Adam Scott: Details For Every Fan Of The Actor

Adam Scott's level of celebrity shifted in the 2010s, but he's actually been working in Hollywood far longer than his youthful appearance conveys. The actor got his onscreen start in 1994, and he has since amassed more than 120 television and film credits. Scott gave an impressive range of performances in series like "Tell Me You Love Me" and "Party Down" — the latter of which wasn't popular at the time but has since become a cult hit that's set for a revival on Starz, per Deadline — but reached a higher level of fame when he joined "Parks and Recreation" as a series regular.

While Scott has continued to be a television staple, the "Big Little Lies" star's turns on the big screen in films like indie drama "The Vicious Kind," comedy hit "Step Brothers," and adventure-dramedy "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" led to his well-known penchant for playing jerks — so fans may be pleased to learn that the actor himself boasts a pretty glowing reputation within the industry. As his longtime pal, Paul Rudd, once told Backstage of Scott, "He's a humble guy and self-effacing to a fault. He's also one of the funniest people I know, yet this great dramatic actor."

Aside from acting, Scott has also been involved behind the scenes in many of his projects, and he's also a devoted father and husband in his personal life, with a love of rock music and "Star Wars." Here's a look at some of the most interesting details about Adam Scott's life and career.

Adam Scott almost changed his name

Adam Scott grew up in Santa Cruz, California, as the youngest of three children of two teachers, per USA Today. The actor is part Sicilian and part Irish on his mom's side, as well as Scottish on his dad's side of the family, and he at one point considered changing his name to honor his Italian roots. According to Vanity Fair, Scott even tried out Adam Quardero as his stage name, based upon his mother's maiden name of Quartararo. Clearly, the name did not take — though we wonder if that would have changed the types of roles Scott went up for earlier in his career.

Though his name may not sound very Italian, Scott has embraced his roots in other ways. For instance, he and his family have vacationed in Italy, as he detailed on "The Late Late Show with James Corden" in 2017. Italian food has also been a staple of his diet since childhood, with Scott telling Bon Appétit that his mother's specialty was lasagna, though he himself cannot make any Sicilian dishes. He also cannot speak Italian, which has become somewhat of an issue when traveling. 

"My wife always learns the language of wherever we're going — kind of basics, and it gets us around. And I'm such an idiot, I never learn anything," Scott admitted on "The Talk" when discussing a more recent visit to Italy in June 2022, adding with a laugh, "This time, I found myself saying words in English in a terrible Italian accent."

The actor took any work he could get when starting out

Actors who are just starting out don't typically have much control over the parts they get to audition for, but some are certainly pickier than others. Adam Scott had no problem taking any possible work that came his way, even background work and student films, when he was attempting to break into the business. "I didn't turn my nose up at anything," he told Backstage in June 2022. "I had friends in school who I graduated with who, from the very start, said, 'Oh, no, I don't want to do this or that.' I was always of the mind of: I'm going to do anything and everything. I just want to get in front of the camera or get onstage and do anything."

Scott attended the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts — which has trained a ton of famous actors like Robert Redford, Jessica Chastain, and Paul Rudd — and graduated in 1993, per the school's website. His first credit was in a pilot for "Dead at 21" the following year, which led to guest roles on shows like "ER," "Boy Meets World," and "Murder One," the latter of which he appeared on for six episodes. It took a while for Scott to book a movie, and by the time he did, he didn't really care what it was. 

"I learned early on not to take it any of it particularly seriously," Scott told Complex in 2011. "'Hellraiser IV: Bloodline' was my first movie role, in 1996. It was a huge deal to me."

Adam Scott credits Step Brothers with changing his career

Though Adam Scott had been working as an actor for more than 15 years by the time "Step Brothers" rolled around, he credits the 2008 film with changing his overall career path. In the film, Scott plays the jerky younger brother to Will Ferrell's Brennan and new stepbrother to John C. Reilly's Dale. While we now know that Scott is an A+ comedic actor, this was actually his first expedition into comedy, hence why it impacted his career so greatly. "God, he is so good at playing an A-hole. He had all these little, subtle moves that he was doing," said writer and director Adam McKay in an oral history for The Ringer. "In the room they're not bowling you over, but they really played well on camera. Thank God we ended up casting him." 

In 2018, Decider labeled Scott's appearance in "Step Brothers" the "funniest comedy debut ever." So, it's not surprising that Scott's mainstream fame came primarily because of his comedic roles. His next big gig was starring in the cult hit series "Party Down," and he is, of course, well known for his work as a main character on "Parks and Recreation." Scott also started getting subsequent comedic film work, appearing in movies such as "Our Idiot Brother," "Bachelorette," and "Hot Tub Time Machine 2." But it all started with "Step Brothers." 

"Entering into the world of comedy, that was a new thing," Scott told NPR. "Like, ooh, this is going to be really fun and silly and stupid today. I can't wait."

He was asked to join Parks and Recreation

As previously mentioned, Adam Scott is known for a variety of roles, including his stellar work in "Severance," "Big Little Lies," and many more projects — but he first really became a household name when he appeared on "Parks and Recreation" as nerdy but lovable government worker Ben Wyatt. Scott joined the show at the end of Season 2 and remained on the program for the rest of its seven-season run, playing the love interest of Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope. Scott was fresh off the heels of "Party Down" when he got the offer to join the cast, without even having to go through rounds of auditions.

But that's not the full story. The reason showrunner Mike Schur contacted Scott was because he'd already met with him for a different role when the actor auditioned for the "Parks and Rec" pilot a year and a half earlier. "I was probably too excited because I was a huge fan of 'The Office,' of course," Scott admitted in a GQ video. "I remember getting the audition and just working so hard on it, overcooking it, and getting in there, and just being stiff and not funny." 

In a separate interview with The Washington Post, Scott explained that "Parks and Rec" didn't have any defined characters when he initially auditioned. Schur called him back in for Ben because of his work on "Party Down" — the show he took after he didn't book "Parks and Rec" the first time. "So, it weirdly all worked out," Scott told GQ.

Adam Scott really likes reality TV

In another case of "Stars, they're just like us," Adam Scott is a huge fan of reality television and has been for years. His biggest obsession seems to be "Survivor," as he has been spotted at finale tapings on multiple occasions. In December 2017, for example, the star tweeted a photo of himself (alongside "Parks and Recreation" co-star Nick Offerman and his wife, Megan Mullally) at the live finale for the "Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers" season. An eagle-eyed fan also caught Scott in the audience for a finale years before for Season 22 of the show in 2011 and posted it to Reddit.

Not only has Scott further chatted about "Survivor" in multiple interviews — like this one he did in 2020 with Gold Derby — but he has also not shied away from discussing another one of his favorite reality shows: "The Bachelorette." During a 2016 appearance on "Conan," Scott launched into an explanation for why he loves the tawdry spinoff but not its origin series "The Bachelor." "To see a group of men competing for a woman in a show that was designed for the opposite gender immediately emasculates all the men," he told Conan O'Brien. "And the dudes they pick are all big alpha males — they're usually kind of dumb — and they can't handle being in this subservient position and having to pretend like they're in love. And they go crazy. It's terrific."

He had to fight for his role in Big Little Lies

After gaining fame primarily because of his dry wit and spectacular comedic timing, Adam Scott began being somewhat typecast as the wisecracking nerd (see: "Hot Tub Time Machine 2") or super obnoxious bad guy (see: "The Good Place") or a combination of both (see: "Bachelorette"). The fact that he spent five years Ben Wyatt on "Parks and Recreation" only solidified his reputation as a comedic actor, and it increased his visibility within the industry. 

"After 'Parks and Recreation' ended, I wasn't sure what to do next. I had never been in a position of being on a TV show for such a long time," Scott explained to the AV Club in August 2022. "I was leaving it with more opportunities than I had going in. 'Parks' was a life-changer for me." One issue with his list of ever-expanding opportunities, however, was that Scott wasn't being considered for dramatic roles, despite having begun his career appearing in fare such as "Party of Five," "Wasteland," and "The Aviator." So, when "Big Little Lies" came around, Scott had to fight hard to be considered as a serious contender for the role of Ed Mackenzie. 

"I auditioned and read a couple of times to prove myself," Scott told the AV Club of landing this part in the acclaimed HBO series. "Doing that was really fun and creatively satisfying."

Adam Scott's also a big sci-fi fan

"Severance" is no doubt a drama, but it is also deeply comedic at times, which has allowed Adam Scott to perfectly blend his affective dramatic acting with his perfect comedic timing. If we had to classify the acclaimed show in any genre, it would likely be science fiction, given the entire premise (which we won't spoil if you have not seen it!). Scott first heard about the idea in 2017, long before the series came to fruition, thanks to his relationship with director Ben Stiller. "It wasn't until a couple of years later that I ended up getting to read anything. I couldn't shake the idea of it or stop thinking about it," Scott told the AV Club. "The big themes of the show are so interesting and thought-provoking. When it came back around, I was pretty excited."

We're not too shocked that Scott was drawn to the themes within the material, as he's known to be a big fan of sci-fi himself. He is such a huge admirer of "Star Wars," for example, that the team at "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" once surprised him with an unexpected appearance by his hero Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker. Beyond "Star Wars," Scott has also noted an interest in material that blends science fiction with social commentary, much like "Severance" does. 

"I love to watch 'The Twilight Zone,' and 'Lost,' and 'Black Mirror,' but I've never been a part of anything like that," Scott told W magazine when explaining his initial excitement for the Apple TV+ series.

He was surprised by his Emmy nomination for Severance

Adam Scott has been a working actor for decades, and he has appeared in a number of projects that have been nominated for Emmy Awards, Golden Globes, and so forth. But Scott himself was, in our opinion, criminally overlooked by the major award shows for years, despite arguably producing Emmy-quality work in "Parks and Recreation," "The Good Place," and "Big Little Lies." This finally changed in 2022 when he was nominated for his first Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for his work on "Severance." (He was also nominated as part of the production team.) 

"I did not think I was going to be nominated," Scott told The New York Times. "I was just trying to focus on everyone else and take a walk and put it out of my head." Though many actors tout that same line, we actually believe Scott when he says he wasn't expecting a nomination. To start, he told the outlet that he was walking his dogs when he found out, which tracks with the early morning announcement time. The star also seemed to really care about the series itself getting a nod and those involved with it having their work recognized.

Though the best actor award ultimately went to Lee Jung-jae from "Squid Game," Scott previously told IndieWire, "I am really just so, so happy for the show and [creator] Dan [Erickson] and ... all the actors because they all made this show what it is, everybody that was nominated and the show as a whole."

Severance helped him process his mother's death

Adam Scott was given so many acting challenges when he signed on to play Mark Scout in "Severance." Not only was he tasked with navigating the ever-shifting tone of the show, but he also had to play two versions of the same character, each with no memory of the other's life. Another factor was that the "outie" version of Mark is in a deep, dark state of grief, years after the death of his wife. 

For Scott, who sadly lost his mom shortly before filming began, portraying a grieving character had an unexpected benefit in his own life, per The New York Times. Scott's mother died during the COVID-19 pandemic, and when he went back to work after time spent at home with family, he found that his grief had not been properly addressed. "I got to New York six months later, closed the door and I was by myself and I realized immediately I was not done absorbing this loss. The show was right there, and so I processed my grief through the show," he told The New York Times. 

Scott reiterated this in an interview with NPR, where he also noted that because his mom passed at the start of March 2020, just before the lockdown, her memorial was delayed by nearly two years. Of "Severance," Scott further told the AV Club, "I'm grateful. It's almost like the show was there for me as a friend."

Adam Scott has collaborated with his wife, Naomi Scott

Adam Scott is not the kind of celebrity you often see featured in the tabloids, and so his personal life has stayed rather private over the years. The "Parks and Recreation" alum has been married to his wife, Naomi Scott, since 2005, and the pair appear to be very much in love today. "I think she's the coolest, the smartest, the funniest, and the most beautiful. It's pretty simple," Adam told Us Weekly in May 2022. "So, I just hope that she still likes me most of the time. It's worked out and I'm really, really lucky, but I just can't imagine anything else. I'm just lucky."

For her part, Naomi also works in show business, though primarily behind the scenes. She is chiefly a producer and has worked with her husband on a number of projects, including the Fox sitcom "Ghosted," where she was an executive producer, and Adult Swim's "The Greatest Event in Television History," which both Scotts created as a unit, per IMDb. In 2020, Adam told Gold Derby that he and his wife had more projects to come through their company Gettin' Rad Productions. "We have different stuff in development," he said. "... We've made three movies at this point and we're about to get another one off the ground. We're hard at work getting some more TV shows out there." 

Both Adam and Naomi Scott are listed as producers on Cartoon Network's upcoming animated series "Gross Girls," though that is their only joint project listed on IMDb, as of this writing.

The actor has two teenage children

Together with his wife, Naomi Scott, Adam Scott has two children — son Graham and daughter Frankie — both of whom are teenagers, at the time of this writing. Adam has spoken out many times about the challenges of parenting, often with a dash of his trademark dry humor. In fact, his musings on fatherhood are so notable that HuffPost once did a round-up of his best parenting posts. "Thinking about telling my kids Santa doesn't exist so I can get credit for some of this s**t," he joked in a 2012 tweet that made their list. Now that his kids are a bit older, Adam's parenting issues have shifted. "They are both growing up incredibly fast," he told SheKnows in 2019. "Much faster than any other kids ever have. Look it up; it's true."

The Scotts' kids seem to have inherited the actor's awesome sense of humor, as evidenced by a couple of stories he told on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" in June 2022. In the appearance, Adam detailed how his son built a computer program that spewed affronts directed his way, and a time when his daughter was caught Googling "sick burns for actors." And that's just what happens when Adam Scott's kids are actually thinking about him. "It's a lot of work just getting their attention, is what I've found," he quipped on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" that February.

Adam Scott used to be a deadhead and loves classic rock

Adam Scott is a fan of rock music, or at least rock music from his youth. Alongside comedian Scott Aukerman, he started a podcast called "U Talkin' U2 To Me?" which became notable enough that U2 actually appeared on an episode in 2015, per Entertainment Weekly. The show has subsequently shifted focus, first becoming "R U Talkin' R.E.M. RE: ME?" in 2018 (via Pitchfork) and then "R U Talkin' RHCP RE: Me?" which is centered on the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But it's R.E.M. that more commonly gets linked to Scott's name, perhaps because he was an extra in their 1992 music video for "Drive," and it was the podcast's fans who were able to spot him in it.

In addition to those rock bands, Scott also spent a good part of his life devoted to the Grateful Dead. He at one point identified as a deadhead, which is the name that fans of the group have been given. "When 'Touch of Grey' became the big hit I kind of rode that wave and started digging deeper and getting into their older stuff," he told Spin magazine in 2013. "I think 'Workingman's Dead' and 'American Beauty' are both perfect records." Scott added, "I probably went to like 10 Dead shows and wore it as my identity for a while. I had the tie-dye and grew my hair long. I had a peace sign earring." 

We aren't the only ones wishing for a future role where Adam Scott wears a peace sign earring, are we?