Comic-Con

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?