By Emily Feimster
Josh Radnor may have grown up in a small town in Ohio, but things certainly have changed a lot since then. He's already acted alongside the likes of Kathleen Turner on Broadway and now he's the star of the popular CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother." There's no doubt, though, that this is only the beginning of what's to come.
For Radnor, being an actor seemed like the obvious career path, but it took a little while longer for is family to catch on. "There are no actors in my family or even in my town. I just started acting in high school and it immediately felt like something I never wanted to stop doing. I got bit by the bug. It's the classic tale," he explains.
When asked if his parents were supportive, Radnor responds, "They were, but in a very measured way at first. They didn't want me to go to an acting conservatory. They wanted me to get a liberal arts degree in college, which I did, but I ended up being a drama major. Right after college I went to NYU to get my M.F.A. in acting. Then I just started working right after that."
The more serious Radnor became about his work, the more his parents began to get on board. "I think it was more my dedication to it that spoke a lot louder than any conversation we had about it. I think they saw, 'Wow, he's really committed to this. Let's just let him have a crack at it,'" he reminisces. "They revealed to me a few years after I started working that they were, in fact, much more terrified than they had let on. But it was very sweet that they didn't feed any of that into me."
Now that Radnor's sitcom has been picked up, we're pretty sure mom and dad aren't complaining anymore! "I think they're pretty thrilled," he says with a laugh. "They love Monday nights and they watch the show every week with their best friends. They like the show, which is a plus. They'd watch it anyway, but it's nice that they're actually fans of the show."
It's certainly hard not to like the show, considering it's a breath of fresh air from your run of the mill sitcoms. "I think it tries to balance the funny, traditional sitcom moments with more sincere, romantic moments that aren't really seen in sitcoms," adds Radnor. "The guys who created our show don't seem to be influenced by other sitcoms as much as they are the world of film."
He continues, "The show's really going for something that hasn't been seen. A traditional sitcom will have five or six scenes in a 22 minutes episode - we have like 40 to 60 scenes. Also, we don't shoot in front of a live audience, which is rare. It's a lot more like doing a one hour. But I think it's good we don't do it in front of an audience. I think it keeps us playing to each other and keeps us honest."
For now, Radnor just hopes to learn as much as he can while working with more experienced actors like Alyson Hannigan and Neil Patrick Harris. "I can watch how they equip themselves through all of this," he says about his cast mates. "I'm still learning how to be in front of a camera comfortably. Each episode I feel more relaxed."
So what does Radnor hope to accomplish over the course of his career? "I used to think a lot about that and oddly I think about that less and less. I just want to keep doing what I feel called to do," he responds. "I'd like to write a novel one day. I don't want to ever stray too far from the theatre. It's where I came from and it's really the thing I feel like I do best. When I moved out to LA, I made a bargain with myself that I would do a play a year so I could hold on to my soul. I've stayed on that schedule so far." Well, let's just hope it stays that way.