While his title character in the FX frosh series “Lucky” is a departure from the Mr. Right roles he’s become known for in “Sex and the City” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” the part really isn’t that much of a stretch for John Corbett.
Indeed, Michael “Lucky” Linkletter, a compulsive gambler making a go of recovery in Las Vegas, and the 42-year-old veteran TV actor who plays him, have seen fortunes come and go.
For Corbett, his losing streak came in 1997, when he says his business manager ran off with all his chips.
“I would have done anything to pay the bills,” explains the Wheeling, W.Va., nativeabout falling on hard times after a breakthrough role as a sort of Mark Twain-turned-Alaskan outback DJ in CBS’ “Northern Exposure.”
His luck changed quickly when he was hired by the Ford Motor Co. to hawk pickups in a series of national spots. And following a string of made-for-TV movies, his fortunes improved further with a recurring role as Sarah Jessica Parker’s almost-perfect boyfriend Aidan on HBO’s “Sex and the City.”
Then, of course, Corbett hit the jackpot, winding up alongside Nia Vardalos in the theatrical hit “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” — the indie megasuccess Corbett sums up as a fluke.
So, after passing on Vardalos’ offer to reprise the role on CBS’ sitcom adaptation of the film — “I just can’t see myself onstage like that,” he explains — Corbett was dealt the script for a made-for-basic-cable comedy pilot.
As luck would have it, Corbett says Michael Chiklis — who’d just won an Emmy for his original series work on FX’s “The Shield” — happened to be one of his poker buddies.
“I asked him why I shouldn’t work for FX,” Corbett says, “and he couldn’t give me one reason.
“I liked the script a lot because it’s very unusual, dark and quirky. I’m lucky to just get a job and not have to audition anymore.”