Prosthetic teeth and an old beer may seem to be unlikely treasures, but they share a place of honor in actor Eric Lange's home office and "creative lab," as both character inspiration and reminders of his craft.
For his role in Showtime’s upcoming miniseries “Escape at Dannemora,” Lange gained 40 pounds and sported the snaggle-toothed prosthetic. Without hesitation, he donned them again.
“They're incredible, you're instantly a different person,” Lange, 45, said with a sudden, noticeable speech impediment. “Some of the creative work I did in here was put them in and talk into a mirror or film myself.”
The teeth share a special place on the shelf alongside Broadway actress and legendary teacher Uta Hagen’s “Respect for Acting” and an awkward family portrait of Lange in character with Patricia Arquette, who plays his wife on the series.
“This photo was hanging in our house on the show. We took it the first minute we met,” said Lange, who shares the 4,078-square-foot Sherman Oaks home with his wife and two young children. Lange’s acting credits span theater, television and film going back more than two decades, including “Lost,” “Weeds,” “The Bridge” and “Narcos.”
Why is this room so special to you?
I'm a very creative person by nature. I act, draw, paint, play the piano, sing and like design, so I wanted a space where I can just shut the door and all these creative endeavors can be fulfilled. It’s the kitchen to a cook with all my tools I use to let my brain do that thing.
What do you need out of a space aesthetically in order to tap into the creative zone?
I display memorabilia, books, pictures and mementos from parts I've played because when I get stuck or daunted about how I'm getting from A to Z with a character, I like having this full wall of examples of, “Look, you've done it before, it will come again.” These things all reinforce that the process has worked in the past.
I see you have memorabilia from “Lost.”
"Lost" was a big deal for my career. There are the glasses that I wore in the show and a Dharma beer can, which is a prized possession. A fan sent me this drawing of my character Stuart Radzinski. I thought that was such a cool honor, so I framed it.
Tell me about this photo of you and Steven Spielberg.
"The Country House" was my first Broadway play with Blythe Danner. One night Steven Spielberg came and we talked for about 20 minutes backstage. I gushed uncontrollably; it was one of the best nights of my life.
What's the significance of the framed "This Space for Rent" poster hanging in the middle?
The bookshelf was designed with this giant space in the middle because having shelves all the way across felt too heavy for the room. I didn't want to give that spot to anything, so I made this sign symbolizing that I'm always looking for the next challenge. The business is so unpredictable but there's also an excitement to that.
How would you describe your style when it comes to design?
I like country bumpkin into modern; uncluttered and simple. I'm from Ohio and still sort of feel like a Midwesterner. What I like about this house is it has this faux shiplap, which is the Ohio to me. But then we dressed it up with brass and leather.
This space is sometimes a kid zone.