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James Cromwell dislikes surprises

June 9, 2005 at 8:30 PM

LOS ANGELES, June 9 (UPI) -- Actor James Cromwell tells TV Guide he likes to know what's going to happen to his character.

Cromwell plays George on HBO's edgy "Six Feet Under." This season, George becomes mentally ill and gets electroshock therapy.

"They didn't tell me what was going to happen to this guy -- all of a sudden, he started to fall to pieces, and I had no idea," Cromwell said. "I'm not used to working this way. I like to know when I'm being led somewhere."

In the interview, Cromwell took a potshot at Alan Ball, creator of the drama about a family funeral home business. The veteran actor suggested that writers, who tend to be underdogs in the movie and TV business, "can be very secretive" when they get some power. Cromwell said he likes an atmosphere with some feedback.

Ball responded by saying that he believes Cromwell's recent work as George is some of his best ever.

"But a lot of times, actors tend to confuse their characters with themselves and don't want to be weak or infirm or unlikable," he told TV Guide.

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