“Humanity in the military is important to be reminded of.” You know him from Veronica Mars and The Help; now Chris Lowell can be seen taking on an entirely different role on FOX’s Enlisted.
On the military-set comedy that follows three brothers stationed on a small Army base in Florida, Lowell plays Cpl. Derrick Hill, the sarcastic middle brother. The Hill brothers are in the rear detachment unit (REAR D), which is responsible for keeping things smooth for the soldiers’ families. What makes Enlisted entertaining is that it’s got heart with the brotherly bond we see with Lowell’s character along with his on-screen brothers played by Geoff Stults and Parker Young, as well as humor by giving us a fun look on life on a military base. It’s these attributes of the show that Lowell says he is most excited about and what he hopes viewers enjoy as well! PPLA recently caught up with the actor and we chatted about his favorite moments with his character, how this role has influenced him as an actor, and the affect the boot camp experience had on him and his co-stars!
PPLA: What are you most enjoying about Enlisted?
CL: Really the people. It’s an unbelievably fun environment. All these actors are so freaking hysterical that it’s like a lesson in comedy, which I need badly because I am very poorly gifted in comedy. It’s been a lot of fun watching other people work. It’s a great environment when you spend all day at the office just trying not to laugh. What’s fun about the show is Kevin (Biegel) and Mike (Royce), and the writers will just find these things that they like about Parker, Geoff, Angelique and I, and just put them into the show. I take a lot of photographs and so they decided that I would be photographer on the show. Parker is obsessed with going to the firing range so there’s an episode about Randy being careful with that. They are always kind of looking for reasons and opportunities to put as much of us into the episode as possible.
PPLA: This role and genre is different for you, you’ve done more serious stuff in the past with Private Practice and The Help. We haven’t really seen you in a comedy. How has this change been for you as an actor?
CL: Yes, this is the first time I’ve done a comedy. And the reason I love the show so much is it’s a really fun challenge and it’s really interesting to learn what is rewarding at the end of the day. When you’re doing a drama it’s so easy to know just because of how depleted you are or what you’re feeling that you did something right. And here, it’s very different because nailing a joke is a very different sense of accomplishment. And making other people feels like it’s a big win but then you’ve lost the tape because you’ve thrown someone off. It’s been a great education for me. Also, I feel like I’ve always played sort of the nice, wide-eyed boy type, so it’s fun to be playing this very cynical, dry, angry person. It’s really fun. And I love the jokes they give me. Parker is great, he’s got sort of the larger than life, slipping on a banana peel jokes; and I love having the really, sarcastic, cynical fighting moments. They’re really fun.
CL: There is definitely a lot of heart. That’s I think the thing that is going to surprise people the most. The show is generally so broad it just catches you off guard when you see kind of the endearing qualities.
PPLA: What has been your favorite storyline that you have had with Derrick this season?
CL: For me, I think what’s the most fun for my character, who is sort of got such a tough exterior, and is kind of hard to crack, is when I have a love interest on the show. I think it was for me really nice to find opportunities to sort of find my softer spots via that relationship. It was nice.
PPLA: So we are going to see him possibly romantically involved with someone on the base?
CL: It’s not necessarily someone on the base, but it’s someone. So it’s good. It was a lot of fun. And it was actually with a good friend of mine who ended up playing the part, so it was fun to work with her. It was great.
PPLA: I know that you and your co-stars went to a real Army boot camp in Texas, how do you think that experience impacted you as an actor?
CL: I think the biggest thing it did was really bring us together as actors. It was so demanding that you really needed to lean on each other and be there for each other. It was an emotional experience, we were exhausted. None of us knew what we were getting ourselves into. So it definitely brought us together in a way that is very unique. I think it comes through when you see the episodes- just in terms of chemistry and in terms of kind of this underlying love that we all sort of share for each other.
PPLA: The Army, obviously can be a very sensitive and serious topic. What do you hope viewers get out of this show?
CL: I just hope people laugh and no one more than members of the military. I think there is really only one vantage point on American soldiers today and that’s either soldiers ravaged by war or soldiers on the front lines, which obviously are very real things, but another real thing is soldiers being people. Laughing, joking around, having fun, goofing around. And I think that humanity is really important to be reminded of- that it exists in the military. So really, I just hope people laugh. I hope they have fun!
Enlisted airs Friday nights at 9pm EST on FOX! @EnlistedonFOX