Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
September 26, 2007.
Brilliant scientist. Guitar hero. Adventurer. Professorís son. Sci-Fi
icon. Runway model. Surf bum. Eccentric. Reputed iron man. Dog lover.
Respected actor. Renaissance man.
Ed Quinn has worn a lot of hats over the years.
In a career (and life) that has been fascinating for its refusal to play by
the supposed rules, Quinn has put together an intriguing body of work
without forgetting what is really important in life.
Quinn grew up in an academic family and he has translated that to a
questing, experimental career in which he is willing to take chances and
think out of the box to find the most interesting projects.
This experimental nature has climaxed with Quinnís role in the break-out
Sci-Fi Channel hit series Eureka. The story of a mythical town
populated by brilliant scientists, Quinnís character of Nathan Stark may
just be the most intriguingly ambiguous of all of the eccentric characters. Stark has all the knowledge in the world at his fingers, but he
also has his own agendas and canít quite be trusted.
Quinn checked in
with us recently to tell us all about his career and life in Eureka.
You grew up in
Berkeley. That must be an interesting environment to grow up in. Do you
think that played a part in you making a living in the arts?
You know, it was. Growing up in Berkeley was amazing. It was a really
magical time to be there in the 70s and 80s. It was still sort of [like]
the halcyon days of the 60s were vividly in the rearview mirror. In time it
kind of changed. Well, Berkeley will never change, but thereís definitely
been an evolution of the city. My father was a professor at Cal and it was
a great place to grow up. I grew up playing music and playing sports and I
had just never gotten into acting. You would think that Berkeley would be
the kind of place where everybody would be an artist, but the truth is it
was a very intellectual city. People are very passionate about everything.
People follow their own path. No one from Berkeley does what theyíre
supposed to do. Thatís probably where I got the idea I could come down to
Hollywood and maybe make it in acting.
You studied guitar
with Joe Satriani. How did that come about?
taught at Second Hand Guitars in Berkeley. Now
is a video game, but back in the early 80s guitar hero was the dream of many
young kids Ė myself included. He was the best of the best, so it was a
great pleasure. It was also kind of sobering Ė to realize this guy was
teaching guitar to punk kids like my friends and I. He was better than all
of our heroes. That was something to take note of. If you want to make it
in music, itís very difficult.
You have had a couple
of bands and have done a solo disk as well. How long have you been playing
and singing? Is it hard to balance your musical and acting careers?
not at all, because I donít make any money as a musician.
So thereís a priority there. The truth is Iíve played music my entire life
and I always will. There was a time in which I got paid a bit of money to
play, with a kind of a recording deal, but for the most part, I love acting
and it is my career. I treat it with that kind of respect.
looming possible writers strike do you think you will concentrate more on
will definitely concentrate on the music. Iím in the midst of tracking
about eleven songs right now. The one thing about my music career is Iíve
never ever gotten to put a song out that I was happy with. It was always
Ďwe did the best we could.í In one day we were trying to record five
songs. Demos, whatever I was doing. Working with a lot of producers, it
was always Ė you know, youíre collaborating, quote-unquote. Collaborating
means that they want to write music so that they can get part of the credit
for it. In the end always, nothing I ever did I was very happy with. Iíd
like to do the stuff now that I donít care. Now that I have a job. Now
that I can pay for my own recording. Now I can do it exactly like I want to
do it. I definitely will be trying to ramp up [the music.] Hopefully,
actually, I just finished Ė I went straight from
a movie and Iím going on a little vacation for the rest of September, then
from October I want to stop rehearsing it and hopefully be in the studio.
When you were young
you also lived in Europe as a model. What was the life like there? Was it
hard to leave behind?
No. Not at all. My whole modeling career was kind of a joke. I always
wanted to study abroad and really couldnít afford it. I was pretty buried
at Berkeley and I didnít feel like it was the right call to leave at any
point. That being said, I really wanted to see Europe. I really wanted to
spend a good amount of time abroad. In my last semester I had been sort of
modeling over in the city. It was a lot of funÖ. I was also a valet. I
made a lot more money as a model than I did as a valet. But you have to
realize I was 6í4Ē and about 210 lbs. Not the ideal height and weight to be
a model Ė especially because the clothes donít fit. I went over to Europe
and I did very well, but I did very well because I shot a lot of
commercials. Over two years I shot 35-36 commercials. Then I was able to
do the big runway shows. It was amazing being 23-24 running around Europe
and going from city to city and actually working and making some good
money. But, there was no challenge to it. There really wasnít. Modeling
has got to be the most boring job in the world Ė having your picture taken
in some crummy clothes. All the talent was the photographers and the
designers and stuff like thatÖ
Well it wasnít so much
the modeling I thought was interesting Ė it was the ability to live in
Europe at that ageÖ
Yes, I based myself out of Barcelona and spending a lot of time in Milan and
in Paris. It was an incredible, incredible journey. But by the time I was
done with it, I was really done with it. My friend who was over there with
me we always joked ďoh, yeah, we should go over to Europe now.Ē Itís
probably the last thing any of us would want to do.
In your acting career,
you seem to get a lot of roles in the sci-fi and horror genres. Is this
something youíve searched out or just the way itís come up?
think itís both. I just really love the genre. When you show up and you
have a passion for it the people who create projects know that. Itís the
kind of stuff that I really, really want to do. So, typecast me all you
wantÖ Iím perfect for it. Itís been nice. In fact, right now Iím up for a
big sci-fi horror film, which would be a lot of fun, and Iím hoping it will
all come together. Then thereís a couple of other things on the horizon
that I know are going to come to fruition, but I donít know if they will
happen before the strike or not.
The one film you were
saying youíre up for Ė is it still in the planning stages?
Theyíre casting it and they want me for the lead. Itís just going to be a
matter of do they want to go that way or not? Iíve already had the meetings
with them. I think itís right out there. Knock on wood.
Your first series was
which was the spin off
of a popular series
and getting good buzz but the plug got pulled after just like eight
episodes. Was that disappointing?
Yeah, it was definitely disappointing at the time. It was my first series Ė
in fact it was my first pilot season. I was excited I got a script that was
already on the air. So you donít realize how hard it is to get a show on
the air. It was a great show. It was an amazing experience. Unfortunately
all the grown-ups didnít get along, so they cancelled the show. But as far
as all of us, we had a great time Ė a great experience. It was a horizon.
Who knows, maybe Katie Bosworth wouldnít be Katie Bosworth [without the
experience]. Ian [Somerhalder] wouldnít have been able to do
buddy Matt Czuchry wouldnít have been able to go to
Yeah, I interviewed
Matt during the
years. Heís a really great guy.
One of my best friends. We met on the plane to Baltimore. We ended up
becoming roommates during that series. We now live about a mile from each
other down at the beach here in Southern California.
For so long, the only opportunities on TV were the major networks. How
has cable opened up the market for shows like Eureka?
Itís fantastic, for a couple of reasons. For one, weíre on a small little
network called Sci-Fi. But Sci-Fi is owned by NBC, which is owned by
Universal, which is owned by General Electric. Theyíve got distribution.
They can sell DVDs. They have global reach. In the end of the day, you
have the visibility to make a great living and be on a show that doesnít
have the kind of pressure to perform that the major network shows do. Our
show would be cancelled in a New York minute if we had premiered on any
other network. But because weíre on Sci-Fi Ė weíre the number one show on
the network. The other thing is when you do a cable series, you only do
thirteen episodes, which means you can do thirteen really good episodes. It
will free you up so you can do a film. For me itís perfect. Itís exactly
what Iíve always wanted. To have a good cable series, take chances and be
different, build a small core audience and then I basically wrapped late
July. I was on a movie immediately. Would I have gotten the film
otherwise? They would have had a lot more choices if all those big network
shows werenít going back into production, but they were. So, basically I
got the offer. Iíve had a couple of other offers already Ė a couple of
films that Iím passing on so I can go on vacation.
Thereís a lot of work out there when you work on a cable show and you only
in production for five months. You get seven months off. Where, you know,
Matt Czuchry, for example, he hasnít done a movie in years. People say,
ďOh, why canít you book a movie?Ē Well, Matt would have two-and-a-half
months off. If the movie wasnít going to start shooting within two or three
weeks of him wrapping
couldnít do it. Itís hard. Itís a hard schedule, because you never quite
know when a movie is going to come up or when itís going to be done. So, I
think cable is just the greatest. You look at the shows on.
Sci-Fi. Look at whatís on FX these days. Whatís on Showtime. There are
amazing series. Itís a great model.
Going back to the
networks, just a tiny bit, your character of Frankie on
CSI: New York
definitely has a lot of interesting levels Ė starting off as a love interest
and ending up as a psycho. How hard is it to get into the mindset of a guy
like that? Did you know the turns he was going to take from the start or
did it surprise you as the character went on as well?
No, I didnít know it. Anthony Zuiker [CSI:
executive producer] is just one of the few people in Hollywood who is a man
of his word. At one point we thought I was going to get an offer for
Detective Flack. Eddie Cayhill ended up getting the offer. [Zuiker] called
my manager and said Iím going to put Ed on one of my shows in some
capacity. Sure enough, the first episode of the second season of
CSI: New York,
he brought me in. He said I want you to be a Melinaís [Kanakaredes] love
interest. The problem is Ė Anthony Zuiker is a lunatic.
So halfway through the season, he came in and he was like, ďI got it Eddie.
Youíre going to go crazy. Youíre going to hunt her. Youíre going to try
and kill her. This is going to be our big finale.Ē Iím just going, ohÖ myÖ
GodÖ. You are out of your mind. But, you know, itís Anthony. He literally
wrote and hand-delivered that big finale script to me. He called me on the
phone, brought me to the office. He really is just a great, great guy. But
it was a hard shoot; because Melina is so wonderful and so gorgeous and so
sweet. To have to do that. To have to film those horrible scenes one day.
But the good thing was, I literally finished filming that and then two days
later drove to Canada to start
I was able to put it behind me pretty fast.
Eureka is such
an eccentric show. How much fun is it that you get to play a truly
brilliant man and yet show all of the faults and quirks?
Thatís the best part. That really is the great part about the character.
Itís so multifaceted. It allows me scene to scene to make whatever choice I
want and try to keep the show interesting. What Iíve found as we film the
show and watch it Ė the more ambiguous the choices for Nathan, the more
conflict and greater dynamic it sets up within the show. I do my best to
try and keep other characters on the show on their toes. I think the
audience really likes it, too. Sometimes I go, oooh, I went a little far
with that. I probably shouldnít have done that so silly or so flippant or
so mean or whatever. Then the episode airs and the audience
it. They love it.
It seems that the
second season of
Eureka has been
more serious and less comic than the first. Was this something that was
planned from the beginning or did that sort of come with the direction the
think it was planned. Andrew Cosby, who created the show, left the series.
So there was going to be a huge tone shift. I think the creators decided
that it was a big hit show and there was a certain importance involved. The
show became a very big, procedural sci-fi. A very serious tone, less
humor. We were finished the series [at the time that] maybe one or two
episodes aired. So we didnít quite know what the tone of the show is while
youíre shooting it. We thought we were kind of still making the show like
the first season. The show was definitely very different. Itíll be
interesting to see what they decideÖ I mean Iíve heard rumblings around that
there is a pretty good chance weíre going to come back. [ed.
Ė Soon after the interview took place, the show was, indeed, renewed for a
third season by the network.] What are they going to do with the third
season? If they are going to continue with the more dark, kind of
procedural sci-fi or if they are going to bring it back to the quirky, fun,
light summer dramedy we were the first year.
I have always been a
huge fan of Joe Mortonís. What is he like to work with?
Joeís such an amazing actor. Heís just an amazing professional. Heís been
there and done that and seen it all. The reason Joe is so good is Joe works
so hard. Never stops reading the script, looking at our character arc,
wondering if weíre going with this, weíre going with thatÖ. Heís just an
incredible talent. Weíre just so lucky to have him on the show.
Matt Frewer is great,
too, but does anyone tease him with Max Headroom imitations?
Oh, you can try to tease Matt all you want, but Matt is just on another
planet. I just absolutely love Matt. Heís such a lunatic. We get to spend
a lot of time together in the finale. It was just great. It was great
seeing him. He only did, I think, four episodes this year. I think that
the general consensus is that he should be doing a lot more than that next
year, because the show just isnít the same without him.
Do you have any sort
of fantasy storyline youíd like to see Nathan involved with?
No, not really. I donít really have those wish lists. I just kind of go
week to weekís script and really hope thereís a lot thatís really fun and
really grounded and you can have great scenes and great moments. But there
was some talk about some different directions the characters take last
season and this season. Weíll just see what happens this year. There was a
lot of talk about where the character was going this year, and by midway
through the season, he wasnít going there. Actually, every season. Heís a
very interesting character. Every season you go in one direction, then all
the sudden the writers change their mind and do an about face. It would be
really interesting to watch all the Nathan Stark scenes that didnít air.
There was a lot of stuff that was cut out because we were changing the
storyline. I always thought it strange.
I also noticed in your
TV guest starring roles youíve done a lot of comic roles Ė like
What I Like About You, Jake In Progress
According to Jim
Ė I also believe you
have a couple of light movies coming up. Do you enjoy doing comedy and do
you find it harder or easier than drama?
do really love comedy. Itís a lot of fun to work on a comedy, just because
the energy level is so fun and so up. But there is also a great energy
level in doing drama thatís a lot of fun. It doesnít really matter, as long
as itís good. Thatís really what it comes down to. You just want the
material to be good. You want it to be honest. I always try to bring a bit
of humor, even into my serious roles. Once I found I could really execute
comedy well, I tried to bring it in to all of my roles.
you like merge your musical and acting talents in some projects?
Yeah, as long as itís not cheesy. You say that now and I kind of got a bad
taste in my mouth. It sounds good, but then you think of
I donít think soÖ So those kind of things always seem to feel a little
forced to me.
I was thinking about
something a little more serious, like an
Oh, that. Yeah, thatís completely different. [However] every time an actor
can play five chords on their guitar in their trailer, all of the sudden
itís suddenly the end of the episode, theyíre pulling it
out and the actor is
playing and youíre sort of like: Oh, Lord. I just donít want to be that
sounds funny and has an great cast Ė Matthew Modine and Richard Kind are
amazing. What is the film going to be like?
Itís supposedly fantastic. I havenít gotten a chance to see it because Iíve
been working. But itís been screening. Itís doing really well. Itís up
for a couple of film festivals here that I think they are just about to lock
down this week. Everybody who has seen it said itís hysterical. MichŤle
Laroque is just phenomal Ė sheís a French actress. Matthew Modine of course
is fantastic. It was a lot of fun to do. It was a great way to start the
year. Hopefully, itíll find a home somewhere.
I know this is pretty
much in the early phases, but apparently you are going to be in an upcoming
The Rainbow Tribe.
What can you tell us
about that project?
Yeah, thatís the movie I just finished. But it was a lot of fun. Grayson
is the lead kid in it. Itís kind of a
Dennis the Menace, Bad
summer camp kind of thing. David James Elliott (Jag)
and I had a blast. Really good people. It was a tough shoot, but everybody
did everything they could to make the movie better. Itís going to be really
fun to see.
There were a bunch of
rumors out there that you may be in the
movie. Obviously, Robert Downey Jr. ended up getting the gig, but were you
ever in the running or was that just wishful thinking by people trying to
get you another character named Stark?
think that was a lot of very kind people out in the sci-fi world. They
wanted to make sure it was going to be cast well. By the time people told
me about it, they go, ďHey, Ed, a bunch of people are clamoring on the
internet that you should be Iron Man.Ē I called my agent and theyíre like,
ďYeah, Robert Downey Jr. will be doing that.Ē Iím like, oh, wellÖ.
He got it? Heís a famous dude. A famous actor. So Iím probably not going
to get thatÖ That was that.
more of a high Ė a perfect wave or getting a role?
Ooh. Thatís a tough one. You know, I donít think you can even compare the
two, because, you know, a wave is just a moment. A storm brews a thousand
miles away and a little bit of energy travels through the ocean and it
breaks once. Yeah, I leave on Saturday for Indonesia and Iíll be out in
Sumatra on a boat trip. But thatís different. The thing about a role is
itís forever, once you do it and youíve filmed it, itís out there. Itís
something permanent that you can look back on and remember fondly. With a
wave, maybe your friends see it, maybe someone snaps a photo, but for the
most part thatís just your own private moment. Itís what keeps you driving,
keeps you searching for the next wave. Itís not something you can really
share or reminisce about.
What is something
people would be surprised to know about you?
have a nine-pound dog named Newt. I call him ten pounds of muscle. Heís a
little min pin. Heís this little bowling ball, a miniature pinscher.
Say we went forward in
a time machine like 50 years. How would you like people to see your career?
Just when you mention my name, they would go, heís good. Yeah. He was
Are there any
misconceptions youíd like to clear up?
Wow. (long pause) I donít know. Not really. I think itís what you
see you get. People who work with me know me. If people are going make up
stories about me, itís like forest fires. Youíre never going to put them
out. Let them burn out on their own. There arenít too many rumors out
there that I have to track down.
us Let us know what you
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