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For Kelsey Grammer, returning to the character he played for two decades was not always as appealing a career prospect as it is today. This week, as the actor made the late-night rounds promoting his new Fox series Proven Innocent, he revealed he is finally ready.
“I’ve had an opportunity to get away from Frasier and to become an actor in a whole new series of ideas and new worlds and new characters, and that’s been very gratifying for me,” Grammer told The Hollywood Reporter at the opening of Picasso in Color at Galerie Michael on Friday night.
Revisiting the series, which broke records at the time with its 37 Emmy nominations, would no longer be the sole focus of its lead actor, who himself won the Emmy four times for the role. “What I’m hoping is that it will allow me, at this time, to play other roles as well as return to Frasier. And that was my chief concern,” he said.
The plan to reboot Frasier is still in its early stages, he says. “There are a few writers we’ve been discussing story ideas with and the new world of Frasier,” said Grammer. “We haven’t landed on the exact one yet, but we’ve heard some great things. Our hope is that someone is as excited about it as we are, once we finally decide which one we like.”
Grammer imagines the focus would be on Frederick Crane, Frasier Crane’s son with Lillith (Bebe Neuwirth) who was born during the Cheers era. “He’s the place where we can have a nugget of surprise. We don’t know what kind of young man he was going to be. Now he’s a 30-year-old, and I have some ideas about him that I think people would really enjoy,” he added.
Watching other successful sitcoms make a relatively triumphant return has been reassuring for the actor, though he admitted he wouldn’t have taken their creative route. “I think Will & Grace has gone very well,” Grammer said. “I would have wanted to see it not pick up where it left off. My thing is, I don’t think we should still be in the apartment in Seattle with Frasier. I just think it’s the wrong move. [Frasier] has to have a third act. He needs to be in a different phase.”
Grammer said he was also encouraged by the short-lived Roseanne reboot in 2018. “I actually really liked Roseanne when it was back with Roseanne [Barr]. I’m not so crazy about The Connors,” he said. “I don’t mean to be an asshole about it, but it just seems like the fundamental piece is missing, however that all went.”
In regard to how he thinks Barr’s departure from the show (after she posted a racist tweet about former President Barack Obama’s senior advisor Valerie Jarrett) could have been handled differently, Grammer said, “I have no idea. I think people should be forgiven for their sins. Our life is so challenging. How do you ever make amends?”
Grammer came out Friday night to support friend Brian Novak at the unveiling of Picasso’s Portrait de Jaqueline au fauteuil, a piece that, along with many of the 60 graphic artworks from Picasso, had remained hidden in the artist’s safe for the past 50 years. The exhibition will be open to the public starting Saturday. (Galerie Michael 224 North Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, 310.273.3377, galeriemichael.com)
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