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Eric McCormack discusses his new TNT drama “Perception” and his affinity for both comedy and drama

Eric McCormack talks about his lead role in the new TNT drama “Perception” and his appreciation for his past role as Will Truman in the long-running sitcom “Will & Grace”
BY MELISSA HAYER Modified: July 9, 2012 at 11:30 am •  Published: July 9, 2012

When it comes to choosing between performing in dramas or comedies, Eric McCormack prefers both.

The Toronto native, 49, is best known to television viewers for his Emmy-winning role as Will Truman in the long-running sitcom “Will & Grace,” which also starred Debra Messing, Oklahoma City native Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes.

He is now starring as Dr. Daniel Pierce in the new drama “Perception,” which debuts at 9 p.m. Monday on TNT.

Daniel is a neuroscience professor with paranoid schizophrenia recruited by former student and current FBI agent Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook) to consult on certain cases she's working on.

Arjay Smith and Kelly Rowan also star in the series, which McCormack also coproduces.

McCormack took a break from his schedule of performing on Broadway in “Gore Vidal's The Best Man” to discuss “Perception” in a media conference call. He talked about his impartiality to acting in either the comedy or drama genre.

“I love doing both. When I was on “Will & Grace,” nothing made me happier than having a big dramatic scene with Debra in the midst of the crazy comedy, McCormack said.

“And nothing gives me a bigger, better thrill than a dramatic crime scene in this show where he gets to suddenly say something inappropriate that clearly is going to be funny. I love the mix. I think the magic is in the combination, and I'm never happy with just one.”

Being a fan of the '70s series “The Paper Chase” made the lecture scene on the first page of the script appeal to him about the role of Daniel Pierce, as well as the complexity of the character.

“The idea of playing not just a neuroscientist, not just somebody brilliant, but the fact that he is a teacher, that he has that thing, that audience in the palm of his hand, and that he's funny and passionate and finds an interesting way to approach what could be a very dry topic,” McCormack said.

“And, then, to find out outside of the classroom he is often crippled by symptoms of schizophrenia, I thought that's a wild combination of the arrogant hubris that comes with an intellectual and the absolutely, might I say, crippling conditions that the disease can present.”

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