During a virtual chat with Entertainment Tonight ahead of the ninth and final season premiere of the Fox series, the 67-year-old actor spoke about how reprising the role was not at all what he expected.
Speaking candidly about playing both Last Man Standing’s Mike Baxter and Home Improvement’s Tim Taylor on the episode that aired Thursday night, the actor called the experience, “weird, creepy… [and] unusual.”
“It was very peculiar to do both parts, I’ll tell you that. It was challenging for me to do both parts and kind of emotional,” Allen said, before sharing that the 2003 death of Earl Hindman — who played Wilson, Allen’s onscreen neighbor in Home Improvement — played a part in heightening his feelings.
“I adored the man and we kind of brought that up in the story,” Allen explained. “I started thinking about all the history I had with that TV show, how I compare it to my life on this show. It’s all about loss, is all I kept saying in that episode.”
Richard Foreman/FOX Tim Allen in Last Man Standing
In the recent episode, titled “Dual Time,” Allen portrayed both characters, who meet when Mike’s wife Vanessa (Nancy Travis) hires a home improvement repairman who looks strikingly similar to Mike. A clip of their interaction is briefly featured in a trailer for the upcoming season of Last Man Standing.
“They call me the tool man,” Allen’s Tim Taylor says to which Allen’s Mike Baxter quips that he’s “a little annoying.”
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In addition to the emotions the episode brought up, Allen also noted that playing both characters was “very difficult” amid the new age of COVID-19.
“That was the first episode back,” Allen revealed, noting the show’s paused production due to the ongoing pandemic. “So getting used to no crowd, and then having people direct me in a character I developed 20 years ago and then was kind of done with, it [was hard].”
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In October, Allen teased in a statement that season 9 of Last Man Standing would be “memorable and hilarious.”
“I’ve been one lucky dude to have been part of Last Man Standing,” said the Toy Story star, who also executive produces the show. “I so appreciate the incredible support from our fans over this near decade of work. As we approach the ninth season, I just admire and feel grateful for all the hard work our wonderful cast and crew have done.”
“We had all considered to end the show after last season, but together with Fox, we decided to add a year so we could produce a full season to create the gentle and fun goodbye,” he added at the time. “I’m looking forward to a memorable and hilarious final season.”