Extended Family: Meet Donald Faison & Jon Cryer (Trey & Jim)

by Neil Bui

NBC’s latest sitcom is Extended Family, which stars Jon Cryer as Jim Kearney, a single father who decides with his ex-wife to continue raising their children at the family home while the parents take turns staying with them. Donald Faison stars as Trey Taylor, the owner of the Boston Celtics, who is engaged to Jim’s ex-wife. Did I forget to mention that the Celtics are Jim’s favorite sports team? I had the amazing pleasure of meeting Jon and Donald as we discussed the series while also dorking out.

Neil Bui: How has that transition been for you to go from Lex Luthor to being a dad, a divorced dad, divorced dad living with his kids?

Jon Cryer: I could not turn that down. It was very wild because I had gotten all these weird cryptic messages from a friend of mine in New York texting me saying, “Some people are going to be contacting you with an interesting request.” I was like, “Okay, why… why do you have to give me a warning? I can just listen to the request.” You know? And actually, I was at a memorial service for a friend of mine who’d passed away, and my phone just keeps blowing up. And it was a memorial service for a friend of mine from the theater and unfortunately, whenever there’s a memorial service for somebody in the theater, it lasts for hours because all the actors have to do their monologues. At the three hour mark, I was like okay I’m gonna answer my phone now. And it was the producers of Supergirl offering me the part of Lex Luthor and I was like “are you kidding me?” because I had done Superman IV in 1987 and that was the end of Christopher Reeves’ Superman. I was always sad that that was the final chapter because that movie was kind of a mess. So getting a chance to do Lex was this opportunity that there was no way that I was going to turn that down and I love that the Supergirl producers decided to go with kind of the comic book Lex to let have something new to do. So that was just an honor to be part of and to be a part of the end of the Arrowverse with the Crisis crossover that really meant a lot to me because my Superman IV experience was not what I had hoped it would be. But having done that, you’re at peace with it and I’m sad that the Arrowverse went away, there were a lot of great shows. But the divorced dad, I was that for a while, I’m married now and I did it for 12 years on Two and a Half Men, so there’s a lot of meat on that bone. I felt comfortable coming back to it.

Neil Bui: How has it been for you to join the show? You’re on Extended Family, in a way playing Jon Cryer’s nemesis and he’s like the ultimate nemesis as Lex Luthor.

Donald Faison: I’m gonna be honest with you, I never thought I’d be back on primetime television again. I thought that ship had sailed. I thought Scrubs was my shot at it and what a great run. Nine years is a long time but to come back and to be able to do it with someone like Jon Cryer is pretty amazing. I too loved his turn as Lex Luthor and I tell him this all the time. Very few people played him the way the comic books have portrayed him. Everybody’s played him kind of the Gene Hackman version of him and for me to come to set and to be able to geek out or dork out with another dork really makes it so that my job is not a job.

Catch Extended Family on NBC on Tuesdays at 8:30pm.

Where to watch Extended Family

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