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Royal Pains star Mark Feuerstein is taking his turn in the director’s chair.
The actor is set to helm an upcoming episode, titled Back to the Future, which began production earlier this week. In doing so, he joins a growing roster of actors moving behind the camera.
The practice has become increasingly prominent across the television landscape, where stars including Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, Chuck’s Zachary Levi and Grey’s Anatomy’s Kevin McKidd have taken their directorial turn. But no where is the push more apparent than at USA, where everyone from Burn Notice’s Jeffrey Donovan to White Collar’s Tim DeKay to Psych star James Roday have directed at least one episode of his respective show. (Roday already has three under this belt with two more forthcoming; Donovan also got a director’s credit on his series’ prequel film, The Fall of Sam Axe, this spring.)
“We’ll take those chances on these people because who knows these shows better than they do?” says USA’s SVP of original scripted programming Bill McGoldrick, who acknowledges that the network frequently waits until a show is a few seasons in and successful before granting the opportunity to its stars.
The way he sees it, it’s a way to not only accommodate the actors’ interests, but also keep them invested and connected to their shows. A bonus: the press that often comes with it.
“When you have that kind of passionate connection to the show,” McGoldrick adds, “you’re naturally going to want to get into a position where you can influence even more beyond your day job which is acting.”
For Feuerstein, who will oversee the thirteenth episode of Pain’s third season, directing an episode has been a goal for some time. “I think this is a natural extension for anyone who has the wherewithal and is passionate about storytelling,” he says of a task he admits he’s intimidated by.
Calming his nerves some is the fact that he was able to hire two actors from his past, Ronald Guttman (who played his father in the first play he did in New York) and theater actor Peter Francis James (who directed him in the play) for the episode. What’s more, he’s particularly excited about the range the episode that he was assigned offers.
“So much incredibly cool stuff happens,” he gushes by phone the day before he begins shooting. “There’s a car chase, a dream sequence, a Macgyver like you’ve never seen before and a very hard medical story going on with Jack, his doctor and me.”
Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose
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