Matt LeBlanc is a man with a plan…to remain single.
“(I have) no plans to get married or have any new kids just yet,” he says. “I’m just gonna see where it goes.”
The FRIENDS alum — and star of the new CBS sitcom MAN WITH A PLAN — divorced ex-wife Melissa McKnight in 2006. They share custody of 12 year-old daughter, Marina.
LeBlanc also remains involved in the lives of McKnight’s two older children (Tyler, 25, and Jacqueline, 21) from a previous marriage.
“I don’t know where life (will go),” LeBlanc says. “I just turned 49 and any time I have ever made a plan to do anything, life has just handed me a different set of cards to play. Certain things you can effect the outcome of your life with and certain things you can’t.”
In MAN WITH A PLAN, LeBlanc stars as a building contractor who takes over childcare duties at home when his wife (Liza Snyder) goes back to work.
He recently opened up about the show, the future of EPISODES, and his plans for celebrating the Big 5-0.
What is the best part of playing a dad on TV? Funnest part?
I approached it realistically, just like any other character. It is a guy who has a need, a desire, an aspiration. You sort of approach it like anything else.
How much do you help out at home? Are you handy?
I am a single dad, so my life is quite a bit different than my life on Man with A Plan. So I do everything. I cook and clean and do all that.
How are you with tools?
Good. I used to be a carpenter, so… The fact that I am a contractor on this is kind of right up my alley.
Was there ever a point where you subscribed to the notion of “never work with kids or animals?”
I didn’t say that was my mantra. I said I had heard that before. If a project is good, a project is good. Look at Kramer v. Kramer. That is one of the greatest movies ever made and there was a kid all over that. So that doesn’t scare me.
Is it nice to be away from playing a fictionalized version of yourself and back to playing a character again?
I never looked at it that way. To me, the way I approach that role was juts like any other role. (The character on EPISODES) just happened to look like me and have the same name.
Is EPISODES dead?
Yeah. We just finished out fifth season. We wrapped at the end of June.
What can we expect from that?
I don’t want to give too much away. But there will be seven episodes instead of nine and it will air sometime in 2017.
Was the ending satisfying for you?
Yeah. It felt like we were all in agreement. Showtime didn’t cancel it. We just all felt like our story had been told and it was time to move on.
Any chance it could come back?
I don’t think so. I think it is done. That is the last I heard. I mean, never say never. But who knows.
Because you were on the show that still holds up as funny, does that make you critical about what you consider to be funny?
I am a joke snob. I don’t love low hanging fruit, that kind of stuff. I tend to go for a smarter joke. If the discussion around the joke is that not everyone will get it, that doesn’t scare me away from the joke. I would rather do smart jokes that take a little bit of thought.
How did you prepare for this role as the dad, the father? How do you get into character?
I have a 25 year-old step son, a 22 year-old step daughter and a 12 year-old daughter. That is all the preparation you need.
Are either of them interested in show business?
My stepson is a sound engineer in a recording studio, my stepdaughter is at F.I.T. studying fashion. And my little girl is 12. She likes to sing. She likes to ride horses and drive her dad crazy.
Does she have any interest in watching the show?
She came to the pilot. She enjoyed it.
What does she think when she sees dad on stage working?
The pilot was probably the first time she came to see me work live. “Episodes” she can’t watch. It is a little too naughty. “Friends” she has seen on TV. She just wasn’t born yet when that was going on. She was a little taken aback at breakfast the next day.
Having a 12 year-old daughter is terrifying for most men. They are about to become teenagers…
Having a 16 year-old daughter is terrifying. At 12 she is still a little girl and don’t you say that she is not.
You have a big birthday coming up. Are you looking forward to 50?
No. [laughs] It is just another birthday. I stopped celebrating birthdays at 40. I had the last party at 40 and that was it. Maybe at 50, I’ll have a party.
Is there something inherently funny about dads being in charge? We always sort of laugh at that, as soon as the mom goes away.
I wonder if that is maybe a product of our society. Sort of the American dream is the house and the 2 point something kids and the dad goes to work, the mom stays home. But that is rapidly changing. I don’t know that that is as much a shocker anymore. It can still sort of illicit that sort of smile. I guess that starts from who we are as a society.
How does the way you were raised and the relationship you had with your parents inform the way you parent your children?
I am a product of divorce and I am divorced now myself, so maybe the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. My life every different from what is happening on the show, obviously. But I have friends that are together and aunts and uncles that are still together. I come from a big Italian family. I have kind f had a taste of both sides.
With a 12 year-old in your house, who controls the remote for the TV?
Me! She has a TV in her room.
Is there anything you would like to delete from her playlist that you can’t stand watching?
Well, I know all the words to every Rhianna song, every Lady Gaga song. Taylor Swift. I would love it if she could throw a little Springsteen in there. I took her to see Bruce Springsteen at Wembley a couple of months ago. Which was pretty fun. She was like, “He’s good!” Now I play it in the car now and she doesn’t make me shut it off.
MAN WITH A PLAN premieres in October 24 on CBS.
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