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Not that it’s autobiographical, but Scott Caan’s new play, The Trouble We Come From, focuses on a guy at a crossroads when he finds out his girlfriend is pregnant. Never mind that Caan himself received the news from girlfriend Kacy Byxbee some time in late 2013, and was blessed with baby Josie James last July. Lest you confuse him with the play’s protagonist, Charlie, who can’t decide between committing to parenthood or playing the field, the Hawaii Five-O star was overjoyed to learn he was going to be a father.
“It’s one thing to have a girlfriend, it’s one thing to be married, it’s another thing to say ‘Let’s have this child together,’” Caan tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It no longer is about your feelings. We’re going to commit to each other. I don’t even think I’ll ever be married. But having a kid with this woman I’m with is stronger than any piece of paper or ring I can get.”
At Burbank’s Falcon Theatre through July 12, The Trouble We Come From began as a play with 11 interwoven characters, including actors playing past selves in flashback. Caan presented the play to the Falcon’s Kathleen Marshall LaGambina (Garry Marshall’s daughter), who showed it to Broadway director Matt August (Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas), who suggested paring it down to three characters.
“I said: ‘You’re completely out of your mind,’” laughs Caan. “I did a workshop with this guy and he really kind of showed me where the play was.” Not that Caan needed the guidance. This is his second play for the Falcon, and he’s written another half dozen or more for Playhouse West.
“He wrote a quarry from which we were able to excavate the play,” says August. “He brought a lot of emotion. He brought great character.” It could be because Caan had visited this place emotionally on Hawaii Five-O when his character, Danny, learns that his ex-wife’s son is actually his after being told otherwise in season 2. It’s not exactly the same as his real-life circumstances, but it allowed Caan a rare opportunity to grapple with relationship issues on the show.
“You’re doing 25 episodes of television in ten months; I dare you to recreate an environment that isn’t filled with anxiety and hurry up and get this,” he says of his rigorous TV schedule. “I’m not knocking my show, but it’s hard to set it up to cater to an actor.”
The same can be said of his experience on HBO’s Entourage, in which he plays ambitious talent manager, Scott Lavin. A close friend of director Doug Ellin, it was agreed Caan would have a cameo in the movie, but his TV shooting schedule wouldn’t allow it.
As the teenage son of a legendary actor, James Caan, Scott wanted nothing to do with the family business. Instead he formed a hip-hop duo, Whooliganz, with rapper The Alchemist. After their failed 1993 single, “Put Your Handz Up,” their label, Tommy Boy Records, shelved the album and Caan turned to acting, appearing in movies like Gone in 60 Seconds and Ocean’s Eleven, and cultivating a tough guy image like his old man.
“When you’re younger, you don’t give a shit. You’re on stage or you’re in a movie, no one can tell you anything. You think you know what’s what and you’ve got no fear,” says Caan, who will turn 39 in August. “Either that, or you got a ton of it; you’re just really good at hiding it.”
Working with him as a playwright, and then as an actor in The Trouble We Come From, August found Caan to be dedicated, focused and open to suggestion. During rehearsals, Caan worked on the script, but the production allotted additional time for August to help the actor shape his performance. “He’s been a dream to work with, probably because he comes at it as an actor and he wants it to work as well as it can.”
Caan’s change in attitude is partially due to his close relationship with his father, but has more to do with aging. “The older you get, the more you care,” he offers. “You can’t throw things out there and say I don’t give a shit, because you start to really give a shit. I think it has something to do with the fact that we’re getting closer to the end. If I don’t do something that I really care about and think it’s fantastic, I’m going to be pissed off. It’s easier to not do a play. It’s easiest to sit on the couch, smoke pot and watch cartoons. That’s the easiest thing in the world, but you ain’t getting shit out of it except a headache and big belly.”
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