Matt LeBlanc

Matt LeBlanc isn't worried that people may think the exaggerated, twisted Matt LeBlanc in Episodes is the real him. In fact, he's reveling in their confusion and the opportunity to play a funny, edgy character.

My whole career I have played very politically correct characters and to not have to worry about major network constraints - you can't say that or you can't do that gesture or put your hand there or refer to those – is such fun. Now it's like '**** all that'," he laughs.

I am not afraid if people think Matt LeBlanc in Episodes is who I am.
Matt LeBlanc

"I am not afraid if people think Matt LeBlanc in Episodes is who I am - my friends and family know who I am. There are parts based on myself, but what they will do is take something that is real about my life that is a seed and grow it into this bush of an idea. Where it goes is based on that seed, it is not what really happens - my life is not that interesting."

He admits he had no idea how they were going to tackle the second series when none of the three main characters were on speaking terms.

He says: "It starts four months after the end of the first season, "Pucks!" has been picked up and we are in production. Sean and Beverly are not together and we are doing our best to navigate through this awkward love triangle. At the end of the first season, Sean says to Beverly, ‘When we get home to Britain, I'm out'; so, should they go back to London, their marriage is definitely over. In the first season, Beverly wants to go home and he wants to stay - in the second season he wants to go home, but if they stay she hopes she can get him to get past what happened and he can forgive her."

For Matt, the most upsetting part of his fling with Beverly was that he lost his best friend Sean, so while Beverly tries to save her marriage, he is trying to get his "bromance" back on track.

"We do eventually patch things up because we have to, don't we? He comes back to me kicking and screaming! Beverly and Matt are on the same side of the argument because Sean won't forgive Matt either. There are a lot of weird scenes with the three of us."

How it would work, taking a version of who he is and twisting it into a larger-than-life character, was the only thing that gave him any hesitation when he was first approached by the show's creators, Jeffrey Klarik and David Crane. Rather than set the boundaries himself, he agreed to tell them if he thought the scripts went too far, but so far he has never ruled out any aspect of his life for comedy.

"There is no handbook for this," he says. "We decided we would navigate through it together and anything that I am not comfortable with we won't do, but it's been really fun. The only time I've felt I had to call someone in my life to explain was one moment in the first season where Matt goes to his ex-wife's house and uses a very derogatory term. So I called my ex-wife and said, ‘This is going to come up, and it's not about you. The guy uses the word because he doesn't understand the ramifications'. And she said, 'That's fine, I don't watch it!'"

Most of the filming for the second season has been in the UK and Matt says it has now begun to feel more like home to him.

"I grew up in Boston, so it's a nice change to be cold after living in California. I feel a little more settled than last time because I'm staying in the same place and I have the same routine, the same gym and restaurants and neighbourhood as last year."

Episodes was Matt's return to TV comedy after a five-year break since the end of his Friends spin-off, Joey. This year he won his first Golden Globe for Best Comedy Actor for his performance in the first series of Episodes, but it doesn't mean he's ready to return to TV full time.

"The phone's not ringing off the hook, but that's ok by me. I feel very fortunate, work to me has become a kind of hobby. I was a part of something that gave me financial independence. The rent is paid, so now it's about projects that turn me on. Working three months a year on this, that's enough. But I'm kind of spoilt when it comes to comedy. I was on Friends, which was one of the funniest things on television. When I read a comedy and don't laugh, I think it's probably not that funny, so I feel a little jaded that way."

But although he has fond memories of the show that became the world's most successful comedy, he is not looking back.

He says: "It was the best ten years of my life. I had the best time doing it. But I don't think 'miss' is the right word. It will always have a special place in my heart, but that was a time and a place and that chapter is closed. It was very sad when it ended but you move on - all good things come to an end."

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