Exit Interview: Adrian Pasdar

Exit Interview: Where did you grow up?

Adrian Pasdar: 39th and Powelton. All my friends were black. I didn’t know I wasn’t black until we moved out to Lansdowne.

EI: Like Steve Martin in The Jerk.

AP: [laughs] “I was born a poor black child.” It was a wonderful way to grow up, without any preconceived perceptions about race.

EI: I’m looking for honesty here, so no self-deprecating-actor garbage. Were you a stud at Marple Newtown High?

AP: Not really, man. I was somewhat of an outcast. I played football, but I also did plays. That’s a deadly combination. I just wanted the jersey, and to go out with the cheerleaders. I did manage to date the two cheerleading captains, but I was by no means a stud.

EI: Drama geek or not, hooking up with both cheerleader captains makes you a stud. Can you explain how you sort of owe your career to the People’s Light & Theatre company in Malvern?

AP: I got in a car accident in college, dropped out, and ended up building sets. I was ripping wood on a table saw and I lost the tip of my left thumb. It gave me $500 a month workman’s comp. You could afford an apartment in New York for that money and still have $40 left over for food. It was great.

EI: Then you went from the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute to a little indie film called Top Gun. Did you hang with Maverick and Iceman off the set?

AP: It was great — Val [Kilmer, “Iceman”], [Rick] Rossovich [“Slider”], Barry Tubb [“Wolfman”], Whip Hubley [“Hollywood”]. One of the guys had a beat-up van, and we’d go to Denny’s at two in the morning. It was just a wild experience for me. I was 19. And [Tom] Cruise was one of the nicest guys in the world. Every time I’ve seen him since then, he’s been a gentleman.

EI: Any hangtime with Suri?

AP: [laughs] No, I haven’t been invited over yet.

EI: You were also on Desperate Housewives last season. Were the divas in separate trailers, plotting each others’ demises?

AP: Oh no. They’re the sweetest girls, and they’re working hard. It’s 15-, 16-hour days. There’s a lot of hair and makeup, man. No lie.

EI: Great segue into your cross-dressing love story Just Like a Woman, and its tagline, “She stole his heart. He stole her clothes.” Did you spend time at Bob & Barbara’s to research the role?

AP: I did my research in London. I really dug deep into that subculture. I got dressed up to find this underground club for cross-dressers, Kinky Gerlinky. I got lost dressed in a silver sequin dress, a blond wig and red lipstick. When I finally found the club, I never felt happier to walk into a room dressed as a woman.

EI: Does your wife know about your “digging deep into the subculture”?

AP: Yeah. She respects my craft. You’re putting on someone else’s clothes and wearing makeup as an actor anyway. My father told me a man can fish for hours, not catch a fish, and be happy, but he can’t wait three minutes for his wife to get ready for dinner. There’s something about patience I learned there.

EI: And in turn, she doesn’t mind when you borrow her pumps.

AP: Absolutely. I’m wearing them right now.

EI: Are you at home?

AP: No, we’re sailing off the coast of California. I’m with two friends laughing their asses off. I have an ex-Marine on the boat, and I’m talking about wearing a dress. You might get me killed. If you hear a splash, call 911.

EI: Speaking of your wife, is it tough to go from being “the guy that was in Top Gun” to “the guy that’s married to the Dixie Chick”?

AP: Not really. I can’t control what people think. I’m married to a five-foot-three, blond-haired, blue-eyed, barefoot girl from Lubbock, Texas. That’s what it is.

EI: Do you have a George Bush dartboard at the house?

AP: [laughs] No. We’re raising our children to be respectful. We respect all opinions in our house.

EI: How about a voodoo doll? One of those urinal mints in the toilet with his face on it?

AP: My wife does have a “Bush Days in Office Countdown” keychain. But you can’t teach a child politics. Some protesters outside their concerts have children under their arms and are yelling “Fuck the Dixie Chicks.” It makes me sick.

EI: As you do press for Heroes, how many dopey reporters ask you what superpower you’d like to have?

AP: That’s one of the top questions. The one [my character] has is the most interesting for me, but my son said it best: “Dad, so what, you can fly. What are you going to do when you get there?” He said that in front of the show’s writers, and they just kinda went, “Oh. Right.”

EI: Then they’re scribbling notes like “ADD HEAT VISION.”

AP: Or “KARATE.” Right. The show is really about change and how you deal with it. If you could fly, it would be fun for a half-hour, but then what? Your life as you knew it would be over. It’s not about people putting on spandex.

EI: We’ve come a long way since William Katt’s red pajamas in The Greatest American Hero.

AP: [to his crew] What are you doing? You have to go starboard 10 degrees! [to Exit Interview] I’m sorry. We’re going in circles here.

EI: What’s the name of your sailboat?

AP: Nautalee.

EI: Aw. Should I call you Captain?

AP: You can! [to crew] He wants to know if he should call me Captain! [laughter]

EI: Good luck with the show, Captain. And the sailing. Hope you stay on board.

AP: Me too.