Actor, singer, host, magician, and now director. Neil Patrick Harris tells TV Guide Magazine about his behind-the-camera work on the January 18 installment of How I Met Your Mother. In the episode, Marshall (Jason Segel) tries to convince Lily (Alyson Hannigan) that his colleague (guest star Amanda Peet) hit on him.
Was it hard to be an actor in a scene you were directing?
It was very strange. I was doing a scene in the bar with Jason and Josh Radnor [who plays Ted], and I’m thinking, “Great take. Love that. Oh, we should speed that part up a little bit.” Then I had to quickly think, “Wait, it’s my line.” I was very happy to not be in many scenes.
How did the cast respond?
They were so nice and were really on their game, both professionally and personally. They had my back, so it was a lovely week.
Did you have past experience that helped prepare you for this?
I directed some theater, but not on a giant scale. I was an observing director on NYPD Blue and Murder, She Wrote.
I’ve done my share of watching, but this was the first opportunity I had to pay the money and get my DGA card.
Is directing what you really want to do?
Indeed. I think it’s a great way to spend your days. I enjoy it more than acting, quite frankly. The actor works really hard for approval of others, which is fine. I’ve done it for many years, but it’s certainly fun to be on the other side. As a director, you work on the script, preproduction, casting, the shoot, editing, testing…it’s just a much more involved process. No disrespect to acting. I love to do it, and I hope to do it forever.
Will you direct more HIMYM episodes?
I hope so. Probably not this season, but it worked out well, so maybe other shows here or there. Maybe I’ll get off my rump and write and direct a film. I love Christopher Guest. I aspire to that type of movie someday.
Really, what can’t you do in the entertainment industry?
Give me something to try to do and I’ll see what I can make of it. It’s a great business. I’m a huge fan of the process of it all.
Source: TV Guide Magazine