By Freddy Moyano
We had the opportunity to sit down with Apple TV star Todd Waring, who visited Green Bay during Labor Day weekend to talk about 2 Timers, his award-winning short film that was executive-produced by, among others, his longtime friend, Tony Shalhoub.
Much like Shalhoub, Waring is no stranger to stages and TV sets.
He’s had a wide-ranging TV acting career spanning more than 40 years, with titles like Splash Too, Star Trek, NYPD Blue and Monk on his resume.
In the past three years, he has worked in Apple TV’s horror series, Servant, incarnating the character of Frank Pearce.
Theater-bound from a young age
Born in Ballston Spa, NY, Waring started acting in plays when he was a 4th grader.
A fairy tale stage adaptation set his passion for acting in motion.
“My teacher, Mrs. Fruworth, found a script based on The Merry Pranks of Till Eulenspiegel, which is like a fairy tale. She gave me the lead in this little play. That was really the first time I acted on stage” said Waring, who continued to seize stage acting opportunities all the way through high school.
Waring recalls fondly a role in his junior year of high school which required him to wear a baldpate to resemble Yul Brynner’s character in the 1956 musical, The King and I, which is based on Margaret Landon’s Anna and the King of Siam.
“I had long hair then — wearing a ponytail. I was wearing dark makeup on my face, and they could not make it resemble the baldpate tone. They tried to make the baldpate dark but it just came out sort of light, like a piece of chocolate that had been in the refrigerator too long, with a powdery look” he said.
Replacing Tom Hanks
After finishing college in 1977, Waring moved to New York City, where he would end up meeting his wife and fellow actress, Eve Gordon (Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves and Monk).
He said his TV acting career started in the early 1980s, a decade that would indirectly link him to Tom Hanks.
“I played the TV [version of] Tom Hanks twice,” Waring said. “One was Nothing in Common (1987). I played the Tom Hanks part and Bill Macy played the Jackie Gleason part.”
Waring said Disney approached him to do the TV version of Tom Hank’s Splash (Splash, Too in 1987) replacing Hanks in it and co-starring with Amy Yasbeck, who played the role of mermaid.
The production was not short of challenges.
“In Los Angeles we worked in a pool. It was like winter, on a Disney lot. They had to clean up all the leaves out of the pool, and it was freezing cold. Shortly after that we had to fly to one of the Florida Keys, doing work in Marathon Key. This was much warmer,” Waring said, adding that he somehow developed an ear infection that proved to be bothersome by the time they wrapped up the shoot in the Orlando area.
1990s to present
Waring said he and his wife moved to Los Angeles permanently in the early 1990s.
Waring has since logged more than three decades of meaningful TV acting roles.
He said his role as serial killer Malcolm Culinan in NYPD Blue was among his favorite ones, together with the most recent recurring opportunity in the shoes of Frank Pearce in Servant.
From Servant, Waring highlighted the attention to detail in cinematography and camera work by the Apple TV production directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
“He is a very nice guy, unassuming. Very easy to work with” Waring said of co-star Ruppert Grint, who’s best known for his role of Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter saga.
Waring has also been writing screenplays for a little more than a decade, including the script of 2 Timers, which premiered at the Tarlton Theater in Green Bay last weekend.
“I probably started writing it in 2017, because we started filming before the pandemic,” Waring said. “This was an idea I had in Los Angeles while driving to a story meeting about ideas for shorts. At the time somebody was in the news because they were being stalked. So I thought the idea of “hiring a stalker” could be a good angle,” said Waring.
Waring said the entire cast of 2 Timers — Steven Weber and Jane Kaczmarek among the top known names in the production — was assembled before he and the director tandem of Shane Cibella and Tim Aslin approached Tony Shalhoub (executive producer) and other contributors to the project like Alfred Molina and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Waring said “Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite” is the only constant in a screenplay writer’s challenge to adapt to the needs of the production.
Among other scripts he has written, he highlighted his work in Heartland (2016), directed by Maura Anderson, a film where Todd himself also plays the role of preacher.
Waring ended up collecting an award for Lyin Landre, the editor of 2 Timers, which was recognized as Best Edited Production of 2022 during the MLC Awards Gala ceremony hosted at the Tarlton.
Freddy Moyano is a film producer, entrepreneur, actor, critic and voice-over artist based in Green Bay. Follow Freddy on instagram.com/freddymoyanoofficial