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Scott Patterson's first thoughts on 'The Event': 'Why bother?'

September 27, 2010 |  1:03 pm

Scott When Scott Patterson read the script for NBC’s conspiracy thriller “The Event,”  he didn't exactly rush to RSVP.

“To be quite honest, I just figured, ‘Here we go with another big project that a bunch of movie stars are going to inhabit. Why bother?’ ” the 52-year-old actor said during a recent phone interview.

Best known as Luke Danes, the always irritable diner owner — with the backwards baseball cap — on “Gilmore Girls,” Patterson said the role seemed like a longshot. But he bothered, nonetheless. And it worked. 

Last week, 11.2 million viewers watched Patterson take on the gig as Michael Buchanan, the affable, Marlboro Man type who is devoted to his wife and two daughters. 

Then things got twisted.

At the end of the first episode, he finds himself piloting a plane headed for the president after his daughter Leila (Sarah Roemer) goes missing. On the same plane is Leila's boyfriend, Sean Walker (Jason Ritter), who tries frantically to stop him before the plane mysteriously disappears mid-air.

“I would say few people have ever been thrown into circumstances that Michael Buchanan finds himself in,” Patterson said.  “They’ve given me a lot to play with.”

And Patterson wants to assure viewers that they’ll soon find out what compelled Buchanan to take over the plane.

"Michael has a few secrets,” Patterson said. “The second episode is going to answer a lot of questions … and it will pose new and bigger questions.

"That's what is so great about this show. It really is its own universe and its own logic. It’s unlike anything viewers will have ever seen before in terms of the amibitous nature of the show. The size of it is staggering."

It’s the kind of high-octane project that Patterson has anticipated might come his way. Long before he was steering planes astray as an actor, Patterson was a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers and L.A. Dodgers.  He segued from scuffed cleats to the TV screen with bit roles in movies and TV. He was that dude that Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) reckoned “sponge-worthy” in an episode of “Seinfeld.”  Post-“Gilmore Girls,” Patterson appeared on the short-lived CW series “Aliens in America.” Horror fans, though, might simply know him as Agent Strahm from the “Saw” franchise.

“It’s been a fun ride so far,” he said. “I didn’t think it could get better — not for me anyway.”

The second episode of “The Event” airs tonight.

Until then, check out Patterson talking about the show — and "Gilmore Girls" fans — during a recent NBC after-party.

— Yvonne Villarreal

Photo credit: NBC

Video credit: Gerrick D. Kennedy