Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni
Most people recognize actor Stephen Root for his iconic role as Milton, the oft-abused, stapler-loving paper-pusher in the cult classic "Office Space."
"I'm currently in Georgia at the moment to see a friend of mine in a play and that's pretty much what I get stopped for," Root says. "It's OK. It's like the little movie that continues to be seen by people. Every couple of years they'll discover that. I think it really speaks to mid-America. It just stays current."
Post-Milton, Root has become quite the versatile actor. He's logged a considerable amount of time as a voice-over artist - including 13 years as Bill on "King of the Hill" - he worked five seasons on "NewsRadio," and has had recurring roles in "Justified," "True Blood," "24" and "Pushing Daisies."
Tonight, Root guest stars on "Fringe." He plays one half of a husband-wife scientist duo alongside his real-life wife, actress Romy Rosemont.
"They're a husband and wife that are both scientists and have something going on in this universe, not the other one," Root says. He can't offer too many details, but says his character comes unhinged as things in his life go awry. "It's something you need to go ahead and see. But, we're both scientists trying to accomplish something."
Root says the opportunity to work with Rosemont was an unexpected delight.
"It came through - actually Romy had went to Northwestern with one of the executive producers, and we were actually at a party and talking to him," he says. "They were saying, 'Would Stephen be interested in doing a 'Fringe' (episode)?' And Romy popped up, 'Well, yes, if you invite me.' And strangely enough, Mr. (Jeff) Pinkner a while later said, 'Yes. Please. Come on and do the show.'
"We were just more than thrilled to be able to work with each other and come on a quality program."
"It was a great opportunity to be able to work with her," Root says. "We have been able to do readings and things like that for films, but never in front of a camera. It was tremendous to be able to work together. I think the first day that we worked was just the two of us and the director and the crew. It was a joy. It was tremendous."
Root says he loves sci-fi, and has "been a sci-fi guy from way back, including comics in the '60s and sci-fi from the time I was 13 years old. It's always fascinated me, whether we're in a situation where, 'Are there multiple universes? Is the nature of time itself - is it possible to travel back through time?' That kind of stuff has always fascinated me. I'm happy to be addressing it a little bit in this show."
Root and Rosemont didn't share many scenes with "Fringe" stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and John Noble, which is sort of unusual.
"We actually didn't get to work with a lot of the cast," Root says. "It was mainly us and Josh. Anna we saw a little bit. It was kind of an insular episode for us, which was good in that there was limited involvement. It's kind of a stand-alone thing."
The "Fringe" episode titled "And Those We've Left Behind" airs Friday, Nov. 11, at 9 p.m. on FOX.