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Feature: Six Feet Under

The Fisher King

Nate and a family event!

After a decidedly weird relationship, a baby and an ill-fated marriage, Nate Fisher is slowly working his way back to living a normal life in the fourth season, as star Peter Krause explains

It’s hard to imagine now, but it’s God’s honest truth: as the water-cooler cool series Six Feet Under came together, Peter Krause initially wanted to play David Fisher and not his brother Nate, the character he’s played for the last four years. “That is true,” Krause recalls. “I actually auditioned for David. I thought it was the more dynamic role. I thought it was the more politicized role because he’s part of a more disenfranchised segment of the population because of his sexual orientation. I thought that it would be interesting to champion that. Also, Nate, on the page, wasn’t as clearly defined. I thought, ‘Okay, I know who David is. I don’t know who Nate is.’ As I read the text again I was a little bit shocked to find that, ‘Ooh, Nate’s kind of like me’. But I do have the right role. And the role has the right guy.”

Krause, who pronounces his name Krow-Zuh, counts among his previous credits the TV series Cybill and Sports Night, as well as the current big-screen drama We Don’t Live Here Anymore, with Naomi Watts, Laura Dern and Mark Ruffalo. He’s also just concluded a Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s After the Fall. In the three years since he returned home and ended up running the family funeral home business on the death of his father Nathaniel, Nate has romanced, broken up with and romanced anew his old love, the brilliant, gorgeous, adventuresome, but emotionally guarded sex addict Brenda Chenowith (Rachel Griffiths). He’s also fooled around with, impregnated and married Lisa Kimmel (Lili Taylor), only to become a widower and single father to baby Maya upon Lisa’s murder. Last year, a brain disorder nearly killed Nate and prompted him to re-examine his priorities. Now, Nate goes about his business just a bit more appreciative of life than before, but he’s still a deeply troubled guy, and it doesn’t help that no one around him seems to have his or her own life in order.

“He wanted to leave home behind, and he found when he did leave that life still happened to him,” Krause says, reviewing Nate’s personal history. “There is a sense of powerlessness that I think developed in a lot of the Fishers growing up in that house because of the inevitability of death that they felt much more acutely than your average man or woman. Nate ran away from that and now I’m waiting for him to happen to life rather than for life to happen to him.

by Ian Spelling

Get the full interview in
Cult Times #109

Photo © HBO
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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Cult Times #109
October 2004
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