It didn’t take much to convince John Benjamin Hickey that he needed to join Showtime’s “The Big C.”
He just needed to jump through a few hoops, despite being good friends with the show’s star, Laura Linney, for more than two decades.
"My agent called me about the script for the role of Paul, Cathy’s husband," Hickey said. But he didn't think he was right for the part -- "I'm not," he said. Oliver Platt took the role. Linney called Hickey three weeks later "and said, 'I want you to come in and read for the part of Sean.' "
Hickey didn’t think he was right for that role either: Sean is Cathy’s free-spirited, homeless freegan brother.
"I’m like,'Dude, it’s written for a 29-year-old,' " said the actor, 47, between sips of a foamy latte at Hollywood’s retro 101 Coffee Shop diner. "But she said very smartly, 'My husband is a man-child, my kid’s a bit of a brat; Cathy needs somebody on the show that she looks up to or has looked up to. I want to be your slightly younger kid sister. So even if you do act a fool -- which Sean does a lot of the time -- I need you as a shoulder for my life.’”
After Hickey reread the script about dull schoolteacher Cathy, who took life by the horns after being diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, he thought she was completely right.