Tim Daly and the Private Practice team are continually reaching new heights. As the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off continues to build momentum as one of TV’s most popular shows, the show’s resident alternative medicine doctor, Daly, took five from his Private Practice to discuss the ABC hit — and how it was unavoidable the brother of actress Cagney and Lacey‘s Tyne Daly would do anything else with his life.
Tim Daly: Getting Private
SheKnows: What first drew you to a career in acting? Not the easiest thing to get into, was it a calling difficult to ignore because of your sister’s (Tyne Daly) success?
Tim Daly: Sometimes, I think of it like a congenital disease.
We both laugh.
Tim Daly: My parents were both actors. My sister’s an actor. It was blatant onset acting. Honestly, I was so blessed with an over active imagination as a child, I wanted to
be all these different people — a fireman, you name it. I wanted it to be them so badly. At a certain point I realized, to do any of those things, you have to devote your life to it. If
you’re an actor, you can pretend to be all of it. I think that was the real opening for me and you know, it’s a great relief for me from my reality to pretend to be somebody else.
SheKnows: What do you enjoy most about playing Dr Pete on Private Practice?
Tim Daly: What I like most about him is when he is relentlessly adult. I often reference this moment last season when it is discovered that he and Violet are sleeping together and
sitting at the conference table with all the other cast members, he sort of explains that having sex with Violet is one of those things, the perks of being an adult. It’s good clean fun and
everybody should stop being so shocked about it. He seems to a rye take on people. He enjoys people. He’s not judgmental.
SheKnows: I spoke with Amy (Brenneman, Violet) last season. She was saying that when she first heard about the Pete-Violet
hook-up, she was thrilled to work with you more, but at the same time because she knew you so well from so many years, it felt a little odd…
Tim Daly: Well, for God’s sake, my real-life sister plays her mother on Judging Amy!
SheKnows: Yeah! Small world, entertainment-wise…
Tim Daly: It was a happy surprise that we really hit it off. I think the writers thought we were good together. For both of us, it’s a lot fun.
daly dishes TV versus film
SheKnows: How does the work for you differ working on a film versus Private Practice where it’s a continual
evolution of a character?
Tim Daly: The odd thing about that is, when you do a film, you’re telling one story. You can do a tremendous amount of research and let your imagination work on a character
following the story, beginning to end. On a TV show, you have to be very flexible. Sometimes, it’s difficult because you’re characters evolve as the writer’s imagine it. I
remember on Wings, in our fifth season, we did this episode about how our mother had abandoned us and our father had gone crazy. We (with co-star Steven Weber) were like, “For
God’s sake, if we’d known that, I would have done everything differently.
Tim Daly: You just have to roll with the punches.
SheKnows: When you first tackled Private Practice, there’s a history in Hollywood of spin-offs not necessarily working. Was there any trepidation for you or was it
simply something you couldn’t resist?
Tim Daly: I didn’t really think of that way at all, to tell you the truth.
Tim Daly: Yeah, my character doesn’t know anything about Grey’s Anatomy. It’s just a show that I felt would be very entertaining and it was an
interesting character that I don’t think has ever been on TV before — a doctor of alternative medicine. When asked about the Grey’s Anatomy of it all, it doesn’t enter
my consciousness at all. I understand from a business sense it does because Shonda (Rhimes) created both shows, and both are doing very well. But, creatively, I don’t think about it.
private practice’s alternative to TV docs
SheKnows: That was one of the things that most appealed to me about the show when it first came on was the fact that the Practice had an alternative medicine doctor on
staff. Living in Southern California, that is not that unusual. But, on TV, like you said, there really hasn’t been one. Personally, for you, do you believe in trying alternatives to Western
Tim Daly: Absolutely I believe in it. I’m not crazy. If you break your leg, acupuncture is not going to heal you. There are a lot of things that herbs and acupuncture and
acupressure, all kinds of things can help tremendously. But, the answer is, you have to find out what works for you, like everything.