House of Lies' Ben Schwartz on Fallout From the "Explosion" and "Dark" Season Ahead
Breaking up is hard to do — in relationships, but also in business.
That will be especially true for House of Lies' (formerly) inseparable pod of Marty (Don Cheadle), Jeannie (Kristen Bell), Clyde (Ben Schwartz) and Doug (Josh Lawson) after they all went their separate ways in the Season 2 finale.
"We are recovering from the explosion," Schwartz tells TVGuide.com. "What happens when everybody ends up somewhere else?"
The Season 3 premiere (Sunday, 10/9c, Showtime) picks up not so long after Marty left Galweather Stearn to start his own shop and Clyde left to go work for Marty's ruthless ex-wife Monica (Dawn Olivieri) at Kinsley. Meanwhile, Jeannie is now in charge of her own pod at Galweather Stearn that includes Doug. "All of us are in different places. It's a matter of how we slowly to try to get back together, if that's even possible," Schwartz says. "My character in particular has a very dark season ahead of him. What happens when I'm separated from the people that I've surrounded myself with for the past few years? I think you find out how lonely and sad my life is, and how much the people he's lost were a part of his life."
Now that they're apart, their past manipulations will come back to haunt them. "If we've been screwing people over for the first couple seasons, this is when it all comes up to the Nth degree and we take no prisoners and nobody is safe," Schwartz says. "People are trying to scramble to save their lives in the business."
Although Schwartz is primarily known for his comedic chops — on both House of Lies and in a recurring role on Parks and Recreation — the writer-actor enjoys delving into Clyde's dark days. "I really, really had a good time because also when I do different stuff like Parks and Rec or the movies I've done, I never really get to go that dramatic and there are scenes here that are very, very dramatic," he says.
After two seasons together, Schwartz said it was a definite change of pace to be the member of a new pod and work with other actors. "When you have a dynamic of four people — to see how they act within different groups of people reveals a huge other part of their personality that you never get to see," he said. Particularly his less-than-friendly scenes with Olivieri's Monica. "Dawn's character, Monica, is just such an evil being. She doesn't even hide it or mask it."
Despite the split, Schwartz promises that the original foursome will share scenes when the series returns. "You will get to see different reincarnations of us, if it's just me and Jeannie, or just me and Doug, or just me and Marty," Schwartz says. "I feel like you get to see how much I idolize Marty this season because I go to huge lengths just to get him to respect me. It's almost like a father-son relationship where you'll do anything. It doesn't matter how well you do; it only matters if your father says you did great."
Clyde is also getting a girlfriend, played by Happy Endings' Eliza Coupe, who will recur this season. "I think my character would do anything to get back with [the pod] again and try to be a part of something again," Schwartz says. "[Coupe] plays the head of a big company. She's in a place right now where she doesn't have the same amount of power that she had before, and I take advantage of that."
So will Clyde succeed? "I hope when you watch us at the beginning, that you want us to get back together," he says.
House of Lies returns on Sunday at 10/9c on Showtime. Do you think the pod will get back together?
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, Showtime's parent company.)
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