Poker Face: Musician John Darnielle Details His Acting Debut

John Darnielle has been the frontman for The Mountain Goats since 1991 with 21 studio albums under his belt. Despite Darnielle's long history with performing, the musician hadn't acted before appearing in Rian Johson's new Peacock series, Poker Face, which stars Natasha Lyonne. The show's first four episodes are now streaming, and Darnielle plays a member of a one-hit-wonder metal band called Doxxology in the episode "Rest in Metal" alongside Chloë Sevigny. During a recent interview with Pitchfork, Darnielle talked about his acting debut and meeting Johnson. 

"He ordered a T-shirt from a zine that I used to do with Mountain Goats," Darnielle explained when asked about his history with Johnson. "We did one of those small, 50 T-shirt runs in 2001, when he would've been probably 18 or 19. Then we moved to Durham in 2003 and over in Chapel Hill, they were showing a movie called Brick [Johnson's directorial debut]. I heard about it so I went to see this movie, and when I saw the credits roll, the music was credited to the Hospital Bomber Experience [Johnson's cousin]. Now that's a reference to a song of mine called 'The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton.' I pointed to the screen and said, 'Hey, that's a Mountain Goats reference!' So I wrote to him and told him I saw the reference, and we've stayed in touch."

Darnielle continued, "Rian has this great mind. John Keats talks about negative capability-the ability to hold several ideas in your head at one time while you're working through them. Rian can hold a dozen ideas and plot turns and visual things in a way so that everything looks like a bunch of plates spinning, but when you look at the plates from the air they're forming a single design."

"It's very different from my normal gig," Darnielle added when asked if he'd act again. "I really struggle with seeing images of my own body. You may notice, if you've ever looked at this, there's never been a picture of me on a Mountain Goats record. I will keep it that way for my entire career. So it's weird to see myself on-screen. That part would be something I'd have to get used to."

He continued, "The other thing is, you report to the set at 6 a.m. and you don't leave until midnight. It's a lot of waiting. It doesn't leave a lot of time for a lived life. Touring leaves you more space to read a book in the daytime, to see things. But I say all that, and I've also watched the screener and I thought I did pretty good! So, you know, I probably wouldn't say no." 

Who Guest Stars in Poker Face?

Poker Face features big guest stars such as Adrien Brody, Angel Desai, Audrey Corsa, Benjamin Bratt, Brandon Michael Hall, Charles Melton, Chelsea Frei, Cherry Jones, Chloë Sevigny, Clea DuVall, Colton Ryan, Danielle MacDonald, Dascha Polanco, Ellen Barkin, Hong Chau, Jasmine Aiyana Garvin, Jameela Jamil, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Judith Light, Leslie Silva, Lil Rel Howery, Luis Guzmán, Megan Suri, Niall Cunningham, Nicholas Cirillo, Nick Nolte, Reed Birney, Rhea Perlman, Ron Perlman, Rowan Blanchard, S. Epatha Merkerson, Shane Paul McGhie, Simon Helberg, Stephanie Hsu, Tim Blake Nelson, and Tim Meadows.

The first four episodes of Poker Face are now on Peacock, and the fifth episode drops on February 2nd.