Max Jenkins: The "Preppy Peacock" of The Mysteries of Laura

Written by | Entertainment

Max Jenkins may be an accomplished theater actor, but even he gets excited about going to work with Debra Messing on television.

Max Jenkins has worked with some of our favorite ladies — like Debra Messing, with whom he appears regularly on NBC’s The Mysteries of Laura. We sat down with the gay actor to talk about secret screenplays and fashion fortune-telling.

The Mysteries of Laura was picked up for Season 2!
We’re all kind of flabbergasted! I feel like we’re committed to making everything better and better with the new season.

What is it like working on the show?
My experience is pretty abnormal because I pop in every so often and say something funny, which is a big difference from someone like Debra, who is there every moment of every day. … I’m like, “Hey guys, how was your week?” and they’re like, “OK, please don’t rub it in.”

Were you a big fan of Debra’s on Will and Grace?
Of course! I couldn’t have ever imagined I would be working with Debra Messing. I was writing this screenplay with a friend before I got the role, and we were actually writing a role [with her in mind]. I’ve never actually told anyone that!

Your character on Laura is also named Max. Was he written for you?
The character was originally written as “Max Gupta,” so I think they may have envisioned an Indian fellow who was very good at all the mathematical tasks around the office. I came in and was just weird. That’s my technique at auditions: I just try to embrace all the weird, bizarre parts of myself, and in this case, they responded to that. They were looking for someone who could bring lightness to the story. It’s a crime procedural, but they wanted somebody who could bring some humor to the scenes with Debra in the precinct. I was late for my audition, got there and kind of breezed through it because I was feeling late and out of breath. I think they liked the rhythm of how I did it.

Since this is our Design Issue, I wanted to talk about style; I love your character’s on Laura.
Executive producer and director of our pilot McG was instrumental in outlining Max’s style. His inspiration … was director Spike Jonze, who has an effortless, casual but elegant style that has sort of morphed into something different. Max is now this preppy peacock who loves bright colors. I was always afraid of bright colors because I had really bad zits when I was younger and felt like bright colors brought them out and made them pop.

How about what you wear off camera?
What I’ve been loving is a completely monochromatic look. I recently went to the premiere of Spring Awakening in Los Angeles. I didn’t realize it was opening [night], so I was a little embarrassed because I was in a T-shirt and sneakers, but it ended up having an elegant quality because I was completely in white: white T-shirt, white jeans and white sneakers. There’s something really respectful and almost monk-like about wearing all one color. … A fortune-teller once told me that I should wear white so my followers could find me. … She said I could wear purple on the bottom but I have to wear white on top. I was like, “Wow, you’re giving me a full fashion reading!”

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Last modified: October 8, 2019