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Volume 24, Number 9 — September 2017

Where Are They? Matt Czuchry

Matt Czuchry in a scene from the CBS show <em>The Good Wife.</em>
Matt Czuchry in a scene from the CBS show The Good Wife.

By Angela Wampler | A! Magazine for the Arts | April 26, 2011

Once upon a time, Matt Czuchry (ZOOK-ree) dreamed of becoming a lawyer. In a quirky twist of fate, he now plays one on television.

He is perhaps best known for having played Rory's sexy, bad-boy college beau Logan Huntzberger on the CW series Gilmore Girls. He landed the role after auditioning for several characters for four years. Matt, who turns 34 this month, currently portrays young, ambitious, Harvard-educated lawyer Cary Agos on the critically acclaimed CBS television series The Good Wife.

Actress Archie Panjabi, a ruthless investigator who plays his love interest this season, told Entertainment Weekly that "Matt has balanced deep vulnerability with motivated vindictiveness. It results in a character you can't help but love, root for, and fear." Matt said, "It's very unexpected what [my character's] motives are, whether they're honest or manipulative. Walking that line has been fun."

He told TV Guide, "When you have a show that you finally get grounded in success, often times you could play it safe, but that's not the case with this show, and that's what I love about it."

According to an article in CBS Watch! magazine (Feb. 2011), "To meet Matt in real life is to understand how good he is at playing Cary Agos on The Good Wife. Because he's so unlike the suave, sexualized, self-important lawyer on the show that you can almost taste the power of good performance. The actor in real life is sweet, shy and subdued."

Matt told CBS Watch! he has "no burning need inside me to be famous. There is a burning need to work with the best possible people and to do the best possible work. It's all hard. It's hard to get an agent. It's hard to get your first line on a show. It was hard for me to get Gilmore Girls. Then it was hard to break away from Gilmore Girls. On every level there's another challenge.... Being an actor, you get so close and so rejected all the time. It can be heartbreaking. To this day, I still need a couple days to grieve over those losses, but I've gotten better at understanding the business as a business. You can't grieve too long or you might miss the job that's meant to be. On the same day that I found out I didn't get a big job I was hoping for, I got The Good Wife."

Matt recalls, "I originally thought that law school was something I wanted to pursue after graduating college. But I found that I was not truly passionate about it. Instead, I was passionate about exploring what it meant to be an actor as a career path. So, encouraged by my family, I set forth on that path instead.

He notes, "It's important to know that there is no one right path to follow your art as a career. For me, I went to Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tenn. I graduated from the College of Charleston (S.C.) with a double major in History and Political Science. After graduation, I attained an agent by attending a convention and finding success and recognition at that convention. I then created a detailed plan, with my family, to move to Los Angeles and maximize my strengths. It's important to know that a career in acting, or any art, is a business. It means making money and sustaining yourself. You have to put together a business plan AND work on your art as a craft."

A former Tennessee State High School Tennis champion, Matt says, "The liberal arts education I received in college, as well as playing tennis there (on scholarship), taught me invaluable lessons that I apply to my career as an actor. Lessons such as perseverance, discipline, establishing a hard work ethic, rebounding from loss, overcoming obstacles — are all life lessons that can be applied to any job. Especially one in the arts."

In Los Angeles, his private acting coach was Lesly Kahn. He says, "She's an inspiring teacher. Much of my success as an actor today can be attributed to the way that she approaches material, script analysis, character development, and treating the arts as a business."

Among his mentors, he includes Amy Sherman Palladino and Dan Palladino, creators of Gilmore Girls. Matt says, "They believed in my talent and gave me a huge opportunity by hiring me to be a part of their show. Being on the show for three years was an incredible learning experience and, in many ways, was the beginning of my true understanding of what it took and meant to be an actor. They were mentors to me by giving me a chance to actually DO my art. They were mentors to me because they gave me an opportunity to learn the craft by being on set for countless hours."

He continues, "Both Gilmore Girls and The Good Wife are jobs that require an extreme amount of hours, dedication, preparation, and sacrifice. I love my job and it is an expression of the art that I love. At the same time, it's extremely challenging."

Matt adds, "Publicity is another piece of the job that takes a lot of preparation, hours, and focus. Online interviews, in-person interviews, photo shoots, etc., are done on a constant basis. There is a difference between what is asked of you from the project that you are working on, and the additional publicity that you undertake to promote your career as an individual. The choices that you make shape your brand and image, which, in turn, establish the type of job opportunities presented to you. Publicity essentially equals awareness. If more people are aware of your work, the more chance there is for future opportunities."

His advice for aspiring actors: "Being an actor is an art and a job. Study with the best teachers, enroll in the best classes, and dedicate yourself to learning and growing. To make acting a career is a daunting, yet extremely rewarding undertaking; and at every level of your career, there are new challenges. If you love it, follow your passion through a focused and intelligent work ethic and plan. Through that you will develop the tools and confidence necessary to thwart those that may doubt you. And, perhaps most importantly, acting in many ways means embracing life through emotion and experiences. To be a full actor, one must live a full life. So, enjoying life is fundamental."

Other Notable Works

Prior to The Good Wife and Gilmore Girls, Matt had a recurring guest role on the CBS drama Hack and starred in the pilot of UPN's Jake 2.0. He also guested on Freaks and Geeks, 7th Heaven, The Practice, Veronica Mars and Friday Night Lights.

In 2010 he starred opposite Patricia Wettig as the excommunicated son of The 19th Wife, (Lifetime Network), a murder mystery taking place in a polygamous marriage society. Other film work has included the lead role in the adaptation of Tucker Max's I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (2009).

In 2002 Matt played Scarlett Johansson's hot-rodding boyfriend in the campy thriller Eight Legged Freaks and appeared alongside Piper Perabo in the comedy Slap Her, She's French.

From 2000-2002, he portrayed Sean McGrail in The WB's Young Americans, opposite Kate Bosworth.

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