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Recently Chris Daniels and I got to ask John Gammon of “THE MIDDLE” some questions about his character, his career, and his interests. I want to thank John for answering our questions and Jordyn Palos for arranging in the interview.
Darrin has a pretty crucial role on The Middle, what are you most proud of with your contributions on the show?
I am most proud of portraying an endearing—albeit dim-witted—jock. Most of the jocks I play are for one or a thousand reasons.
Where do you want to see the character go?
I want to see Darrin become a bit more aggressive in a way that suits the genre. If he were to run for class president, win a wrestling tournament—or perhaps even better, lose in spectacular fashion—audiences would eat it up. And I would of course love dishing it out to’em. I believe he’s got a lot more ambition than people might first suspect.
Any chance at seeing more of you on the show?
There is a very good chance to see more of me but I must tell you, first season was spent with my shirt off nearly the whole time. We got some amazing writers on the show but I just don’t know how they might be able to show more of me on this family sitcom. But I do not put it past them to think of something spectacular!
What other projects are you working on?
I am writing my first script about caddying at a country club in Cleveland. I spent eleven summers carrying golf bags and grew up on the OTHER side of the golf bag as I like to say.
What advice would you give to someone starting in the industry and what was your big break?
The advice I would give is plan your life around the rules while hoping for the exception. Most actors take several years to land a role Mom and Dad will be able to see from the couch or down the street at the mall.
For me it was the exception, I got a role within a year of moving to Los Angeles. But I planned for the rule. I lived in a dump, kept my costs down as I rarely spent money on fun stuff or what I didn’t need. I basically ensured I was never stuck in a situation where I had to work more than three days a week so that I was still spending more of my time doing what I dreamt to do.
Good acting teachers will tell you you’re going to need talent and endless work ethic but really great teachers will tell you sacrifice. It rarely comes together unless you have enough intensity to effectively sacrifice other opportunities, good times, and wonderful memories in your life. Break? ‘The Middle’ has been my first crack so to speak.
What have you done so far in your career that has stretched your skills and made you grow?
I have performed scenes as ‘Biff’ from ‘Death of a Salesman’ in Scence Study. It has been the most rewarding work I have done yet.
If you could be any superhero in a major motion picture, who would it be?
I would love to be ‘The Green Lantern’. I think they could do better a second time around. If they chose to throw me in there it would probably be even better.
Who are some of your favorite people to work with?
As ‘Axl Heck’ and anyone else for that matter, Charlie McDermott is masterful. I admire him for his versatility as an actor, his humility as a person and his ambitions as a writer. My main man Beau Wirick aka ‘Sean Donahue’ is another giant in similar terms.
He has this conviction. The kind I thought only existed in history books. I haven’t had very many scenes with Neil Flynn but I look up to him as the veteran male on set. I mean it’s not every day you have a sitcom father who is not a moron or a wimp and I love the matter-of-fact tone he takes on as ‘Mike Heck’. But hat can I tell you about Patty that hasn’t already been sung by millions? Must be seriously good stuff in that Cleveland water for the hopeful actors.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Well there is a lot. I recently reawakened my love of dodgeball. I went this past week with friend of mine Christine Medrano. She is an actress/comedian and just a petite scoop of hilarious.
I wasn’t particularly good but she lasted until the very end a couple times. She was so fearless—at one point there were seven dudes launching balls at her—ducking and weaving she managed to throw a couple of them out before getting blasted right in the kidney. She was all right though. And brave! Other than that I cycle a lot around town.
My favorite route is from my house to the end of the path in Hermosa Beach and back. I like to go on dates, run, lift weights, practice Jiu Jitsu, listen to music and podcasts. This was my summer for cooking all kinds of food on the Kamado grill I got from Costco. I’ll never go back to a gas grill. Oh and I also love to drive Go Karts.
Favorite video game?
‘Two Crude Dudes’ Sega genesis. You may have to look that one up in a card catalogue. Game Genie might know.
What are some of your most memorable moments from filming?
For last year’s season finale, ‘The Wedding’, we, otherwise known as ‘Boss co.’ had to dig out this enormous stump in the neighbor’s front yard, so when ‘Axl’ hits the gas, breaks the chain we at home clench in glee as the car shoots off out of control.
Watching that stunt for several takes was so entertaining they could have sent me home without lunch I’d have been satisfied. Later on in that episode between takes, Kris Kattan could not have made me laugh more, really funny guy.
What do you miss most about home?
I miss Cleveland’s bright green summers. Everyone just sort of comes out of hibernation. There’s tons of block parties, festivals and things that really make it just a wonderful place to be during the hot months. The fall is really nice too.