Thursday, April 23, 2009
CRIMINAL MINDS: JOE MANTEGNA INTERVIEW
Criminal Minds: Joe Mantegna, David Rossi on Criminal Minds, has a wonderful interview in 'A.V. Club' this month. It is interesting to read why he decided to name his Criminal Minds character David Rossi. Here is a snippet and the link:
Criminal Minds (2007-present)—“David Rossi”
JM: It’s my third series, and I finally got one that seems to be successful, with some longevity to it. It’s a great group of people, great group of writers. Again, it’s based on real people. I spent some time at Quantico, went down to FBI headquarters in Washington, and met some of the real people and some of the guys who work with us as technical advisers. I have tremendous respect for what these people do. I think of being an actor as a blue-collar profession. In other words, you just get out there and do it. And very often, even in movies, you can spend a lot of time sitting in a trailer waiting for them to set up, you know, a special-effects shot. When I did Baby’s Day Out, it was a lot of fun, but with those kind of pictures, it’s almost the more money they spend on them, the more time you wait to do the work. It’s just the nature of the business. So the actual time you’re acting is miniscule compared to the time you’re getting ready to do the work. The big difference on series television is, there’s not a lot of hanging-out time. You’re pumping those pages out, you’re doing six, seven, eight pages a day. And I like that pace. It’s a little more what I’m used to, it’s a little more like the theater. I feel like “This is what I’m being paid to do, let’s do it.” I’m not being paid to sit around and chat, you know, have coffee, and then just say four words and come back tomorrow and do take two. So I kind of like that.
I look at Amber Tamblyn, who was so brilliant on Joan Of Arcadia, and I figure where she probably got her chops was working eight years on a soap opera, where she had to learn reams of dialogue every day and run through every kind of emotion at the drop of a hat. And it gave this girl such depth as an actress, you know, so that’s an example of that. If you can do series television well, and not walk your way through it, do it as high a level as you can, and if the writing is good, if the people running it know their shit—which in this case we do, Ed Bernero who runs the show, and everybody involved—it’s very rewarding. And I like it. I got a chance to name this character after a real person, a policeman named David Rossi who was the first guy to testify in the O.J. Simpson trial. I thought he got piled on by O.J. Simpson’s lawyers at the time. So I thought “Someday I’m gonna name a character after this guy.” He went up in his dress blue uniforms and testified for two days. And I thought “What integrity.” For two days, this guy just got beat up—and all he did was answer the phones—and it’s obvious the defense is just gonna beat this guy up and try to hang the LAPD over the fact that this fuckin’ idiot murdered his wife. To me it was a joke. And so because of it, I named him after this guy, and he found out through surreptitious methods, and we became great friends. ’Cause he was so flattered that I had done that.