Playing Ed, the devoted and extremely chill husband of Reese Witherspoon’s Type A perfectionist on “Big Little Lies,” Adam Scott revealed a side of himself we’ve never seen before. Yes, Ed owned a wicked sense of humor. But there was a melancholy underneath, a vulnerability that came from a fear that Madeline didn’t consider him the love of her life.
The 44-year-old actor recently dropped by The Times for a live video interview as part of our Emmy conversation series. Here are excerpts from the chat.
People are already asking if there could be a second season of “Big Little Lies.” What say you?
I think there’s more story there. There’s still a lot of stuff that was left unsaid. But there’s also something great about that being the end as well.
You like the ambiguity?
Yeah. I think it’s a terrific ending that [director] Jean-Marc [Vallée] put together. I also think there’s room for more if they want to do more.
There was a lot of tension leading up to Ed singing “The Wonder of You” at the Elvis and Audrey trivia night fundraiser in the finale. When he sings it, Jean-Marc says maybe Madeline realizes she has a pretty good guy.
Yeah and a great life that the two of us have built together and everything. I thought that was incredibly played by Reese. It was an amazing moment.
Why did Ed pick that particular song?
[He wanted] to speak directly to his wife. Things sort of come to a head there at the party, and I think Ed’s suspicions that he didn’t want to fully explore for fear of what he might learn, I think finally the tipping point came when they walked into the party and he kind of put it all together.
There’s a lot of eye contact between the parties. If Ed suspected there was an affair, the vibe is definitely there.
Yes. And so Ed ran the gamut before actually getting on stage and I think the process of actually singing that song put Ed where he found his love for his wife again and decided that none of that stuff ultimately matters as much as the two of us. And so by the end of the song, he was back in and had made a decision. But then she wasn’t there. By the end of the song she’s off, you know ...
Taking care of business. Now, if Ed had chosen “Suspicious Minds” …
I don’t know if I would have wanted to see Ed interpret “Suspicious Minds” dance-wise.
As for the singing, you took the voice lessons, you put in the work, but in the end they didn’t use your voice. What happened?
I’m just not a singer at all. This voice teacher, she’s incredible. My daughter actually is successfully taking lessons with [her]. But I probably would have needed 14 more lessons to actually get to a passable place. So they smartly dubbed in someone else’s voice because it wasn’t — not that it should have sounded incredible, but it shouldn’t be distractingly bad. [Laughs] The scene still needs to function.
But you enjoy singing. I read in an interview that your go-to karaoke song is “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.” That’s not an easy song to sing.
No. And nor do I make it sound easy when I give it a shot. Within the confines of my house, fine. But anywhere else I think it would be tragic.
You and Scott Aukerman did a long-running U2 podcast. What would be your go-to U2 karaoke song?
Oh man, talk about tough songs to sing. I mean, good Lord. They have so many great songs. If I could sing, if singing was something that I could do ...
If you had 14 more vocal lessons ...
If I could pull off a U2 song, I think maybe “Kite” would be a great song to be able to belt out.
Ed’s beard is gone by the last episode. Why did he shave it off? Maybe it’s part of laying himself bare?
Yeah. I also thought maybe that Madeline never loved the beard and sort of put up with the beard. And so this was another sort of step toward her.
Was your own wife any more of a fan of the facial hair?
I think by the time I cut it off, everyone was ready because it leaves a trail of itself everywhere you go.