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Adam Scott on A.C.O.D., His Talking Bad Appearance, and the Odds of a Party Down Movie

Adam Scott. Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty

Between Parks and Recreation, Party Down, and Burning Love, Adam Scott has become something of a beacon for quality TV comedy — and ever since appearing as “male nurse” in Knocked Up, he’s been getting his share in movies, too. In A.C.O.D. (an acronym for Adult Children of Divorce), he plays a restaurateur whose ideal life implodes when his long-divorced parents (Catherine O’Hara and Richard Jenkins) rekindle the flame. It’s a rare leading-man role for Scott, who usually stars in ensemble casts, and hopefully just one of many to come. We talked to Scott about playing the lead in A.C.O.D., predicting how Ann Perkins’s departure will change his role on Parks and Rec, and getting sneak peeks at Breaking Bad.

Hope I’m not interrupting your lunch. You look so peaceful.
No, not at all. I’m watching Friday Night Lights.

Is it your first time or are you rewatching?
Rewatching. It’s so awesome. It’s so, so good. You know when you’re just kind of browsing Netflix? I like to watch, like, twenty minutes of movies I haven’t seen since I was a kid just to see if I remember it, so I just started watching the pilot again and I got sucked in and now I’m in season three.

You were the lead in Friends With Kids but you had a co-star. Did A.C.O.D. feel like more pressure because you’re the sole lead? Was it different?
Yeah, in this one there was really no scene I’m not in. So it was great, it was really fun, you’re never bored, but I was also tired — because we shot it in 24 days. It was really fast and I was pretty wiped out. My family was with me and I would just come home and look at the kids as they’re sleeping and go to sleep and wake up and go back.

Did you crave going back into an ensemble cast like Parks and Rec just for the breathers?
Yeah, it’s certainly nice. On Parks and Rec, other than Amy, we all usually get at least two days off a week. Sometimes just one, but it’s a much more relaxed schedule. But the fact that I’m the lead in a movie and I’m on the poster — I didn’t know if that was ever going to happen. I always wanted it to since I was a little kid, but after fifteen years or something you start to sort of realize that maybe that’s not gonna happen, maybe I’m just gonna be hitting the pavement every pilot season for the rest of my career. So even though it’s a tiny movie, being in that position in a movie is really a privilege. I don’t know if it’ll ever happen again, but it’s nice to kind of have that.

I know there’s always been talk of a Party Down movie, but has there ever been talk of reviving it on Netflix?
I don’t know if anything will ever happen, but in my mind I think what Arrested Development did was ideal. I think that a movie of a TV show is really tricky and I don’t know if it’s ever really been done well. Because it’s really hard if you have a 22-minute show, especially something like Party Down where it’s all contained at the party. And so trying to work that into a movie format — not to say it can’t be done, and John [Enborn] and Dan [Etheridge] and Rob [Thomas] were brilliant guys and I’m sure they could come up with something great — but as with any TV show, turning it into a movie is really tricky. So yeah, the Netflix thing would be a great way to go. But I don’t know if that’ll ever happen.

I saw you on Talking Bad and wanted to ask how you got on. I always wonder how they find Breaking Bad fans.
I’m not sure. I think maybe because I wrote a little blurb in Entertainment Weekly about Breaking Bad. Maybe they saw that? I have cornered Bryan Cranston a couple times at parties, but I think it was probably that I wrote that little dumb thing, like a jokey thing.

You’ve cornered Bryan Cranston?
Yes, I mean, he’s a super-nice guy and we have mutual friends and stuff. But I have [cornered him] a couple times, not to ask him what happens, but just to tell him how much I loved the show. And, you know, everyone does that to him so it wasn’t really unique. So yeah, they asked, and they asked way before the show even premiered. And, you know, the show is on Sunday nights, obviously, and they had shown me the episode on Tuesday, so I was holding onto that information for five or six days, and it was really difficult, because everyone at work talks about the show and everyone heard that I had seen it. So there was like this group of people just hovering around me, not wanting to know what happens but just wanting to get a look at me and try and find out what it was like.

Did you and Retta talk about the finale? I know she’s a big fan, too.
Retta waits to watch things so she can tweet about them. So we were shooting in Indianapolis on Sunday night when the finale aired, and me, Aziz [Ansari], Alan Yang — probably a total of twelve of us, because the cast and crew were having dinner at this St. Elmo Steak House in Indianapolis — they set aside a board room upstairs with the TV in it so we could all go up and watch the finale together. It was great. And Retta didn’t go because she needs to wait to watch it so she can live-tweet it.

Wow, that’s some self-control.
It’s crazy. What, are you gonna wait two days so you can tweet about it? But she’s got the market cornered on live-tweeting TV shows, so she’s gotta do what she’s gotta do.

About Parks and Rec, obviously Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe are leaving, which I’m very bummed about.
Yeah, me too.

Do you think Ben is going to feel the pressure of having to ground Leslie now that Ann is gone?
Yeah! I mean, she might love Ann more than she loves Ben. It’s quite possible. So he’s gonna have to bear all of the responsibility. I feel like I might have to put on Rashida Jones wigs every once in a while so she can talk to Ann. Maybe put skin much more beautiful than mine on my face so she thinks it’s Ann.

Wear cute little dresses.
Mm-hmmm. I think Ben and Leslie’s relationship could take a really weird turn with me pretending to be Ann.

Adam Scott on A.C.O.D., Talking Bad, Party Down