Next to “character actor” in the dictionary is a picture of Colorado native and Regis High School alum John Carroll Lynch.
Or at least there should be as he practically defines the phrase. You’ll recognize him the second you see his face, and after a diverse career that’s spanned over two decades, that’s not too surprising. Lynch’s roles always resonate, no matter the scope.
Whether he’s wielding a staff in a one-episode arc on “The Walking Dead,” playing a supportive husband in the movie “Fargo” or planting nightmares in viewers heads as a serial-killing clown in “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” Lynch’s characters are always memorable.
In “Big Sky,” a drama full of twists, Lynch plays a mysterious state trooper. The series premieres on ABC on Tuesday.
Question: How often do you come back to Colorado?
Answer: Obviously COVID is cutting into this a lot, but I was back around 18 months ago for a brief visit. I have two sisters there still and many cousins so I’ll be back more and more. And as soon as I feel safe to go to a Bronco game, I’ll try to figure out a way to get back for that too.
Q: Since you’re a Broncos fan, what was it like working with Drew Carey on “The Drew Carey Show?” I know he’s a huge Cleveland Browns fan and he hates the Broncos. Did that ever come up?
A: That never came up (said sarcastically). The Fumble never came up for me. The Drive never came up for me. No, no, I don’t recall ever rubbing that in his face. I don’t ever remember doing that. Actually I’ll tell you, going to Cleveland with Drew, which I got the chance to do once, was like going to Liverpool with The Beatles. It was an incredible ride and we actually shot an episode in the new Browns stadium when the Browns came back, so it was fun to be there. And it was also fun to meet Bernie Kosar, which was pretty cool. But I did not mention to Bernie Kosar that I was a lifelong Broncos fan, I did not do that.
Q: Let’s talk about “Big Sky.” I have seen the premiere episode but since it doesn’t air until Tuesday, tell people why they should check it out.
A: Well, “Big Sky” is a really first-rate thriller. C.J. Box (author of the novel source material) is an excellent writer and David E. Kelly, who’s adapting it, is doing a terrific job with his staff to make a really first-rate page turner. Every episode we’ve read, every episode we’ve acted in so far has made me wonder what was going to happen next. And that’s a real tribute and not easy to do. It’s got a first-rate cast and it’s just a really well-done series. I’m excited to be on it obviously and excited that it’s going so well, even in these troubled times.
Q: You’re considered one of those “that guy” actors who people recognize but don’t always remember from where they recognize them. What role are you most recognized for?
A: It’s a demographic question really. If you’re a woman between the ages of say 14 and 28, it’s “American Horror Story,” from the Midwest and you’re in your 40s, it’s “The Drew Carey Show.”
This happened literally two days ago. I got left a package in the mail at the production office, which was a request for autographs, some pictures, which happens occasionally. I open it up and there were great pictures the person had printed out on really, really nice paper and they were of “American Horror Story” and “The Walking Dead” and “Paul,” which was a movie I did a few years ago with Nick Frost and with Simon Pegg and Greg Mottola. There’s also a beautiful picture from a press line, except the picture was of David Koechner. So I signed the three that were of me and then I sent the other one back with a note on the back that said, “David Koechner, I love him. He’s great. This is David Koechner though.”
Q: Does that happen sometimes? Because you are one of those that guy actors that somebody confuses you for someone else?
A: Oh all the time, but you have to understand, there’s a bunch of really, really seasoned, well-trained, excellent bald dudes that are out there working. And it’s not surprising that somebody mistakes me for David Koechner. Sometimes I mistake myself for David Koechner so it’s not just them.
Q: Well, you were great in “Anchorman.”
A: Yeah, thank you. I’ll take that. I’ll be happy to take that.
Gazette TV critic Terry Terrones is a member of the Television Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @terryterrones.