Luke Macfarlane is a versatile actor known for his work on TV and in film, including Brothers & Sisters, Killjoys, and Bros, as well as numerous Hallmark movies.
He chatted with TV Fanatic to discuss his career trajectory, comedic roles, and his latest project, playing Charlie, the husband of Rose Byrne’s Sylvia on Apple TV+’s Platonic.
With his charming personality and diverse range of performances, Luke Macfarlane shared insights into his journey as an actor and the joy of working with talented co-stars.
During our conversation, Mcfarlane expressed his appreciation for our kind words about his body of work, but the pleasure has been all ours.
He’s portrayed a wide array of roles, many of which lean heavily into comedy. That’s where the conversation started.
Transitioning from dramatic roles to comedy
Macfarlane shared with us the moment he knew he wanted to explore comedy more seriously. He explained that while his breakthrough on Brothers and Sisters was not comedic, the show had moments of humor.
However, he admitted feeling intimidated by comedy initially. The influence of actors like Jon Hamm, who effortlessly balanced both comedy and drama, motivated Luke to pursue comedic roles.
“I remember, very clearly, making a choice in my career being like, ‘I need to pursue…’ It was around the time that we all saw Jon Hamm be both funny and dramatic. And it was like, ‘Oh, wow, I want to do that. I think I can do that.'”
Reflecting on Memorable Comedic Performances
One of my favorite Macfarlane comedic roles was in the Hallmark movie Moriah’s Lighthouse, which afforded him the opportunity for physical humor, a challenge he took to heart.
He mentioned a conversation with Paul Campbell, praising the script and expressing gratitude for the opportunity to bring the character to life. “Paul did a really great job with the script. And I remember wondering — and I never asked him — I was like, ‘Did you want to be in this movie? Because you wrote a perfect part.'”
The role showed his depth as a comedic actor and an intuitive ability to transform mundane situations into hilarious moments. “I think that generally with comedy, the less you think about it, the funnier it’s going to be. I mean, that was truly a fish-out-of-water film-making experience.
“I was in France with a French crew that I could barely speak English to, getting over an injury. So I felt like this weird ragdoll the entire time. So it was just being in the absurdity of the film that I think really helped those scenes make sense.”
Working on Platonic with Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen
Macfarlane is enthusiastic about working alongside Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen in Platonic. “They’re both funny in such different ways, and I love that about them. It’s a bit of a sort of class in like, ‘Here are some different versions of funny.’
He praised their unique comedic styles, highlighting Rose’s low-energy, subtle approach, “Where everything requires her to almost get something done,” and Seth’s quick-witted delivery, “It just flies out of his mouth.”
He continued, “But both of their comedy is effortless. I think that is just such a joy to watch up close.”
Despite playing the straight man to their comedic characters for most of the season, Luke appreciated the dynamic and the opportunity to shine during key moments.
One such moment comes in Platonic Season 1 Episode 5 when Charlie, having difficulty adjusting to Sylvia’s reinvigorated friendship with Rogan’s Will, spends some time with him.
“We had the privilege of knowing how the whole series was going to work out because we got to read all the scripts before we filmed it, which is lovely and rare. So I knew that I was going to have my moment, and I knew that he was going to become involved.”
“So I know when I got the opportunity in Episode 5 to take Seth out and have our very cringy date together where we share a hot dog and get into all kinds of trouble, I knew that that was coming up. So I knew I also had that opportunity to shine and be a little bit sillier and funnier.”
Platonic Season 1 Episode 9 and the Joys of Improvisation
Macfarlane shared an exclusive behind-the-scenes story about filming Episode 9 of Platonic. During an intense scene, he unintentionally calls Seth Rogen by his real name instead of his character’s name, resulting in an amusing and embarrassing moment.
“It was so embarrassing, and I got red-faced because he would just look at me and be like, ‘My name is Will.’ So that was super embarrassing.”
Luke humorously confessed his admiration for Seth, considering it more of a “comedy crush.”
“Clearly, I was doing some transference there. Because Seth is many things, but he’s also pretty much always the coolest guy in the room — just a cool dude. So he definitely made me feel like I was the stick in the mud.”
From Acting with Kids to On-set Camaraderie
Macfarlane has played a father on-screen before, and we discussed the challenges and joys of working with child actors on Platonic. He noted the responsibility of coordinating scenes and ensuring everyone was on the same page.
“I always forget that when you’re working with actors, you’re kind of corralling them a little bit.
“Because you step into these scenes, and there are a lot of people and a lot of stuff going on, and you’ve got to make sure that everybody knows what the plan is. So it does feel a little bit like getting the kids into the minivan in real life.”
“Those days could be a little exhausting. I won’t lie. And that’s not because the kids weren’t great. But they’re learning a lot more on set than we are. We take it for granted now. We just know how stuff works.”
Luke appreciated the opportunity to engage with the young cast members, enjoying their unique perspectives and light-hearted conversations, which sometimes influenced his comedic performances.
“It’s also really great to just get soft brain with them. Just listen to them talk about something. You’re like, ‘Oh, wow, cool, horses.’ ‘I didn’t know that. ‘Oh, unicorns. Sure. Right. Fun.’
“And having that sort of soft brain is sometimes helpful in comedy.”
The pleasant and professional atmosphere on the Platonic set
Reflecting on the overall atmosphere during the filming of Platonic, Luke described it as a warm and enjoyable experience. “There were lots of laughs,” he said, but nothing that he would consider behind-the-scenes antics.
He emphasized the importance of working with people he genuinely liked, fostering a positive environment where professionalism prevailed.
Luke credited Platonic co-creator Nick Stoller, who also directed him in Bros, for having the vision and amassing the talented cast, creating a pleasant and funny working atmosphere.
Future aspirations and dream roles
When asked about his dream job, Luke expressed his interest in action-adventure roles, drawing inspiration from his experience on Killjoys. “I was really lucky and proud to be part of Killjoys. I loved that job on so many levels. But the thing that I really took from it was like, ‘Oh, I really like this action adventure thing.’
“I would love to play some kind of an action-adventure character. I don’t know who that is. I don’t know if it’s a funny action adventure or if it’s more of a serious thing. But I would really like to do that next.”
Given his talent and history, it seems he’s only a stone’s throw away from achieving that dream, and he got a taste of it in an upcoming independent movie called Lone Star Bull, an action-adventure he filmed in Georgia about a year ago. “It was a lot of fun. I’d like to do more of that.”
Macfarlane is really thankful for the opportunity to be bacon the screen with A-list actors.
“Rose and Seth are movie stars,” he said. “I think it’s really important to show the world that you can hang with folks like that again. Going back to my Rachel Griffiths, Sally Field, Calista Flockhart, Rob Lowe sort of hangs back in the day.”
As Macfarlane continues to explore diverse roles, it’s clear that his talent and dedication will propel him towards new heights in the industry, and we expect to see him working alongside many more A-listers along the way.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.