Danny Masterson Gives Buddy Sitcoms a Makeover
Danny Masterson’s career started when he was 4 years old and since then, he has racked up more than 60 movies and appeared regularly in more than five TV series, but all of that is eclipsed by one particular role on one particular series that ended six years ago.
Masterson played the sarcastic slacker Steven Hyde for eight seasons on “That ‘70s Show.” Despite moving on with his career, the role is still his most memorable.
“No, that was the greatest job I’ll ever have,” Masterson told the Jakarta Globe by phone about the role’s overshadowing popularity on his resume. “ ‘That ’70s Show’ ran for eight years and for 200 episodes, where very few other shows have achieved that.”
Although Masterson doesn’t shy away from talking about his former hit show, he remains mum on his former co-workers and friends. When asked about the rumors of a romance between Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, Masterson diplomatically begs off: “I don’t know anything about that, they’re some of my closest friends, but I don’t know anything about that.”
Despite his gratitude to his former show, Masterson hopes his new TV series, “Men at Work,” a sitcom that tracks four guy friends and employees at a magazine as they navigate their professional lives and personal relationships, will achieve a similar level of success.
Masterson stars as Milo, a 30-something manchild who is recently single after a long-term relationship. He is joined by James Lesure (“Las Vegas”), who plays ladykiller photographer Gibbs, Michael Cassidy (“The OC”), who plays the charming and fashionable celebrity features writer Tyler, and Adam Busch (“Buffy, the Vampire Slayer”), who plays Neal, the nerdy news reporter.
“We’re not reinventing the wheel here, but we’re giving the [buddy sitcom genre] a decent once over,” Masterson said of “Men at Work,” which has been described as an all-male version of “Sex and the City.”
The show is based on the experiences of its creator, Emmy-nominated actor Breckin Meyer, who also happens to be Masterson’s good friend. Masterson said he was attracted to the project because it explores male friendships that reflected his own friendships in real life.
“My dude friends live in New York and Los Angeles and half are in long-term relationships and half are single,” Masterson said.
Masterson also said he was interested in “Men at Work” because it challenges him as an actor and gave him the opportunity to play against type.
“The character is the opposite of Hyde from ‘That ’70s Show.’ Hyde was the sarcastic asshole, Milo is completely 100 percent the opposite of that,” Masterson said.
And Milo is pretty different from Masterson, another fact that makes the character interesting to him. “I have never been dumped, I was pretty confident when I was single,” Masterson said. “Milo is kind of the opposite of that. He never knows what to say or do.”
On paper, “Men at Work” looks like it has a lot working against it. A number of shows have been labeled as, or cursed with, the new version of the seminal TV show, “Sex and the City,” and the premise for the sitcom — a situational show with four good-looking men — is hardly new.
But Masterson is confident that the show will stand out from previous offerings. But how? “We’re funnier,” Masterson said.
“Men at Work” marks Masterson’s first foray back into TV after “That ’70s Show” but he was not resting on his laurels. He has logged guest appearances on TV shows including “White Collar” and “Raising Hope,” and appeared in movies such as “Yes Man” and “Smiley Face.”
Outside of acting, Masterson has been busy setting up and running the hip men’s boutique Confederacy, which specializes in fashionable-yet-wearable clothes. He also DJs under the name Mom Jeans, and has even made a visit to Jakarta’s Blowfish in the past.
But all of that is eclipsed by his biggest life project, his marriage to actress Bijou Phillips, who he dated for seven years before finally tying the knot. He said this familiarity made the transition to married life much easier.
“Actually we had to cancel two weddings before because of work things,” Masterson said. “We finally got married in Ireland in October, a day after I finished shooting the pilot for ‘Men at Work.’ ”