Nathan Lane is back on Broadway and stopped by Late Night with Seth Meyers on Halloween to discuss his turn in the revival of The Front Page. Lane plays Walter Burns in the Scott Rudin-produced comedy, a volatile, high-power editor who stops at nothing to hold on to his top reporter, Hildy Johnson, played by John Slattery.
Lane explained that his character, and many others in the play, are based on real people. “He was Charles MacArthur’s editor, his name was Walter Howie,” said Lane of his character. “If you saw pictures of him, he looks harmless … but he was a monster.”
“He famously one night got drunk at the newspaper offices and fell on what was called a copy spike, and it knocked out his eye, and so he had a glass eye for the rest of his life,” said Lane, “and Ben Hecht used to say you could tell which one was the glass eye because it was the warmer one.”
Host Meyers asked Lane about Rudin’s decision to only allow critics attendance on opening night (rather than the newer practice of attending a few days prior to give writers time to compose their reviews). Lane said he was surprised that all of the critics agreed—avoiding mention of the battle between Rudin and The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney—but said that performing was a bit like “looking at a room of undecided voters.”
Speaking of voters, Lane “previewed” the lineup of potential programming for Trump TV in the below segment.
The programs are “all based on successful shows with a Trump twist: ‘Modern White Heterosexual Family,’ ‘Evicting the Jeffersons,’ ‘How I Deported Your Mother,’ ‘Married with Prenups,’ ‘8 Simple Rules for Me Dating My Daughter,’ ‘Touched by a Billionaire,’ ‘Everybody Hates Chris Christie,’ and ‘How to Get Away with Murdering Billy Bush.’”
Before leaving the set, Lane spoke about his latest children’s book with husband Devlin Elliott, Mabel Sees It All. It’s the second book in the Mabel series, named for their own dog. And, Lane had stories to share about his furry friend:
After The Front Page ends its limited engagement, Lane will go to London to work on Angels in America.