Stephen Moyer Talks 'Scary' Sound of Music Gig, Marvels at Carrie Underwood's 'Fabulous' Hair

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The Sound of Music Live! - Season 2013When NBC announced that Stephen Moyer was joining its three-hour holiday event The Sound of Music Live! (Dec. 5, 8/7c) as Capt. Georg Von Trapp you could almost hear the collective, “Huh?” But long before he was sinking his teeth into on and off screen love Anna Paquin on True Blood, the UK-born actor was a song-and-dance man, er, kid.

“I started out as a chorister in the village that I grew up,” explains Moyer, who performed in some three dozen musicals before enrolling in the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Upon graduation, he starred in a touring production of Romeo and Juliet and had a role in the theatrical version of  Pete Townshend’s The Iron Man, before segueing into TV and film full-time. Now, some two decades later, Moyer is rekindling his love affair with the stage in a big way.

Below, he opens up about his challenging re-entry into the medium via last summer’s limited engagement of Chicago at the Hollywood Bowl, why the prospect of performing live in front of millions of TV viewers scares the you-know-what out of him, and what he really thinks of his Music co-star Carrie Underwood’s signature mane.

VIDEO | NBC’s Sound of Music Live: First Trailer!

TVLINE | Why get back into musical theater now?
Back in ’95 I was doing a Romeo and Juliet world tour and I had a moment of panic. I had been doing theater back-to-back-to-back for chicagoyears and I [needed] a break for a bit. And, sure enough, a TV job came along pretty soon after. And then another one. And then a film. And before I knew it, two years had become five had become 10 and then 18. And a couple years ago I got to a point where I was going “I’ve really got to get back on stage.” And then Chicago came along at a time when I really wanted to do something.

TVLINE | How was that experience?
If you’d asked me what I wanted to do, it would not have been 10 days of rehearsal in front of 18,000 people at the Hollywood Bowl. It was f—ing terrifying; I didn’t love it. Ten days is such a short rehearsal time.

TVLINE | With Sound of Music, you have seven weeks of rehearsal time, but it’s all for one performance in front of millions of people, potentially. That sounds scarier.
It is crazy. It’s [essentially] the first preview, the press night, and the closing night all in one. And it is scary.

TVLINE | It’s a brave way to transition back to the stage.
I would have preferred to have [followed True Blood co-star Joe Manganiello's lead] and done a small theater in a town where it’s going to be seen but you’re in a gentle environment, rather than in front of f—ing God knows how many people.

TVLINE | So why do it?
It was time to test myself. I’ve been scared of going back on stage — and it’s completely rational fear. But it’s something that I love. This is all I ever wanted to do. When I started out in little Brentwood in Essex all I wanted to do was be on stage. That was my great love and my great passion. I want to get that love back.

TVLINE | Do you have a connection to this source material?
I auditioned for a revival in London when I was about 14. It’s the only thing I ever auditioned for professionally and I don’t think I even made it past the first stage. And, you know, everybody watches during some of the holidays. I’ve always loved it.

TVLINE | Will there be a live audience?
No. Everybody keeps going, “Can I come and see it?” I’m like, “There’s nothing to see!” [Laughs] It’s in a studio. The sets are amazing. Absolutely beautiful sets.

TVLINE | How has it been working with Carrie?
She’s lovely. She’s got fabulous hair — [which is] very important. [Laughs] She’s very keen and excited and willing to learn and she sings the s–t out of the songs. She’s been very open about what she’s good at and what she’s new to. So she’s very vocal about asking for help.

Comments (11)

  • Stephen is SO versatile and talented:) he’s amazing! A beautiful singing voice! Wish him all the best of lucky with re~kindling his musical career. He also has a bright future behind the camera as a brilliant director! Good Luck to you, Stephen, in your acting endeavors and your production company! :) xx

    Comment by Mollie – November 14, 2013 09:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Can´t wait to see this! I think he is gonna be awesome as Capt Von Trapp.
    And from the promo I´ve seen he has great chemistry with Carrie!

    Comment by Titina – November 14, 2013 09:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • No live audience on location? wack

    Comment by Will – November 14, 2013 09:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yeah. Without an audience, I’m going to have a hard time believing this is actually live. If they’ve built massive studio sets, why go with the live gimmick?

      Comment by Et al – November 14, 2013 10:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • A live audience adds an unneeded element to a televised performance. What happens if a cell phone goes off? Or a baby cries. Or someone decides to throw their shoe at the actors?
        Plus, you have television equipment which would interfere with a live audience’s enjoyment of the show. Cameramen might be moving across the stage with steadycams. Lights. Microphones.

        There is already enough that could go wrong with a live performance being televised. An audience would just get in the way. There’s a reason why they’re not just renting out a theater and putting on a normal stage production.

        Comment by Drew – November 14, 2013 11:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • What will be the difference?They won’t be applauding or anything.

      Comment by Shaun – November 14, 2013 12:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Saw Stephen in “Chicago”.The man has mega stage presence, and a good singing voice to boot. I am looking forward to enjoying Mr Moyer in The Sound of Music!

    Comment by Junie – November 14, 2013 11:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have warmed up to his casting but still can’t get over how misscast Carrie seems for this. I really wish they had someone like Laura Osnes caast to do it. Or even Amanda Seyfried or Anna Kendrick if they wanted a “star”. Well, looking foward for the supporting cast, Laura Benanti and Audra Mcamazingdonald.

    Comment by Vinicius – November 15, 2013 04:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You need somebody with the guts to perform live. I don’t know much about Amanda or Anna, other than their roles in films. I’ve seen lots of other suggestions too, but would any of them be willing to take the risk of making a mistake in front of millions of people and their DVR’s? There will be no take 2, or 3 or 4. It’s not like making a slip-up in front of a couple of thousand at a theater performance. And there will be no studio recorded vocals overdubbed to their performance, which is the way most actors are able to sound so good in movie musicals. They can keep singing until they get it right. I wouldn’t blame any Hollywood actor for turning down this role if it were offered.

      Comment by Emma – November 15, 2013 06:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am a fan of both Stephen Moyer and Carrie Underwood so I am thrilled and can hardly wait to see it. :)

    Comment by Venus Ann B – November 15, 2013 11:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If you want to talk about miscasting, how about a black nun in a pre-WWII Austrian convent.

    Comment by missjanenc – November 17, 2013 01:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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