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Neil Patrick Harris: Balancing Career and Fatherhood Is Like a Tetris Game
Neil Patrick Harris is the ultimate jack-of-all-trades.
The 38-year-old actor (who can sing, dance, act, and host) has gone from an underage doctor on Doogie Howser, M.D. to a genuine Hollywood triple threat.
Harris, who was on hand at The Grove in Hollywood to reveal the new M&M's character, Ms. Brown, talked to Parade.com about this season of How I Met Your Mother, his most important role as dad to one-year-old twins Harper and Gideon with partner David Burtka, and his love of Twitter.
On being a triple threat in Hollywood.
"I'm probably my biggest critic. I worry that if you spend any quality time reveling in good things then karma will slap you upside the head, so I try to stay as even keel as I'm able."
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On his role as Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, for which he received the People's Choice Award for "Favorite TV Comedy Actor."
"He's a rakish, drunken, hilarious crazy man. As an actor, you most often play relatively average parts, so to get to play extreme versions of anything, those are the most exciting parts. It's been a great blessing. He is this sort of crazy alpha male version of myself. He's a real hoot to play."
The cast of How I Met Your Mother also won at the People's Choice for "Favorite Network TV Comedy."
"I like the family and the camaraderie we have. It's a machine that's running really well and thankfully everyone who is there has been with us a long time. The cast hasn't changed, the crew hasn't changed, and everyone works very hard. Everyone's really positive and cares about each other, and that's relatively unique in Hollywood. I appreciate that more than anything."
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On the secret to balancing his busy career and fatherhood.
"I have an unbelievable assistant who handles all of my scheduling! It's like a Tetris game. I've been doing this for a while and sometimes you have spells of busyness and other times you're clamoring for work. It's nice to not be put out by being so busy, but to try to embrace it and make smart choices. I guess I'm in a nice position that way. I get to choose things that interest me as opposed to trying to get any job that will have me, which for a vast majority of actors is the case."
On his favorite thing about being a father.
"I love watching them learn to understand language. And watching them interact with each other is fantastic. We're lucky that we have two because they always have a playmate and they get to learn complicated concepts like sharing and cooperation. They get to learn those things a little earlier because they're with each other all the time. Watching their minds tick is fun."
On what he likes to do on his days off.
"Sleep! Nap! And I'm sort of a tool-around-the-garage guy. I've got a workbench and I like to fix things. Well, I like to say I'm going to fix things and then put them on my workbench and then never get to them!"
After his success in hosting the Tony Awards, what does he think about the prospect of hosting the Oscars one day?
"It's nothing you audition for. That's a call that would randomly come some day. It would certainly be a fun thing on the bucket list if it were to happen, but there's no real angling towards it. It either comes your way or it doesn't."
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On reaching his fans through Twitter.
"Everyone's been so nice, whether they know me as Dr. Horrible or Barney Stinson or Doogie Howser. People have been very kind and respectful of the fact that I have a life that's outside of the business, but also relatively interested in what goes on in that life. I think Twitter helps. Twitter is fun because it allows a kind of intimacy with people who want to follow you. You can toss them a funny joke or picture or story that's unique to you and doesn't come through the publicists and the studios. It's just straight out of my brain, into my finger, onto my phone, and off to Twitter! It's gotten me in trouble a couple of times, but I suppose so have other things!"
On what's up next.
"I'm just powering through How I Met Your Mother season seven and then I'm hearing rumors of a Smurfs sequel. If that were to happen it would have to be between the few months I have off between seasons, so we'll see if that ends up happening, but that wouldn't surprise me."
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