Michael C. Hall On Playing A Bowling Legend On ‘Documentary Now!,’ TV Finales, And Hating ALF


The evidence is pretty overwhelming that we should stop being so mystified by the sight of an actor taking on a project that, based on their past work, feels out of character. One half of Key & Peele (Jordan Peele) just wrote and directed his second straight instant classic horror smash (Us). Artists stretch, is what I’m saying (again). Yet despite all that, it’s a little jarring to see Michael C. Hall, TV’s murderous Dexter Morgan, playing an affable bowling master in tonight’s season 3 finale of Documentary Now! (10pm EST on IFC) opposite Tim Robinson (Detroiters) and Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live). But maybe that’s why Hall was the perfect fit for a character that, like Dexter, seems a little too nice. Is it possible that “dead-eyed” Billy May Dempsey has a collection of blood slides hidden somewhere in his wife’s ALF-centric lady cave? Probably not, but we can’t be certain.

We spoke with Hall about his recent penchant for comedies and whether it’s part of a big plan to rebrand himself. The conversation also touches on how he respects his character’s vocal resentment of ALF, Tim Robinson’s not great bowling form, Six Feet Under, and whether people take TV finales too seriously.

What was it about this part that appealed to you? Do you have bowling experience? Are you a bowling fan?

I think it was that he expressed his opinion that he doesn’t like the way ALF treats his host family. I think it’s what really stood out to me in the script.

Are you strongly anti-ALF?

I’m not. I’m not. But I was interested in the fact that he made a point to say that. It said a lot about him. I bowled a little bit when I was a kid, maybe the average amount. I don’t know. I was never on a bowling team or anything, but I did it with some regularity over the course of my childhood and college. I do remember the time that the movie focuses on — Saturday and Sunday afternoons when bowling was sort of the featured thing on ABC Sports or whatever. [I remember] being… maybe sometimes bummed out, like, “Oh, it’s bowling.” But then I’d find myself watching it. It’s sort of mesmerizing and hypnotic. I guess it’s the sounds, you know? It’s my favorite thing about bowling.

I remember that too. It’s good background noise for a lazy Saturday afternoon.

Yeah. I would maybe try it out if it was a setting on my white noise machine.

Not that I’m an expert bowler, but your form is really good. Maybe he did it for comedic effect, but Tim Robinson’s form is terrible.