Dylan McDermott Online
EST 2013 | your source for all things dylan mcdermott

Dylan McDermott has undergone something of a rebranding in recent years, smoothly transitioning from the good guys of Steel Magnolias and Miracle on 34th Street to the darker, potentially psychotic characters he’s specialized in on American Horror Story and CBS’s Hostages. He’s a little bit like Michael Emerson (Lost, Person of Interest), reliably playing those characters you can’t help but distrust–except, you know, hunky. The actor recently shed light on his unusual career arc, discussing the challenges he’s faced in playing Hostages’ Agent Carlisle and the significant stress-load involved in portraying evil.

You’d be forgiven for still thinking of him as that nice lawyer from The Practice. “The good news is that early in my career, I played a lot of good guys,” McDermott told U.S. News. “I was saving Santa Claus and being a lawyer, and I had a lot of good behind me. I don’t think I would enjoy just playing bad if I hadn’t been good for so many years.”

And McDermott got bad–really bad–on the last season of American Horror Story, where he played a serial killer known by the moniker “Bloody Face.” With its ghosts, dismemberments, and generally poor behavior, the show was a marked change from the McDermott projects of old, and paved the way for roles like Dave Forbes, the villain he played earlier this year in the “save the White House” actioner Olympus Has Fallen.

But it’s his current role as Duncan Carlisle, the morally compromised FBI agent at the center of Hostages, that has allowed him to narrow the gap between Good and Bad McDermott. “There’s a lot going on with this guy that’s really intriguing to me,” he told Rolling Stone. “And difficult to play, by the way, because at least for me, I have to enter a place that is sort of sinister in tone, and I end up being this guy more than I am Dylan throughout the day. That’s not easy to play.”

Still, the one role that’s always stuck with him is his first, the hero of a play written by his mother, Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler. He told Starpulse, “In this play Styrofoam vaginas would drop from the sky. That was fine, I was cool with that. But when they came down and dropped to the floor, I would have to put it on as a hat. So I’ve been dealing with this for a long time.”

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