Last year, Rob Lowe shocked Emmy pundits by entering the lead-actor race for "Parks and Recreation," and this year his co-star Adam Scott is following suit. Scott, who plays state auditor-turned-campaign manager Ben Wyatt, has been a love interest for Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope for the better part of two seasons, and he has decided that his increased prominence during Leslie's city council campaign warrants the promotion: "I think this season, I was connected to Amy's character so much through the campaign and our relationship that in order to try and spread it out a bit since there are so many actors on the show, this season I could maybe justify sliding over to the other category."
It may be a savvy move. The "Modern Family" men have dominated Best Comedy Supporting Actor for the last two years, and with 2011 nominees Steve Carell ("The Office") and Matt LeBlanc ("Episodes") not in the running this year – "Episodes" has not aired during the eligibility period – there may be available real estate in the Best Comedy Actor race.
If nominated, Scott has two episodes in mind as possible submissions. In the first, "The Treaty," he and Leslie take their relationship troubles global, battling it out during a student Model UN. In the second, "The Comeback Kid," an unemployed and increasingly desperate Ben takes up stop-motion animation in his free time. Of his scenes with Lowe in "The Comeback Kid" he says, "It was really fun doing the scenes with Rob and to see that played out a little bit, and see that these guys have been friends for a really long time."
The fourth season finale of "Parks" aired on May 10, when we learned that Leslie won her city council bid, an outcome that Scott did not know ahead of time; the series filmed two endings, one in which she won the election and one in which she lost, and the actor was unsure which ending would be used at the time of our interview: "Maybe other people know. I actually don't … They may be keeping secrets from me. That's probably a very good idea because I am very stupid, and I sometimes just blab things."
These days, Scott is best known for his comic performances, but that was not always the case. He explains, "I remember my agent telling me at one point that I wasn't funny, and he was just saying that as a fact, like, 'You won't get an audition for the Tori Spelling sitcom because you're not funny' … and I believed him." He credits his role in 2008's "Step Brothers" with helping to change the public perception. "I'm so glad that that happened," he says. "I feel like I've really found something that I just enjoy doing … just kind of making things with my friends … and that's what the show is, that's what 'Parks' is as well. It doesn't feel like a job. It feels like literally showing up to work with your friends and just making stuff."
He has starred on "Parks and Recreation" since spring 2010, but despite his increased profile and move to the lead Emmy category he is quick to credit his cast mates. He says, "I feel like on this show everybody's a really central part of it … It's the sort of show where it wouldn't quite function if one of the legs got knocked out of the table – I'm now saying that 'Parks and Recreation' is a table and it has several legs, that's how good I am at metaphors today."