Being green is a work in progress for Justin Bartha, star of the new NBC sitcom "The New Normal." "I don't do as much as I should but I'm conscious of it. I drive a Prius, I don't litter, I recycle, I don't use Styrofoam," he says, noting that they're following suit at the set, "Most places do that. Hollywood is pretty progressive when it comes to environmental issues compared to the rest of the world."
Best known for "The Hangover" movies, Bartha wasn't thrilled by movie scripts he'd been sent, "and I was sent some television stuff that I didn't think was that relevant, and I thought it was relevant," he says about "The New Normal," which will have a sneak preview on Sept. 10 (following the season two premiere of "The Voice") in advance of its timeslot premiere on Sept. 11 and an encore of the pilot on Sept. 12. "It talks about love, and it talks about real issues in a non‑trite way that is also entertaining. So it's a show that I'd want to watch, and I wanted to be part of it."
As David, one half of a gay couple that recruits a surrogate (Georgia King), a single mom with a young daughter and a homophobic grandmother (Ellen Barkin), "he's a levelheaded guy, he's the straight man in a sense, but he has these neuroses that will come out. He might not have had a great childhood, and how that affects building a family." He was also drawn to the opportunity to work with Barkin, creator Ryan Murphy ("Glee," "American Horror Story") and Andrew Rannells, who plays his partner, and the shorter work schedule that a TV comedy provides. "It had too many good elements not to be interested."
Bartha plays a very different role in the upcoming movie "CBGB," about the legendary New York punk rock club. "I play Stiv Bators, lead singer of the Dead Boys. It's gonna be a really cool, interesting movie. It's not just about music. It's about New York used to be like before it got overly gentrified. It's a great time for music: The Ramones, Blondie, Patty Smith, Television and Talking Heads, some of the greatest music you'll ever hear."