John Lithgow: "When There's a Total Wack Job, I'm Right at the Top of the List" | 'The Crown' | Drama Actor Roundtable

Lithgow described his diversity of roles from his comedy dad role on '3rd Rock from the Sun,' to his serial killer part on 'Dexter,' to playing Winston Churchill in 'The Crown.'

"I'm a character man, and I've done a lot of extremely excessive acting in my day," John Lithgow told The Hollywood Reporter during the Drama Actor Roundtable. The Crown actor has won five career Emmys, multiple for his leading role on sit-com 3rd Rock from the Sun, and one for his guest role as a serial killer on Showtime's Dexter. (He won his first Emmy for his guest work on Amazing Stories). "The profession surprises me all the time. Winston Churchill could not possibly have been a bigger surprise."

Lithgow told THR he did not contact anyone in researching the role. "In a sense, that's kind of what the series is about. There's this separation, not of church and state, but of the monarchy and the public. They never say anything. Their job is to do nothing and say nothing."

"The fact is they are the most public and the most private people in the world," Lithgow said of the British royal family. "The only people they can honestly let down their hair with and confide in, if they do, we have to speculate on that too, is each other."

Lithgow credits Crown creator Peter Morgan with a "remarkable act of speculation. What are the conversations like between the Queen and the Prime Minister? Because nobody knows except the two of them."

Lithgow named Love is Strange, a film by Ira Sachs as his favorite role. "It was finally a role where I was asked to do no acting at all. The most kind of muted and inconspicuous role. It was the role I had been waiting for for years."

More roundtables featuring comedy and drama actresses, actors, showrunners and reality creators will continue through July in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter starting May 25 on Sundance TV, and look for clips at with full episodes on after broadcast.