August 26, 2008

Tough Guy Mcdonough Gets ‘Desperate’


Neal McDonough fans who miss seeing the former "Boomtown" star on television each week can celebrate: Neal has joined the cast of ABC's "Desperate Housewives" as Nicollette Sheridan's new love interest.

"It's like Disneyland, it's the happiest place on Earth," he said of the "Housewives" set. "Nicollette is terrific, she's great. It's just this great cast."

Neal had not done a steady television gig since the cancellation of NBC's "Medical Investigation" in 2005. Instead, he was busy making movies, including "Flags of Our Fathers,""88 Minutes" and "The Hitcher."

"I was traveling everywhere. I wanted to see my wife and kids," Neal said during a recent chat. "I was about to go off again and ('Desperate Housewives' creator, producer and writer) Marc Cherry called and said, 'How'd you like to be the new guy?' It's just a lot of fun and it's nice to drive 3.5 miles to work, get home and kiss my wife."

Edie Britt (Sheridan) has has been unlucky in love on "Housewives" but in Neal's character of Dave, she finally seems to have found the perfect man.

Or so she thinks.

"There's definitely a past to the guy that no one else knows about and he's hell-bent on revenge as the year goes on," Neal said. "The audience is gonna like this."

While Neal makes his debut on the show next month, fans can see him even sooner than that because his latest film, "Traitor," hits theaters Wednesday. It's an espionage thriller that also stars Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce and Jeff Daniels.

"To work with Don and Guy and Jeff, those guys are fantastic," he said. "It's a very smart, entertaining film. This is one of those smart thrillers where you will never guess what's going on. If you can guess, you are pretty amazing. It's just really layered and that's what I like about it. It was one of those characters that was just right for me."

So what would Neal consider to be a "just right" character?

"I generally play those hardened tough-as-nails type of guys, I think that's what I am," he said. "Lee Marvin, John Wayne kinds of guys, not a lot of BS about us. We like to get to the bottom of situations, not dance around issues. These are the kinds of characters I like."

In "Traitor," Neal plays FBI agent Max Archer who he said "fights his way through to get answers."

Neal, 42, who was trained at the London Academy of Dramatic Arts and Sciences, was a busy theater actor but soon began landing guest spots on various television series including "NYPD Blue,""Quantum Leap" and "Murder One." His first significant film role came in 1996's "Star Trek: First Contact," which was a dream-come-true for a lifelong fan of the franchise.

"I get a kick out of watching myself on screen," he admitted. "I'm so blessed to have the career and the life I have."

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