Reid Scott: From Diet Coke with Felicia Day to 'Veep' aide

In real life, Reid Scott may be a nice guy, but he's having the time of his life these days playing Dan Egan, a rising Washington hotshot who specializes in bending the rules to fix problems for the U.S. vice president on HBO's new Sunday sitcom "Veep."

"Dan is incredibly fun to play," Scott tells Zap2it, laughing. "He's a Machiavellian, ladder-climbing snake-in-the-grass kind of guy, who may or may not have a heart. We haven't really decided yet. But he has become this sort of outlet where I can exorcise my own demons in being vicious, silver-tongued and mean."

Scott himself didn't need to break any rules when he fell in love with acting while attending prep school in upstate New York. "I happened to have this one incredible teacher who ran a ramshackle drama department, which was kind of the one creative outlet at this Catholic military school," Scott says. "I loved it, and my grandmother, who was an English professor at Syracuse University, saw how much I loved it and really encouraged me to go for it. It sort of snuck up on me."

After college, Scott moved to New York to hone his acting skills and do some writing before moving to Los Angeles for a failed Fox pilot. He started landing guest appearances, though, as well as a popular Diet Coke commercial in which he and Felicia Day played young moviegoers who fall in love over a shared appreciation of "Casablanca."

He admits that on early comedy jobs, he never believed he was funny. "I was terrified," he says. "Eventually, I started to relax, though. It took me awhile to own it, but comedy is my wheelhouse, now, where I feel most comfortable. The more cerebral, slightly darker comedy stuff is where I love to live."

Born: Nov. 19, 1977, in Albany, N.Y.; grew up in nearby Saratoga County

Education: Graduated from Syracuse University with a major in drama

Marital status: Single with girlfriend

Pets: Bella, a 10-year-old pit bull

Hobbies: Downhill skiing, playing guitar

Fun fact: Once starred with Jon Hamm in an L.A. Theatre Works production of "The Three Sisters"

Favorite book: " 'The Magus,' by John Fowles. I just love the psychological adventure of a man at that very specific age of 24 to 26. That happened to be the age when I read it. Actually, someone had given it to me when I was in college and I just didn't get it, but I picked it up off my shelf a few years later and practically devoured it in one sitting."

Favorite movie: "One is 'Raiders of the Lost Ark.' I remember my dad and me going to the theater and thinking it was just one of the greatest things I had seen in my life, and it still holds up. Then there were more subtle movies like 'Ordinary People,' which was just a real honest story of a family in crisis. At the time I remember it seemed so real that it scared me."

Favorite record: "Probably Bob Dylan's 'Blonde on Blonde.' It's just so unabashedly honest. It's one of the first times you hear him start to play with his voice. He never was credited as having a great voice, and on that album he says, 'Well, I am just going to sing the way I sing,' and it's funny and sounds a little Kermit-the-Froggy at times, but it's Dylan just hanging it out there."
Photo/Video credit: NewsCom