Ben and Kate's Nat Faxon on More Maddie Fun, Love for His Man-Child and a Geoff Stults Treat
Yup, he took home a statuette for last year’s The Descendants – but more on that later. The point is, Faxon’s versatility is a big reason why he’s the star of Fox’s winsome comedy, which Monday received an additional six-episode pickup. And as it turns out, he’s a humble guy who just really wants you to keep tuning in.
“I love doing this show,” he tells TVLine. “It’s all you can ask for, really. I just hope people continue to watch, and that our numbers continue to grow and, of course, that we stay on the air for a little while.”
Read on for more Ben and Kate fun from Faxon, including scoop on what’s ahead for the show’s adorable starlet Maddie, teases about Geoff Stults’ new recurring role and news on whether the writer/actor might pen an episode of his own.
NOT-SO-GROWING PAINS | Unlike most comedies early in their run, what you see now on Ben and Kate is pretty much what you’re going to continue to get. “This show in particular has less of that [adjustment period] than other shows I’ve been on in the past,” Faxon shares. “This has not felt like a huge departure from what we did in the pilot, and even in the first few episodes after that.” The funnyman adds that while the show is “organically improving in terms of our acting and our characters,” the stories “at their core are about the same thing” — and for that, he credits show creator Dana Fox and the writers. “They’ve stuck to what was attractive to the show in the first place, which is that sibling relationship.”
TEAM MADDIE | Let’s face it: The real star of Ben and Kate is not one of the titular two, but rather the pint-sized and immensely talented Maggie Elizabeth Jones. “The writers do such a good job of not making Maddie feel like that kid that knows everything,” Faxon explains. “She’s very real and very her age.” And, adds the actor, the scene-stealing dynamic between the leading man and his niece will continue to shine each week. “Ben talks to Maddie like she’s a dude and a pal; there’s no difference between her and any of his other friends,” he jokes. ” There are certainly tons of little moments like that coming up. There’s also an episode where Ben tries to teach Kate about being prepared for emergencies, and Maddie basically partners with him on that… She just looks at me with that adorable, confounded face, like ‘What are you talking about? But I should probably listen to you.’” The upcoming installment actually takes a turn for the scary when Maddie “ends up disappearing,” a twist that Faxon enjoyed as an actor because, “I got to play panicked and completely freaked out and terrified… Still, within all these absurd things [Ben tries] to teach her, he obviously has a very passionate love for her.”
LOUSY LOVE | As TVLine first reported, Lindsay Sloane will soon drop by the series as Ben’s “kinda crazy” ex, and Faxon couldn’t be more thrilled with the guest spot. “She’s a bit psycho, and yet Ben is both terrified and attracted to her,” he teases. “He knows that it’s not a good thing to get involved with her, but is also attracted to her craziness.” Ben’s newlywed ex Darcy, from the series’ pilot, is also back in the coming weeks when “Ben [makes] another last-ditch effort to reconcile with her. That proves to not work out,” Faxon reveals. “There’s a pattern here that he has a hard time letting go of things and a hard time disappointing people.”
HERE COMES HALLOWEEN | “Geoff Stults comes on at Halloween to play a love interest for Kate, and it’s really fun,” Faxon says of Ben and Kate‘s first holiday installment. However, most of the episode is about a drug trip gone really wrong. “Echo Kellum‘s character Tommy accidentally eats a bunch of hallucinogenic drugs, and so, being the friend that he is, Ben goes down the rabbit hole with him,” he laughs. “There’s a lot of fun stuff between the two of them, just trying to survive the night.”
THE WRITE STUFF | Though he did win an Oscar for co-writing last year’s big-screen hit The Descendants, Faxon isn’t ready to pen an ep of his new sitcom just yet. “Possibly way down the line,” he muses, “but at this point, it’s a ton of work for me just acting on the show. It would be stretching myself too thin to do the writing and the acting. Beyond that, we’re in the beginning stages of the show, so it’s important to create a clear tone and a clear identity of what we are, and that’s done through Dana’s incredible voice and vision of what this is, and the writers all supporting that.” Still, Faxon says that he would “be honored if they ever asked me and if the time is right.”
Ben and Kate airs Tuesdays at 8:30/7:30c on Fox.