10 Questions with Chris McDonald

Chris McDonald
Chris McDonald is an amazing actor who is just as comfortable performing Shakespeare as he is trading pratfalls with Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore. Chris currently stars as "Rex Hamilton" on the CBS drama, Family Law. He's also been in feature films such as The Faculty, Flubber (with Robin Williams), Lawn Dogs, and he even starred as Ward Cleaver in the feature film adaptation of the television classic Leave It To Beaver. (If you want to see McDonald in his most hilarious father role, check out the film SLC Punk, one of the favorite films of the SH staff.)

Born and raised in New York City, McDonald studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and the Stella Adler Acting Conservatory in New York. (From the Royal Academy to Adam Sandler -- that's what you call an acting range, folks!)

Besides Family Law, Chris' television credits also include the recurring role of Bryce, Kirstie Alley's estranged husband in the series Veronica's Closet.

McDonald's theatre credits include the Obie Award-winning musical Nightclub Cantata, Hay Fever, Bouncers and the Los Angeles Theatre Center's productions of Hamlet, Othello and The Taming Of The Shrew. He also starred in a production of Final Touches, for which he won the Dramalogue Best Actor Award.

Chris came to Long Beach, California, to race in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in a 10-lap sprint to raise money for charity. SportsHollywood caught up with Chris at the celebrity practice at Willow Springs raceway in California on March 10, and asked a few questions.


SportsHollywood: What's the fastest you've ever driven outside of a race?

McDONALD: On the Autobahn in Germany I was doing 160 in a BMW 5-Series for about 25 minutes... until I was flashed to get out of the way by a Mercedes 12-cylinder, with a guy saying "Excuse me, I've gotta get to work."

SportsHollywood: What kind of car do you drive every day?

McDONALD: I drive the Audi A-8 in the A-6 body, with the 4.2 V-8. I'm so delighted with this car. It's so sweet. But I've gotta get new set of tires now because of this whole training thing -- I've been practicing speed-shifting and breaking for this race on them, and they're shot.

SportsHollywood: How did you get interested in car racing?

McDONALD: I'm from upstate New York -- Watkins Glen (a historic racetrack), so I've always got to see NASCAR. It's a good 'ole boy thing that's fun to watch... However now it's CART. It's really the crème d' la crème. I'm a huge fan of the Grand Prix in Long Beach, My brother-in-law Memo Gidley (the CART driver) won the Indy Lights in the rain, so I've gotten real interested in racing.

SportsHollywood: Which is a bigger dream-come-true: Becoming a famous actor or being able to drive over 20 mph on a street in Southern California?

McDONALD: Choice "B."

SportsHollywood: Have you scared yourself on the track yet?

McDONALD: Oh yeah, I scared myself the first day out.

SportsHollywood: Any of these other guys scare you?

McDONALD: That's for sure. It's going to be a zoo out there, I hope on race day everybody doesn't throw everything they learned out the window.

SportsHollywood: Rate the competition here:

McDONALD: Josh Brolin, Scott Pruett... Oh yeah, Bill Shatner's all over it. Dara Torres is fearless. She's crazy also, which helps.

SportsHollywood: If Piper Perabo crowds you, will you feel any pangs of remorse if you drive her into a ditch at 100 mph?

McDONALD: This is really "screw your buddy" time out here. Not me of course -- I use my blinker and do hand signals. I'm always courteous.

SportsHollywood: Has your brother-in-law, Memo, offered you any advice on the race?

McDONALD: He told me he's raced here and went about 220 mph, so he thinks I should be able to do that, too. I said, "Thanks, but I don't think I'll be going quite that fast, Memo."

SportsHollywood: What's your favorite sports movie? (The greatest golf movie of all time, Happy Gilmore, is excluded for obvious reasons.)

McDONALD: Le Mans... Because I'm in the zone right now. Steve McQueen was amazing.

SportsHollywood: How many speeding tickets have you gotten in the last year?

McDONALD: This year? Three. But I always try to make it comfortable for the officers, since they're around my car so much. I've added a step-bar for them to rest on. I gave up driving red cars for just that reason.

SportsHollywood: Name five parts of a car engine:

McDONALD: Cams. Gotta have that. Carbs. Fuel Injection. Pistons, rods... BATTERY. Is that five? God, I hope that's five.

SportsHollywood: What's your next project?

McDONALD: I'm in 61*, a Billy Crystal movie about Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle that I'm hearing has turned out AMAZING. I play Mel Allen. It actually made my agent cry! Hows that? When it can make an agent cry, it's GOOD!

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Interview by Dan Mahin and Jeff Hause

McDonald Chris McDonald: Actor
Films: 61*, Happy Gilmore, The Iron Giant; SLC Punk; Quiz Show; Thelma & Louise; Unforgettable; Rich Man's Wife; Grumpy Old Men; Chances Are; A Smile Like Yours; Outrageous Fortune; Dutch

TV: Family Law (CBS); Tuskegee Airmen (HBO); Into Thin Air: Death On Everest (ABC).

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