MORE: You don’t know this, but we spent New Year’s Eve together.
Bronson Pinchot: We did?
MORE: Yes. I was stuck at home with a sick child and I found The Flamingo Kid on cable.
BP [Laughs]: I was so tan in that movie, which seems odd considering we filmed that movie on Jones Beach in December. I was freezing. I mean, I still remember how cold I was shooting those scenes. My voice was so high pitched because of how cold I was. Matter of fact, I landed the role of Serge in Beverly Hills Cop because of that movie.
BP: Yeah. The director, Garry Marshall, asked me to improvise a 40-second scene with my costar, Janet Jones. Turns out, that scene impressed the casting director of Beverly Hills Cop, who was at a screening. From there a whole bunch of other things began to happen.
MORE: Lucky you?
BP: I have a nonlinear life. Whenever I want something to happen, the movers and the shakers ignore me. Yet if I don’t care if something happens, then the most marvelous things happen. For instance, I never intended to be a movie actor. I studied to be a stage actor. I also never intended to ever let cameras into my home, and now they are everywhere I look all day long.
MORE: Explain to me why a Yale graduate and accomplished actor is fixing up old houses.
BP: Old houses need me, and I like to be needed. It is obvious how they speak to me and look at me, how they need me to help them. We also need a show like this one, which can have someone fully explain in detail why and how we are doing it, which I can. We also don’t need any more shows that promote that they’re real but aren’t. This series suits me to a T.
MORE: What got you interested in this kind of work?
BP: The houses have their way with me. I was 20 years old when someone took me on a trip to Vermont and I saw a Greek revival house. I remember the big columns and thinking to myself how lovely it was even though it was sitting in a trench. Anyway, I took one look at it and fell in love, and I knew this is what I wanted to do. It was then I decided I was going to love and restore them.
MORE: Did you have any formal training for this line of work?
BP: No, but Shakespeare didn’t have any training either. He just went through grade school. I don’t think much of training. If anything, my training comes from the emotion I have for these houses.
MORE: Are we going to see you wearing a hard hat and tool belt?
BP: I can do 10 tasks at once if I am the visionary, designer and architect. I do sketch everything and supervise every cut. I think it is safe to say I am the conductor of the orchestra who happens to play a few instruments.
MORE: Did you take on this project to reinvent yourself and star in your own TV show once again?
BP: Not at all. I did it because Departure Films, my producers, called me and said they heard on how I was restoring old houses and would I like to do a show about it. When I was starring on a TV show and on Broadway, I would get in my car, drive over two hours to my house in the country and sink every dime I had into fixing it up.
MORE: But your professional background must come in handy.
BP: Does it help after being in this business for 25 years that I am not intimidated by the camera? Absolutely! Does it help that I can do something mundane in a funny way because I am a quirky kind of guy? Of course! Am I passionate about this? Yes, but that is whether or not a camera is rolling. If anything, I welcome the opportunity to not perform but to get ahead on my projects. I get a real kick out of what I am doing.
MORE: Do you miss performing?
BP: I don’t like performing. I like doing. Now I get to come downstairs in my pajamas and do what I love doing while getting paid for it. How delightful is that?