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James Lesure on Coach Mike Brady and Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce

Photo Credit: Andrew Eccles/Bravo

WARNING: Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce spoilers

On Bravo’s Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, Abby’s love life is always…eventful.

For right now, Jake’s firmly in the ex-husband territory. In fact, he’s off in Vancouver focusing on his directing career. Waiting on deck is none other than the guy coaching her son’s baseball team. His name is Mike Brady and, so far, the two have had a rocky start to their interactions. But things are taking a bit of a turn. After all, last we saw Abby, she was writing a romance novel and envisioning the coach and a few choice sunflower seeds.

Photo Credit: David Dolsen/Bravo

We recently chatted with Abby’s new crush. Las Vegas and Uncle Buck star James Lesure teased what’s ahead for the coach and the single mom; he talked about his character sharing the same name as an iconic TV dad; and he reminisced about a couple of his former gigs.

TV GOODNESS: Loving your character on Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce. What kind of experience has it been for you so far?

JAMES LESURE: It’s good. It’s been a challenging experience and a satisfying one. I’m really happy to be part of this production.

TV GOODNESS: How has it been challenging?

JAMES: I feel like it’s a different type of vibe of a character than I’ve been accustomed to playing. And so getting used to that, and the material we’re going over, I feel like it’s a bit more sophisticated and mature than some of the stuff I’ve done in the past.

TV GOODNESS: You’ve been on two episodes so far. What kind of feedback have you been getting on your character?

JAMES: Oh people are in love with me, Tina, I gotta be frank with you. People are actually in love with Mike Brady. (laughter) No. [The reaction] is positive for the most part. I think people are responding to it. So I’m happy about that. A couple of dear friends have reached out to me and have asked why am I spitting seeds on a young lady and it’s a tough thing that I’ve had to explain, but this is the art of what the job is asking me to do.

TV GOODNESS: I was going to ask about that scene. How challenging is it to spit sunflower seeds and look sexy at the same time?

JAMES: (laughter) I don’t know about pulling off the sexy part but…that was written by a young lady — Lisa Edelstein — it was so much fun to play and it’s been fun to play. She’s fearless in doing it so she gets a lot of credit for that.

TV GOODNESS: You’re not the only famous Mike Brady out there. There’s another Mike Brady that might be a little bit more famous. Is your Mike Brady as understanding as the dad from The Brady Bunch?

JAMES: (laughter) No, no, no. He has set the bar so high. There’s no competing with that Mike Brady, who I grew watching and loving. I do want to honor him but there’s no competing with that. Come on, now. (starts singing) ‘Here’s a story of a lovely…’ We all know the lyrics!

TV GOODNESS: Exactly. So let’s talk about your character more. What are some of the coach’s strengths? And what are some of his flaws?

Photo Credit: David Dolsen/Bravo

JAMES: Well, he’s a disciplined cat. He believes in rules. I think he sort of lives his life by that. He can get things done and accomplished, which is good. He may be a bit standoffish to people and that can limit him in some regards.

TV GOODNESS: I like how Abby and Mike start off in an adversarial dynamic. Did you like that as well?

JAMES: I do like that. I feel like it surprises both of them that they’re having interaction together and so the development of that, I think, will come as a surprise to both of them.

TV GOODNESS: Abby was married to a director and has dated guys in the entertainment / self-help fields. Why is Mike, who’s very different from the men in her past relationships, a guy who’s good for Abby?

JAMES: Like I mentioned, he does believe in structure and doing things a certain way and maybe right now in Abby’s life, she needs sort of that thing she can hold on to. Because she’s got some other things in her life that are going on that feel less stable. So what she’s got is she can kind of anchor into it a little bit. So that could be comforting in some regard.

TV GOODNESS: Well we know that Mike is in the midst of a divorce. How much more are we going to learn about Mike as the season progresses?

JAMES: There are a couple of shockers…disciplined as he’s trying to be and as right as he’s trying to be, we find out he’s human as well. And so he makes some mistakes that I think are human and common. And so you’ll see that in the weeks to come.

TV GOODNESS: Going through the divorce, is that something that’s going to be affecting Mike and Abby in future episodes?

JAMES: I’ve said too much. I’ve said too much. (laughter) Absolutely. Absolutely it can. I mean, these things happen in life. You know how these things can get messy and complicated. And, so, we definitely will explore that in their relationship.

TV GOODNESS: Talk about working with Lisa Edelstein. What’s that been like?

JAMES: Well, I will talk about it. From the moment I met her, she has been welcoming and warm and I appreciated that right away. Because before I got hired we read scenes together when they were still deciding on who they wanted to play this role. And I promise you from the jump she was open and she was about doing the work and doing it in a joyful way and I’ve really appreciated that about her and she’s maintained that throughout. She’s got a great gift. And I’m inspired by her. And I enjoy working with her.

TV GOODNESS: One of your first scenes was at that sports bar so you also got to work with Retta. What was that like?

Photo Credit: David Dolsen/Bravo

JAMES: Retta’s a lot of fun. I recommend you spending some time with Retta at some point in your life, if you want to have a laugh, have some things to think about, she’s that type of energy in the world. She’s fun.

TV GOODNESS: Mike is a former baseball player. He played with the Royals and with A-Rod at some point. Any baseball cameos we can look forward to?

JAMES: As far as I know right now, there’s yet to be any former professional athletes that have come through. I hear Derek Jeter’s unemployed now, but I don’t know if he’s hard up for money. We’ll see. We’ll see.

TV GOODNESS: So are you a baseball fan yourself?

JAMES: I love to play. I love to play baseball. I live in Los Angeles throughout the year and I like going to Dodger Stadium here and actually going to the games and the social aspect of baseball. But I love to play. Do you play?

TV GOODNESS: I have in the past but not for a long, long time. What’s your position?

JAMES: I play left field because I like running around. I like having some space and I like running around so the outfield works for me.

TV GOODNESS: Is there an upcoming episode that you’re really looking forward to people seeing? And what can you tease about it?

JAMES: There is. Abby’s character sort of makes a turn that I was surprised by when reading it and I think it surprised Mike Brady as well. It’s an episode I’m looking forwarding to seeing how it plays and how people react to it. The Abby character is the one that makes a surprising turn.

TV GOODNESS: It’s been awhile since Las Vegas was on the air. What did you enjoy about being part of that show? Because I loved that show back in the day.

JAMES: Oh nice. Thanks, Tina. It was working with the cast and crew, that was my favorite part. I loved working with Josh Duhamel, who made me laugh. Jimmy Caan has got a thousand stories, he’s a great raconteur. The girls (Vanessa Marcil, Molly Sims, Nikki Cox) were talented and fun. I thought that we all really got along. As a cast — including Jimmy Caan — we would go party with each other off set. We’d go to a lounge or something like that. So we really enjoyed each other. I loved that aspect of it.

TV GOODNESS: Last year you worked on Uncle Buck which was a good show. Unfortunately it only lasted one season. What did you enjoy about working on a comedy versus something else?

JAMES: I really liked the writers on that show. Working with Will Packer and the other exec producers on that show was the biggest thrill for me. Working with Nia Long was a dream come true, actually. That was really nice.

TV GOODNESS: What can you tease about [tonight’s] episode of Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce?

JAMES: We start to see a little more interaction between the Coach and Missus Abby.

TV GOODNESS; Things are already starting to thaw out between the two so more of that?

JAMES: Yeah, more in that direction. That’s sort of forbidden for Mike Brady but I think he’s sort of sparking to Abby’s light. And finding her irresistible in that regard.

Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce airs Wednesday nights at 10/9c.

Official Synopsis for “Rule #225: What Happens in Bakersfield Stays in Bakersfield”

Photo Credit: Ed Araquel/Bravo

Stuck on a trip with her son’s baseball team, Abby searches for inspiration for her novel. The rest of the girlfriends try to escape their problems with a weekend getaway, but Jo worries her alcoholic ex-husband will relapse, Delia runs into someone from her past, and Phoebe becomes entangled with billionaire playgirl, Gemma.

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