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Lee Pace Talks ‘Driven,’ a ‘Pushing Daisies’ Reunion and Growing Up Queer

Lee Pace didn’t know much about John DeLorean when he signed on to play the late automobile mogul in the new biopic “Driven.” He was aware of the DeLorean car that was immortalized in “Back to the Future” and, he says, “I had a sense of a scandal.”

That scandal was DeLorean’s downfall in the 1980s when he was charged by the FBI with brokering a deal, with the help of friend-turned-informant Jim Hoffman (played by Jason Sudeikis), to distribute $24 million worth of cocaine to try and save his flailing DeLorean Motor Company. Despite being acquitted after his legal team argued he was illegally entrapped by FBI and Hoffman, he never regained his footing.

“Who knows actually what really happened?” Pace said. “Whoever knows what actually happens in these things? You understand the version that is agreed upon at the end of it, but who knows what happens as [DeLorean and Hoffman] were sitting by the pool drinking beers? But he did have to come up with a chunk of money to keep the company afloat.”

I sat down with Pace for a new episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast.

Pace said he’d love to see a reunion of “Pushing Daisies,” the short-lived but critically acclaimed and award winning ABC comedy he starred in with Kristen Chenoweth and Anna Friel from 2007 to 2009.

In fact, the 40-year-old actor said it’s something he and show creator Bryan Fuller have put some thought into. “Me and Bryan are always scheming about it,” Pace said. “Whenever we see each other, we’re like, ‘Oh, god, wouldn’t it be great to get the gang back together and do something?’ I think he’s got a really fun idea for the story.” (Pace politely declined to reveal any details.)

Lee Pace photographed exclusively for Variety’s “The Big Ticket” Podcast.
Alex Gitman for Variety

Pace was seen earlier this year revisiting his role as MCU villain Ronan in “Captain Marvel,” a part he first played in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

His franchise resume also includes “Twilight” and “The Hobbit.” “That was this insane portion of my career where I went from doing [‘Twilight’] to going to play the Elf King in ‘The Hobbit.’ And then going to London to do Ronan the Accuser.”

And then came the Broadway revival of the Tony Kushner’s seminal AIDS play “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes” opposite Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane. Pace played Joe Pitt, a closeted gay Mormon working for Roy Cohn, the infamously malicious lawyer who was also closeted and died of AIDS.

Pace points to his arm and shows the goosebumps he gets while discussing his work in the play. “It was the most confronting difficult experience I’ve ever had doing this job — doing that play,” he said.

It gave him a better understanding of the queer community. “I’ve always felt very safe, you know? I was in the drama department in high school. I went to Julliard. I’ve been playing queer characters. My first movie I played a trans character,” Pace said. “I’ve never felt the danger of that, you know? So, to walk in the shoes of someone who that danger is so real that he can’t utter it, it taught me something about myself and about my community…We’re not all so lucky to get the free pass in life.”

“Driven” is in theaters and on demand on Aug. 16.

You can listen to the full episode of Lee on “The Big Ticket” at iHeartRadio or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

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