Out on the town with this season's breakout television stars.
Matthew Rhys | <em>Brothers & Sisters</em>-
TV alter ego: Kevin, the openly gay brother on Brothers and Sisters
All-time favorite shows: “The A-Team and The Dukes of Hazzard. I’d come in after playing soccer all day, and those shows would be on—they were slightly halcyon days. You look back and say, ‘Oh, those were great times, so the shows must have been great, too.’ I wonder if I watched them now whether I’d be like, ‘Oh, they’re shit.’ ”
All shook up: “Elvis was where it all began. I played him in a school production and fell in love with acting. Every cliché an actor trots out is true: The girls love it, you’re being lauded, it’s a complete ego stroke. And I just thought, Imagine making a living doing this.”
You like me, you really fucking like me: “When things go wrong, Sally Field lets rip with a good curse word. Everyone’s like, ‘Wow! Sally Field swears!’ Sure, all the rest of us do, too, but we’re not the Flying Nun or Gidget, so it doesn’t have the same impact.”
Torture test: “If I were to choose a subject that interested me least, it would be clothes. What I love about L.A. weather is that I can put on shorts, flip flops, and T-shirts most of the year, and I’m happy. That’s my uniform. If I have to go into a clothing store, I start to weep. That’s my idea of hell—shopping.”
Matthew wears: Dolce & Gabbana jacket, $1,875, shirt, $475, andtie, $195.
Neil Patrick Harris | <em>How I Met Your Mother</em>-
TV alter ego: Barney, the womanizing cad on How I Met Your Mother. “When it comes to women, Barney’s advice would be quantity over quality. He’s a master of excess in everything from alcohol to adventure. He doesn’t care if he fails, because it makes the story that much more hilarious.”
Comedy heroes: “Barney’s not quite as bizarre as Seinfeld’s Kramer, but I like the kinetic energy Michael Richards brought to that role. I’m also a die-hard Three’s Company fan, so there’s a lot of Jack Tripper in what I do. Fifteen people slapped me last season, and I loved it.”
The Britney factor: “It was pretty interesting when Britney Spears came on the show. I think she was a bit out of her element, but she’s cool.”
Personal style: “Since I wear a suit all day on the job, I don’t tend to dress up much, but now that I’m 35 I feel like I should stop wearing crazy T-shirts. Time to switch to the short-sleeve button-down shirt, isn’t it?”
Scratch that “Summer Nights” duet: “Karaoke is one of my least favorite things in the world. To have to watch someone perform on a subpar level gives me the heebie-jeebies. If you’re sober it looks like you’re trying to live out a dream you never fulfilled.”
Neil wears: John Varvatos tuxedo, $1,795, shirt, $245, and tie, $125.
Damian Lewis | <em>Life</em>-
TV alter ego: Charlie Crews, the wrongfully convicted police officer on Life
The grind: “We work 16 hour days, which are exhausting. You have to be prepared or else you’re thrashing around to keep your head above water. It’s harder than it looks, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Just another day at the office: “We did a scene where the U.S. silver medal sumo champion grabbed me by my shoulders and pushed me repeatedly against the side of this motor home. I thought I was going to lose my brain. Rarely am I physically afraid of someone, but I was absolutely terrified.”
Worst gig pre-Hollywood: “The shittiest job I had was selling car alarms. I wasn’t going around looking at people’s swanky cars saying, ‘I think you could use the UP3Z-40.’ I was cold-calling them on the phone. I’d get off the subway every day carrying my Walkman, which was the size of a brick, and I’d always hear the same song. Unfortunately, Phil Collins and the worst song he ever wrote, ‘Another Day in Paradise,’ are forever connected with me selling car alarms. Phil put me in such a bad mood I was unable to charm the customers. It drove me fucking insane.”
Damian wears: Costume National jacket, $1,100 for suit; Gap oxford shirt, $45; Banana Republic pants, $148.
Zachary Levi | <em>Chuck</em>-
TV alter ego: The eponymous computer geek turned secret agent on NBC’s Chuck
How he spent his hiatus: “Playing video games—Call of Duty, Gears of War, Rock Band. Oh, and lots of Ping-Pong and beer pong. I’m no Forrest Gump, but I can hold my own.”
TV obsessions: “If I died and I had to come back as a television show, it would be Three’s Company or Lost.”
Personal style: “I don’t care much about fashion. I’m a jeans, T-shirts, and Chuck Taylors kind of guy. I wish Adam and Eve didn’t fuck things up for everybody, so we could continue to run around naked. It’d make life so much easier.”
This season on Chuck: “There’ll be lots of big stunts and wire work. In the first few episodes, I fall off of three buildings. We’ve also got great guest stars, like Michael Clarke Duncan, who plays a bad guy, and John Larroquette, who teaches seduction to the CIA.”
Straight flush: “The most fun high jinks we have at work is crapping in each other’s trailers. Things are pretty scatological on set. I’m serious.”
Taking it to the big screen: “I’ve got some irons in the fire for after this season of Chuck. There are a couple of really cool projects, but let’s be honest—they’ll probably end up bypassing me for John Krasinski.”
Zach wears: Prada suit, $2795, shirt, $415.
Linus Roache | <em>Law & Order</em>-
TV alter ego: Law & Order executive assistant D.A. Michael Cutter. “He’s an edgy, aggressive guy who’s willing to go that extra mile for the sake of justice.”
Bonjour, Sam Waterston: “What’s amazing about the show is that it’s finding a life beyond America now as well. There’s Law & Order: UK and also Criminal Intent: Paris, which is called Enquêtes Criminelles. It’s amazing that you can translate these stories into any culture and they still work.”
Worst gig pre-Hollywood: “When I was a student, I had a job picking tomatoes, and that was awful. I used to come out with the insecticide all over my hands, and I would feel sick. It was a mundane job, and I was crap at it—very slow. And we got paid by the weight! I hated it.”
Personal style: “I’m not a sloppy dresser. I tend to dress pretty smart most of the time, but I don’t want to be too slick. I just invested in a couple of suits—an Etro and an Armani. I’ve always wanted an Armani suit.”
Kiefer madness: “I’m a 24 addict. I’ve seen every episode of every season, and I’m desperate for the next one. Once you get hooked, you can’t get off it. It’s crack television. I did everything I could to get on the show. I was like, ‘I’ll do anything—just give me a line. I’ll be a cop or a terrorist, whatever.’ But no one responded to my call.”
Linus wears: DKNY suit, $570; D&G shirt, $245, and tie, $130.
Zachary Quinto | <em>Heroes</em>-
TV alter ego: Heroes serial killer Sylar
He will Spock you: Quinto is set to don prosthetic ears alongside Eric Bana, Winona Ryder, and Leonard Nimoy in 2009’s J.J. Abrams–helmed Star Trek reboot.
This season on Heroes: “It’s about how villainy lives in everybody—not just the people you expect.”
Fashion victim: “A year and a half ago, nobody cared what I wore, but now I have to be aware of what I’ve been photographed in. I went to a premiere wearing a baseball hat, a jacket, a T-shirt, and jeans, and some Web site actually compiled pictures from every other event where I had already worn those articles of clothing. I was like, ‘Are you serious?’”
The Vulcan secret: “For six weeks I couldn’t talk about getting the Spock role. The studio said, ‘If anyone finds out, we’ll pull the offer!’ Obviously, I was obedient, but it was killing me not to tell my friends and family.”
Spoiler alert: “J.J.’s Star Trek is an exploration of the characters everyone’s come to know over the past 40 years, but from a very different perspective…I’m totally trying to bullshit this answer. Can you tell? Let’s just say this: It’s definitely not your grandfather’s Star Trek.”
Zach wears: Paul Smith suit, $2,370, and shirt, $440.