Dan Bucatinsky won the 2013 Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role as James Novak on ABC's Scandal. After James was killed off in the March 20 episode of Scandal, BuzzFeed asked Bucatinsky to share his experiences.
1. Wear man Spanx.
2. Fake blood can stain said man Spanx.
3. Grief is grief.
4. It's hard to keep your eyes open in the rain.
5. Enjoy the kumbaya moments with castmates.
They are there for you — truly a family of generous, supportive and talented artists. Try not to think they all should've been killed off instead of you. This one's not so easy.
6. Get ER's Dr. Robert Romano to direct your death scene.
7. When Shonda calls, you answer.
8. Read your death episode ALONE first.
I took Shonda up on her offer to allow me to read the script before we all congregated for the table read. And I am glad I did. I sat in my friend and Scandal writer Pete Nowalk's empty office and read through the episode. I should have backed a Kleenex truck into the room. Instead, I used the bottom of my sweatshirt — as I'd told my 6-year old son NEVER to do ("Wipe on a tissue! Wipe on a tissue!") — but I didn't really have a choice. So I ate every single thing in the mini-fridge... and then I lied about it.
9. Don't do your own stunts.
The same rainy night of my death scene, we also filmed the actual shooting. The director wanted me to run as fast as I could and then, when the shots were fired, squat to the ground. I told him I would be happy to do the drop to the ground but he wasn't having it. I had to prove to myself that I could do it. Josh Malina was filming it. He encouraged me. I ran. Scott yelled "BANG," and I fell to the hard, wet pavement. I got up, proudly, and smiled my best "that's how it's done, people" smile.
I refused to let on that I had skinned my knee, possibly broken my arm, and twisted my ankle. Moments later, a young man of about my height, wearing the same trenchcoat and scarf as me — and glasses like mine — stepped onto the street. This was Curt, my stunt double. Did I mention he was young? Like 26. And thin. And well... I didn't like it. Who wants to come face to face with the younger, cuter, thinner, and more stunt-a-licious version of yourself?
They lay down a giant mattress where the camera was stationed, and for this take, they let me run, hit my mark when the gun fired (and it was loud!), and leap face-first onto the mattress and out of frame. I did it. Three times. I also pulled my neck out and possibly caused the dislocation of several of my internal organs. What was I doing? I still had a lot of acting to do that night — and Curt was trained in leaps and falls. I limped back to my chair and suggested Curt finish the heavy lifting.
10. Use a PASSWORD on your phone.
11. Don't tell your Mom they're killing you off your show by saying, "Mom, I have bad news. I'm dying."
For obvious reasons.