“We’re both horrible gamblers,” jokes Greg Kinnear when prompted to pinpoint any traits he shares with his latest creation.
Kinnear makes his TV debut (the successful but limited run The Kennedys mini-series aside) tonight on FOX’s new legal drama Rake.
If Rake sounds familiar, then you might be interested to know the series is adapted from an Australian version, and helmed by Peter Duncan, the man behind the original.
However Kinnear points out that FOX’s new take on the material has resulted in a version that has managed to organically find its own place, ten episodes in.
“Maybe 30%, 40% comes from the Australian show, but I think the rest of it feels very different. So, I feel like the balance is good. Believe me I wanted to do a nice tip of the hat to the Australian show because I really admired it, but, obviously the hope is for all of us to try to find our own DNA and kind of develop our own vibe here.”
Kinnear takes on the role of Keegan Dean, a defense lawyer who just may have more vices than his clients. Drinking, gambling, a complicated and dangerous love life and the ability to effortlessly alienate everyone around him are just the tip of the iceberg.
“The most obvious connection is that I have no skills in that department,” says Kinnear of Dean’s gambling excesses. “He seems to be tortured by his own lack of ability as well. I think it’s what really attracted me to the character when I saw the Australian show and the zone they were playing in was not only the ensemble nature of the show, but Keegan himself with his inability to not get out of his own way, and his kind of needs and wants and addictions all sort of snowballing around him constantly. Just that notion of two steps forward, three steps back seemed like a fun zone to play in.”
“Not that I don’t have my own little bag of self-destructive traits,” he adds. “We all do, but he has them in such a flawless rate, such an ease of his ability to miscalculate and to set off little personal landmines around his life so regularly that it really seemed like a fun area to play around in. I hadn’t played an attorney before so one that was dealing with that kind of world seemed like a great plan.”
With Kean often taking on the cases that no one else will touch (read serial killers and self-confessed cannibals) Kinnear admits to new insight into the criminal justice system and those who defend the criminal element.
“There’s an inherently despicable rap that defense attorneys get as the defenders of people, particularly people that we all recognize as guilty or think are guilty. And yet, they’re an essential part of the balance of justice,” he notes.
“I guess we won’t be doing a lot to … undespicasize …? I don’t know the word; I would have to go to Google and see if we can ‘un-despicable’ something,” he laughs. “I don’t know that we’ll be doing a lot with this role to champion people’s perceptions of defense attorneys.”
You can catch Rake, Thursdays on FOX at (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT).