The Chance family on the Greg Garcia-created comedy RAISING HOPE has been through a lot. Jimmy Chance, played by Lucas Neff, started out as a surprised single father of infant daughter Hope after he found out his one-night stand with a serial killer (since executed) had resulted in a child. With Jimmy’s eccentric parents (Garret Dillahunt, Martha Plimpton) and even more eccentric Maw-Maw (Cloris Leachman) also in the household, little Hope has had a far from tranquil time of it. With Jimmy marrying his relatively level-headed sweetheart Sabrina (Shannon Woodward), things might calm down in the hour-long Season 3 finale, airing on Fox Thursday at 9 PM – but most likely, events will just get wilder.
Neff talks about where Jimmy has been so far and where he may go, as well as a few other projects.
ASSIGNMENT X: How are you enjoying all of the Season 3 plot developments?
LUCAS NEFF: I love the fact that it’s my favorite thing to do. I love to be allowed to play for a living. I’m not too invested in where it goes – I’d like it to go to good places, to well-written places, but I have a lot of trust, so I’m not going to worry about it, but I like to go and get to live in my imagination for fun.
AX: When you got the news that RAISING HOPE had been picked up for a third season, were you just gratified, or were you relieved?
NEFF: Yes, I’m relieved – I don’t think there’s any shame in that. I just did not have a lot of money, and now I can afford to go out and eat and have a coffee table and a couch. And I like those things. I’m gratified because we put in a lot of work and we’re proud of what we do, and to see it be recognized and appreciated is something that not everybody’s lucky enough to experience. And it’s very validating and sort of wonderful in a really sort of sparkly Irish Soap kind of way.
AX: There is a lot of craziness within RAISING HOPE, but there have also been occasional flashes of sanity. How much sanity would be too much?
NEFF: Whatever makes people start turning the channel, that’s too much.
AX: But otherwise you don’t mind them having occasional moments of sanity?
NEFF: No, not at all.
AX: And how are you enjoying playing a dad to a growing person?
NEFF: I like it. It’s a blessing, because it’s allowed me the privilege of getting to understand what it’s like to be a parent just a little bit before I step into that arena for real. I don’t think too much about it, to be honest. It’s just pretend and the main thing is, I like the people I work with and doing funny things.
AX: You’ve also done some live stage comedy around Los Angeles …
NEFF: Yeah. I actually do an improv show with Craig Cackowski. We do a two-man improv show called THE BETTER HALF at I.O.S. and around town on Saturday nights. I did ASSCAT recently, that was a lot of fun, over at UCB [Upright Citizens Brigade]. I think THRILLING ADVENTURE HOUR has talked about having me on. I don’t know when it would happen, but I love to play. Whoever will have me, I’ll be there.
AX: So you like doing live stage?
NEFF: Yeah, that’s where I learned to act, with an audience. So for me, it’s a lot of fun.
AX: Is RAISING HOPE the longest run you’ve ever had with one character?
NEFF: Yeah. I’ve only been an actor for four years. Three of those years have been on RAISING HOPE.
AX: Has your attitude about Jimmy or how you approach playing Jimmy changed at all over the three years?
NEFF: Sure, it’s changed. Acting is the study of human beings. And as you change, your understanding changes, thus you as an actor change. It’s inevitable. It’s a good thing, I think.
AX: Besides live stage, do you have any other things coming up as an actor we should know about?
NEFF: Yeah, I’m working on an independent film called FUN ZONE. I’m currently writing my memoir in the form of a hundred poems, I’ve written a children’s story that my brother’s doing the artwork for, I’ve written a bunch of plays. Things are good.
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Article:Exclusive interview with RAISING HOPE star Lucas Neff