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My Name Is Earl - Jason Lee interview

Jason Lee

Compiled by Jack Foley

JASON Lee discusses the second season of My Name Is Earl, why he likes to shave off the moustache and why he thinks the show has become such a success…

Are you enjoying this season as much as the first?
Jason Lee: More. But I’m a bit tired. And looking forward to a break… and shaving the moustache!

Is that the first thing you do on the last day of filming?
Jason Lee: Yup. The last scene, once they call it a wrap – right to the hair and makeup trailer! Zip! Gone!

Do people still recognise you in the street without it?
Jason Lee: [Smiling] Not as much…

So, who’s idea was it in the first place?
Jason Lee: Mine [Laughs]. Yeah… I’ve kicked myself in the butt over that one a few times.

Are you surprised by the show’s success?
Jason Lee: At first, I didn’t know how long it would last. We were all a bit nervous to see what would happen. Would it be liked by the fans only? Or would it be like Arrested Development and be liked by the critics but not have enough fans? We got a little bit of both, so we were pretty happy about that.

Season two seems a bit of a departure from the first one…
Jason Lee: Yes. It’s more expansive. It’s more mixed up. It’s less predictable.

Has it opened more doors for you?
Jason Lee: Yeah. Movie stuff, coming up. I have one thing that’s up in the air. But just in terms of that kind of energy, yeah. More interest.

What’s the most difficult thing about playing Earl?
Jason Lee: Getting up every morning.

What time is that?
Jason Lee: Five-thirty.

And it goes on until?
Jason Lee: Thirteen hours… You know, for some reason I run into Kiefer Sutherland a lot. We’re not friends. But I’ll see him at the market or at The Golden Globes. We always somehow run into each other. He told me that he only has one month off a year. Which is crazy. We have five. I mean, he’s in every scene. He’s got six weeks off every year.

What do you do with your time off?
Jason Lee: Family. Travel. Photography. Skateboard. Ride my bikes. Sleep.

If Earl were to watch a DVD on a Saturday night, what would it be?
Jason Lee: Burt Reynolds. Smokey and the Bandit.

He appeared in an episode, didn’t he?
Jason Lee: Yeah.

What was that like?
Jason Lee: He’s sweet. Interesting. You can see that he’s kicked some ass and broken some bones over the years.

Your fellow cast members credit you with keeping spirits up during those 13-hour days…
Jason Lee: Fortunately, it’s just naturally that way. But I would have no choice. Because as soon as I decide to be in a bad mood and complain about not having had enough sleep the night before, the whole energy of the shoot dies. I like having that responsibility. Because when I walk onto that set – I’m friends with everybody. I ride bikes with the camera guys. Some of them are photographers like me. We shoot photos together. We’re all just friends. I’ve never been a celebrity, either. I’ve never been a star or any of that shit. I’m just a regular guy who rides a skateboard and somehow, accidentally, became an actor [laughs].

Read our interview with Ethan Suplee