The show -- which also stars Hunter Foster, Georgi James, Dick Latessa, and Jennifer Laura Thomspon -- follows an unconventional family as they drive across the country to reach the youngest daughter's beauty competition.
Gets, who hasn't seen the film since it was released, decided to bring his own imprint to the role of Frank (which was played in the film by Steve Carrell). "When I went to audition, I didn't go back and watch the film," he notes. "It's a brilliant film, but we're doing our own thing and I wanted to bring my own sense of Frank to the part and not just mimic another great actor. Frank is his own very special human being, and William and James have done a great job of honoring the film but making it their own work. People who know the movie will get the same trajectory of the characters, but our show veers away just enough to be its own aesthetic."
Little Miss Sunshine is the sixth collaboration between Lapine and Finn, and Gets feels honored to be part of their latest work. "You've got this group of people who have years of dialogue together. To be around them while they're creating, it's such a privilege. The older I get the luckier I feel to be a part of this 'team,'" he notes. "To say they're a good balance is obvious and an understatement. Finn gets so inspired and stuff flies out of him, while James is very disciplined and organized. He's so good at guiding Finn's outpouring of inspiration. The show is really powerful. I think it has enormous potential."
What else goes on Gets' tombstone remains to be seen, but the actor admits he has spent a lot of time recently thinking about the future. "In the last couple years, life itself was challenging. I lost a number of friends all around my age, so I started this year in this mid-life crisis mode, wondering what I have accomplished, and what do I want to do," he says. "And what I've come up with is I want to live in the moment. Yes, I have dreams as an actor. I would like to write more. I would like to teach more. I would like to combine writing and teaching with my acting."
Gets does have one role he'd like to revisit -- Franklin Shepard, who he played in the 1994 Off-Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along. "I was always interested in what would happen if they filmed the show, because it's less 'disruptive' to go backwards on film," he says of the work, which begins in the 1980s and regresses until the 1950s. "I think It's one of Sondheim's most accessible scores, and I would love to make it into a movie for Showtime or HBO."
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