I asked what it’s like for Martin Starr to play a Canadian character on HBO’s major hit Silicon Valley. He chuckled but was more interested if I was asking because I was, in fact, Canadian. I’m not, but thought it was cool that Starr thought so when he phoned in during a break from shooting Silicon Valley’s third season. He’s also starring in a few Xbox One commercials, where, taking on a similar persona to his saucy Silicon Valley character Bertram Gilfoyle, he claims to be behind the gaming console’s most recent updates.
He says he’s the mastermind behind backward compatibility, a new Xbox One feature that allows gamers the chance to play over 100 Xbox 360 games and also offers new streaming options.
“As someone who grew up on video games I get nostalgic when it comes to gaming,” Starr said a few days back. “Games I used to play can remind me of a particular time in my life. Being able to play the games I used to obsess over on Xbox One is ideal and a long time coming.”
But in our short chat I was more interested in discussing two of Starr’s more pivotal roles. Along with actors like Jason Segel, James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Linda Cardellini, Starr got his start on Paul Feig’s and Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks playing the lanky and awkward Bill Haverchuck. He later went on to star in the short-lived and vastly underrated Party Down, alongside Geeks co-star Lizzy Caplan and Adam Scott. Considering that 2015 has been revival/reboot season, I asked Starr about the chances of either of these cult shows making their way back to the screen. His response for either wasn’t very encouraging.
“I don’t know," he said of a Freaks and Geeks revitalization. "It just seems like such an impossible group to get back together. It’s not something I can imagine happening. We have reunions every few years, but it just seems like an impossible task."
He was, nevertheless, slightly more hopeful when speaking about Party Down, which has long been rumored to be coming back in some form or other: “This is what I heard so it’s not necessarily fact, but I think the way the process is going is that they thought it might be easier to get it back to a few episodes, a partial season or another season the way Arrested Development did. That seems like the most likely situation. But I’m less than optimistic about it.”
Less than optimistic. Oh well.
Finally, out of my own curiosity I forced Starr to tell me where he thought Bill Haverchuck would be today. “When we finished the series there were talks about him being a jock,” Starr said. “He’d start to work out in the second season, which would create this gap between him and Sam and Neal. That would have been a really funny direction, that he becomes one of the people they all kind of hated. Maybe without the edge. Then again, maybe he would have become a total douchebag.”
Maybe he’s a Soulcycle instructor now, I added.