‘For The Joy Of It’

Digital Series Revives Actor’s Passion For Arts

His passion for the arts continues.

Having been away from the lights, camera, and action of Hollywood for about 15 years, Mitchell Anderson, found it easy to step right back in front of the lens.

“I was a professional actor for most of my early adulthood. Then I stopped acting,” Anderson said.

Now, the Jamestown native, is nominated for an Emmy for his role as Jason Addams in the Amazon digital series “After Forever.”

Anderson, 57, said a friend who Anderson had kept in touch with since the mid 80s had called him to tell Anderson about “After Forever.” Anderson is best known for his TV roles in “Doogie Howser, MD and “Party of Five,” Richard Carpenter in “The Karen Carpenter Story, and on film, “Relax, It’s Just Sex.”

“He called me and said ‘I am working on this project — it’s a digital series’ and I said ‘What’s that? I’ve never even heard of a digital series.’ He sent it to me and he said I want to you to play opposite me and I read it. I fell in love with the part. I fell in love with the project and it was great opportunity to get back in front of the camera. I had not been in front of a camera, at that point, in 15 years,” Anderson said.

Anderson, who owns MetroFresh, metrofreshatl.com, a restaurant in Atlanta, said the part was an opportunity to step out from himself. “You don’t get that chance very often. It (the series) shot for three weeks in New York City. I left the restaurant in (the) capable hands of my chef and my general manager, and I went up to New York to work on the show.”

Anderson said it was easier to step in front of the camera this time. “For me, I didn’t have anything riding on it. I did it for the pure joy of it — because I love the part, because I thought I could bring something to it. In a lot of ways, I got out of my way. I didn’t have that voice in my head saying ‘I hope somebody sees it. I hope somebody likes it.'”

He added that it is being nominated for an Emmy is just incredible to him, and he is grateful for a second chance. “For all the years I that I did television for a living, I never even got close to that. That’s why after so many years of being out of it (acting) to go back and do something that was great, and moving, and real, and honest, and be recognized for it in this way is just spectacular.”

Anderson was raised in Jamestown, one of six children. He is a 1979 graduate of Jamestown High School. He attended Williams College, and The Julliard School of Music. His restaurant, is “Fresh Food, Fast,” and specializes in prepared gourmet soups, salads, side dishes, sandwiches and breakfasts. “We use the freshest in-season ingredients, locally grown when possible, to create a menu of interesting, unusual, globally-inspired flavor combinations,” the website’s home page said.

Anderson said the series was shot in New York City for about 15 or 16 days in a townhouse on the Upper East Side.

“The cool thing about the show is New York (City) is a real part of it (the show). It’s a real character in the show. Shooting 12, 13, 14 hours a day was not unusual. For something that is this size, a digital series like this, they did a great job. The crew was amazing and kept it moving along. The rest of the actors are incredible. Basically it’s a big pool of New York (City) stage actors who did this show. The talent pool is really deep. That was really fun for me to kind of fly in there and do this at their level after so many years,” Anderson said.

The Advocate Magazine held the series in high praise. “Loss is a topic seldom told through a queer lens, but when crafted and executed honestly, it has the power to embolden our perspectives on each other — as well as ourselves. After all, love is humanity’s greatest story, and it’s beautifully expressed in the first season of ‘After Forever,’ an eight-episode series streaming on Amazon. The show, co-created by Emmy-nominated TV writer and playwright Michael Slade and actor-writer Kevin Spirtas (‘Days of Our Lives’), was nominated for 10 International Academy of Web Television Awards — and won one for best female performance in a drama series (Cady Huffman). The show stars Spirtas as Brian, and Anderson (‘Doogie Howser,’ ‘Party of Five’) as Jason, a ’50-ish’ gay couple living in New York City who appear to have it all — until Jason’s untimely death forces Brian to think about his own future and ultimately his own mortality, without the love of his life.”

The Emmys is scheduled to air Sept. 22 on Fox.