The one constant in producer Dick Wolfís Law & Order
franchises has been change. Ever since the first season of the
flagship series and star George Dzundza decided to move on, no actor
or character was completely safe. As the franchise expanded (there
are currently three Law & Order series, including Law &
Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Criminal Intent,
but over the years there have been five) talented actors have
regularly left the series. Amongst the many names through the
Law & Order turnstile have been Chris Noth, Jill Hennessy,
Michael Moriarty, Angie Harmon, Paul Sorvino, Carey Lowell, Benjamin
Bratt, Jesse O. Martin, Dianne Wiest, Fred Thompson, Courtney B.
Vance, Annabella Sciorra, Jamey Sheridan and Julianne Nicholson.
Yet rarely has one of the series seen a bloodletting like
Law & Order: Criminal Intent sees in the first two-part
episode of the upcoming ninth season, which airs on the USA
Network. Three of the most important characters Ė including two who
have been the seriesí focus since day one Ė are written off the
series. Brilliant-but-obsessive Detective Robert Goren (played by
Vincent DíOnofrio), his stalwart partner Det. Alexandra Eames
(Kathryn Erbe) and their sometimes frustrated chief Captain Danny
Ross (Eric Bogosian) all are ushered out of the Major Cases Squad in
Left standing in the wreckage is Det. Zach Nichols, played
by Jeff Goldblum. Goldblum had joined the series just a season ago
Ė replacing Chris Noth, who was leaving a Law & Order series
for the second time. It is only the third television series for
Goldblum, who is well-known for his movie roles in the likes of
The Big Chill, Jurassic Park, The Fly, Independence Day and
Into the Night. Nichols is getting a new partner (of course)
played by Saffron Burrows of Boston Legal.
A little less than a week before the new season premiere,
Goldblum was nice enough to sit down for a conference call with us
and several other websites to discuss the new season, his career,
being part of an ex-Presidentís favorite series and the odd death
rumors that swirled around about him last year.
What continues to challenge you about your role?
Well, let me see. Itís very challenging because the writing
is wonderful and the people around me are the best in the world. So
Iím just trying to live up to that and to make the most out of what
are wonderful scripts and wonderful acting opportunity it is. Plus,
my character is always evolving, and itís challenging to try to do
my best with it.
Social media has
become a big part of promotion for TV shows and for movies and
things like that now. How does it play a part in your life and with
your show coming on Ö?
Well, Andrea and Farrah could tell you better how it plays
a part in the show. You donít mean the content of the show? You mean
the marketing of the show?
Oh, the marketing of the show. So I know nothing about
that. They can tell you. This is the first timeóIíve been doing it
since last year in this kind of way. But Iím sure theyíre doing
much, much more, and they can tell you all about that because I
donít reallyóIím so busy, consumed with making the show right now
Iím not really staying up to speed on all manner of and forms of
marketing that theyíre doing.
You donít have your own account or anything like that?
I do not. No.
You have a new partner who is going to be challenging. Sheís clearly
as intelligent as Nichols
and she has a
fairly wide ranging network of contacts. And itís totally different
skill set. How do you see them working together?
Well, I now know. Weíve done several cases together. And we
work beautifully together, very dynamically. I think sheís great.
Youíre right. She is brilliant and has her own skill set and we just
work very creatively together. As much as anything, even given the
dark and horrific and nightmarish circumstances that weíre always
faced with, dead bodies and gruesome places and gruesome events, we
seem to both get a thrill out of the fun and the adventure of the
hunt, hunting down the bad guy. Then, we get enrolled together and
she gets enrolled in my other peck agenda, which is not so beside
the point Ė which is finding out what the whole story was and why.
Criminal intent of course. Thatís why itís named that. Why,
psychologically speaking, the person has done it? Not only who did
it, but why they did it? Itís not beside the point because when we
finally take it to court, thatís very much the point. Part of it
you got to tell a jury hey, hereís theóweíre not going to get a
conviction unless they can buy and believe the whole story and the
motive and why this person might have done it. Beside that, itís a
personal thrill for meóa personal side and overall contextualizing
investigation to deepen my understanding of the deeply criminal
types and thereby all of us and me. Iím on a kind of psycho
spiritual investigation that fascinates me and thatís infinitely
mysterious. She and I become partners in that, and itís absolutely
I have a two-part question here. First, how was it being
dead? And, how was it giving your own eulogy on
Those are great questions. Well, I love the Colbert
Report. Iím a fan of that show and him anyway, and when they
asked me to do that, I was delighted because they are smart. I get
a big kick out of their sense of humor and I thought they came up
with something funny for that and it was delightful to do it. The
whole incident was bizarre and engendered a rainbow of feelings in
me, of course. It was upsetting. People called who hadnít heard
right away or hadóand called up sad. Nobody, thankfully, ran their
car off the road or had a heart attack or anything, but there was
some trauma. For that, I would dissuade people from doing this. Iím
sorry that it happened and all of that. But it was not of little
interest to me to get in touch with, in some cases, people I hadnít
been in touch with for a while. [They] said ďoh, my gosh, is it
true?Ē ďIím glad youíre alive and it made me think of youĒ and all
that kind of stuff. It was trippy, trippy. The first movie I ever
remembered getting moved at was a movie called Gigot. I donít
know if anybody will know this. Itís a little known movie, I think,
from the early 60ís probably when I was a kid. With Jackie Gleason,
and he plays a sort of a mute village poor soul and at the end of
the movie, everybody sort of mistreats him. At the end of the movie,
they think mistakenly heís dead. And then realize how much they
cared for him, in fact, and give him a big funeral. He, in fact, is
alive and shows up secretly for a moment, peaking from behind a tree
and seeing the funeral and getting teary and weepy himself. Then
they see him and the whole movie ends in this sort of light-hearted
way. But I remember crying at that. It was the first movie I ever
remember getting very moved at. So thereís something in that whole
situation thatís kind ofóIím sensitive to, I think.
Well, weíre all
very glad to hear youíre still alive.
Youíre so sweet. Thank you very much.
I read that Ralph
Macchio is going to be on this season.
Can you tell us
who else we can expect to see?
Well, let me see. I wish I had a wholeóI should have been
prepared with a whole lineup. Just combing my memory. Now, he was
great. He was lovely and what a great actor. Kevin Conway is in an
episode that I think will play shortly [before the] end of the
season who was absolutely wonderful. Gee, manyóKaren Olivo, who was
on Broadway In the Heights and West Side Story.
She was in this last episode that we did and just a ton of other
people. Thatís one of the lucky things about doing this show. It
feels to me youíre like in this anthology series and the casting
people are fantastic. You get the cream of the whole acting
community showing up. Itís just great.
Now, with the
Law and Order franchise, thereís always a turnover of cast
members. I wanted to know what do you think of the loss of Vincent,
Kathryn and Eric. How will that affect the show or the way you see
Well, let me see. How will it affect the show? I mean, I
think theyíre the best actors around. I love the show with them and
I love their characters and Iíll miss them. It wonít ever be the
same. All three of them were spectacular and irreplaceable. Thereíll
be a different kind of show, although the flavor is something of the
Law and Order flavor. It will follow something of the same
flavors. But Iíll miss them. I think theyíre just great. I can talk
about Saffron and her character and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and
her character. And how excited I am about them. But it will very
different. I love these two new actors and characters. I feel lucky
to be working with them and Iím thrilled about the characters that
they wrote for them, what theyíre doing in the show and how we all
I have a
question. Last season, we saw that like yourself, Zack Nichols is
very talented playing the piano. What other ďGoldblumismsĒ shall we
see this season or what would you like to incorporate into the
character of Zack Nichols that are a part of you?
Letís see. Gee, I donít know if I have any other show
business tricks up my sleeve or any other talents. Iím just trying
to be as smart as I can and bring what I know is passion in the
writing and in the character and in the real lives that weíre trying
to depict. We have a great guy named Mike Struck, whoís on the set
all the time, whoís a real and a masterful detective and police
person. I realize all the time that to really do that job would be
very difficult. You have to have a very particular skill set for it,
talent for it, and appetite for it. Iím just trying to pretend in a
way that is at least believable. Boy, that would be a tough job, I
Yes. The other
question I have is weíre almost about the same age and Iím just
curious, if they had an iPod, a thing like an iPod when you were a
teenager growing up, what kind of music would you have had on it?
You have a very interesting musical background. Iím just curious
what influenced you as a kid.
Well, the earliest stuff I can remember is when the Beatles
were introduced when I was a kid. So I was very thrilled about the
Beatles, including the first couple ofóI Want to Hold Your Hand
and ďLove you, yeah, yeah, yeah.Ē All that. When those came out on
45s, the world had changed in some way and I was very thrilled about
it. Then a little later, when the White Album and Sgt.
Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour came out, it meant a lot
to me. It was a big deal. Early on, too, Motown stuff was big in
those days. ďStop in the Name of Love.Ē All the Motown stuff around
then was big with me. Then, my parents, we had a hi-fi and they were
jazz lovers. They had some Erroll Garner records, a jazz pianist
whoís active, whoís also from Pittsburgh as I am. That made an
impression on me. I remember hearing Thelonious Monk. Then, my older
brother was a big jazz fan and got the Modern Jazz Quartet and was
into that. Some Brazilian music. I remember Stan Getz, this album he
had from Stan GetzÖ the Astrud Gilberto records. That made a big
impression on me. All of those.
actually was pretty unique because it felt like a setup for a
spin-off series. A spin-off that is actually the series itself.
Hmm. Yes. Yes.
atmosphere on the set feel like a new show or does it just feel like
a continuation of the show that youíd previously guest starred on?
Well, letís see. I mean, I know I did eight of them last
year and youíre right, it was different. It was all different cast
members that year. But the stories and the quality of the writing
and the high quality of the production and the crew is still the
same. So it feels familiar but I miss the cast members who are gone.
I adored them. But it does feel like a new show in a lot of ways.
Iím crazy about Saffron Burrows and the character. They wrote it for
her and the way sheís doing it. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is
spectacular and I love her and her character, too. So yes, it feels
kind of new to me.
My next question is a real fan question, which is was the
end Martian sequence in
Life Aquatic a deliberate homage to the end Martian sequence in
Thatís so funny. At the time that we were doing it, I
remember Wes Anderson talking a little bit about that and saying,
ďLet me see. Did he have anotherówas there another?Ē He mentioned a
couple of movies because heís a hipster and a sophisticate and
archivist and knows all kind of movies. Yes, he talked about
Buckaroo Banzai. He said that he really related to that in some
way. Thatís right.
Öabout the single
skip you do in both.
Yes, you kind of
do the martial skit. It was very much an intentional fan in both
films quite a bit and there wasó
That you were in
both of them made it perfect.
Oh, thank you so much. Yes, I liked both of those movies.
Iím glad to have been in them.
I actually just last week got in the mail your first series
Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, which has just been released on DVD.
No kidding? I didnít know that. Thatís hilarious.
It just came out
It did? Where is it available? Where do you get it?
You can get it
through Amazon.com or Iím sure itís probably available through
stores and everything like that.
Iíll be a ring-tailed monkey.
So Iíve got to ask you, itís been many years and youíve
certainly done a lot of films since then and a lot of TV work, but
it was recurring. But it wasnít until
Raines a few years ago when you actually went back into
a regular TV series as a regular character. And of course, Law
and Order: CI. How is it different working on a series than
doing films and recurring roles and stuff like that? And do you
enjoy one more than the other?
Iím having as good a time as Iíve ever had right now. There
are some obvious differences that Iím sure youíve heard about
before. I mean, first of all, for me this is now the longest job
Iíve ever had. Iíve never had a movie that lasted this long and I
never did a series this long. So now, into the second season, itís
the longest job of any kind that Iíve ever had. Thatís a little
different. I see the same people, happily, every day. That feels
familiar and family like. Iím enjoying that. And the character,
youíve heard people talk about this, but I think itís a very nice
creative opportunity where in a series where there, where you get
great writers, too. As Paul Schrader told me at the time a couple of
years ago when we were doing Adam Resurrected, he thought the
best writers in writing was now on TV. If you get great writers and
people who care very much and want to do good things, and you kind
of write as you go I think thatís a very viable legitimate creative
way to sort of see what works. Make it up as you go and elaborate on
it and make it more and keep writing the whole novel and the whole
huge screenplay as you go. Act it that way. Itís kind of like life a
little bit. Itís like making a journey on a dark highway road in a
car with only your headlights ahead of you and you canít see the
road, but you can see the road in front of you. You can make the
whole trip that way. I like that idea. So, Iíve found it very
creative so far, but maybe Iím in a relaxed and creative spot
myself. Iím always trying to get better. I do like that. I have a
work ethic that I think I inherited from my father in a way. He used
to get up early every morning and routinely and put in an honest
dayís work. I kind of like that. I like having a place to go and
feeling like this is not just something I got to get through and
make the best out of and hopefully, do my best with. Itís my way of
life. I still want to do my best with it, but itís what I do every
day. Itís part of the daily, my daily routine. I really like that. I
really like it. This particular show, the actors are so good and the
writers are so good and the producers caring. Itís a very nice, nice
thing for me. I like it a lot.
Perfect. And could you talk a little bit about your
memories of doing your first series that I just mentioned
Brown Shoe? How was that different?
Letís see. Let me see. I enjoyed that. We only didówhat did
we do? Seven, thirteen. What did we do?
I donít remember exactly but I think there were like two or three
disks in the DVD.
Yes. I think we did like thirteen of those. So fewer
already than Iíve done of this. Well, Steve Cannell was great. I
think heís talked and feels like talking. Heís proud of what we did
there and Ben Vereen was fantastic. I remember having a good time
with it. I liked it. I remember Bill Clinton. I met him a couple of
times. He came up and said, ďYou know youíve done a lot of things,
Jeff, but my favorite thing was Tenspeed and Brown Shoe. I
never missed an episode.Ē
You have a very unique acting style. So how does it come
in handy on
Law and Order
and do you get to ad lib at all?
Oh, thatís funny. Well, Iím trying to do my best on it. I
feel like I can make use of the way I am learning, still learning to
tackle things. They have wonderful writers. Itís meticulously
written, but here and there, we can and are encouraged to do little
tweaks and additions and be loose about it in one way or another,
yes, which I enjoy also.
Can we expect to
see more piano playing by you this season?
Let me see. Did I play withówell, see, less so far. We
have a few yet to go. So I donít know what they have in mind for me,
but thereís less piano playing so far, except Iím thinking of one
episode that we just finished, what did I do? Oh, yes, I justóI
lean over. Thereís a young student, piano student, girl, at a
performing arts college and sheís playing something and I say oh, I
get interested in it. While sheís still there, I lean over and play
a few notes of something. I think, hum along with it, do some
humming and playing. Thatís about all Iíve done musically this year.
Which one of your
characterís traits are you best able to relate with?
Traits? Traits, traits.
traits? Let me see. Let me see. Well, Iím thinking of this character
Nichols, and I wish I were as smart. Boy, it would be tough. I donít
think I could do that job really as effectively as he does it. After
many years trying to do it, heís like our consultant, Mike Struck.
Theyíre eighth degree black belt practitioners. Theyíre so smart and
then, intuitive and creative about it. I like to think thereís some
kind of parallel, at least in even what Iím trying to do as an
actor, although I still feel like a beginner every day in many ways.
I aspire to getting as proficient and smart about and creative with
and I do share a passion with what I think Nichols feels for his
work, for my work. Letís see. What else? What else? I think he has
fun. I think my character, Nichols, has a grand time and an inner
secret. Funny fun with it. Thatís also true of me here and there. At
least, I aspire to that also. To always finding the enjoyableness in
my activities. But I have. Luckily, Iíve found things to do. Acting,
for instance. That I do find a blast. So thereís a couple of things.
What do you feel
it is about the show going into the season nine now, that resonates
well with viewers? What has kept it going?
Gee. Well, [creator and Executive Producer] Dick Wolf is a
brilliant guy and a passionate and caring guy and attracts terrific
people around him, the whole producing team and the writers that he
gets. They just do high quality things. Then, thereís something
about solving crimes like they do. And New York City. That at least
would appeal to me. I canít speak for everybody. What it is, they
know more than other people, Iím sure, have thought about it more
and know more about it than I do. I know for me, I am in love with
New York stories and New York City. I saw recently this documentary
that Ric Burns did called New York that gives you 400 years
of history about this very unique place where people are put
together in the closest proximity from the widest ranging places.
The most diverse people stuck together. It creates a hot bed of
creativity and spiritedness of all kinds. But trouble, too, problems
and challenges and the need to solve them. These New York stories,
these crimes and criminal life and trying to keep the streets safe
are a part of these New York stories. I love that myself. Of course,
the reason I think itís also been successful is because [of] the
great actors theyíve had. Iíve always wanted to watch Michael
Moriarty or Sam Waterston or Vince DíOnofrio or Katie Erbe, all
those people. Jerry Orbach. Iíd tune in to see them any time.
going to start out by telling you, Iím a huge fan. You need to know
this because I need to ask you a question about whatís going on out
there, though. Apparently, there are a lot of strong feelings within
the fan communities since youíve joined the cast of the show, and a
lot of them seem to feel that itís kind of lost its edge and become
lighter. Theyíre sort of addressing it as the Jeff Goldblum
Hour. So hereís your chance, if you will, what would you say to
Oh, well, gee. First of all, I donítóitís news to me
because I kind of donít stay very in touch with all theóIíve been
consumed with making the show. I donít know. I mean, everybody has
their own opinion. Iím doing the best that I can and I know the
writers are tryingóthere are some very heavy and gruesome episodes
that weíve done. But itís true. I think part of their idea about my
character is that I love. Iím very passionate for the work, for
solving these crimes and for particularly investigating the intent,
like the title says of having to do with why these criminal people,
these people so far off the rails would have done what theyíve done
and what that means for knowing about the human being generally and
for myself. I think Iím on a very passionate and mysterious and
infinitely interesting, at least in my own character kind of
mission. That along with it, I have a great time, too. Whatever Iíve
been through before. Weíve made up a lot of stuff that hasnít come
to the surface, that doesnít come to the surface conspicuously or
literally. Iím at a place where I find myself very present, feeling
very present and alive and enjoying myself no end. I think I enjoy
myself. Even in these gruesome circumstances and I guess, even
especially when thereís been shocking loss and all the physical
world has been thrown into chaos. It feels like an opportunity to
Zack Nichols to find whatís important in life and find the deeper
meanings in life in a very enjoyable way. And I like solving the
question that a lot of people seem to want to know is youíve been
involved with a lot of things and not in just making films as an
actor, but producing different things or being on the festivals,
judging and things like that. What are you doing now that youíre
working on outside of the show? Anything?
This is so consuming that I feel like my plate is kind of
full and weíre going to keep filming till May, mid May. Letís see.
What else am I doing besides this? Well, I play my piano all the
time. I like to keep up with that. There are things that I am
considering after we finish, but nothing thatís really worth talking
about at this point.
Youíre known for playing quite quirky characters and
definitely characters of a different point of view. And among my
favorites is the very short-lived, but quite awesome
Raines. Could you talk a little bit about how you
approach a character and how you use the script to aid in your
Well, how I approach the script? Okay.
Yes, how you
would approach a character and then use whatís in the script and
then maybe bring something to the table from your own references to
create a character.
I see. Thatís a very interesting question. Well, I love
writers and good writing and literature and stories and a good
script. So I try to, as much as anything, figure out what they
meant, what this thing is about, and there are many nuts and bolts
issues that come up in that vein, in our show or a lot of scripts
and stories. What exactly and specifically? Thatís an important
question in the theatrical dictionary, an important word. What
specifically do they have in mind for this, are they trying to
depict for this? What reality are they trying to depict here? This
is nothing new. Everybodyís doneóand anybodyís trying to do this,
but it constantly fascinates me. More and more, I try to give myself
over to and serve what theyíre doing. Not only that, but who the
writer is and what their whole spirit is, and inner dynamic and what
the message theyíre trying to [impart], and feeling that theyíre
trying, and song that theyíre trying to sing? Iím, in many ways the
concierge delivering the message up to the room. I try to do that as
faithfully as I can. Then, beyond that, just use my own instincts
because itís not math. Itís not a science. Thereís nothing
empirical. Is that the right word? Measurable. Finally, thereís no
foul line that you can either hit the ball within or go out of. You
have to, and everybodyís going to have their own opinion about it.
But you have to use your own taste and instincts about what it is.
Once youíre serving the script, if you can, and you must, get your
own mojo working. However that takes place. Itís different every
time. The adventure is a little different every time. Thatís what
needs to happen, too. Whatever interests you. Itís kind of like what
my character, Zack Nichols, does in an unconventional way. He comes
to a crime scene and doesnít really go well, this is what you are
supposed to do. This is what you would do. This is what logically
leads to a deduction from A to B. He does that too, but as much as
that, itís kind of hmm, what interests me? What do I notice and
what in my stomach and blood and soul and fingertips and taste buds
am I attracted to here? I trust my individuality there. He does. I
try to in the same way that I act. Something like that.
Letís get back to the show now. Since earlier you said it
feels like a new show. How will this season continue with what fans
enjoy? And there are lots of little aspects our fans enjoy of CI,
while documenting and exploring a sort of changing of the guard. I
know that has to be pretty fascinating.
Yes. Well, who knows for whom it will be fascinating? It
fascinates me. I love these characters that theyíve written for
Saffron and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Theyíre great actors and
great people. Itís fun to hang out with them all day because we work
twelve, thirteen, fourteen hours some days. You spend your whole
life together, doing these characters and telling these stories.
People can still enjoy, I would hope the stories, the creative kind
of crimes that are depicted. Theyíre interesting in a way. The
criminals have interesting intents and the whys and wherefores and
inner motives and configurations, endlessly unique configurations of
what makes a killer do what they do and how theyíve gone off the
rails. What it means for us human beings and what lessons we can
learn from it. Thatís in the same vein and endlessly interesting to
me. Then, these are new cops, seem to be, however weíre doing it
stylistically, a horror in a personally different way. Weíre
certainly effective. Each week, we seem to not give anything away,
but we certainly seem to catch them. With my particular interest,
does seem to sort of uncover at least, the beginning of who these
people are and what makes them tick and what made them tick in this
situation. What that endlessly and infinitely and mysteriously means
for who we are.
In relation to a
couple of the previous questions, as you may or may not be aware of,
a lot of the fans are actually really upset about Goren and Eames
leaving. So Iím just wondering if you can give the fans any
reassurances or encouragement, reasons to keep watching the show.
First Iíll say to them, I totally understand youíre upset.
Those were as fantastic a bunch of characters as Iíd ever seen.
Fantastic actors as weíve ever had individually or together. Iíll be
watching for all of them wherever they go. I know Eric Bogosian is
in a play right now here in New York and havenít had time to see it,
but I look forward to seeing it. Likewise, Vince and Katie. As for
what weíre doing, Iím doing my best and Iím enjoying it no end. I
think the writers, who are terrific, have written different
characters but fascinating characters, at least to me. I know in
Saffron Burrowsís case, sheís such a special actress. I would
encourage anybodyóI would recommend and as part of this grief
counseling of the loss of the old show and the old characters, I
would recommend that they consider appreciating Saffron Burrows and
Serena Stevens, her character. Saffron is such a uniquely beautiful
actor inside and out. Wildly intelligent. Wildly intelligent. And so
that they know, has passions, if they look her up a little bit,
politically and having to do with the world that are very
interesting and compelling to me. So fun to be around for me. She
brings all of this to the show. Sheís passionate and sheís been a
movie star that Iíve been very interested in for a long time. We did
a movie together called Fay Grim in Berlin some years ago
with Parker Posey that Hal Hartley directed. Iíve loved her in
The Guitar and The Bank Job and Troy. So I would
encourage people to really get into her and appreciate her. Sheís
sexy as can be and does this part theyíve written for her. A very
interesting part, this detective from Chicago who has an interesting
back story that we can only guess at a little bit and a daughter
that we can guess at a little bit. We have to imagine about. A very
whole and multifaceted life. Then, let me encourage them to get into
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Seeing her every week, I adore her.
Weíd done a play together some years ago. But for anybody whoís seen
her from the beginning in Scarface or The Color of Money
or an eye on the stage here in New York through the years. She is
spectacular, as talented deeply, richly talented and an actor as
there is. Given to a rainbow of color choices in her paint box.
Theyíve written for her just the beginnings already of a character
that is veryóthat is not only unique, but multidimensional and
colorful and complicated. So I would, as a fan, I would tune in to
see those two. Thatís for sure.
One of my readers
wanted me to ask you if we would ever see a sequel to
or if you would be interested in doing one?
Well, you see, am I alive at the end of Mister Frost?
No, Iím dead. Iím dead at the end of Mister Frost.
That doesnít mean
Oh, thatís right. Sure, thatís right. Well, I donít know.
But thank you. Thatís very nice. Itís a specialty item. I donít
think a lot of people, not as many people saw that as
Independence Day or the dinosaur movies or The Fly. But
people come up to me here and there and it has a devoted following.
I loved it. I loved Kathy Baker. Now, thatís a wonderful actor. And
Alan Bates, the late Alan Bates, was wonderful in that. Yes. We had
a good time in that. We made it in Paris. It was a pretty good time.
I havenít seen it in a long time. I saw it after we did it, but I
havenít seen it since then.
that you played a track on Lincoln Adlerís album
And weíre wondering if you have any plans to record an album of your
Youíre so funny. I love Lincoln Adler. I love doing that.
What did we play? I think I played on BosocoÖ Rosario RosarioÖ
Wasnít it ďSong for My Father?Ē
As I remember it, yes, thatís right. I have no plans to do
any recording because itís kind of a hobby for me. If something
comes up, Iíd do it but no. I [have a band] the Mildred Snitzer
Orchestra we call ourselves. When Iím out of work in LA, we gig
around there. On the Christmas break, I did a New Yearís Eve gig
when I was back in Los Angeles. In late May, when I get back there,
Iíll be looking for a place to hook up with my band again and play.
But I donít know. We have no plans to record anything. So nice you
could come and tap me on the shoulder. Whereís Lincoln? Is he up in
Yes. Heís fantastic. Anyway, go ahead. Sorry.
We also are
wondering, you debuted in the Tony Award winning musical
Two Gentlemen of
Verona, and weíre wondering if you would ever consider doing a
Well, yes, I would. I like the movie musical. I enjoyed
this last year of Nine. I enjoyed West Side Story that
I saw on stage again. Made me think of the movie. Yes. In fact, go
seeóyou havenít seen my movie called Pittsburgh?
Oh, no. Missed
Oh. So itís not really a movie musical, but itís about an
actor who does, takes a part in a two-week run of a musical. Itís
called Pittsburgh. Iím in it. I play the actor so I sing and
dance a little bit. And I helped produce it.
Youíre really an
interesting actor to me. Youíre a very analytical observer in the
way that you approach a lot of your roles, if not most of them.
When youíre keyed
into another actor, Iíve noticed, you become more alive. Your energy
just explodes. It happened with Geena Davis, obviously, in The Fly.
You guys had a tremendous chemistry. Iím wondering, as your
character in this series or in any acting ventures that youíve done,
which actors have really keyed you up and really brought your best
game out and really energized you as an actor?
You are so nice. Yes. I like what youíre saying because
itís kind of the cornerstone of the training that I got early on by
Sandy Meisner. A lot of people know Sanford Meisner now. I studied
with him and part of his, that some people know thatís sometimes
misunderstood or miscommunicated. He teaches a training system
whereby the early material is an improvisation of a particular kind
that focuses in a big way on interaction. And all good actors are
doing it anyway. His is a very good method. I teach a little bit
myself. [I] enjoy teaching actors to do that with each other, not
only that but other things too. It goes beyond that. But thatís part
of his early thing. So I do love the part of acting that has me with
other actors and allows you to play with other actors. Iíve been
lucky to work with a lot of wonderful actors, but Iíll tell you the
ones Iím talking about today, these two are particularly
spectacular. Of course, thatís the great thing about Law and
Order because itís kind of like an anthology series. Like I said
before to somebody, where the cream of New York and the theatrical
crop of actors you get every week. So where weíve worked with great
actors and itís always fun. But Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and
Saffron Burrows are both spectacular. Working with both of them, I
feel like I have to be worthy of them, come up to my best that I can
do and feel like they bring something good out of me.
Do you think that
there are crimes that bother your character more than others?
Yes, I do. The first couple of episodes that depict this
killing of my friend that Iím personally involved with. Thatís a
horrible thing. I think Iím very bothered and personallyóitís not
just a matter ofÖ. Iím always bothered in the sense that Iím
passionate and outraged and full of a fierce kind of sense of
justice and wanting to solve this thing. More so, Iím a very
susceptible, vulnerable human kind of guy that theyíve written. When
my friend, and old partner, gets killed, yes, I think it bothers me
in a whole different and deeper way.
Youíre from the
east coast? You work out west, but you also go back and work in the
east, too. Do you think, eventually, when that day comes that you do
retire or settle down or stop working, will you retire on the east
coast? Is that your worldview or are you an east coaster or do you
like the west coast?
Thatís so funny. I wouldnít take sides with one over
another. Now that you brought it up, I really donít see myself
retiring really. It feels likeó
Many decades from
Yes. Well, who knows? You never know what even tomorrow
will bring. I feel lucky to be around today and if I get to work
tomorrow, Iíll feel lucky and will enjoy every moment of it.
Likewise, when I find myself here, I kind of enjoy it terrifically.
I do like feeling the seasons again, although itís tough. Brutal.
Winter is brutal and summer gets hot. But I kind of like it. It
reminds me of when I was this kid, speaking of this episode, the
season change, that happens here. But I like it out there a lot. So,
I like coming back and forth and doing things both places. I donít
know. Even if I wasnít acting, I imagine I would enjoy being in both
places in a way. And other places, too.
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