Michael Rosenbaum Talks About Breaking Back Into Comedy and Regaining His Lex Appeal

This Wednesday on Breaking In (Fox, 9:30 pm), Melanie’s beau finds himself putting aside the clean urine to join Oz’s team. How does Cameron, who’s been crushing on Melanie, react to this addition? And is Dutch as douchey as he seems? Michael Rosenbaum gave TVLine an inside look at he who dons Uggs and pilots a yellow Hummer, as well as shared a surprising fact about his encore as Lex Luthor for the Smallville series finale.

TVLINE | I’m glad to talk to you, since I was the one who broke the news about you getting booked for the full season of Breaking In.
I was just going to say, you’re the guy who’s been really kind to me! I like this guy! It’s nice to be doing comedy again, for sure.

TVLINE | Who is Contra Security’s client this week?
[NASCAR champ] Jimmie Johnson is having some security issues – someone on his pit crew has been interfering with the communication when he’s racing. He finishes second, and being a five-time champ he doesn’t like second place. He comes to Oz (played by Christian Slater), but the problem is that Cameron (Bret Harrison) doesn’t know a lot about cars – so he unfortunately he has to go to his arch nemesis, Dutch.

Jimmie Johnson, Christian Slater and Michael Rosenbaum

Jimmie Johnson, Christian Slater and Michael Rosenbaum

TVLINE | And that paves the way for Dutch to join Oz’s team.
Exactly. Obviously Cameron’s got a big crush on Melanie (Odette Annable), but he’s got to suck it up and do what’s right for the team. He’s not too happy.

TVLINE | This job seems a bit, um, “structured” for the likes of Dutch.
It is, and you’ll see that he doesn’t attend meetings, he’s not on time… He’s got things to do, like manis and pedis, Brazilian waxing…. He comes in shirtless – “Sorry, guys, I was just chuckin’ some nun!” He likes the idea of a job, but he doesn’t want to work.

TVLINE | That’s what cracks me up, that none of his quirks seem to go together. Nunchucks, Uggs, the Hummer, mani-pedis….
… He’s got a scarf with skulls on it…. I kept saying to Adam Goldberg, the creator of the show, “This guy is a big douche, no one is going to like me!” He’s like, “Yeah, but you have a good heart. You give [Melanie] massages….” He’s a good boyfriend, he doesn’t cheat, but on the outside he’s a big goof. Anyone in a yellow car cannot be cool.

TVLINE | Does Dutch have any sense that Cameron is sweet on Melanie?
He refers to him as his girlfriend’s “asexual bestie,” so…. He thinks he’s harmless. Dutch looks at him like, “Look at me, lnow ook at this guy. There’s just no way.” He doesn’t even have a good base tan.

TVLINE | Jimmie Johnson said the hardest part of doing the show was you cracking him up on set. What are you typically up to?
[Laughs] I always have to think of 10 different ways to say a line. Like when I see Jimmie for the first time, it’s, “Oh my god!” Well, “Oh my god” is just typical, so that turns into “Holy balls!” Who knows what they’ll end up using.

TVLINE | How do you suppose a Saturday night for Dutch differs from a Saturday night for Michael Rosenbaum?
I’m a lot more boring. I went to see The Bill Hicks Story the other day, by myself. I like to play a game called “Mafia” on the weekends. I have my friends come over and we barbecue. Dutch probably goes jumping out of airplanes, racing cars…. He likes to go to clubs and dance to Rick Astley. Now there’s a shirt I want to get, “Things Rick Astley Will Never Do.” 1) Never gonna give you up. 2) Never gonna let you down…..

TVLINE | Tell me about the overall deal you have with Fox.
They gave me a script deal, so I’m going to write a script for them, and there’s a holding deal, and I signed on for the first seven episodes of this show…. We’ll see what happens. I’m having a good time, so if this show comes back hopefully there’s a deal to be worked out.

TVLINE | Whatever came of Saved By Zeroesthe pilot you and Jonathan Silverman wrote about two sci-fi series alums who try to get their lives back on track?
That was a disconcerting experience. We sold it to Syfy, Happy Madison was producing it, and the president of Syfy was all in. But then it wasn’t his choice; it came to [someone else], and then it kind of fell through. We couldn’t believe it. But we’re getting it back and we’re going to try to go elsewhere. If I have to spend my own money, I’ll make it myself.

TVLINE | Turning to your Smallville encore: Tom Welling told me that it was if you had never left, that you both just jumped right back into the whole Clark-Lex thing.
I have to say, that was the most amazing time, going back. There were people who worked on that crew that aren’t even working on the show anymore that came to see me. It was like a family I hadn’t seen in a while. People don’t know this, but I got nervous. I was really nervous. To jump back into that role and start quoting Sun Tzu, and I’m looking at Tom…? It felt so surreal. I was going, “Can I do this?” And finally you just do it! And believe it or not I’m actually glad I shaved my head all those years, because the bald cap [used in the series finale] is a bitch! It took like 2-1/2 hours to get on, and it is not the most comfortable thing.

Stay tuned to TVLine in the coming weeks for much more from Rosenbaum on Lex’s return to Smallville.

Have you checked out Michael Rosenbaum on Fox’s Breaking In? And are you excited to see him back on Smallville May 13?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. lauren says:

    i am beyond excited to see michael on smallville again!! i can’t wait…i love him on breaking in funny!

  2. A says:

    SO excited to see him back on Smallville! His will probably always be the iconic Lex Luthor to me.

  3. laz says:

    why don’t some of you ask the hard Q like why lex and lois don’t have a scene in the last eps and don’t give me this crap about dc won’t let it happen because brain and kelly already said dc give them the go ahead on every thing so if there is not a scene with the big three of the comic book then that means that MR or ED has tould the EP that the only way they would do scenes is with out having no scenes with each other now i just wonder wich one it was.

    • SnazzyO says:

      Lois is NOT part of the “Big 3” of Smallville. That would be Lana for 7 years. ED was upgraded to full time in the 10th year only. Three years after MR left.

      Why is it necessary to have a scene w/ Lois and Lex on SMALLVILLE. Clex has been and ever shall be the MOST important releationship of Smallville. Clana second, and Clois is where he ended up from a romance perspective.

      This is not the comics.

      • Tyler says:

        Erica Durance has been a series regular since season 5. Opening credits and everything. And calling Lois Lane “where he ended up” is frankly kind of an astonishing unawareness of the narrative.

    • Ang says:

      Because there is no point to having a Lex/Lois scene. We want to see Lex and Clark. The Smallville story started with them.

    • Brittany says:

      As long as I get to see a scene with Michael and Tom and a scene with Michael and Cassidy, I couldn’t care less who else is in the scene. I love Erica and I love the dynamic between her and Michael. But we can use our imaginations if we don’t get all the scenes we want. I mean, you can only go so far in the story before the show becomes “Metropolis.”

  4. mgb says:

    Michael Rosenbaum is the best Lex Luthor ever, and with Tom Welling as Clark Kent – sheer perfection.

  5. Jimmy Olsen says:

    WOOHOO! I can’t wait for the Smallville series finale.. I’m so happy Michael Rosenbaum returned!!

    And his show Breaking In is AWESOME!

  6. Michael says:

    I’ll go back and read the rest, but I kept scrolling down till I saw Smallville.

  7. Jason says:

    SERIOUSLY, why doesn’t The CW show some interest in that sci-fi comedy pilot Michael is pitching. It sounds AWESOME, and MR has a built-in fanbase on the network. Why must CW shove a bunch of little girl shows down our throats, instead of giving fans what they obviously WANT?? Vampire, SV and SN are the three top shows on the net. One is leaving. Get this “Saved by the Zeros” on the air, CW. No brainer.

    • Tyler says:

      In the interview they talk about MR’s deal with Fox. He can’t just sell another show to the CW on the side.

    • Deej says:

      As long as Dawn Ostroff is in charge of the CW this will never happen. Look at how Bret’s previous show Reaper was treated as a good example.

  8. Carrie says:

    He’s hilarious. I like “Breaking In” and I’m really glad he’s in the “Smallville” finale.

    • DL says:

      I’m so glad Fox decided to bring him in (relatively) full-time on Breaking In. My brothers and I are still using his “Face!” *thbbpt* bit to tease the family cat. ;)

  9. robert says:

    I am so excited for the SMALLVILLE Season 10 Series Finale 2-HOUR Movie!!! But i do wish Kristin Kruek would of came back and i wish Michael Rosenbaum would of came and showedd up more these past 3 seasons, i felt like he left and he wasn’t completed on the greatest show ever

  10. Rosie says:

    Was very happy to hear that MR was back for the finale but even happier to hear that he was in a new show. Loving Breaking In, I finally have something to look for on Wednesdays!!

  11. chanzo says:

    I have been watching Breaking In and i worked on the set of Breaking In and had the luxury to meet Michael and talk to him. The man hugged me and was so kind and wonderful. I enjoy watching him as Dutch that character is such a prick not as intelligent as Lex but Michael works hard and really appreciate that he came back as lex. I’m forever grateful I love Smallville I’m actually watching it right now.

  12. Jon says:

    I haven’t seen ‘Breaking In’ yet, but from what I’ve heard I might have to give it a shot. In regards to Michael returning, I think most of Smallville’s fans have ensured that people know how I feel, since it’s been repeated in any forum/comments section on the ‘net since the news broke.
    I can’t wait to see how the reunion between the two plays out; the small preview the CW’s released certainly points to it being at Luthor Mansion, so that’ll be interesting. While having a scene between Lex and Lois would be interesting, let’s face it. We’ve had a lot of those, and technically we had a scene, even if it wasn’t MR playing Lex (Lazarus). Maybe the CW/Smallville Execs figure that’s good enough, or they’re hiding a scene from us and snickering at those of us on the comments/forum boards.

  13. christina says:

    LMAO..! He is so funny! I love michael, but I must admit, his lex character in the new promo looks a little creepy..!

  14. David says:

    Looking forward to seeing Michael Rosenbaum’s return to Smallville! Kristen Kreuk is fine wherever she is, and we definitely don’t need a return of Lana Lang, her story is over and done. It was horrible giving her powers equivalent to Clark and only showed how horribly the shoved her so called “Awesome-ness down our throats! She was the most inconsistent character om the show who was forever defined by the man she was with. Good riddens to the character (this in no way is a reflection of my thoughts towards Kristen Kreuk as an actor or a person, all my best goes out to her for a continued and successful career.) The finale of Smallville is looking to be amazing, and I believe that with the secrecy surrounding it that it will prove to be incredible. Take care.

    Peace To All

  15. David says:

    Sorry for the typos, was quickly typing from my phone. Take care.

    Peace To All

  16. Deirdre says:

    It’s great to finally hear that Michael Rosenbaum will be in the final episode of Smallville. He was always just superb in that role, and that’s what helped to make it a great show, from the beginning.

    OK, now for the mean part: Generally I think it’s great when people pursue their true passions, and Michael’s true love in acting is clearly in comedy, and not in drama. However, from having seen him in a couple of dramatic roles (Smallville, Rave Macbeth, and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), and a few comic roles (Zoe, Sorority Boys, Bringing Down the House), and a few in-between roles where he was playing shallow jerks (Urban Legend and Eyeball Eddie), I feel like I really need to say this: as a comic actor Michael is pretty much average at best; funny, but not all that funny. Playing shallow jerks, likewise, does not seem the best use of his talents. But when he is put into a serious dramatic role — as in Smallville and Midnight — he is capable of giving a stunning and convincing performance.

    It is very clear to me that his true acting gift lies in serious drama, no matter how much he may personally enjoy playing the goofball instead. But he continually keeps gravitating towards the comic and/or ‘shallow jerk’ – and his career, while staying afloat better than some, does not seem headed for the stars any time soon. He has given more than a few years to chasing comic roles, without any stunning success. But he has been almost universally lauded in the dramatic roles he has undertaken. I hope that perhaps he will reflect on that, and consider that serious drama may be his true calling, and the best way to make his mark on the world. Whatever he chooses, I wish him all good luck and fortune. He seems like a smart, talented, and genuinely very nice man.

  17. William Haney says:

    A few Michael notes..

    I agree, of all the Lex Luthor’s, movies or television, Rosenbaum is by far the best Lex. He has added so much depth to that character.

    He is to Lex what John Simm is to The Master on Doctor Who. Could you see Michael and John doing scenes together? Worth any admission.

    He seems comfortable on “Breaking In” and I hope it makes the cut at FOX. Comedy is a natural for him. But yet, I often trying to picture him doing a cop show like one of the “Law And Orders” or a CSI type show. Could you see him locking horns with David Caruso?

    I don’t know him from Adam but something tells me that he is a likable guy who I would invite over to grill or go to a ballgame with. I have heard he is an avid NY Rangers fan. Probably bummed his team got knocked out by Washington in the playoffs.

    Finally, if they ever had a category for underappreciated actors that deserve some Emmy consideration…. Michael Rosenbaum is high on that list. He should have for Lex and hopefully his new character will bring him some hardware…