'Betty' star saddles up to 'Partners'

Michael Urie (WENN.COM)

Michael Urie (WENN.COM)

BILL HARRIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:10 PM ET

As an actor, Michael Urie was looking for a part that was more grounded. More grown-up. More gritty.

So Urie is starring in the madcap new sitcom Partners, which debuts Monday on CBS and Citytv.

What you have to understand is that Urie's previous role was as Marc St. James -- the assistant of Vanessa Williams' character -- on Ugly Betty. Realism is all relative, right?

Kidding aside, Partners truly is a more "traditional" TV series than Ugly Betty.

"It is, actually," Urie agreed. "Ugly Betty was so stylized. It was campy. It was like Batman (the old TV series, not the modern movies). It was over-the-top and we had such liberty with style.

"With this show (Partners), it is more grounded, in that the characters are real people, and there are more human consequences."

Based on the lives of series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, Partners is about life-long best friends and business partners, one gay and one straight (played by Urie and David Krumholtz, respectively), whose "bromance" is tested when the straight one is engaged to be married.

Partners also stars Sophia Bush as the fiancee of Krumholtz's character, and Brandon Routh as the boyfriend of Urie's character.

"There's something about a four-camera, studio-audience show that lends itself to real humanity and truth," said Urie, continuing the theme of Partners existing in the real world. Ugly Betty could be hilarious, but it existed in an over-the-top world that became exhausting after a couple of seasons.

"For me growing up, the shows I always loved were sitcoms," Urie continued. "And the shows I always saw myself or my friends in were sitcoms.

"So now we have an opportunity with this show to really, like, be you. When you're watching you're going to see yourself, you're going to see your problems.

"Of course, the problems will be seen in a comical way, and there will be people laughing out loud. But to me, this is an opportunity to play it for real."

Mutchnick and Kohan are well-versed in the sitcom genre, previously having created Will & Grace.

"I think it's pretty lucky to have (Mutchnick and Kohan) around all the time," said Urie, dismissing the notion of added pressure. "And because they're also so interesting, there's so much to draw on.

"I remember when I first read the pilot. I had met David and Max a long, long time ago. And when I read the pilot and started to figure out what I was reading and what it was, I remember this moment where I actually said, 'You mean I get to play Max Mutchnick?' It's pretty cool."

At which point Mutchnick interjected, "And when we wrote the pilot, Michael really was the one that we knew we wanted to play the part.

"Really?" Urie asked.

"Yes," Mutchnick confirmed. "It was for you."

Sounds like a mutual admiration society on the set. On multiple levels, that's what the partnership of Partners purports to be about.

We're just glad Michael Urie finally has decided to grow up and do something serious with his life.

 


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