Teddy Sears, Playing Doctor

7.11.2014

By Daniel D'Addario

The Masters of Sex of actor on suits, psyches, and getting it on with Allison Janney

Photo: Rainer Hosch | Trunk Archive

Is there a TV series Teddy Sears hasn’t appeared in over the past decade? There were the requisite stints on Law & Order; the bit parts on Mad Men, Ugly Betty, and Sex and the City (on which he had an uncredited role as “Fashion Show Guy”); and his recent turn as Zachary Quinto’s slutty lover-turned-Rubber Man victim on American Horror Story. Still, none of those gigs prepared him for Masters of Sex.

In the 1950s-set Showtime hit (the second season premieres July 13), Sears plays Austin Langham, a sexpot doc who in the process of serving as a test subject discovers that extramarital nookie is what he desperately needs to get off.

“Every time I was handed a script the first season, I’d have this nerve-wracking moment—like ‘Aw, Christ, what unlikeable shit is Austin up to this episode?” says Sears, who found particular delight in shagging Allison Janney’s inorgasmic matron, Margaret. The sex may take place under doctors’ supervision—but Sears makes it feel anything but clinical.

On Why He’s a “Teddy”

“My dad is Edward and he named me Edward, but he always just called me Teddy because I think he wanted a distinction in the house. No one has ever called me Edward—it’s just so damn stuffy and formal. It’s like you want to have a British accent to say it. That’s the only way it’s going to sound remotely cool, I think.”

Following Suit

“I went to an all-boys school and wore a coat and tie every day for 10 years. I think putting a suit on does something to straighten you up. It’s sort of an instant thing that happens to me because of my upbringing. When you put the suit on and get your hair slicked back and step onto the set, it does 90-percent of the work for you. The only thing I need to remember is to slow down when I talk.”

On His Multiple Sex Scenes

“Allison had never done a nude or sex scene before ours, so she was quite nervous, and I believe we connected on that level because this was all new for me, too. My wife is an actor, so she totally gets it. We don’t miss an episode of Masters of Sex and that doesn’t mean she’s entirely comfortable watching the physical stuff. But it’s OK—she just looks away.”

Man Behaving Badly

“There’s an expression I love: ‘If you bury something in the backyard, it’s going to dig underneath the house and pop up in the front yard.’ I think that’s what’s happening with Austin. He’s never really looked at these feelings inside that drive him. I don’t think he’s looking for sex with these women—I think he’s looking for something much deeper. He just probably has some serious mom issues. Things like that eat away at you. I think if I were living back then, I might not have been so open to self-examination and freeing myself of certain learned constraints.”

The Ryan Murphy Marathon

“I remember shooting a scene with Zach [Quinto] for American Horror Story that was something like six to eight hours. It was the scene where Zach was wearing the Rubber Man suit, and by the end of it I remember we had a sort of quick-collapse hug; it was like, ‘Man, congratulations, that scene is over.' "

The second season of Masters of Sex premieres this Sunday, July 13 10/9c only on Showtime. Watch the trailer below:

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