Ask Lee main page
What's up with your long hair? Is it for an upcoming
know if there has to be a reason...? I read on Meloni's
site, someone said something like, 'growing it long on
the bottom doesn't make up for what's going on on top',
and, you know, that was... I've had long hair before.
See Wayne's World. I'm a hippie! I'm a metalhead.
Did you always want to be an actor? If not, what were
your other aspirations?
was at my 15-year high school reunion, a year and a
half, two years ago, and I went back there, and this guy
who had seen Wayne’s World, but didn’t know it was me –
he was like, oh, man! He remembered sitting in second
grade when the teacher asked us what we wanted to be
when we grew up, and I said I wanted to be an actor.
Even before second grade, dancing at age 4 for my
parents and their friends in the living room... they
turned on a blacklight and I would be dancing
spasmodically... I knew then, I am meant to be watched!
I am WATCHABLE!
other aspirations. My grandmother asked me once, “What
are you going to fall back on?” and I said, “Grandma, if
I have something to fall back on, chances are 99.9% that
I’m going to fall back on it.”
Who are the actors who have influenced you and why?
have to say, Saturday Night Fever, that movie had a big
impact on me. John Travolta was awesome in that movie,
he gives such a great performance. Gary Oldman, Daniel
Day Lewis…anybody who does what they do well, all those
guys you watch and go, there’s just something about
them. James Dean. "Groundhog Day” was another one. Bill
In your interview with Metal Rules, you said you don’t
want to play the All American boy. What attracts you to
the roles you choose?
that’s not exactly what I said. When I was a young
actor, in my early 20’s, the agents were sending me out
for these All-American, “sweet” guys, and I just didn’t
think I had any great ideas on how to do that. The
things I was going to connect to were NOT that. I’m
What is the greatest compliment that you have recieved
with respect to your acting?
know…people have said a lot of awfully nice things, it’s
hard to pick one. At the end of the day, it moves me
that people will approach me, without knowing what I'm
going to do -- ‘cause there are a lot of assholes out
there. So when they are moved to come up to me, when
seeing me sort of causes that, that compliments me. Any
time I cause that kind of reaction, emotionally... And
I’m glad they care about what I’m doing, because I care
about what I’m doing.
Is there a project out there that you would classify as
a "dream job" for you?
And last but not least...What kind of motorcycle do you
have, and have you ever crashed? (question courtesy of
my husband who races motorcycles and has crashed
Shadow. And, you know, I haven’t always kept it
on the wheels… A large percentage of the time, I’ve kept
it on the wheels!
Thank you so much for agreeing to be involved on a
personal level like this with your fans!
Everyone who watches the show can find something of
himself in the character of Beecher. Not just because
he’s supposed to be an “everyman,” but because there are
so many human facets to him – his addictions, his
self-hatred, his guilt. In what ways do you personally
identify with him? In what ways are you not like him at
that whatever people relate to in Beecher, those things
are common. What I do with that part is, we all know
what it’s like to be oppressed, to be angry -- so you
know, he comes through me. I’ve definitely felt guilt,
self-loathing – those are all common things. How am I
unlike him? I’ve never been a lawyer. I’ve never had
kids. I’ve never had kids who died. I've never been in
jail for more than a twelve hour period of time...
were hysterical as Chett on Weird Science, totally over
the top! Was it as much fun as it seems?
was a great, great job. It was a blast. And a great
bunch of people to work with.
Which is harder, comedy like WS or drama like Oz? Which
do you prefer?
two different things. Something like Weird Science, that
stuff is an easier way to go for me, as a person.
Buffoonery is easy for me. I might say that Oz was more
difficult... but you know, on Weird Science I had to do
this thing where I was an abominable snowman, and I had
to be in this fur suit all day. And something like that
is hard! I’d rather kiss Chris Meloni.
As Terry in Wayne’s World, you gave pop culture the
immortal “I love you man!” line. As Beecher, you’ve
racked up a whole list of television firsts. How do you
feel about being an acting pioneer?
--- john d.
know if I am. I don’t know what gives a person the
authority to say who is a pioneer of something. I’d need
to see some credentials!
The metamorphosis of Tobias Beecher has been amazing to
watch. Your performance throughout the transformation
has been brilliant, so much so that fans coming into Oz
now are often stunned to realize the same actor has
played Toby all along. We all have our interpretations
of his motivations and actions, but how would you, in
your own words, describe the changes Beecher has gone
through? Where would you say the character is now, in
terms of his ongoing development?
Initially, what has been evolving for him is his sense
of survival. When he first came in, he thought
submitting to Schillinger was how to survive. When that
wasn’t “surviving”, he thought he’d be better off dead.
Then after all his violence, biting Robson’s penis off,
and then of course his wife dying – he has tried to
figure out what is true for him. He’s searching for
truth. Which is why he can… not really question his
sexuality, but be open to falling in love with Keller.
He’s constantly looking to forgive himself, and forgive
others. He’s making mistakes, and he keeps trying to
you get to make plot or dialogue suggestions for Beecher
and his relationship with Keller? if so, have any of
your suggestions made the final cuts?
to Tom around the beginning of each season, before we
start, and he goes over his ideas for the character. If
I have anything to add, it’s usually very minor, and he
usually says no. [laughs] I have definitely
contributed to the character, but I trust Tom, I feel he
knows what’s going on. What I do is what I do with it. I
made a suggestion about having two poles and strippers
in Em City, but each year he says no. Hey, you wanna be
the Sopranos? Huh? Come on!
I don't know how closely you follow Meloni's site, but
that guy has talked some major shit about you. If an
unassuming fan were to take him seriously, one would
think you are his little bitch-toy, bound in leather
straps in a secret room of that swank loft and
ever-eager to act out his twisted S&M fantasies. Here's
your chance to tell your side of the story. What's
REALLY going on, Lee? thank you!
sounds like my side of the story already.
I was wondering what it was like working with Agnieszka
Holland in Shot in the Heart. I thought the
entire piece was outstanding, and I was curious if
working with an international director was different
than those here in the States. Thanks for sharing your
great talent with us!
a good director is a good director, wherever they’re
from. And Agnieszka was really great. I had a really
good time working with her. She’s very smart.
Does it surprise you that so many of your female fans
get off watching you kiss another man?
Chris and I got together before the first time we
kissed, and definitely with something like this there’s
a tendency to shy away from it, to skirt it. But what we
decided was to really be there, make it sexy – well, not
really make it sexy, but we always really treat each
other tenderly. So you know, we’re present when we’re in
those scenes. Whatever mental contortions we have to do,
we’re present in the scene. There was the one scene,
after Chris got shot and he came back wearing a bandage
and I’m pulling the bandage off and kissing his chest,
you know? And when I’m acting, all this stuff is running
through my head: the dialogue, and I’m watching what’s
happening in front of me and I’m reacting to it, and
there’s history running through your brain, all these
images flowing… and that scene, it was so interesting
where my head went. I felt sort of feminine. Like it was
a man and a woman in that scene. And that, those are
feelings that I'm not unfamiliar with. I don’t go,
“Fuck, I gotta kiss a guy!” But doing that, being
present in it, kissing another man – it screws with your
head a little bit.
having never done this before I guess I should preface
this by saying thank you for taking the time to answer
our questions. And more importantly, thank you for
creating one of the most compelling television
characters, EVER. It certainly has been my pleasure to
watch the amazing metamorphosis of Tobias Beecher. Ok
now that being said, on to the question that leaves me
awake at night... Where the hell is Harry? <Harry, being
Beecher's only twice mentioned and never seen third
child. You know, in case you didn't know who I was
talking about. :-)> Thanks again.
glad you asked, but I can’t answer that. You’ll see.
As far as I know, he’s fine and living with his in-laws.
hobbies do you have outside of acting?
to water-ski. I have a motorcycle that I enjoy riding.
My wife... A lot of people have a trophy wife, I have a
hobby wife. You know, a hobby is a thing you wish you
had more time with! Hmmm. I like to ROCK!
it is a beautiful Saturday morning and you have the
whole day free, what are you going to spend the day
Okay, we’ve compiled an actual list, and at least 25
actors who have appeared on Oz have made guest
appearances on Law & Order SVU. Why haven’t you shown
up, and what must we do to make this happen?
think there’s anything you can do… They’re terrified of
me! They can’t handle the ME!
Lee, I actually have a question for Leslie that I was
hoping you might ask her for me. In the Metal Rules!
interview (which was fantastic, by the way), you said
that Leslie attended your first wedding. And I am
wondering, was she tempted to yell out when they asked
if anyone objected to this union? Did she think, "That's
my husband you're marrying?'' I'm just dying of
said no, but she knew it wasn’t going to work. But the
thing is, she doesn’t speak up! She predicted it
wouldn’t last more than two years. Which was kind of,
you know..."hey!" And she was right. And she caught the
bouquet, that’s the weird thing. And my dad caught the
garter. So that was pretty trippy, when we both look
back now. And we do.
Has fame changed you?
Yes and no. I don’t think fame changes you, I think it
makes you more of whatever you were to begin with.