From Broadway’s “Rent” to the silver screen’s “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” to TV’s “Private Practice,” actor Scott Leo “Taye” Diggs has entertained and strutted his way into the hearts of viewers.
Those hearts broke a little with the news last year of his separation from Idina Menzel, his wife of 10 years. They have one son.
Taye is an abbreviation of Scottaye, which is what friends called him. The 43 year-old is now starring in TNT’s original series “Murder in the First,” which premieres Monday, June 9, at 10 p.m.
Q: Were you concerned about doing just another crime drama or did you find something special in this script?
A: Yes, I did find something special and it doesn’t have necessarily anything to do with its success. It is more to do with my interest and my desire to participate. As an actor in this game, not knowing the future kind of goes with the territory. You jump in with both feet and hope for the best. I’m just thankful for the opportunities that I have had to have the chance to play another cop, and an ER doctor, you know all these different kinds of characters just get added to the list. And this kind of new, exciting perspective of one case that spans the entire season.
Q: Your mom was a teacher — did she ever worry about you getting into a field that is so fickle as far as constant employment? Did she want you to have a backup career?
A: I don’t remember. I am in the process of writing a lot of personal stories down. So that is something I will actually ask my mother for this memoir. I know that I caught the bug from her. When she wasn’t working she was in community theater and also ended up going back to school for theater and dance so I attribute it to her and being around that vibe. That ensemble vibe is what attracted me to the stage. So she was always very encouraging. I don’t remember her ever saying “Maybe you should have a backup plan.” Maybe she saw I was talented enough at an early age and I wouldn’t need one. I don’t know if she didn’t want to mess with my own confidence. As soon as I knew I wanted to do this when I was young. Whether it was overconfidence or cockiness, I knew this is what I was going to be doing for the rest of my life. I got lucky I suppose.
Q: That’s a good point. A parent, even with the best intentions, could derail your confidence by suggesting you need a plan B.
A: Yeah, yeah. I have a son, he’s only 4, and he is already an amazing performer and the last thing I want him to do is be a performer. (Laughing) So at this point I am trying to cobble together some way of kind of exposing him to everything and hoping he’ll choose a different line of work.
Q: Why wouldn’t you want him in the business? You have been successful and seen the best of it.
A: It’s just that when you have a kid you want the best for your kid and even though I have been quote unquote successful there is still a lot of heartbreak. It’s still very — you know, you end up having to make yourself very vulnerable. I would never, ever want anyone to tell my son he wasn’t an amazing kid. I think I would take it harder than he would. Even me, I had it so easy, but my coming up through the ranks — there were some real letdowns.