David Hyde Pierce on not joining the Frasier reboot: ‘they don’t actually need me’

So just last week we were talking about Kelsey Grammer being cut off by PR handlers when asked about his continued endorsement of Trump. Grammer was on a BBC talk show promoting the Frasier reboot, in which he’s the only returning star (aside from cameos by Bebe Neuwrith and Peri Gilpin). I suggested tuning into former Frasier star David Hyde Pierce on Max’s Julia as an alternative to supporting Trump-supporter Grammer. Well, the lovely Mr. Hyde Pierce has very helpfully provided a soundbite this week on why he’s not in the reboot, and his response is just as classy as you’d expect from Niles Crane. The topic came up in a recent LA Times profile on Pierce, in which he primarily discussed his current theater role in Stephen Sondheim’s final musical: Here We Are. Here are his Frasier comments from the article:

Actors are lucky if they have one TV series that takes off. Pierce is starring in another, Max’s “Julia,” in which he plays Paul Child, the sensitive husband of cooking eminence Julia Child (portrayed by the great Sarah Lancashire). This show may not have the same reach as the one that made him a household name, but when he was approached to do the reboot of “Frasier” on Paramount+, his plate was so full of meaningful projects that he didn’t want to give any of them up.

“I never really wanted to go back,” he admitted on a recent November morning in the lobby of the She before a matinee performance. “It’s not like I said, ‘Oh, I don’t ever want to do that again.’ I loved every moment. It was that I wanted to do other things. And when we got into real talks about the reboot, I had just started on the ‘Julia’ TV show and was working on a musical and going to do another musical, not this one. And I just thought, ‘I don’t want to be committed to a show and not be able to do stuff like this.’ And I also thought, ‘They don’t actually need me.’ Frasier has moved on to a new world. They have new characters. And I think I’m right. It’s doing great. And the new people they have are great.”

[From LA Times]

Nicely done, David. A tactful response (“They don’t need me! The new people are great!”) with just some hints of shade (“I never really wanted to go back.”) Great job by the writer as well for the dichotomy he set up of “No, David doesn’t want to return to make more money. He wants to do MEANINGFUL projects!!” Again, an excellent joint effort by both interviewer and subject.

For my gorgeous musical theater nerds out there: Here We Are sounds like a trip. Shows are currently running at The Shed in New York. There are no plans as yet for a Broadway transfer, although Broadway heavyweight director Joe Mantello is at the helm (he directs everything, but to name one show: Wicked). In Here We Are, David plays a bishop who’s into ladies’ footwear, in what is described in the article as “a musical diptych” that “stitches together two unrelated yet thematically resonant [Luis] Buñuel films, ‘the Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie’ and ‘The Exterminating Angel.’” This logline is so deliciously absurd and obscure, I’m actually hoping the show does go to Broadway and gives the Disney takeover a run for its money.

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Photos credit Wenn/Avalon, Robin Platzer/Twin Images/Avalon and Getty

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