Other Desert Cities Cast Q&A: Ted Culler

Q. You are a retired movie star, former ambassador, staunch Republican.  Your daughter, far removed from you politically and geographically, has come home with the manuscript of a memoir, focusing on your oldest son’s involvement in the bombing of an Army recruiting station thirty years ago.  As if this weren’t enough, she has been hospitalized at some point for depression. What flashes through your mind at the moment you learn of this memoir?  

TC: The first things that flash through Lyman’s mind are “What’s in it? Don’t react, postpone any discussion, take time to discern the content and make a plan to negotiate an agreeable outcome.”

Q. Of the various roles in Lyman’s life, which do you think exerts the strongest influence on how he responds to the potential publication of the memoir?

TC: Lyman’s most important roles are husband and father. He is motivated to protect the family as a unit and as individuals. His diplomatic status and skills are what he uses to that end and to achieve damage control. Whenever he is aware that diplomacy and negotiation are not working, he pulls back or escapes the moment and regroups. 

Underlying Lyman’s reactions to the publication of the book and his attempts to negotiate a minimally disruptive outcome is a strong motivation of survival/self-protection and it is at the peak of discordance and frustration that “I” takes precedence over any form of “we” and compels revelations of truth. 

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