally have to lie to her all the time, and so it's... it becomes... you know that becomes a very straining thing too about that I want to be honest with this person, and I can't be honest with this person.

"Graceland" premieres Tuesday at 10/9c.

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