On Friday, Fox comedy “Raising Hope” is wrapping up its original run.
Although the show won’t continue into a fifth season, Lucas Neff, who plays young dad Jimmy Chance, said it doesn’t feel like a goodbye.
“Goodbye is still sort of like an amorphous thing because we’re still gonna be on Netflix, we’re still gonna be on iTunes. It doesn’t really feel like you really say goodbye to anything anymore,” Lucas told AccessHollywood.com. “Back in the day, before recorded entertainment, saying goodbye was a much more permanent thing. It meant something, I think, a little bit more than today.
“I was watching ‘I Love Lucy’ the other night on TV and it’s on every night, so it still feels like a part of my life, and that’s a TV show that aired for several years and ended decades before I was ever born, but it’s still a part of my life, so who’s to say that it’s ever really a goodbye,” he said.
So, before we say “see you in syndication,” AccessHollywood.com spoke with the witty thespian about the final episodes, the advice he learned from working with his TV Maw Maw — Cloris Leachman — and why he’s a little giddy over his current project.
AccessHollywood.com: Do you have any plans for April 4 to mark the date?
Lucas Neff: I probably won’t mark the date. I’m not the type of guy who marks dates.
Access: One of your producers said in an interview I read that they planned the season finale with the idea in mind that it could be the last episode, which it ended up being. Since you know, because you shot it, does it feel like a series finale?
Lucas: I don’t think so. I think it has a feeling that there are certain things that are tied together, but it was an episode that was looking forward. The show was named ‘Raising Hope,’ and I think everyone on board was always very hopeful that there would be more to come. That was always sort of the producers’ standpoint, that was sort of everybody’s official standpoint on set, is we were preparing for a Season 5. I think there’s a certain amount of closure in it, but it’s not a resolution. There’s no finality to it.
Access: What have you learned from working with Cloris Leachman?
Lucas: I think be fearless. Don’t ever be afraid to be fully yourself. She’s an immeasurably confident person. And there’s a plus side to that that I think is really valuable to examine as an actor, which is, as an actor, like any position, any job in life, any avenue that one is to take as a human being, it’s a psychological process. You sort of aid and abet yourself with confidence. I think you have to be open and I think you have to allow yourself to learn constantly. You have to approach the world as a student and take away everything you can, or approach the world as sort of a casino and you’re sort of George Clooney or Matt Damon and you’re just gonna steal every f**ing thing from it you can. That’s another way of looking at it. Or you could be Brad Pitt, or maybe Casey Affleck, but either way, you’re gonna steal a lot of money from the casino of life, Andy Garcia’s casino of life, and I think with Cloris, you sort of get the idea [of] like, you just gotta go for it. Whatever idea is in your head, whatever song is playing in your heart, you’ve just gotta give that to the world 100 percent.
Access: That’s some sage advice.
Lucas: And the more you can do that naked, the better, would be the other half that Cloris would offer.
Access: In Europe.
Lucas: Yeah, sure, or anywhere. America’s gotta catch up. You’ve gotta stop being afraid of the body.
Access: Have you learned anything about parenting from working with twins [Baylie Cregut and Rylie Cregut] and watching them grow up?
Lucas: I think I’ve learned a lot more about parenting from working with dogs and horses. But, you learn from working with kids too and I certainly think I learned from their mom a lot, which is … you gotta be cool. Not everything is a crisis. Every time there’s a little bump on the head or a scraped knee, sometimes it’s better just to let them walk it off than to coddle them. Sometimes you’ve gotta let them know that, ‘You’re okay. And I know you’re okay. And by me showing you that you’re okay, you’re gonna know that you’re okay.’ And that makes a kid stronger and makes them ready for the world a little bit, because the world’s gonna scrape you. You’re not going to get through this life without some scraped knees and you better have the internal fortitude and the spine to deal with it, because sometimes, you’re not going to have a whole team of people ready to carry you to the finish line. A lot of times you’re going to have to do it on your own and it’s better that everybody else, in the meantime, prepares you for that. And so, yeah, I think you love them as best you can, but sometimes, the best way to love ‘em is to let them grow up and be strong.
Access: That’s pretty good advice… So you’ve got ‘The Good Dinosaur’ next. Have you already done the voice stuff for that [animated feature film]?
Lucas: We did. We recorded a whole version of the movie last fall and as far as I understand it, they’re doing some rewrites, because… I think we maybe did too good of a job. We made the movie too awesome, and they want to dial it down so America can handle it, so they’re doing a couple of rewrites and I think we’re gonna go back and if they’ll have me, if I’m still a part of the vehicle moving forward, we’ll go back and we’ll do some more work on it. I’m really excited about it. I think it’s a really cool idea and like any young child worth their salt, I love dinosaurs. I mean ‘Danny and the Dinosaur’ was one of my favorite books growing up and the opportunity to get to voice a dinosaur for a company like Pixar was sort of a dream come true and I guess a dream still coming true, which is kind of a very neat feeling. You can’t help but be grateful.
Access: Going forward, is there any show you’d want to cameo in, if you could find a time for it?
Lucas: I guess I’m kind of a jerk because I’d rather just do an arc. I’d rather just be a part of all the shows I love.
Access: Which shows?
Lucas: I’d love to show up on ‘Louie,’ that’s a fun show. I wouldn’t mind playing some type of like, I could be one of the White Walkers on ‘Game of Thrones.’ That’d be all right. Yeah, I don’t know. … ‘Dance Moms.’ I guess it’d be fun to show up on ‘Dance Moms.’
Access: Are you into leotards? Is that what you’re saying?
Lucas: No, I just wanted to yell at her.
Lucas: Yeah, all of them. I just want to give them hell and then just like take the kids and run and let them go play in a field somewhere. I think that’d be fun.
The series finale of “Raising Hope” kicks off on Friday at 9/8c on Fox. “The Good Dinosaur” hits movie theaters November 25, 2015.
-- Jolie Lash