He may be surrounded by the best and brightest in musical theater, but don’t expect Jack Davenport to break into song anytime soon
“I’m right there in my sweet spot,” says the British actor who portrays the brilliant yet chronically irritated musical director Derek Wills on “Smash.” “Let’s not spoil it now with some impromptu rendition of ‘These Boots Were Made for Walking,’ No one needs to hear me do Nancy Sinatra. Nobody.”
Much like his character, Davenport leaves the singing and dancing to those who know their stuff.
“I think the important thing is to play to one’s strengths,” he quips. “My strengths are scowling, wearing slightly too tight black trousers and shouting at people. Let’s just leave it at that.”
A snug wardrobe aside, it’s his character’s unapologetic behavior that the genial English actor relishes as much as the all-star cast he gets to boss around.
“It’s hugely liberating to play a character who doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks about them because in real life I care desperately what people think about me, to the point of being almost paralyzed,” deadpans Davenport.
“Plus,” he adds, “There’s something that I find very interesting about directors in this particular field. A musical number, on the page, is complete, total abstraction and somebody has to make that not abstract and have it drive a narrative and make visual and thematic sense. There’s never less than 50 people in a room, and they’re all looking to you to take the lead. You can’t really be that worried about people’s feelings. I find that creatively fascinating.”