Thomas Sadoski as Matt in Life in Pieces on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Smallz & Raskind/CBS © 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Smart, relatable, honest, and hilarious... these are all words that can be used to describe the new CBS Comedy Life in Pieces. These are also words that can be used to describe star Thomas Sadoski. Fans of The Newsroom and The Slap know that Sadoski has a way of finding subtle, honest moments of comedy even on more serious shows, but finally with Life in Pieces, audiences will get a chance to truly see Sadoski let his comedic side shine in a show about family and all the beautifully hilarious moments that come with it.
The Reel Spin: I'm really excited about your new show Life in Pieces, particularly the way it represents a family in four very different stages of life. It really is a show that has something for everyone, isn't it?
Sadoski: It really is. I think that it's one of the things that we've all sort of been continuously surprised by is that every episode that comes down, everybody can relate to at least some part of it. Regardless of what phase you are in your life, there's something in there for you. Starting from whether you're just dating somebody or going all the way up to you're 70 years old and had a house full of kids who are living an adult life now and are in your twilight years figuring out what you're going to do with yourself. It's really incredible in that way. It's super charming, and I'm just really excited to be a part of it.
TRS: Absolutely. It's also really different in concept in the way that a complete story is told before each commercial break. Is that something that attracted you to the project initially?
Sadoski: Yeah... I think that people will like to say it's similar to Modern Family, it's not. It's more similar to Looney Tunes. A complete story before every commercial break, and they don't necessarily interlock with each other. The four stories stand alone. They stand completely apart, independent of each other. Yeah, I mean some characters crossover obviously from one storyline to the other. They're independent stories focused around four different subgroups of same family. It's really cool, and when I read it, it definitely caught my eye. I was like that's really interesting that every family group gets their own story every week, and I was really curious as to are they going to be able to continue to make this work? How do you make something like that work?
Sadoski: And it's been fantastic so far watching them play and then put it all together. It's cool.
TRS: Let's talk about your story. What can you tell me about Matt Short's story?
Sadoski: Life has taken a turn on poor Matt. He has ended up living back with his parents in their garage. He refuses to move into his old childhood bedroom, because that feels permanent and feels like defeat. So he has chosen instead to live in the garage, because it feels much more temporary that way. His father has gotten him a job working for a company that makes food for the airline industry, and it's just a job that he uses to get by... he has no real interest in doing it. At this job, he has met and started to fall in love with his boss, played by Angelique Cabral, who is herself just getting out of a really tricky relationship in which she was engaged. She broke off the engagement, but because of her financial circumstances, forced to still live with her ex-fiancé played by Jordan Peele.
Matt is the middle child in the family of very successful people and is stuck living at home with his crazy parents and being forced back into the life of his siblings and all their successes and their kids that they have... watching their adult lives take off into exciting new ways while he's still trying to figure out who he is going to be, and if he can even make this dating thing work. It's fun. It's a fun character to play.
One of the things I like most about him is that despite all the things that are sort of going not great in his life, he's not somebody who is really down about it. There is this optimism... this sort of perpetual innocent optimism to Matt like yeah, okay, life kicks you in the teeth constantly, but you get back up and keep on going, and you can fall in love despite the fact that it's really difficult and the circumstances are really weird, but sometimes love wins out, and even if it doesn't, it's worth trying for. There's something really cool about playing a character that is that sort of forward looking and optimistic.
TRS: I think Matt is going to be really relatable to a lot of people, because not everyone has it figured out yet.
TRS: Have you had a favorite scene yet during filming? There's a lot of comedy to all the stuff that he has going on...
Sadoski: Oh man... favorite scene? Come on. It's like what kind of Sophie's choice is that? [Laughs] I can't pick a favorite... I'll say this... Angelique and I get along so super well, so it's always a blast to work with her. That said, when we get that family group together, including Angelique, with Dianne Wiest and James Brolin and Colin Hanks and Zoe Lister Jones and Dan Bakkedahl and Betsy Brandt and the three kids... we have so much fun together. I have not in my career ever worked with a cast that had this much chemistry out of the gate... that enjoys working together as much as we enjoy working with each other... that spends as much time laughing as we spend laughing. It's really beautiful, so at any given moment, I am shooting my favorite scene.
It's just been so fun to make the show so far and to get to work with these people and to get to work on these great stories and great writing and wonderful creative team... our crew is fantastic. It's sort of a blessed job. Colin and I were actually talking the other day and we were saying, "Did we hit the lottery? No... really. When did the other shoe drop?" You know? It hasn't yet. We have a really great time. This episode we just finished shooting, we have a couple of scenes involving a puppet that Mr. Brolin has made and carved by himself that were so fun to shoot... it was really hard to keep it together. So, every day we sort of manage to put something together that is hysterical and that we're having a good time making. Yeah, they're all my favorites so far.
TRS: Well, that's a good problem to have.
Pictured left to right, Thomas Sadoski as Matt, Betsy Brandt as Heather and Colin Hanks as Greg in Life in Pieces on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Darren Michaels/CBS ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
TRS: In the premiere your character's dad, played by James Brolin, has a very different way of celebrating his 70th birthday with a fake funeral. Do you have any funny family stories of your own? Maybe not fake funerals... [Laughs]
Sadoski: [Laughs] Of course, I do. Yeah, not on that sort of level. I have tons of funny family stories that I don't know that I can share. I have a wonderful family... like my extended family, I have tons of cousins, aunts, and uncles, and we get together every year... at least once a year for the holidays. We spend a lot of time with those guys outside of that too, and there's always something insane going on with that group of people. It's just sort of like a rolling party with us. It's great. We spend a lot of time laughing, and a lot of time making each other laugh. I feel really lucky to have a family that provides that for me too.
TRS: Definitely. One other thing I love about the show is that there is such an honesty to it that I think is really funny. Wouldn't you agree?
Sadoski: Thank you. I would agree, absolutely. Thank you for pointing that out. The key word is ultimately it's really relatable. That's the thing that makes it really funny is that you can relate to it. You're laughing out of recognition. You're not laughing, because somebody has done something so totally absurd and way over the top, which is a different kind of humor and totally valid, and the kind of humor that I appreciate very much, but this humor comes from real life, because these are real stories. The producers, the writers mined each of the cast members for real stories when we first got together, and they pulled real stories from their own lives and stuck it out there. We're kind of engaged in this fun game now where as each story comes up and we're reading it, we sort of look around the table at each other and we're like who did this happen to? I think that kind of humor, because it is real... because it is honest... makes the show so much relatable. There's a heart to it too, that I really appreciate. It's not just a laugh a minute. These are people who really care about each other, and there's something really beautiful about that too.
LIFE IN PIECES premieres tonight on CBS 8:30/7:30c.
Follow Life in Pieces on Twitter: @LifeInPiecesCBS
Follow Thomas Sadoski on Twitter: @ThomasSadoski
Interview by Pamela Thomas