buckle came from a rodeo in Fort Worth. Corbin's passion is the
cutting-horse competition, where a mount and rider are judged on
their skill at culling a cow from the middle of a herd. Corbin entered,
without his favorite riding boots. Wearing borrowed spurs. Riding
someone else's horse.
like going over to Wimbledon without your tennis shoes or your racket,"
explains Corbin in his big-as-Texas twang, maneuvering a toothpick
to one corner of his mouth. "Won by half a point."
Vying for the
part of Maurice, Corbin won it hands - and face and belt buckle
- down. During his audition, Corbin decided to drop to the floor
and pumped out a nonstop series of pushups because the script described
Maurice as a fitness buff.
was clearly our first choice," recalls Joshua Brand, co-executive
producer of the series about an Alaskan podunk and its charmingly
eccentric residents. "When we wrote the part we kind of saw
George C. Scott in 'Patton.' Robert Duvall in 'Apocalypse Now.'
John Wayne. Heroic men of action. Someone who embodied the best
and worst of those American qualities of capitalism and progress
and greed and avarice."
episode [3.4 Animals R Us] for example, the
gears in Maurice's head start turning when he sees the huge eggs
being laid by Marilyn's ostriches.
talking about slaughter right away now, you understand," he
tells Marilyn in his log cabin, decorated in early Teddy Roosevelt,
all hunting trophies and Victorian velvet, with a dinner table that
seats 16. "This is an industry that's poised for takeoff."
at the part because he figured the character held the potential
for surprise. He also recalls, "As I explored the character
I discovered we share almost nothing in common."
the Alaskan wilderness and dreams of trailer parks and 31 Flavors.
Corbin envisions national parks so untamed and remote that people
wouldn't even bother to visit. Maurice took the ultimate trip, out
of this world, Spam-in-a-can. Corbin won't subject himself to a
mere balloon ride. Maurice is ruled by the cerebrum; Corbin, by
thing Maurice is afraid of is himself," Corbin says. "If
you took away his shell he'd be a quivering mass of ganglia."
leave much overlap. "I appear to talk a whole lot but I don't
say anything," offers Corbin. "Maurice is the same way."
Exposure" made its debut last year, Corbin's was one of the
few faces that rang bells. Among his long list of credits, he played
Uncle Bob in the film "Urban Cowboy" and a general in
"WarGames," appeared in a string of TV movies and miniseries,
including "Lonesome Dove," and starred in a memorable
commercial for Birdseye frozen vegetables.
The son of
a Texas county judge who went to the Senate at age25, Corbin was
named for James M. Barrie, who wrote "Peter Pan."
could get my mother to tell me why," Corbin puzzles.
He liked movies,
and at age 8 decided to become an actor. His grandfather, who kept
horses and helped Corbin learn to ride when most kids are learning
to walk, encouraged him.
everyone said I'd grow out of it," says Corbin, now 50. "I
acting at Texas Tech, eventually flipping a coin to decide whether
to move to New York or Los Angeles. Luck sent him East. He forged
a career as a stage actor, playing Shakespeare's Henry V and Macbeth
and other standards.
in the back of my mind I figured I couldn't compete in films until
I was older. At 25, you don't come out and try to replace Walter
He says he
has injected a little bit of cowboy into every part he has played,
even those where he delivered his lines in Elizabethan English.
Exposure," he reins in his cowboy impulse so as not to overlap
with the Gary Cooper-esque character of Holling, a reformed big-game
hunter who owns the town tavern. Look for an episode later this
season, a flashback to the fictional town of Cicely's pioneer days,
when Corbin might get a chance to saddle up [3.23
may put me on horseback the whole time," he says. "Which
would be fine with me."
1991 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.