Spader faces a 'Legal' challenge

James Spader in 'Boston Legal'

James Spader won his first Emmy two weeks ago for playing the obstreperous Alan Shore on ABC's "The Practice."
And now he wants to celebrate.

"I think it would be nice to go on tour," he told the Daily News via phone from the set of "Practice" spinoff "Boston Legal," which starts Sunday at 10 p.m. on ABC.

"You know, you go to a few cities - New York, Chicago, Cleveland - maybe there's a small parade in each city. And maybe they give you a key to the city. And maybe there would be small cocktail reception," he said. "You just bask in the glory of it all for a week. And then you get a few days off to recover from all of that, at which time they send you off on a Mediterranean sojourn."

Fat chance.

Producer David E. Kelley is a workaholic, and he expects nothing less from his cast, which includes William Shatner reprising his "Practice" part as the bombastic Denny Crane and Freddie Prinze Jr. as Crane's slacker son.

Spader has his work cut out for him this season. He was the irreverent heart of the weighty "Practice" last season. On "Boston Legal," Shore and Crane, polar opposites in style and temperament, will be running a much looser law firm.

Also moving over from "The Practice" are actresses Lake Bell and Rhona Mitra.

"['The Practice'] became the Alan Shore show to a certain extent last year," Kelley told reporters earlier this week. "So in deciding how to proceed, it felt more organic to go in that direction."

This year, Spader's character continues to "upset apple carts," said Kelley, but the challenge will be to "explore him in all of his complexities and not to be afraid of his darker side."

"Alan Shore is a tremendous receptacle for everybody's bad behavior," Spader quipped. "And that includes David Kelley's bad behavior."

On "The Practice," said Spader, Alan Shore "only had to show up, make a mess and disappear before he got caught. This year, he has other responsibilities."

Don't expect a major change, though, said Spader, adding, "He's always going to be a misfit."

Originally published on September 30, 2004

< back to "In the Press" >