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Debra Messing and Hart Bochner dish on The Starter Wife


Starter Wife’s Debra Messing is with a new man these days, or at least her character Molly is on her hit USA show! SheKnows caught up with the star-executive producer and her men to find out what to expect now that her mini-series has been stepped up to a full-fledged series premiering Friday.

Debra's first go at Starter Wife was simply a warm up

Debra’s drama

“The miniseries was kind of summer, and now school begins and Molly’s life begins,” Messing reveals to SheKnows. “We have a new love interest and she’s entering the world of Hollywood, trying to figure out how she’s going to make a living. She’s interacting with her ex-husband much more than expected, (because) they share a daughter and old friends.”

She’s also getting into his business! As fans of the 2007 miniseries may recall, Hollywood wife Molly was ditched by her power player hubby and thrust out of the jet set. When we catch up with The Starter Wife this year, we find she’s still struggling, gaffing and grappling to find her place in the world.

“The comedy is in satire about the world of Hollywood and the kind of people and the values,” Messing notes. “Everything is skewed, but has sort of happy music around it all the time.”

“While it’s obviously quirky, funny, physical and somewhat broad at points, the show has a dramatic framework,” costar Hart Bochner (Zach) adds. “The thing that surprised me most was not how Debra can play the comedy, but rather how great she is dramatically. Her character does the spectrum, from one side to the next, but the show is grounded in reality and Debra can play that pathos as well as anybody.”

Starting over

While The Starter Wife miniseries was wrapped in a happily ever after bow, we find things haven’t gone as expected for Molly. Her children’s book isn’t a hit, and either is her love life.

Luckily, she’s still got her best pals at her side, including Judy Davis’s Emmy winning character Joan and Chris Diamantopoulos’ flamboyant Rodney. Joe Montanga also returns for a few episodes, but the affair between Molly and homeless Sam has fizzled and with actor Stephen Moyer starring in HBO’s True Blood, a return isn’t expected.

As mentioned, Molly’s ex-hubby, Kenny, is still around too, but he’s been recast, with David Alan Basche stepping in to cause trouble.

“We don’t have to feel too badly for Peter Jacobson (ex-Kenny), because he’s on ‘House’ and doing quite well,” Basche says. “I actually saw him a few weeks ago and said, ‘Yeah, I’m doing the thing with Debra,’ and he said, ‘Good.'”

“I’m having a ball,” Basche continues. “Kenny is mainly the (expletive) which makes him a great character and plot function.”

The new man of the hour on Starter Wife

The new guy in town

Bochner enters the picture when Molly decides to get serious about her writing and takes a lesson or two from his character Zach.
“I play a screenwriter teaching a writing workshop,” Bochner explains. “You get to know him more in every episode. You can never reveal everything about a character at once, so things will continue to come out as we go on.”

Things will also start to heat up. “He and Molly start to develop a strong connection,” Bochner previews. “What the writers have done so well is tease things out of it. That keeps it interesting.”

Even more interesting, Molly’s script starts attracting attention, catapulting her back into her ex’s world, while inadvertently causing trouble for this potential pair.

“She starts to become successful under Zach’s tutelage, which becomes somewhat confusing for him,” Bochner admits. “There’s this weird dynamic. The male/female competitive thing comes up.

“Competitiveness and jealousy will eat you alive,” he continues. “It’s difficult to keep that perspective in this city and the culture of Hollywood, because you’re always looking over your shoulder and your successes and strengths are never reinforced. It’s your weaknesses and your shortcoming that are highlighted. I can relate to what he’s going through, but I’ve always felt that no matter how successful anyone is, there’s room for everyone.”

Yes, she was Grace, but Messing mesmerizes as The Starter Wife

An almost familiar face

Bochner speaks like an industry vet who’s learned a few life lessons of his own in the biz. That’s because he is.
If you’re trying to place his handsome face, however, you’ll have to think back to his roles in Die Hard, Apartment Zero and the miniseries War and Remembrance. Since the ’90s, he’s been hiding behind the camera on projects like High School High and Jeremy Piven’s PCU.

“I stopped acting for a while, because I was directing,” he explains “I had just finished Just Add Water, a movie that I wrote and directed, when this role suddenly fell in my lap. I loved the character and the show, and I always thought Debra was brilliant.”

He saw a veritable sure thing in The Starter Wife, which is a rarity on either side of the camera.

“I’ve done a couple pilots over the last couple years and when you do a pilot, there’s so much guesswork and then just getting on the air is work,” Bochner says.

“This wasn’t a pilot. It had a following based on the miniseries and the book. Then suddenly, they’re shooting ten episodes! I thought. ‘If they want me, absolutely.'”

To see how Bochner shakes up things up for The Starter Wife, tune into USA for the season kick-off on Friday, October 10 at 9 p.m.

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