THE IRRESISTIBLE DOCTOR. Crossing over from the world of finance and sports, Teddy Sears braved the new world and ventured into the daunting unchartered territory of acting. To DA MAN, he chats about his role as a philandering doctor, his funny side on late night talk shows, and sacrificing stability to pursue a passion.
Outfit by Tommy Hilfiger
Dangerously mischievous as Dr. Austin Langham in “Masters of Sex,” Teddy Sears is charismatic and always up for a good time and adventure. The real Teddy Sears, although still retaining the same charm and magnetism, does not share other qualities possessed by the capricious, rule-bending medical man. Born to a life of stability in a family of athletes, the quiet yet enigmatic actor’s upbringing is as wholesome as the all-American apple pie. From a young age, Sears had learned the value of hard work and discipline that led him to an educational pursuit in business. Amid a journey down a path that seemed to offer stability and financial security, the inkling to develop his passion for acting grew larger and bolder, and finally became too persistent to ignore.
Going off the path to become an actor proved to be a worthwhile gamble, as diverse roles started to come his way. Among those was the role of Patrick in the TV mega hit series, “American Horror Story: Murder House.” Portraying a gay man in a violent, dysfunctional relationship was a departure from Sears’ usual roles. With a down-to-earth presence and an engaging persona, the serious actor divulges his method of embodying a character and reminisces on the experience of working with a diverse, talented cast on the highly acclaimed film “A Single Man.”
Polo shirt by Salvatore Ferragamo
DA MAN : Hi, Teddy. We love your show, “Masters of Sex.” How did this role as Dr. Austin Langham come about?
Teddy Sears: The role came to me the same way they all usually do: I was sent the script by my agent along with a time to go in for an audition. I loved what I read. Not just the role that I was reading for but the script itself. It was wonderfully written, smart, engaging with a fascinating story populated by complex and interesting characters. Plus, Showtime has a great reputation for well-produced content. I was thrilled for the opportunity, and I’m happy it went my way.
DA: What’s interesting about this character?
TS: I felt that I had a real chance to put my own voice into it. I felt like I knew who this guy was, where he came from and how he saw the world. He has a real sense of fun about him when the series opens, and I remember that I was excited to go in to the audition room and show the producers that I could do just that. Lucky for me, everyone liked what I did and believed that I was the right guy for the role.
Outfit by Giorgio Armani
“I love nice clothes, but I wear them for me and not for others. I’m very happy deep down in a way that he isn’t or can ever be.”
DA : Did you have to take a medical crash course to prepare for this role?
TS: No research required as far as that was concerned. While Langham is indeed a doctor, we see him do very little actual doctoring. It’s as if being a doctor is another accessory in his life. Cool car? Check. Nice suit? Check. Well-respected job as a doctor? Bingo. That’s him. It’s a feather in his cap on the way to achieving the 1950s’ idea of perfection.
DA : Your character in the show is a chronic philanderer, someone the audience either hates or envies. How do you bring a human side to this character and make him relatable?
TS: I’m not sure I know how I do that. I guess I imagine that the reason Langham’s doing these things is that he’s a bit lost, perhaps searching to fill an emptiness inside him. He acts out from a place that’s innocent, so devoid of any idea that what he does inflicts any sort of pain on his loved ones. It’s so guileless, too. He’s mentally living in a different world when he’s doing this—a world away and apart from his wife and family. And yet somehow we don’t find him utterly repulsive. I suppose he’s still redeemable in my view.
Outfit by Giorgio Armani
DA : How similar are you to your character?
TS: Very different on all fronts. First of all, I’m happily married with no secret girlfriends! And Langham prizes outward appearances in a very superficial way. Wearing the right clothes, driving the best car, having a country club membership, living in a nice house … I drive an old car and live in a small apartment. I love nice clothes, but I wear them for me and not for others. I’m very happy deep down in a way that he isn’t or can ever be. It’s fun to play someone so opposite from me.
DA : Why do you think Dr. Langham never seems to be able to keep it in his pants?
TS: This is a funny question but a good one. I touched on it earlier, but I think it boils down to not being happy with himself on some level. More specifically, I feel that he has unmet needs that he’s compulsively trying to meet, a void inside of him that needs to be filled. I don’t think sex is really what he wants from these women, but he’s not conscious enough to see it or know how to go about it in any other way.
DA : Is your character, Dr. Austin Langham, based on a real life figure like Masters’ and Johnson’s characters?
TS: My character is based on a real character, but I’ve been given a fictional name and a fictional set of events that don’t correspond identically to the man my character is based on. Aside from that, I think he’s a pretty fun guy to have around. The story-lines he’s been given have been really wonderful to play. And to watch too, I think.
DA : You’ve also played Patrick in “American Horror Story.” How did you get involved with this project?
TS: The same way I got involved in “Masters of Sex” actually—by auditioning for it. I originally auditioned for the role of Chad, which went to Zachary Quinto. When Zach accepted the role, all of the guys who read for his part were then considered for Patrick. Ryan Murphy, the creator of the show, ultimately chose me to play the role. And I’m happy he did. That show was a blast to work on.
DA : With such a dark, intense character, how did you prepare for the role?
TS: The environment that we shot in did a lot of the work for us. That house and the set that we shot the scenes in were so creepy, so well done. Aside from that, the material itself was dark, heavy and very well-written. I remember one scene between Zach and I that we shot for close to six hours in total. By the end of it, we just gave each other a hug and congratulated each other on making it through. We were hoarse from yelling at each other. It was intense. As far as the preparation went, I just made sure I had plenty of time with the material. And I just let my mind go where it needed to go to do what was asked of me in the script.
Shirt by BOSS by Hugo Boss
“I love having something to work towards. I love improving, I love being creative and I love being my own boss.”
DA : Speaking of talent, what was it like working on the same project with Julianne Moore, Colin Firth and Tom Ford in the film “A Single Man”?
TS: “A Single Man” was a dream came true for me. When I read the script I remember loving it and being informed that this guy, Tom Ford, was going to be directing it. I thought, what a coincidence! Some Hollywood director with the same name as the designer. Then I found out that the actual Tom Ford was going to be directing it. And lucky for me, he cast me in a small role. I was thrilled. I played Ginnifer Goodwin’s husband and we were neighbors
to Colin Firth’s character. Ginny and I had worked together once before, so that was fun and familiar. That was the first time I’d been that close to an actor that I knew was giving a once-in-a-lifetime performance, one that came within a hair of winning an Oscar for Best Actor. I could just feel it. It was electric. I’m happy that he won the following year in an even more incredible performance in “The King’s Speech.” And as for Tom Ford, he was a great director. He was very thorough and very trusting of his actors. I’m excited to see what he’ll do next.
DA : You’ve made comedic appearances in talk shows such as “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “The David Letterman Show.” Is having your own talk show something you’d like to pursue?
TS: No, the things I did on Conan and on Letterman were comedy sketches, really. They were acting roles as far as I was concerned. And they were the most fun things I may have ever shot. I laughed the entire time I was there.
DA : With your background in business and sports, what made you decide to pursue acting as a career?
TS: I love having something to work towards. I love improving, I love being creative and I love being my own boss. These are all things I love about acting. I guess that’s why I’m here, but I’ll let you know when I find out for sure.
Grooming: Bethany Brune @ The Wall Group using Jack Black and Kevin Murphy
Photography assistant: Brandon Sosa
Special thanks to Nick Bell