on the finding (and not finding) of evil wil wheaton

We filmed until 330 this morning, and when I finally got home a little after 4am, it was all I could do to convince myself to wash off my makeup and go to sleep. I woke up at 1230 this afternoon in the same position I fell asleep, and I probably could have easily slept another 3 hours or more. When I wrap (I'm writing this from the set) in a few hours, I go straight to the airport, fly up to Vancouver, drive two hours to location, and start work on Eureka at 655 tomorrow morning.

Ever since I woke up, I've felt like I'm wrapped in this warm blanket of happy exhaustion, and I'm so grateful that I'm only in 4/8 of a page tomorrow, so by the time I really hit the wall tomorrow afternoon, I'll be able to fall into bed and stay there.

It's a lot to do, and it's as exhausting as it sounds … but it's also a lot of fun. This has been my life to varying degrees for the last several months, and though it's overwhelming at times, and I don't have a lot of free time, all I have to do is look at the times I had as much free time as I wanted (from about 2001 to 2007) and everything falls into a wonderful perspective. I keep saying that I hope I don't wake up from this wonderful dream, and I mean it more today than ever.

Last night, we shot on the back lot at Warners. It was a night shoot, with about a hundred extras and all kinds of atmosphere – cars driving and lights changing – and I felt like I was really in the movies, more than I usually do. When we got to my scene, it took me several takes to find Evil Wil Wheaton, and I started to feel like I was screwing up and causing everyone to think twice about bringing me back for more episodes. After the second take where I just felt off, the director came over to me and told me to have more fun, don't be so controlled, and remember [SPOILER] and [SPOILER]. A few things clicked into place, and we shot a few really funny and truthful takes. I couldn't put my finger on exactly why, but Evil Wil Wheaton came to life, and I couldn’t believe that, even for a second, I hadn’t been able to produce him out of snarky air.

Earlier today, before we began shooting, I walked over to Mark, our director, and said, “I just wanted to thank you for helping me find Evil Wil Wheaton last night. Your notes made all the difference for me.”

He said I was welcome, and told me that the scene was really funny, and looked great, too.

“I always have such a good time when I’m here,” I began, and I then I knew exactly why I was having so much trouble finding Evil Wil Wheaton. “And I just realized why I was having so much trouble last night.”

“Oh?” Mark cocked his head a little bit to one side and waited for me to continue.

“Yeah. I was so exited to be working outside, at night, on the backlot, and so overjoyed to just be back on this show, it got in between me and Evil Wil Wheaton. My very real joy and happiness was so overwhelming, it informed my performance and pushed it in the wrong direction. When you told me [SPOILER], it brought me out of that nerdy joy enough to focus me back on finding the truth in the scene and the character.”

“I saw that happen,” Mark said.

“Usually, I have four days of rehearsals and run throughs to get that giddiness out of the way — and I honestly feel like a real freakin’ noob to not have realized this right away — but I only had the one rehearsal and the one run through on Friday, and then … well, there we were.”

Mark nodded slowly and smiled at me. “Well, you were great.”

“Thanks, man,” I said. “I feel so silly, because it’s not like this is my first rodeo, you know?”

Mark nodded, and was called away to do director stuff, so I came up to my dressing room to write this post, while the memory was fresh in my mind.

I’ve been an actor for just over 30 years. I’ve worked in nearly every environment possible, on all kinds of productions, in all kinds of roles. If I wasn’t playing an evil version of myself, I would have remembered that I was playing a character who is snarky and evil and lies about his grandmother and breaks couples up to win at bowling … but that blurring of the line between me and the character I play of the same name is something that is relatively new to me. I’m grateful that I had a fantastic director like Mark to help me find and define the line between me and Evil Me again.

Added long after we wrapped: Seconds after I finished writing this, I was called to the set to work, and then I got in a car to come straight to the airport. I’m waiting to board my plane back to Vancouver now, and I have a moment to edit and post this. Before I get on my plane and instantly fall asleep, I want to add that had a wonderful time on the show, like I always do, and I just want to take a moment to once again thank the cast, crew, writers and producers for making me feel so welcome. My episode airs on November 11 on CBS. I really hope you’ll tune in, and tell your friends to watch.

39 thoughts on “on the finding (and not finding) of evil wil wheaton”

  1. Welcome back to Canada!
    I can’t wait for this episode. I wonder what Kid2 will yell at the screen this time. Last time it was a series of, “Shut up, Wil! Don’t! OMG! YOU IGNORANT PRICK! I said, SHUT UP!” Then he looked at me and said, “Man, it’s a good thing I know Wil is a really nice guy in real life. Because the guy he plays is a dick! And he does it so well, for a moment I questioned why you like him, mom.”

  2. Happily awaiting the forthcoming “Canada, I am in you again!” tweet.
    Glad you’re enjoying the busyness that you asked for. It’s always refreshing when someone fully appreciates the gifts they get.

  3. Hi Wil. My girlfriend and I were working background last night. We were the couple at the table with your “posse” during dinner. Just so you know, many of the extras were super-geeked that it was a Wil Wheaton episode, including us. Everyone appreciates your willingness to satirize yourself… they make for some of the best episodes of the series. “Evil Wil Wheaton” makes a great arch-nemesis for Sheldon. We just started in this business, and it was nice to see someone famous exude a little bit of enthusiasm on set. You did a great job!
    We feel you on the exhaustion… we had an 8:30 call time the next morning!

  4. Wil: Thanks for the behind the scenes info – I always enjoy getting a peek at the things we don’t get to see when watching the show on TV.
    Welcome back to Canada – sorry about the rain. [For you Californians, that’s water drops that fall from the sky.]
    ps: Rented a copy of Toy Soldiers the other day – Great movie, I’ surprized that I haven’t seen it before as it is the kind of movie I enjoy. Except maybe for all that hanging around in your underwear. 😉

  5. Yeah…I wish I had your kind of life….you are such a lucky person to be as loved around the globe as you are….and you deserve it. I will tune in to your new episode, yes! I wish you all the best and happy and safe travel.

  6. I always enjoy your appearances on my favorite show and I am so excited to learn you’re going to be guesting on it once more. On the finding of your Evil you I wonder if you might reach out to Stephen Colbert who lives as an alternate version of himself several hours a week. He may have insight you have not experienced in your relatively short stints playing an alter ego of Wil.

  7. Cool! Will you un[SPOILER] the [SPOILER]s once the episode airs? I would be very interested to hear what the director said to bring out the evil. Helpful directors like that who know the magic spell are so rare…

  8. I first watched the adult you on Leverage, then followed you on Twitter (all the cool kids do). When you tweeted that you would be guesting on Big Bang Theory, I decided I might give the show a try. All I can say now is a heartfelt thank you for leading me to BBT, even if you are Evil. (Only on-screen, of course.)

  9. Though if sleep eludes you, I highly recommend the exciting new Star Wars section in the SkyMall catalog. Now you can order your ThinkGeek Tauntaun sleeping bag FROM THE AIR.

  10. Yay! This TOTALLY made my day!
    Wiped the schedule for the 11th – although we NEVER miss an episode, EWW episodes are SACRED at our house!
    Travel safely!
    Thim :)

  11. Yeah! Cannot wait for the 11th now :)
    By now you’re in Vancouver hopefully sleeping away. I’m assuming the “drive two hours to location” is Chilliwack, where I live :) Can’t wait until your official “I’m in you now Canada” tweet :) I love the thought that you’re here. Really here, down the road filming, either in the Wack or Van, I consider myself from both. So I love it. You must be elated to be almost done. Yes it’s been raining. We do live in a rainforest, but Wed. is supposed to be quite nice for the most part, and the only ‘nice’ day this week. So says our forecast : http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/city/pages/bc-24_metric_e.html
    I can’t believe I never watched Toy Soldiers before so I went and got it :) Going to watch it on Friday :)

  12. … a sweeps month episode? Sweeeeeeeet. Good on you, Actor Wil. (Writer Wil will just have to store stuff away until the current spate of paying gigs eases.)

  13. Like Bridget above, I had never watched or barely heard of BBT before you tweeted / blogged about it. I found you on twitter because of my Trekkiness, then read your blog, and now thanks to you I am rejoicing with my inner geek once again. You have introduced me to BBT, The Guild, Paul & Storm, John Scalzi and Neil Gaiman, and I could go on and on (I even downloaded and re-enjoyed Depeche Mode because of you). So glad things are busy for you, and I guess next I will have to get hooked on Eureka!

  14. All of us in East Texas are very sad to hear that your meemaw died and therefore will not be able to make it to the Texas w00tstocks. We wish you all the best.

  15. Wil, thanks to your entries about the cast & outlook, I am now a BBT fan.
    My mother and my sister got me to watch one episode about two years ago, and I thought “this show is making fun of me and my friends, and not in a nice way.” But over the past year (?) as you’ve blogged about your experiences with them, I decided to give it another chance, and I’ve been enjoying the shows a lot, working through them from the beginning. I do still have moments where I talk to the TV: “Why are you laughing at that? It’s a completely reasonable thing to do!”
    The disk from Netflix with at least one of your episodes on it will be here this week, and I’m looking forward to it.
    Thank you.

  16. Was your appearance on the Star Trek cast Weakest Link episode the genesis of Evil Wil Wheaton?
    Throwing this one open to the audience: when was Evil Wil Wheaton first spotted in the wild?

  17. I expect that having recurring roles or cameos is a way to generate new buzz about a show, and it has totally worked with the shows you are working on. I love the BBT and I’m not sure I would have tuned in if you hadn’t had gained a role there. Same with Eureka. It’s not that I’m adverse to good shows, it’s just that there are so many out there, we each just find a little corner we like and hang out there.
    I’m looking forward to your next episode. Safe travels.

  18. Those are some serious schedules, you deserve some time off when you come back from Canada.
    Thank you for your insights into the life of a working actor. They illustrate how much effort and time goes into a production.
    Looking forward to some Wil Wheaton evilness, the current season of BBT has been lacking punch a bit.

  19. You sound happier than a pig in (jarring edit) slop. I can see the title of your next book “How Wil Got His Groove Back”. Your fans of all 30 years are very proud of you.

  20. I’m so happy for you that you’re having such a blast, Wil. :-) You must be exhausted, though – I quote: “I was so exited to be working outside…” Well, yes, I suppose if one is working outside, one is technically exited… 😉 (Sorry, the proofreader in me strikes again!)
    Honestly, I’m happy that you’re happy. I’m only a few months older than you, & I feel that in many ways, my life runs along a similar course to yours. I went through a time when I was very down; I now have a job that I *love*; it doesn’t pay much, but it nourishes my soul instead of sucking it dry, & that’s what counts. So, Wil – good on you!! 😀

  21. To be honest, my husband only knows who you are because of Evil Wil Wheaton…..He enjoys BBT, although most of the jokes he does not get….
    And I was thinking the other day, that Criminal Minds (you were very creepy there) is turning all the 80’s pinups to serial killers….you, C. Thomas (Tommy) Howell, James Van Der Beek (ok, he was 90’s+, still) I wonder what previous pinup will turn up next….

  22. Hey Wil-
    So I remember reading in one of your books (thanks for signing JAG in SF a couple months ago, btw) that as time has gone on you have begun to see yourself as a writer who sometimes acts. In the last year or two it seems that it has evened out quite a bit with the several guest shots you did on television and now a couple of recurring roles and the traveling to live events… are you now just this guy that does stuff or do you still identify yourself as an actor or a writer? Seems to me your are both… but without a qualifier showing one bigger than the other. HOw do you see it?

  23. Wil, I know it’s two completely different productions and schedules get goofy, but remember, those SAG/IATSE-mandated 12-hour break guidelines exist for a reason. Don’t go getting yourself all overworked.
    You were missed at w00tstock L.A., btw! Hardwick’s yarn beard just couldn’t quite substitute. ;D

  24. That’s the day before my birthday. I can’t think of a nicer present than the return of (Evil) Wil Wheaton to one of my favorite shows! (You know, Doctor Who kind of wins all and stuff)

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