This one’s for ‘Royal Pains’ and Evan R. Lawson fans. I was lucky enough to interview Paulo Costanzo, who plays the highly-adored Evan on USA Network’s critically- acclaimed dramedy ‘Royal Pains.’ For those wondering, yes, he’s just as funny as Evan. Despite me throwing him for a loop by revealing I’ve never seen ‘Return of the Jedi,’ he still divulged some great scoop about what’s coming up this season. Read for yourself!
TVRage: So, let’s discuss this season of Royal Pains. It’s been a pretty exciting one so far, but what I’m most curious about is Hank’s addiction to painkillers. Is Evan going to find out, and if so, how will he handle it?
Paulo Costanzo: Evan absolutely does find out. I don’t know how much of it I’m allowed to say, so I might be going rogue here. But, I’ll just say, hypothetically, if - I’ll rephrase - if Evan were to find out, then hypothetically he might want to have some kind of intervention. That intervention might be led by someone like - I dunno - Jenna Elfman … What I meant to say if she were to be on the show I’m sure she would be really fun and professional and talented and great.
TVRage: I have to say it’s been nice to see how Evan’s evolved over the seasons, especially this season. It’s almost as if there’s been a role-reversal and he’s kind of like the big brother to Hank. Are you happy to see how he’s kind of grown up since the beginning of the show?
Costanzo: Yes, I think he’s probably grown the most. If you watch the pilot he’s unrecognizable as a character. I feel proud that I get to be the one to play the character who does evolve the most - that’s always fun to play. This season, to be honest, I feel like on some level he evolves, but his obsession with this campaign I actually have felt like he’s reverted a little bit to his old self, just how obsessed he is … Which, in some cases, is great, but something kind of maybe misguided. He [Evan] thinks he’s going to save HankMed with this thing, but then I just think he gets taken away with how important it makes him feel with all these things. But I will say this, ultimately, I can’t tell you if he wins or not, it is a surprise what happens. It’s not what I imagine anybody would have thought.
Here’s something: the webisodes this year - I’m gonna shift gears - the webisodes were based on Evan’s campaign this year. Everything I just said, getting into it for kind of the wrong reasons in a way, and getting obsessed, all of that’s fine and good and kind of exists throughout the season and causes a lot of tension between he and his wife, because he completely starts ignoring his wife and his priorities get all messed up. In the webisode, the fifth webisode, I directed and I co-wrote it. It kind of allowed me to have free reign and mold it into what I saw as an expression of how Evan really feels about finally getting recognized, because he’s lived in the shadow of his overachieving doctor brother and how much he yearns to just be acknowledged - which is kind of sad in a way. He’s like a poor kid from Passaic, who all he’s ever wanted was to be recognized for something. I really recommend going on the website and seeing it. It’s a musical by the way … I genuinely feel that any ‘Royal Pains’ fan, I mean the whole cast is in it, should go and watch it. If I were a fan of any show, I’d be all over it.
TVRage: Do you think there will ever be a ‘Royal Pains’ musical episode?
Costanzo: Well, I don’t think it’s possible just in the format of the show. It’s also an hour show, so that would be a 43-minute long musical, which it takes a long time to write that kind of music. But, Michael Rauch [‘Royal Pains’ executive producer] and I are both are kind of big musical fans. I, also, grew up with Disney films. I always loved the musicals [and] the musical elements of those. That’s what I based the webisode on actually - kind of like a mixture of ‘Aladdin’ and ‘The Little Mermaid.’ … Michael really wants to have a musical number of some kind … a song. He said if we do that, he’ll let me write it, which is exciting.
TVRage: One of the biggest shockers of the season, so far, is Divya’s pregnancy. How did you react when you found out she would be pregnant? Was it anything like Evan?
Costanzo: No, I was like “It’s about time Divya got pregnant.” … No, that was not my response. I was - I have a boring answer - I thought it brought a lot of juicy stuff for Reshma [Shetty, who plays Divya] to play all year. That’s really cool.
TVRage: Speaking of Divya, a lot of fans wanted - and still want - Evan and Divya together. Did you ever think they would get together, or are you happy that Evan’s with Paige?
Costanzo: Well, I’m going to use a ‘Star Wars’ reference (laughs), in the beginning of the show it really was the Hans Solo/Princess Leia relationship. He was like this scoundrel who wasn’t afraid to be off-color and was in her face. She was this royal, easily offended princess, but things have changed so much. They’ve really cultivated a sibling-like relationship at this point. I think it would just be really weird, unless you’re into that sort of thing. I think it would just be really weird at this point.
TVRage: In this past episode, Paige showed a little bit of jealousy toward Divya and Evan’s relationship. Will things end on a good note for Evan and Paige at the end of this season?
Costanzo: Uh, I don’t think I can answer that one.
TVRage: Now, you touched on that you can’t reveal if Evan will become the next Village Council member, but will we see Blythe Ballard again this season?
Costanzo: Absolutely. And it might not even stop there.
TVRage: This past episode, Evan was all about Twitter. Will you ever join Twitter yourself?
Costanzo: I don’t know. I used to feel strongly that it was absolutely not my thing. I don’t know. I’m not sure. I can’t say for sure. I’d imagine probably not, but I might at some point. Weirder things have happened.
TVRage: One of the things I love about ‘Royal Pains’ is the chemistry between you and Mark [Feuerstein, who plays Hank]. First, you two look like you could be brothers, and second, things just look so natural and easy when you’re acting together. Do you two ever ad lib or go off script?
Costanzo: Yeah. I’d say usually Mark and I come up with stuff that isn’t in the script. I mean, I’m doing that all the time. When I auditioned for the show I made up about 30 percent of [my audition] … We definitely have fun.
TVRage: Basically, I adore everything about Evan, but one thing I absolutely love is his fashion. Do you have any say in what he wears, and do you dress anything like him?
Costanzo: I dress nothing like Evan. I wear a lot of like white v-neck T-shirts with jeans. That’s kind of all I wear. No, I’m much more simple than him. It’s pretty cool to put on those clothes if there’s like an event or something. Caroline Duncan, our incredible wardrobe designer, will help me out. Yeah, but I’m nowhere near as bold in fashion.
Costanzo: I’m trying to throw you a juicy treat that you can ask me about …
TVRage: Yes, anything else you can reveal about this season?
Costanzo: Oh! Oh my god! Yeah. So, I just watched the episode, I think it’s this coming week … Evan misinterprets stuff that Paige does about his birthday weekend, and [he] somehow gets it in his head that they’re surprising him by taking him to Italy. So, Divya and Evan end up going to Italy. We go to Italy … The Italy stuff is some of the best stuff that I think the show has ever produced. It looks so beautiful. It was written so well. Me and Reshma really bonded with the material. It’s definitely - visually something - to behold for fans.
You can catch Costanzo every Wednesday on USA Network’s ‘Royal Pains’ at 9/8c. Also, don’t forget to watch Evan’s webisodes, and be sure to keep an eye out for Costanzo’s two new projects: ‘That Burning Feeling’ and ‘Laboratory Conditions.’