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*Reluctant Hero USA Today 10/1/96

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Reluctant hero, reluctant hunk

'Early Edition' star says he's not that special - just lucky

Matt Roush
USA Today
November 1, 1996

Kyle Chandler says he's a "news alcoholic. I try to read as many papers as I can. They all seem to have different ways of presenting the information."None quite so different, of course, as the Chicago newspaper he reads as the lead of CBS' new Saturday hit Early Edition. In this fantasy-drama, the 31-year-old former Homefront star plays Gary Hobson, a reluctant hero who receives a newspaper each morning with the next day's date on it and goes about righting wrongs and averting disasters.The show, which replaced Touched by an Angel when it moved to Sunday, wins its time period, improving on its Dr. Quinn lead-in.Like other characters Chandler has played in his short career, Gary is described by the soft-spoken and self-effacing actor as "a simple guy stuck in a tumultuous situation."Rather like Chandler, who seems equally ill at ease discussing his private life (he's married) or his public fame. "From where I come from (a 22-acre Georgia farm), it's pretty incredible. Like everyone else that starts out in this business, I was a dreamer," he says, taking a break from mingling at a CBS media party."Not many people get a chance to do what I've done, and not many succeed when they do have a chance. I was one of the fortunate few. I have lots of friends who haven't made it yet that I came out here from Georgia with that are as good if not better actors than I am. But the circumstances rolled my way."He came to Hollywood in 1989 as part of an ABC program that discovered talent. Chandler got an agent, was sent out on auditions ("I was completely green and it showed") and about a year later began getting work. He landed a recurring part on the Vietnam drama Tour of Duty that would have been expanded if the show had lasted.And then he was cast in Homefront, the '40s drama that ran from 1991 to 1993 and "opened everything up. It was a terrific vehicle."He and co-star Tammy Lauren became the show's breakout love couple as Jeff and Ginger. "We worked really hard together and clicked. We had a sense of comedy that fit in perfectly in that show."After Homefront was canceled, he was cast in the lead of The Pastor's Wife, a quirky drama for Fox by David E. Kelley (Chicago Hope) that never made it to air. He also played Broadway in a revival of Picnic.Now that he's back on TV in a solid hit he says he won't let it go to his head. "When you get a new show or you get a nice role...all of a sudden you're the buzz. But when that show's over and you're not working or doing anything, all of a sudden there's no buzz. So I play it like there's no buzz, like it's temporary. Besides, my friends don't let me get out of hand. My family doesn't either."Is this guy too good to be true?"He is so sincere," says Lynn Marie Latham, Homefront executive producer, who also remembers him as a "marvelous mimic and funny prankster" who could trick cast members by imitating other actor's voices over the phone.As an actor, "he's hard-working and incredibly serious. All of that contributes to his magnetism on screen: his good heart, his hard work and dedication - and his looks."Chandler is regarded as one of Hollywood's more reluctant hunks. He had to be talked into participating in a TV Guide spread on sexy stars.To congratulate him on Early Edition, Latham and her husband, Bernard Lechowick, sent him a mock Variety front page with the headline: "Heartthrob Rejects Hunk Label."If only the papers would let him.