Five Minutes Mr Welles

These Films Sleep Well: Five Minutes, Mr. Welles (2004, Vincent D’Onofrio)

Written by Joshua Wiebe   Published October 10, 2008

http://blogcritics.org/archives/2008/10/10/175340.php

 There are two films that act as necessary viewing in order to understand and appreciate the various nuances of Vincent D’Onofrio’s directorial debut, the 2005 short film Five Minutes, Mr. Welles. The first is Tim Burton’s tribute to a cult filmmaker and cross-dresser, Ed Wood, and the second is Carol Reed’s brilliant UK noir thriller containing Orson Welles’ show-stopping performance as Harry Lime, The Third Man.

 The former includes a saccharine encounter between the naïve wannabe director Ed Wood, and the critically acclaimed titan of the cinematic arts, Orson Welles. Welles is played by the magnificent Vincent D’Onofrio, and voiced in a strangely perfect fashion by the multi-talented Maurice LaMarche. He sits at the back of a bar while Johnny Depp’s Wood fumbles in sycophantic glee over the laid back Welles. D’Onofrio was so distraught over his lack of preparation for the part that he decided to film his first directorial effort as a correction for his performance in Ed Wood, and so he set about the creation of Five Minutes Mr. Welles.

 The second of these films, The Third Man contains a bored, reckless, and all around unreliable Welles giving an astounding performance despite the distrust of nearly the entire Hollywood system, as the unsympathetic, dastardly profiteer Harry Lime. The background behind the making of The Third Man gave D’Onofrio and writer Will Conroy the story’s core with which they would build upon for this short.

 Filmed entirely in one room, this 31 minute box drama involves Orson Welles, played to perfection by D’Onofrio, trying to weasel his way out of learning his lines for the most famous scene in The Third Man. His secretary, played by Janine Theriault, is charged with formidable task of keeping Welles not only in line, but also on time. She rehearses his lines with him with much difficulty, and helps him to resist his impulses to artistically shape the work of the recognized genius writer, Graham Greene.

 It is this lengthy exchange with Theriault that Conroy and D’Onofrio have concerned themselves with, a pleasant arc ranging from Welles sitting on the window sill halfway outside as he appeals to her sense of adventure, to the sad gluttony of a man who’s only reprieve from the oppressive pressure of acting in Hollywood is at the bottom of several containers of pistachio ice cream. D’Onofrio taps into the mischievous heart of the actor, displaying the man’s frustration as well as his exuberance.

 Like a child building a castle out of Lego blocks, Vincent plays with the foundations of the Harry Lime performance before shaping it and ultimately ‘spontaneously’ crafting Welles’ famous cuckooclock speech. It is a tribute to D’Onofrio’s passionate short that we believe not only in him as Welles or Theriault as the secretary, but also in the moments, particularly the extreme low-angle shot reminiscent of Citizen Kane in which D’Onofrio lays face down on the floor, and finishes crafting what he deems are necessary changes to the script.

 While it is unusual that I’d select a short to present in this series, Five Minutes, Mr. Welles is a tour-de-force of modern black and white filmmaking, and is the most three-dimensional representation of Welles’ inimitable presence that I’ve ever seen. (Other notable performances include Danny Huston in Fade to Black, Angus Macfayden in Cradle Will Rock, Paul Shenar in The Night That Panicked America, and Liev Schreiber in RKO 281.) Its photography is thrilling and modern, sleek in its eloquence and yet indicative of a simpler time.

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SFGATE home of the San Francisco Chronicle
SFIFF: Vincent D’Onofrio revisits Orson Welles

One of my favorite scenes in my favorite Tim Burton movie, “Ed Wood,” is when Wood (Johnny Depp) is at his wit’s end late in the picture when he’s trying to complete is, uh, masterpiece, “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” Angry that his “vision” is not being understood by his actors and producers, he storms out of the warehouse where they are filming and hotfoots it to the nearest bar for a couple of drinks.

There, sitting in a booth in a tuxedo, apparently working on a screenplay, is Orson Welles (Vincent D’Onofrio). They have a conversation that inspires Wood to march back onto the set and finish what would be later called the worst film of all-time. D’Onofrio is so much like Welles — I’m a huge Welles fan, the partially San Francisco-shot “Lady from Shanghai” being my favorite movie — and I especially loved that the man who made what is generally considered the greatest film of all, “Citizen Kane,” inspires an artist at the other end of the spectrum.

Anyway, D’Onofrio must have been tickled by his one-scene turn as Welles, too. He has made a 30-minute short film, called “Five Minutes, Mr. Welles,” and it plays at the San Francisco International Film Festival as part of the compilation of shorts entitled “Domestic Dramas” (there’s only one showing left: Wednesday, May 3, at 12:30 p.m. at the Kabuki).

Filmed in black and white (natch), it’s about Welles, who has taken the role of Harry Lime in Carol Reed’s “The Third Man” for money, practicing for the classic ferris wheel scene (the one in which Lime, the black marketeer whose fake penicillin has killed thousands, famously compares the scurrying humans below with ants). Woken up from a snooze by his “assistant,” a sultry/secretarial blond (Janine Theriault), who helps him with his lines, Welles bellows, paces, gripes about the screenplay, yells at his assistant — and finally, gets it in gear and is ready to do the scene.

..Yo Vince — I loved the film. I can’t wait for your next turn as Welles, perhaps in another decade. Like the fat 1958 Welles setting up the famous crane shot of “Touch of Evil” near Venice Beach? Keep hittin’ the spaghetti there, big guy..

Posted By: G. Allen Johnson (Email) | May 01 2006 at 09:30 PM

Vincent D’onofrio

…is the best actor on television (TRUE) …is now known as “the new Law & Order guy” (TRUE) …gets paid millions of dollars (FALSE) …is a total babe magnet (SO CLAIMS OUR WRITER) …is a star (HMMM…)

By Jeanne Marie Laskas | Jun 1, 2003 | 3816 words

HE’S AN ACTOR. He’s an actor on the TV who has also been in a lot of movies, which people are often surprised to learn that they already sort of knew. On film, he has disappeared into more than forty weird and wondrous roles. But let’s start with the TV. Because that’s where most everyone starts now, with Law & Order: Criminal Intent, the third series in the Dick Wolf franchise. D’Onofrio plays Detective Bobby Goren, a guy who outthinks badass criminals and nails them with a brand of interrogation that is one part psychotherapy, one part smug smarts, one part bulldog. This is not really a crime show. This is not really a normal TV show at all. This is long speeches and portentous silences and close-ups of a face that speaks its own odd language. D’Onofrio brings something to the role that is, well, poetic. He puts commas in with a tilt of his chin. He adds line breaks with a bend at the waist. He gets a cadence going with a double beat of silence followed by a triple.

He does this all so subtly, I believe I am the only one noticing. It feels personal. It is something he and I share at 9:00 on Sunday nights, when we meet privately and he dances for me. It is very intense. It is not something I tell people. Who would understand? Whop He’s not even handsome. Or he might not be. He’s beefy. He’s beige. His nose is short. He’s just this guy who shows up on the TV and dances poetry for me while no one else is noticing.

HERE’S WHAT PEOPLE SAY when they hear about his movies: “He was that guy?” This is what they keep saying as you keep talking about his work. For instance, in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, he was the chunky grunt who murders his drill sergeant. A year later, he was seventy pounds slimmer, a fisherman swearing off sex with Lili Taylor in Mystic Pizza. He was the screenwriter killed by Tim Robbins in 1992’s The Player. He was the young Orson Welles in 1994’s Ed Wood. He not only inhabited each of these roles, but each time he reappeared onscreen, he weirdly and convincingly changed the way he looked, so that as an actor, he scarcely existed at all. He was Keanu Reeves’s loser brother in Feeling Minnesota. He was the giant, horrible bug-alien guy in Men in Black. JFK, Dying Young, Malcolm X–he’s amassed two decades of screen work, and before now just a little TV, but the kind of TV that haunts you forever and makes you want to sob quietly under a shade tree. Remember that Homicide episode with the guy stuck under the subway? Yeah, that guy.

IN HIS DRESSING ROOM on the Criminal Intent set at Chelsea Piers in New York, he is smoking Camels and talking about story. He is telling me this is his thing. Story. His voice is soft and makes you lean forward. He could be a beatnik. Then again, he’s six four and from Brooklyn. The kind of acting he discovered as a young man was Peter Sellers and Alec Guinness acting. He discovered guys who invented, guys who actually made new people exist, magicians who seemed to pull characters out of thin air. For a while, he made some money doing magic shows. But mostly he studied acting. He studied with Sonia Moore at the American Stanislavsky Theater and Sharon Chatten of the Actors Studio. He did little parts in big movies and big parts in indie movies. He loved the anonymity. It’s the only way a character actor can do his art, can disappear into his characters. He became an actor’s actor, and he loved what he had become.

But, really, three or four or five films a year just to make a living?

When Dick Wolf came to him a few years ago and offered him a five-year contract to be on TV, he signed. He signed the way a middle-aged man with a wife and a new baby signs. But did that mean he was done with the whole art thing? What exactly did that mean?

“It means it was a hell of a pitch,” he says now, at forty-three.

“It was more money than I could ever make as a character actor. I’m not a superstar. People get paid millions and millions of dollars. I don’t get paid millions and millions of dollars.”

He puts out his cigarette, waves away that last stinky part or waves away this money talk. Art, commerce. It’s every artist’s dilemma: how to make a living at art.

“It was story,” he insists. “The word intent is what caught my interest.” He could be channeling Brando now, his voice all raspy, his gaze distant. He seems to ponder each word before he allows it the freedom to roam around his own head. “You know, it’s called Criminal Intent. Not Criminal Justice. You know, it’s intent. Intent means why.”

“Right,” I say.

“A why-done-it is much more interesting to me than a who-or a how-done-it. You know? So I was intrigued. Plus the fact that Dick promised it would never get too soapy.” By soapy he means lovey-dovey, domestic. You can’t pull off that stuff on TV, he thinks. “We’ll throw out hints of Goren’s background, we’ll make him just fucked-up enough to keep people interested, but you’ll never meet his mom.”

“Exactly,” I say.

“Now, having said that, what that does for me as an actor, it gives me license to approach any given scene however I feel like it at the time. If Goren is depressed, he can be depressed; if he’s on an upswing, then he’s going to be overly obsessed or overly excited. It gives me license to go in any direction I want. Do you see? Do you know what I mean? Do you see how perfect that is?”

“I see,” I say, because I think I do. This is so intense. All this passion for a TV show. Earlier, I watched him do take after take of an eight-page scene including an interminably long speech, which he delivered over and over again flawlessly, gliding around the interrogation room with an ease that was as mesmerizing as it must have been maddening to the actors who couldn’t get their own small parts quite right. “You had a crisis ten years ago, you ran off to Europe, you kept it secret while you applied your wounded intellect to the problem, and this is what you came up with. And this!” It was like watching a seagull in the sky above or a dolphin in the deep blue sea; it was like watching the most natural act above or below the earth.

Which must have been quite something for Christopher Evan Welch, the young actor playing the lunatic, murderous eye surgeon Goren was quietly terrorizing. Welch had to repeatedly say things like “posterior subcapsular cataract” and “extracapsular cataract extraction,” none of which was rolling off the tongue, and so he was starting to sweat, his face beginning to droop in embarrassment. “It’s okay,” D’Onofrio told him, putting his hand on his shoulder, as he often puts his hands on people’s shoulders. He’s got that Italian touchy thing, that way of invading your personal space that feels aggressive and, well, glorious. “It’s why we have a lot of film,” he said to Welch. “It’s all right. I do it all the time. We all do it all the time.”

D’Onofrio runs this place. He coaches. He invents. This is his universe. In the morning he comes in and you see walkie-talkies go up: “He’s here. He’s in the building.” The other actors credit him for keeping the place sane, keeping the focus on the work, the days as short as possible, Monday through Friday, five days a week, for nine months. D’Onofrio is in virtually every scene of the show, so each night there are dozens of pages of dialogue to memorize. And so he’s got a commitment, mostly a commitment to keeping himself from going crazy–keeping the show running, keeping it running like a clock that just has to run. He insists on it. He’s a big guy everyone wants to keep happy.

Unlike the other shows in the Law & Order trilogy–the original series has a rotating door of featured actors–this one really is about D’Onofrio’s acting, and D’Onofrio’s acting is D’Onofrio’s vision. “I think in order to make this show work for him as an actor, he had to make it interesting for himself,” an executive producer says. “He totally created Goren. Totally. Now people come up to him on the street and they’re like, `The way you fuck with people’s minds–I love that! I love the way you get in there!’ But, you know, he brought that to the role. That was all him.”

He makes decisions. Like, he brought in that idea Wednesday, that idea he dreamed up the night before when he was reading through the scene, sitting at home in his cozy Greenwich Village apartment with his wife, Carin, and his three-year-old son. In the scene, he was supposed to be interrogating a schizophrenic guy. He got the idea to turn and see the guy in the mirror, and then to have the whole scene shot through the mirror, backward. He’s explaining this to me at great length. “Does this make sense?”

“Um,” I’m saying, because this is starting to make its own kind of sense.

“Because most of the things schizophrenics fixate on are oral, eyes, ears, nostrils, holes in walls, anything that breaks solid patterns,” he says, sounding so nonsensical yet so encyclopedic. This makes so much sense! He is so Bobby Goren, I could cry. Or if Bobby Goren went to acting school, this is who he’d be. He’d be Vincent D’Onofrio. Okay, this is starting to confuse me.

“So suddenly,” he says, “by shooting it like that, this gives the scene a very strong structure. Do you see? It has a transition from me trying to psychologically chase my guy’s train of thought around the room to me nailing how I can nail him. So I brought the idea in, and of course the director loved it, and then they decided how to shoot it, because I don’t get mixed up in that. I mean, sometimes I get mixed up in camera angles, but that’s only if we’re doing really conceptual stuff.”

Conceptual stuff. He exudes conceptual stuff, as does his character on TV. I wonder if this is why so many of the men I know don’t go gaga over his show the way women do. He’s got that poet/beatnik thing. That brooding intensity. Guys who don’t have that tend to get stomachaches watching guys who do, or at least watching women get so easily sucked in by it. But this is what he has. And now he’s on TV. And now he’s getting famous. I wonder if he is aware of any of this.

HERE IS WHAT REALLY HURTS:

My temp is rising just thinking about how seductive VDO can be, with just “A Look.” … I would love it if VDO would walk in to the store I manage, to, I don’t know, ask for directions, or to buy something lovely for his wife, Blech! Anyway, where was I, He comes in and realizes he can’t live without me … he gives me “The Look” … and carries me off into the sunset. Now, if that isn’t true Vincent Lust … I don’t know what is. VDO + The Look = Lust Baby!!!! –Jacqueline

I thought I was all alone…. I was captivated by his micro movements, for such a wonderfully big guy he has the gentlest movement and as the other ladies was saying his eyes and mouth are so eatable … He makes you want to crawl all over that big beautiful frame of his and enjoy, lol. He is the most perfect male I have seen in years. –Sadie

I know you hard core VDO fans know the look I’m talking about. Most superficially, it’s this eyes-just-barely-downcast thing, usually in fairly close proximity to whoever the leading lady is, and he’s just totally, breathtakingly transfixed by her mouth … Typically, when that occurs–that is when I become a puddle on the floor. –Tessie

I also dream of VDO at work imagining that he would stop by and I would say hello and he would look up with a shy awkward smile! jagged teeth and all, he is a gentle giant! Lust Lust Lust yup yup yup! he can bring that out in me any time! –Ruby
You could spend three days of your life reading messages like this in Internet chat rooms devoted to Vincent D’Onofrio and still not get through them all. I know this because I did it. These were three very horrible days. Sometimes when you read things, you realize you are a rookie so lowly, you may as well go home and soak your head. I concluded this when I got to the thread devoted to Vincent D’Onofrio’s dental health and his apparent recent decision to go with caps.

So, let me see if I can sum up … We fell in love with Vincent when his teeth were less than perfect … we yearned to be kissed, whispered to, licked, whatever by a mouth with a crooked imperfection here and there, a mouth we could identify as a possible lover … and now that the mouth is not what it used to be, we are disappointed … and … we admire a man who knows the f word, and isn’t afraid to use it especially when applying it to demands on changing who he is and what he finds important … the thought of him selling out makes us uneasy … but … we love him (and his little f word too) and want him to be healthy and happy and feel confident about that mouth we find so sensuous in any carnation … so, perhaps as we adjust to the new look and seeit used for something Other than a passage way for hypergenius spoutings we will learn to rethink the new mouth, find pleasure in the lips and danger in the bite. –Maigenn

I WONDER, SITTING HERE listening to Vincent D’Onofrio speak about his craft, if I should tell him that when I was ten years old, I wanted to marry Ruddy McDowall. That was my only other time falling so hard, so deeply, for a person who existed solely onscreen. Ruddy McDowall–a man most famous for his role in Planet of the Apes.

No, there is no reason he needs to know any of this.

I ask him if he knows that the character he plays on Criminal Intent is amassing a following.

“That’s nice to hear,” he whispers.

I ask him about celebrity. He has spent his whole career thus far avoiding celebrity. In fact, it was avoiding it that enabled him to become the actor that he became: a magician who could create characters out of thin air. You can’t do that if you’re famous. “You’ll be known as the Law & Order guy,” I say.

“I am known as the Law & Order guy.”

“Right.”

“Actually, right now I’m the Law & Order guy who people are now starting to realize has done twenty years of movies.”

“Right.”

“And when my contract is up, I’ll be the Law & Order guy who did all these films before and is now doing films again.”

But that’s crazy, I tell him. How can you disappear into a character if you’re famous? Doesn’t celebrity change something? At a minimum, something inside? “What’s the role of ego in this?” I ask.

“Ego?” he says. “Ego? No. The answer is no. I mean, the answer to that is no!”

Now I don’t understand my own question.

“There’s nothing to be egotistical about,” he goes on. “I mean, if my work is good, yes, it fills my ego. If I’m praised for my work and applauded for my work, then, yes, it gives me a momentary wow. You know, it’s nice when people clap. You take a bow, and you wish they’d just keep on clapping. It’s a really good feeling. But it’s not something … I can’t. Look, I can’t be a person other than the one I am. Because I’ll be stopped in my tracks. My wife will stop me. My sister will stop me. My mom will stop me. My best friends will stop me. They’ll stop me in my tracks.”

“Right.”

“If I start believing that I’m a really great actor, then I’m dead. Then I’m done. I don’t mean going down. I mean dead. Done.”

I nod, if only to let him know I believe him, which I do. I believe the words. I believe the intent. Here he is, becoming famous because this is just what TV does to even the most innocent souls. Becoming famous means becoming an image, a picture on the wall people can kiss or paint mustaches on. The thing is, you’re up for grabs. Art, commerce, fame, celebrity. This isn’t a circle that just automatically goes back to art again. So far, in the history of American celebrity, only Andy Warhol knew how to work the mess to his artistic advantage.

“That whole celebrity thing is nothing I ever have to worry about,” he says. “I think I’m okay. I’m okay. But–what are you getting at? Because I want to answer your question correctly.”

I repeat my point about his show amassing fans.

“I don’t get to talk to fans of the show very much,” he says, softly again. “Tell me some nice things.”

“Women,” I say. “Women seem to like your character because he’s … um.” See, I am having some trouble with the articulation.

“Tell me,” he says.

“Well, you’re kind of, you grow on us.”

“Yeah …”

“Because the first time you see him, it’s, um …”

“Kind of hard to take?” he says.

“Oh, no, no,” I say. “Not hard to take, it’s just that we feel sorry for you at first.”

“Oh.”

See, that didn’t come out right.

“I mean, it’s not you,” I say. “It’s your character. He’s just not like …”

“Like, macho and stuff?”

“Oh, God, he’s totally not macho. Oh, God no, no, no, not even close to macho.”

See, that didn’t come out right, either. He looks profoundly disappointed. He’s got his gaze locked on his shoes, his hands interlocked as if he’s doing here’s-the-church-and-+here’s-the-steeple-open-the-doors-and-see-all-the-people. He could be disappointed, but then again he could be acting.

“There’s something very connectable,” I offer.

“That’s nice,” he says. And see, now he’s really doing it. He’s doing the bashful-schoolboy thing. It is an expression every female knows how to read. It is: Please, honey, give me more.

“Maybe because we feel sorry for you a little bit,” I say timidly, “so we’re rooting for you.”

“Uh-huh.”

“And that’s really, really alluring.”

“Oh, okay.”

“Women,” I say, offering the full dose of this slop that he really does seem to be drinking. “Women are wild for you. Are you aware of this?”

He looks at me, tilts his chin in that way he tilts his chin. He sits in silence. I sit in the silence. This is so intense. This is so intense. This is so intense. I get the sense I’ve made him uncomfortable and that perhaps we should go back to talking about story. He could be embarrassed, but then again he is a very, very good actor.

Finally he says, “Who?”

“Who?”

“I mean, how do you know this? How many women can you possibly know?” he says. “I mean, really. Do you know ten girls?”

“It’s more than ten,” I say.

“It’s twenty-five? I mean, how many could it possibly be?”

“More than twenty-five,” I say. “It’s just–a lot of women are wild for you. I know this for a fact.”

He considers this. He reaches behind his neck, rubs. “You know, there’s nothing inside me that minds that,” he says. “When we talk about it right now, there’s nothing inside me–like, there’s not a negative feeling that grows inside me.”

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LOCI’s Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe

Law & Order: Criminal Intent’s Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe Talk About The Move To USA
posted by Jay Cochran in Television at 10:28 PM on 2007.09.26
Law & Order: Criminal Intent moves to the USA Network starting on October 4th. This week NBC Universal held a press conference with two of the show’s stars, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Kathryn Erbe. Here is a transcript of the interview.

Operator: Hello and welcome to the Law & Order: Criminal Intent press conference. At the request of NBC, this conference is being recorded for instant replay purposes. With us today are Mr. Vincent D’Onofrio, and Miss Kathryn Erbe of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Mr. Brad Bernstein of USA Network, and Miss Carol Janson of NBC.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Hello?

Kathryn Erbe: Hi.

Carol Janson: Criminal Intent is moving to the USA Network, and there are going to be ten original episodes starting October 4 at 10 pm. And in the spring there will be 12 original episodes. So this is the whole season, in case anybody is confused, because they also run the syndicated shows of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Operator: Our first question is from Matt Liebowitz of Flash News.

Matt Liebowitz: Hi, guys. How are you?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Hi.

Kathryn Erbe: Good,thanks. Hi.

Matt Liebowitz: Hi. Thanks for doing this call. I wanted to know how playing such recognizable characters affects your life off screen, you know, the things that people don’t know about — going to the grocery store, walking around the neighborhood. Are people like intimidated by you when they see you on the street?

Kathryn Erbe: Well, they’re not intimidated by me, I don’t think, but they see me all the time in the grocery store and Starbucks. I know you get that at Starbucks, too — right, Vince?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes.

Kathryn Erbe: They stake you out.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes. They’re not intimidated. They’re excited, you know. They get very excited when they see us. They know that when we’re shooting on the streets, which we do a lot, they get very excited and they – some of them have, you know, the guts to come over and say hi and ask for an autograph and pictures and stuff. Others just kind of stay back and watch, you know. But I don’t think anybody’s been intimidated by me. No.

Matt Liebowitz: And given your roles and your, you know, sort of tough on screen personas, do you think your kids are a lot more cautious around you?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Our kids?

Matt Liebowitz: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Are you crazy?

Vincent D’Onofrio: They run my life.

Kathryn Erbe: I wish they were intimidated.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes, exactly. My children run my life. You know, they’re not intimidated at all.

Kathryn Erbe: So we should say…”Don’t you know how intimidating we are on television?”

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes, exactly.

Kathryn Erbe: Behave.

Matt Liebowitz: Do you think that as they get older they’re going to see you on TV and say, “Oh God,” you know, “we can’t get away with this?”

Kathryn Erbe: I wish.

Vincent D’Onofrio: I wish. I wish.

Matt Liebowitz: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: You know, my son — he just rolls his eyes?

Matt Liebowitz: All right, thanks so much, guys.

Kathryn Erbe: Thank you.

Operator: David Martindale, Hearst Newspaper.

David Martindale: Is it anything all different about doing this show for USA?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Well different as far as production wise?

David Martindale: It’s a Rorschach test. Anything that’s different about it as far as the way you make the show? Anything different, or is it just the same old thing?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Kate, we haven’t really changed anything as far as production. It still feels exactly the same, right?

Kathryn Erbe: No, I think that the same change that was starting last year is continuing. I mean the show has felt that it’s evolving from the beginning. We really – but I think last year they – we had a change in our main writer, Warren Leight, and our show’s executive producer, Noberto — that they came on and really started to breathe new life into the form in terms of the way that they were shooting it. And that is continuing. The way they were shooting it and writing it, adding more focus on our private lives, and that continues right along.

But the only thing that feels very different is that USA has been incredibly excited about having us, and wanting to promote the show and wanting to get the word out that we’re going to be on USA. And they’ve been incredibly flattering to us. It’s felt really good — their enthusiasm and their gratitude at the fact that we’re part of their family now or – in a more prominent way.

David Martindale: Fair enough. And I know that on these different Law and Order shows — actors come and go, characters come and go, lots of cast changes. How important to you all is it that you two are a team?

Vincent D’Onofrio: What, Kate and I? It’s vital. It’s absolutely vital. I don’t think either of us could do it without each other. I, you know, it’s been a long time now and our relationship as actors is as tight as it could be. And, it was hard for me to get used to the change of Courtney leaving and…

Kathryn Erbe: Mm-hmm.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …Jamie leaving, but, you know, we have Eric Bogosian and he’s just awesome as the captain.

And the way – like Kate was talking about earlier, the way that the scripts are written, it’s just – it seems like with Eric and – as far as our show goes. Not Chris’, but it’s – because I don’t really, you know, we don’t have anything to do with Chris’s side, but as far as like the three characters — Eric, Kate, and I — it seems right. It seems good and it’s working.

Kathryn Erbe: Mm-hmm.

Vincent D’Onofrio: So we’re happy about that.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes, I agree. It’s such a difficult job and it took us a long time to figure out how to do it in a way that worked smoothly. It’s a different kind of acting than I think Vincent or I have ever done.

Vincent D’Onofrio: (Yes).

Kathryn Erbe: It took us a lot to figure out how to do that part, and then we had to figure out how to do the life part with the job. And then we realized we couldn’t do it in a way that we were doing it where we were working every day.

We couldn’t have a life and do the job, so now we’ve got this new lease on life with the new schedule where we get to alternate episodes. And we’ve really come so far. I think Vincent and I together and the crew and cast as a whole, we – as a sort of kind of a family, we’ve all learned to work together in a way that works really well.

David Martindale: After so many years of playing these detectives, have you become like heroes or at least like colleagues in the eyes of real life cops? Have there been instances in which they have like, in the spirit of professional courtesy, given you a break on a parking ticket or in not tasering you, or…

Vincent D’Onofrio: Oh God, you know, we can’t, you know, I would say that they do the best they can do. But I’m not going to be the actor that says that cops do us favors. There’s no way I’m going to say that.

David Martindale: Okay.

Vincent D’Onofrio: But…

Kathryn Erbe: I got help with my passport.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes, that’s true. It’s amazing how many people in the law enforcement field that actually watch the show. It’s always kind of shocking actually, no matter what…

Kathryn Erbe: Yeah.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …you know, with going through immigration, and – immigration officers are really the ones that – they grab me a lot. You know, they grab me and they tell me things that – they call it – when they’re interviewing somebody in immigration they call it – if they get something that they want from the person they’re interviewing, they call it a hit.

David Martindale: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: A hit. And I had one guy in Australia once tell me that he gets, you know, hundreds of hits because of watching us on our show, which is hysterical really, but, you know, he said it so, you know, it’s got to be.

And any time we have cops visiting the set or we meet them on the streets, they’re all really enthusiastic. And there’s a couple ofchiefs that we’vemet, and, you know, it just goes on and on. They’re all really sweet (to)…

Kathryn Erbe: Yes. It’s the way it feels (unintelligible)…

David Martindale: If somebody (put a boot) on your tire, you’re not going to be able to get them to get it off of it, right?

Vincent D’Onofrio: What’s that?

Kathryn Erbe: Say that again? I didn’t understand.

David Martindale: If somebody put a – if somebody booted your, you know, the tire on your…

Kathryn Erbe: Oh.

David Martindale: …because you parked bad, they’re not going to get you out of a ticket, are they?

Kathryn Erbe: No.

Vincent D’Onofrio: I don’t know. We might be able to rob a 7-Eleven and get a way with it. I don’t know.

Kathryn Erbe: We should try that some time.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yeah.

David Martindale: Okay. I’ll let other people ask questions. Thank you so much.

Vincent D’Onofrio: All right, thank you.

Kathryn Erbe: Thank you.

Operator: Michael Sheridan, New York Daily News.

Michael Sheridan: Good afternoon, or good morning…

Kathryn Erbe: Hi, Michael.

Michael Sheridan: …to you guys.

Kathryn Erbe: Good morning.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Hi. Hi.

Michael Sheridan: I wanted to ask, how did – what were your initial feelings when you found out that the show was going to be moving to USA? Were you guys nervous at all or anything…

Vincent D’Onofrio: No….

Michael Sheridan: …to be taken off a network and…

Vincent D’Onofrio: Lucky to be working. Happy to have…

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …a job. I was happy to…

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …come back for a seventh season. Very happy about that.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes. I think it feels like there may be less pressure on USA — that they may not be as affected by the daily up and down, you know, feeling of the numbers in the same way. So it actually feels – I felt more relaxed when we heard that we were going to USA and very, very relieved.

Michael Sheridan: When the show switched its format and Chris Noth was added to the cast, did that – did you guys – I don’t know…

Vincent D’Onofrio: And Julianne Nicholson as well.

Michael Sheridan: Right. Did that – did you think that that allowed your characters to change at all, or the way your characters were written, in terms of that you weren’t going to be in as many episodes, so the story lines would be a little different?

Vincent D’Onofrio: I don’t know if that was the cause of all this character driven stuff that we’re starting to do now. Maybe, I don’t know. I hadn’t thought of that before, but it has changed. The show has changed, (both) – if that’s the reason why, you know, maybe it is or maybe it’s not. I don’t know.

But we have – with Warren Leight and Noberto Barba, the producer with Warren as the show runner and Noberto as the producer, it has changed. And it’s more interesting as an actor I think, because it’s not the same thing we were doing for the last six years. So it’s – it has changed. I’m not sure if that’s the reason, but maybe that has something to do with it.

Michael Sheridan: And how much – and how important did you guys feel that – the fact that you guys shoot in New York helps the show?

Kathryn Erbe: Oh, it’s awesome.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Oh yes.I mean the streets in New York. You can’t get…

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …better than that.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Michael Sheridan: (Unintelligible) because I guess the Law and Order shows are quintessential to New York, especially for actors, and every actor who lives in New York City has probably…

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Michael Sheridan: …appeared in an episode of Law & Order. (Unintelligible).

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: (I mean) that’s the thing. We get a lot of really good theater actors, you know, who – we get ones that have been, you know, doing other things in theater of course, but we also get actors that have just started to work on (unintelligible) on TV (but are coming license) theater. Yes, we get a lot of good actors here in New York.

Kathryn Erbe: A lot of good actors. And we get support every day on the street from the people who live here. And people have like little wine parties when we’re shooting in their apartments. And it’s – we’re really, really well supported here. It’s – I – and I’m sure the other two Law & Orders are as well. We’re sort of beloved by the people of New York unless we’re blocking their access to their apartment or something like that.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Or…

Kathryn Erbe: …and then they get annoyed.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …taking their parking place, yes.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes. Yes.

Michael Sheridan: (I know) – (as) you guys are going into your seventh season, I read once, Vincent, you said that – in an interview that you choose roles because they scare you or they challenge you. After you doing – for both of you, after doing these roles for so long, do they still do that? Are they still exciting to play and…

Vincent D’Onofrio: Sometimes on set I’m very scared if I’m going to get away with something or not. I get very nervous if I’m going to get away with some stuff, but – yes. I mean I still feel the same way. I feel that’s the only way it’s ever going to be interesting anymore is to do stuff that is hard — hard to do.

Michael Sheridan: Okay. I thank you very much.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes.

Kathryn Erbe: Thank you.

Operator: Joshua Maloni, Niagara Frontier Publications.

Joshua Maloni: Good morning, Vincent. Good morning, Kathryn. Thanks (unintelligible)…

Vincent D’Onofrio: Hi.

Kathryn Erbe: Good morning.

Joshua Maloni: Vincent, your portrayal of Bobby Goren I feel is really truly inventive. Let me ask you — since the program’s been on the air, so many other cop shows have tried to imitate this character. Tell me a little bit about the origin of Bobby Goren and how you approach this role going into the seventh season.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Well I’m not sure if our show influenced the other shows or not. I don’t know. It’s hard to say who came first — the chicken or the egg, you know? I don’t know. But all I know is that the first few years of the show was about – with Rene Balcer as the show (runner) was (about) making the show work and making it different. And we worked very hard to do that.

And then (in) the last three years were, you know, I brought it back a lot, and I was just more internal. I was also very tired. And now it’s – now – the best thing about right now is that because Warren Leight, our new show runner, is very good at writing characters — he’s a playwright and he writes really (good) – and his writers — his team of writers — they write very good character driven scripts.

And what’s nice for us as actors with them doing that is that we have the last six years to fall back on — that we have everything that happened in the last six years. And our fan base knows exactly what we’ve hinted towards and what we’ve said about our past and about us as the characters that we can play with that now. We have a lot of, you know, me as the character Goren, there’s a lot of substance because of the last six years. So Warren’s got a lot to write about. And I think that’s how it – that’s how he’s changed because of that.

Joshua Maloni: Right. And Kathryn, looking at the season preview, I mean Bobby and Alex are both going through some pretty heavy circumstances. How is that going to affect them individually this season and how do you think that’s going to affect (their) relationship?

Kathryn Erbe: You know, I don’t know. We just did – we just finished hour of the Goren and Eames’ third episode for the season. We’ve just finished shooting it, and the final line really led me to believe (that Goren) in as great shape as I assumed.

I – my personal feeling was that they were – they had been through, you know, all this stuff and have come to another place — a place of much more – I mean this – and this is probably still true, no matter what – the way this third episode ends — that they have a lot more respect for each other, they rely on each other a lot more. They’re much more of a team and they know each other a hell of a lot better because their (wounds) are more apparent.

And so I don’t know. I have no idea what – and I don’t think Vincent does either, because they really…

Kathryn Erbe: …don’t tell us where we’re headed, and we have no idea what’s going to happen.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes, it’s true. I mean we have to – we can only play what’s written. And the first – the season opener’s going to be great. It’s really Kate’s episode. It’s going to be really good. It deals with Kate’s past a lot and the trials and tribulations of her as a – of her past as a police officer.

And, you know, during that show, there were connections between the two characters — Goren and Eames — that we hadn’t touched upon before. It was kind of a role reversal thing going on a little bit. And it’s all – it’s – whatever happens, it’s going to be interesting.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Joshua Maloni: Right. And I mean the question of what channel you’re on, whether it be NBC or USA, is probably more for the press to be interested in than you guys as actors, but at the same time I mean it is kind of an unprecedented move, and it is something that perhaps other networks are looking to doing in the future. I mean, is that sort of, you know, how do you think about the sort of historic significance with the move?

Vincent D’Onofrio: I didn’t know it was historic.

Kathryn Erbe: (Whoa) (unintelligible).

Vincent D’Onofrio: It’s…

Kathryn Erbe: Excuse me.

Vincent D’Onofrio: I think that – I mean if it’s historic that’s fine, but we’re happy to be on USA. We think – I think – I feel like it saved the show.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: And if it saved the show, then it’s going to keep (taking that) acting, and it’s good. That’s good.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Joshua Maloni: Thanks, guys.

Kathryn Erbe: Sure. Thank you.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Sure. Thanks.

Operator: Tyrone Warner with CTV.ca.

Tyrone Warner: Hey, guys. How you doing?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Hi.

Kathryn Erbe: Hi.

Tyrone Warner: Hello from Canada.

Kathryn Erbe: (Oh).

Tyrone Warner: (Unintelligible) big fans of the shop up here.

Kathryn Erbe: Awesome.

Vincent D’Onofrio: (Oh good).

Tyrone Warner: I’m just kind of curious — this question’s both for Vincent and Kathryn — is there something you haven’t done yet or accomplished on the show that you want to see your characters do?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes. Well I think that we have a – as far as Goren goes, we have a show coming up that his mental health gets tested a little bit on, and I think that’s going to be interesting for me.

Kathryn Erbe: (Especially) (unintelligible)…

Vincent D’Onofrio: You know, we don’t write the show, so it’s hard to answer that question.

Tyrone Warner: Oh.

Vincent D’Onofrio: What do you think, Katie? I don’t know.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes, I don’t really know. I’m just frankly happy to be – to have, you know, concrete interesting stuff to do every show. And, you know, Eames being an important part of the investigations is really the most – the – of the highest priority to me. And I – I’m very excited about Goren’s mental health being tested. I think that that will be very interesting for Eames as well.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes.

Kathryn Erbe: So – but as far as – I really kind of feel like, especially given the first episode and getting to explore a little more emotional – a lot more emotion than I have with this character, I – it would be interesting to maybe deal with something more actively — my train is derailing — something more actively angry or aggressive. I don’t know. We’ll see. I – there’s nothing I can think of in terms of a story or anything like that.

Tyrone Warner: Then the other question I had is, is there anything about the qualities of your characters — what they have or what they possess — that you kind of wish that you maybe had in your own personal life?

Vincent D’Onofrio: No. No, I have enough trouble I my personal life. (Unintelligible). I’m enjoying this very messed up guy. And, you know, in my life – my life is – I have a lot of responsibilities, like any parent and partner in a relationship, and you know, life is good now. I wouldn’t want to trade it for some kind of troubled life like Goren has, you know?

Tyrone Warner: Great. Well thanks a lot, guys.

Kathryn Erbe: Thank you.

Vincent D’Onofrio: (Sure).

Operator: Jay Cochran, Entertainment News International.

Jay Cochran: Hey guys.

Kathryn Erbe: Hi.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Hi.

Jay Cochran: My first question is for Kathryn.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Jay Cochran: Being as this first episode in the season is kind of focusing more so on your personal life than in seasons past, has that caused you to change your approach of how you prepare for this character and doing this character? And if so, can you kind of talk about what’s changed?

Kathryn Erbe: Well I think – and when we see the episode, you – it’ll be clear, but I think – my hope is that with the – with her being forced to address this major event in her past, my feeling is that up until this point, Eames has been all about work, not really having a personal life, and has been living kind of through her family and through other people and just really focused on doing her job well, and has been somewhat rigid in her views about right and wrong and good and bad in a good way.

I mean I don’t think that that is necessarily a bad thing, but my hope is that she will lighten up a little bit and be able to enjoy life more. And I – the – so I’m – my- I think I have to think more clearly how to add that to each episode, but that’s really the only thing.

I think I just need to put, you know, will be spending more time thinking about how to include that. And that’s really all I can think of. I mean there won’t be anything – just as far as adding an emotional color — letting there be more light than just be all about the procedure or whatever.

Jay Cochran: Okay. And my second question goes to either one of you. I’m just curious if you all – basically this show has the least interaction with the district attorney side now. And I was wondering if you all thought that added to the show or kind of took away from the show, being as, you know, Law & Order traditionally was, you know, the cop side and then the attorney side. And…

Vincent D’Onofrio: Well I miss – sometimes I miss going into Courtney’s office.

Kathryn Erbe: Courtney’s office.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes, because it was fun. We had some fun in that office. We actually had a couple arias. We call the last scene in the show arias here. And we actually had some of those last scenes in his – I miss that a bit, but, you know, with Eric Bogosian and Kate and I as the three, you know, characters in the show, there’s – it’s been fun.

You know, like Kate was saying, we’re going to more character driven stuff, so we don’t really need the district attorney’s office anymore. So it’s, you know, Eric is sort of – is – he’s procedural with his captain stuff and he’s also kind of a referee sometimes…

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …when he’s dealing with the two of us.

So, you know, it’s working. The – it’s working without it. And as long as the scripts are good, you know, (if) – I’ll speak for Katie if you don’t mind, Kate, but Kate…

Kathryn Erbe: No.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …and I are happy. You know, we’re happy.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: And right now…

Kathryn Erbe: We miss Courtney a lot, but…

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes. And right now the scripts are working, so it’s okay, you know?

Jay Cochran: Great. Well thanks a lot, guys.

Vincent D’Onofrio: All right, thank you.

Kathryn Erbe: Thank you.

Operator: Sarah Matthews, AOL Canada.

Sarah Matthew: Hi, guys. How you doing?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Hi.

Kathryn Erbe: Good. How are you?

Sarah Matthew: I’m good. Thank you. While I was researching for this interview, it became very apparent that you have a very loyal fan base around the world, but also in Canada. With that being said, every season there is a constant influx of new crime-based shows. And I was wondering what’s being done this season that hasn’t necessarily been done in the past to make – or continue making Criminal Intent unique?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Well for one thing we have six years to fall back on as far as what we’ve hinted about Eames’ character and my character’s personal lives. So Warren Leight, our new show writer, who wrote this last year as well, his last year started to do more character driven stuff. We’re really going to go for that this season.

I mean there’s going to be some procedural type shows, because people like that crime stuff. They like to see us investigate stuff and them come up with the, and, you know, and catch the bad guy at the end kind of a thing. But we’re going to try and fill this season up with character driven things.

And I think just simply because our fan base has watched the show for so long, they know a lot about our characters. So I think they’re going to be – and they have been by the – the last show of the season last year was very – got very high ratings, and turned everybody on a lot — the company, the fans, even us the actors. And so we’re going to do more of that kind of stuff.

And just because of our past and what they know about us, again, they’re going to be very, very interested in our characters. And our characters are going to be wild, you know? You’re going to get to see sides of them that you’ve never seen. And to be – to see these side of these two very distinct characters is definitely going to be different than another show or even another Law & Order show.

Kathryn Erbe: You know, they also – what has always struck me from the very beginning, the people who talk to me on the street are not talking about the crime and…

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes, they’re not. Yes.

Kathryn Erbe: …the fact that we solve them. They’re talking about Goren and Eames and how they love they way they interact and how they, you know, it’s the characters that people — at least the ones that I speak to — seem to have fallen in love with and are really compelled by more than the Law and Order formula or the fact that it’s a crime show. I think that that adds to it, but it’s really the characters that they have become attached to.

So my – I know that (one) – there seem to be some concern about the fact that there were all these new crime shows and they’re using all this interesting technology and ways that they’re shooting and they’re so exciting and swift and there — people are, you know, people in our world were trying to figure out how to change it so that we could keep up.

That felt scary to me, because I felt like we – I mean I think we were all concerned with not losing what people loved. And I think it’s really good that we – what we’ve done is just get more into who these characters are and showing people more of that within the realm of the crime scene. So…

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes. Yes I think it’s really true what (Kate’s) saying. I mean they never talk about who we talk to (unintelligible). They love the way we (catch them).

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: They love to comment on what’s happening between Goren and Eames and they like little weird things that go on that we do as characters. And – but they never talk about us as cops really.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: It’s interesting (that).

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Sarah Matthew: Well that’s great, because I think just the talk (around) the office and (reading) the different fan sites, that’s something that people really want to know. They want to know more about both of your characters. Can you give us any hints about different things you might learn this season about them?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Well the first season is (going to) – the first – not the first season. The first episode of this season is – deals with Kate and her past. And later on this season we’re going to be doing stuff – there’s one episode that we’re writing now – or Warren’s writing now, sorry — that deals with – really tests Goren’s mental health. So those are two ones that I could talk about now, because it’s what we know. We don’t know what hasn’t been written yet.

Kathryn Erbe: Do you know – Vincent, is it Eames sabotaging Goren’s mental health? Is she actively trying to undermine that, or – I’m just kidding.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Maybe. I don’t know. We should do one like that. That would be (nice).

Kathryn Erbe: I think we should.

Vincent D’Onofrio: We…

Kathryn Erbe: Where she’s trying to drive you crazy.

Vincent D’Onofrio: (Unintelligible) (walked him) to the edge.

Kathryn Erbe: Exactly.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes. Yes.

Kathryn Erbe: We’ve silenced them.

Sarah Matthew: So are you confident then that this show will continue on?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Oh yes.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes. I don’t think we’re going to have any problems on USA. I think they’re going to be very happy with us. And – I mean I hope so anyway.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes. Me too.

Sarah Matthew: Well that’s great and good luck with that.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Okay, thanks.

Kathryn Erbe: Thank you (unintelligible).

Vincent D’Onofrio: That was funny. It was funny how quiet she got.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes, I know. (All these people) don’t know I’m joking.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes (unintelligible).

Kathryn Erbe: (Crazy).

Operator: Jenny Eden, Channel 5 UK.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Hi.

Jenny Eden: Hi. I wanted to ask you — when there’s so many dark story lines, particularly Vincent, with your character’s so many issues, shall we say, about his personality…

Vincent D’Onofrio: Oh.

Jenny Eden: …how hard is it to shake it off when you go home at night? Have you developed coping mechanisms over the years?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Oh yes. It’s not a problem at all. You know, you just….

Jenny Eden: What is it that makes you feel like you again? At what stage do you kind of turn into you (now)?

Vincent D’Onofrio: The minute the director says, “Cut,” I try (to turn back) into myself as quickly as possible. You know, Kate and myself, we’ve been acting for a long time and we’ve both studied acting at very good schools. And, you know, it’s – as you gain more experience, it’s easier to leave your work during the day behind. And I – myself, I’ve reached the point where I can just drop everything.

You know, the, you know, it’s not as romantic as people make it, this acting thing. You know, you have to do your homework, you know, and you have to do your research like when we’re doing theater or film or whatever. And it’s that stuff that can – that you can bring home with you, because you do it at home. And if you’re researching a part that’s really heavy and dramatic or about a tragedy or something, well then yes it stays with you when you’re doing the research.

But as far as me being an actor, you know, I can let it go. You just let it go. And the only thing that I do a lot is I just keep myself – I keep my energy up as much as I can during the day in-between takes and I try to keep my energy up. I try to keep my blood flowing so that when the camera starts to roll there’s a little bit of blood flowing in me when I’m doing it.

But that, you know, it’s – the more experienced an actor you are, the less you take it home with you I think.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: What do you think, Kate?

Kathryn Erbe: Yes. I agree.

Jenny Eden: How has having the second team with Chris made a difference (to both your) energy levels and your enthusiasm levels now you’re not kind of having to work quite so hard the whole time?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Say that again?

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: What’s that? Sorry, I didn’t hear that.

Jenny Eden: Has having the second team with Chris made a difference to your enthusiasm and your energy levels now you’re not having to work quite so hard the whole time?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Oh yes. Yes. Oh yes.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes, that was killing us. Yes. It was – we couldn’t have gone on the way we were. So this makes it possible, you know, to go out and then have something to bring back instead of just being used up. So we were – we have a lot more enthusiasm. We’re a lot happy – happier to be there when we are there, because we know that our lives are not suffering when we’re not able to be at home.

Vincent D’Onofrio: (And)…

Jenny Eden: Is there any rivalry between the two teams of actors? Do you ever talk? Do you ever kind of compare notes?

Vincent D’Onofrio: We…

Kathryn Erbe: We trash talk a lot. We…

Vincent D’Onofrio: We trash talk a lot.

Kathryn Erbe: …have to stay – yes we have to be separated, actually. We have security – no, I’m kidding. I’m kidding.

Vincent D’Onofrio: We both have shrines in our rooms against (unintelligible).

Kathryn Erbe: We do. We should. We say prayers of gratitude that they are doing it, because we really couldn’t be doing the job without them.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Exactly, (you know).

Jenny Eden: (Do) – when you have – when you’re picking something (unintelligible) your hiatus, are you looking for characters that are very different to the ones you’re playing on your kind of day job?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes, if they come around, if people offer us jobs. Yes. It’s – who wants, you know, yes. I mean absolutely. We don’t want to play the same thing we’re playing on TV. That’s for sure.

Jenny Eden: Is there anything that these certain writers have picked up from your real personalities that they’ve added into the mix of your character…

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes.

Jenny Eden: …(unintelligible)?

Vincent D’Onofrio: (They do). I’m starting to think that more and more.

Jenny Eden: That’s more worrying in your case, isn’t it?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes, in my case and (Kate’s). I don’t know. (These days), you know, I – it – (Kate’s) character Eames is, you know, more relevant than it’s ever been on this show before. I don’t know. You know, it’s weird. It’s – you never know what these writer guys are up to. You never know.

Jenny Eden: And Vincent, your daughter now, she’s old enough to be thinking about what she wants to do. Is there any sign of her following the family acting tradition?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes, there’s big signs of that. Yes.

Jenny Eden: (Has) she actually (unintelligible) a role on the show yet?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Oh God, no. No, no, no.

Jenny Eden: Not even a sneaky little walk through the background?

Vincent D’Onofrio: I don’t know if she’s done that. She might have done that already. I don’t know. I know my dad has. I, you know, the last thing I would want for Leila is for her first job to be on television. I would much prefer her to keep doing the theater like she’s doing at Brighton College and do a film first. No, I wouldn’t want her to be on TV first.

Jenny Eden: Did you – do you have any doubts about her going into the profession, because it’s not exactly an easy career to pick.

Vincent D’Onofrio: She knows how hard it is. Her mom’s an actress, I’m an actor, or some people think I’m an (actress, actually). But it’s – she knows. She doesn’t have to be told. She knows. I don’t have – I think that my daughter’s a very clever girl. She does really well in school. I think she’s going to have a lot of choices and I think she’s conscious of those choices.

Jenny Eden: Would you like to act with her one day?

Vincent D’Onofrio: I will act with her one day…

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …yes.

Jenny Eden: That’s great. Thank you.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Thank you.

Operator: Nina Hammerling, TVGuide.com.

Nina Hammerling: Hey there. How are you guys doing?

Kathryn Erbe: Hi. Good.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Good, hi.

Nina Hammerling: Good. So I wanted to ask you — it seems like you guys have as a cast sort of a really good groove going. So how is it having Alicia join this year while Julianne is out on maternity leave?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Well we haven’t spent any time with Alicia.

Nina Hammerling: Oh really?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes. No, we…

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …we’re – we do separate shows. We did a photography shoot with her for press early on this season and she’s very nice. But we don’t interact with that show at all. We…

Nina Hammerling: Does it seem – is it hard though, having somebody new come into the mix? I mean obviously Eric – this is his second year coming in, so last year…

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes.

Nina Hammerling: …was his first year. And I wanted to ask you about working with him as well. Is that – was it sort of a difficult transition having sort of someone new step into this kind of family you guys have?

Kathryn Erbe: Yes, I think (in that) a little, but it – but he’s awesome. It just – we’re – I don’t – I know that I don’t deal well with change. I don’t know about Vince, but it was – it – we just had to, you know, at (time) of a lot of change in terms of the story and the show and how we were going to be telling these stories.

And so it was a time of upheaval. We were saying goodbye to Courtney and Jamie. And, you know, we miss them, but it all – it really does feel really good now. We’ve gone through the change and we’re at a point where we’re – we are working really well together.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes, I think it’s more about the loss of Courtney and Jamie than it is the gain of Eric. He’s…

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …you know, we’re having a great time with him being the captain. And, you know, there just being three main characters on the show. And it’s all working well. You know, I was saying earlier though I miss going into the (ADA’s) office, into Courtney’s office…

Nina Hammerling: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …and having scenes in there. But, you know, well like, you know, I agree with what Kate said. You know, (this) – we’ve gone through the change and it’s – and what we have now is working really well. I know I…

Kathryn Erbe: Yes, we…

Vincent D’Onofrio: …sound pretty political, but I don’t mean to sound political. I’m actually telling you the truth.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes. We really love Eric. We’re having a great time with him, and he brings so much to the role and to the stories. He’s got ideas about the stories and he was a huge – just – he was so positive and enthusiastic about coming on. I mean I was sort of…

Vincent D’Onofrio: (Yes).

Kathryn Erbe: …amazed at how much he had done in terms of research about our show and watching the show. And he has so much to talk about with us about things that we had done. And we – I personally hadn’t had that, you know, in depth of a conversation with anybody about…

Kathryn Erbe: …yes. So…

Kathryn Erbe: …he’s just great.

Nina Hammerling: Great. Thank you.

Kathryn Erbe: Well sure.

Operator: Mike Hughes, Gannett News Service.

Mike Hughes: Oh hey…

Kathryn Erbe: Hi.

Mike Hughes: …I just wanted to get the – hi. I just wanted to (catch) a couple quick follow ups here. Kathryn, I really got a kick out of that description of wine parties when you guys are at someone’s apartment building. Tell me a little bit more about what you mean by that. What do people do sometimes when you’re – happen to be shooting in their apartment?

Kathryn Erbe: Sometimes they have people over and they have wine and cheese while they’re watching the monitor while we’re shooting in their apartments.

Mike Hughes: Just nearby in the next room or in a…

Vincent D’Onofrio: No, we have a…

Mike Hughes: …across the hall?

Kathryn Erbe: Yes in the…

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes. Go ahead, Kate.

Kathryn Erbe: It – (they’re) – if we’re shooting say in the living room – well in any place that we’re shooting, they will set up what we call video village, which is where there are monitors where you – where the producers and the directors and the script supervisors will watch what we’re shooting on a television screen.

And so if, for example, the people – sometimes the people are not home. They’ve been relocated to a hotel or – but sometimes their kids are being put to sleep around us, their, you know, their lives have to go on. They don’t have the luxury of being some place else while we’re invading their space.

And there are certain places where we’ve shot where they have – it’s where they’ve been a – something that they’ve done forprestige or because they’re huge fans and they – so they’ll actually set up, you know, they’ll be pouring wine for their couple of friends that they’ve asked to join them and they’ll be sitting at the monitors and they’ll have headphones on and they’ll be listening to us doing the scene and watching (the scene) and it’ll be like a little wine party.

Mike Hughes: That’s good. That’s good. So (unintelligible)…

Kathryn Erbe: We won’t be participating in that, but it’s just them.

Mike Hughes: Okay. And the other thing I wanted to ask — Vincent, you were talking about the fan bases and so forth. And I was wondering if it ever works two ways — one is if you get a script and because you’ve been playing the character so long, you kind of stop the writer and say, “Well no, actually we can’t do that because four years ago we said that I don’t have a (unintelligible),” that kind of thing. And I was wondering if fans have ever told you that same kind of thing — they sometimes send you guys notes correcting you and saying, “No, the first year you did such and such”?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Actually we haven’t had any of that.

Mike Hughes: Okay.

Vincent D’Onofrio: But, you know, there are certain people that read the blogs, you know, and…

Mike Hughes: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: But they have so much to say on those blogs that we could never ever keep up with them or what they want or the mistakes that we’ve made or anything like that. We don’t – well I know – I don’t think we make a conscious effort at actually correcting things that people have said that we’ve done wrong. I – but it – but I’m surprised that the writers – even the new writers know as much as they do about my character. I mean on occasion it happens, but it’s very, very rare.

Mike Hughes: Okay.

Vincent D’Onofrio: I wish I had a more interesting answer for you, but…

Mike Hughes: But…

Vincent D’Onofrio: …I don’t.

Mike Hughes: Well I’ll just ask one other thing. Before Eric arrived, does repetition proceed you as – him as a – had you seen some of his plays and things like that? And…

Kathryn Erbe: Oh…

Mike Hughes: …because (he) can write – yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: (Unintelligible). Oh yes.

Kathryn Erbe: (Unintelligible).

Mike Hughes: He can write such ferocious characters that in a way, did it – were you kind of hesitant for a minute just how scary will he be when he gets here?

Vincent D’Onofrio: He’s a very impressive man. You know, he’s very impressive guy. And just the – without his work being considered he’s very impressive. And I’ve been seeing his plays and (do) – seeing him do his standup stuff early on in his career. You know, I saw all those things. I’ve seen all his things that he’s done in movies.

And, you know, as act to the actors, you know, when you deal with peers, you’re always impressed, you know, not always but, you know, when you are, I should say — when you are impressed with them, it’s an exciting thing to experience. You want to know what they have to say, you know?

Mike Hughes: Okay.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: It’s not intimidating, it’s exciting.

Mike Hughes: Okay, cool. Okay, thanks.

Vincent D’Onofrio: (Yes). Sure.

Kathryn Erbe: (Okay).

Operator: Sarah May, The Express.

Sarah May: Hi, guys. Hi from the UK.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Hi.

Kathryn Erbe: Hi.

Sarah May: Hello there. I just wanted to ask a question about – and what’s been your scariest or weirdest moment filming the show?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Scariest or weirdest moment.

Kathryn Erbe: Well that time that that metal piece flew of the building. That was pretty scary.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes. Yes we were…

Kathryn Erbe: (They) nearly decapitated you.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes. And the…

Kathryn Erbe: And some of the crew.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …(PA) and a first (AD) and a (PA).

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Big like 4×4 piece of sheet metal came flying down caught by the wind off a skyscraper that they were doing construction on, and it just hit – it hit the ground from 40 stories up. It just stabbed the cement. And it could have, you know, it could have brutally killed several people. It was very (scary).

Sarah May: Yes, it sounds terrifying.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes.

Sarah May: And then is there anything interesting that you’ve learned while being on the show?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Learned how to act on TV.

Kathryn Erbe: (Yes).

Vincent D’Onofrio: Big thing, you know. Very different from anything else. Very different. So – I’m…

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …not kidding.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: The way that it’s written, the way there’s so many transitions within a scene — they’re so close together, whereas in a film it would be like four-scenes that you would have that transition to make, and in television it’s a one-page, two-page, three-page scene. It’s a very different way to act. Very different.

Sarah May: And you said earlier that you wouldn’t let your daughter do TV first. Was there a reason why?

Vincent D’Onofrio: I think it’s – I think the way that you – as an actor the way you have to think and the way you have to study and the way you have to ease in – as a character ease into a story. I would prefer her to learn it the way you do it in film and theater than the way you do it on television.

We’ve – Kate and I both have experienced a lot of actors on our show, and luckily we’ve had a lot of really good ones that – I mean just great actors. And we’ve also had actors that have careers because they model their way through (lives), you know, through their acting careers. And I wouldn’t want my daughter to fall into that trap.

Sarah May: Oh. Okay, that’s great. That’s my question. Thank you.

Operator: Stan Urankar, Sun News Papers.

Stan Urankar: You guys operate, you say, so independently of Chris’ section. Let me ask you though — what do you think that Goren and Eames think of Mike Logan?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Oh Jesus. Oh God. I don’t know what to say about that.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes I don’t either.

Stan Urankar: You’ve had some interaction with him in some past episodes, though.

Vincent D’Onofrio: We have. Okay, well if you want to talk about particular episodes, then I think in the stories that we have done with him….

Stan Urankar: Right.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …I think our characters think he’s a little (fast) to bite. He’s a bit of a rabid dog, you know?

Stan Urankar: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: And that’s not the way that we usually do things as far as…

Kathryn Erbe: Right.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …Eames and Goren.

Stan Urankar: Right.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes, he…

Vincent D’Onofrio: So I think – go ahead, Kate.

Kathryn Erbe: (He has) a different technique.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes, he has a different technique. But I, you know, as far as Chris, I don’t think Chris is anything like that, obviously. And – but it – if you want to talk about episodes that we’ve done with him, yes I would think the characters think that way about him.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Stan Urankar: Does the – you guys – when they’re filming off in another unit, then there’s not even any sharing of story lines or going back and forth — their personal lives and your personal lives — in that you’re really just operating in a totally different world?

Kathryn Erbe: I did – I was in an episode with them at the end of last season.

Man: Right.

Kathryn Erbe: …the final episode. But that – other than the time that we did the crossover…

Man: (Right).

Kathryn Erbe: …well it was Chris and Annabella and the two of us. We haven’t really done any interaction.

Man: (Unintelligible).

Kathryn Erbe: It was really fun. I loved working with Julianne and having scenes with Chris. I liked going and being in their episode for a couple of scenes. It – and it felt reallylike a natural thing that would be fun to do more of, but I don’t know how much of that we will do.

Stan Urankar: Right.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes. I mean that’s the thing about the question is. We don’t know what the writers are going to write.

Stan Urankar: Right.

Vincent D’Onofrio: So it may be really fun things coming up or not. I don’t know.

Stan Urankar: Right. Vincent, let me ask you one more thing. With Bobby Goren you created this – such a unique and stylized character. And I’m curious. Back at the time when Dick Wolf hired you and you started (with him), how much of Bobby – the nuances everyone has come to know — the leaning down, the peering into people’s eyes, the interrogation techniques, the observational Sherlock Holmes type skills — how much of that was on the page, and how much was you putting into him?

Vincent D’Onofrio: I don’t know. I get scared (if) I answered questions like this.

Stan Urankar: But it’s about you. Why? You should be able to tell.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes. I think that as an actor I brought as much as I could bring, and I was really in a mode of seeing how much I could get away with…

Stan Urankar: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …and how strange I could make him.

Stan Urankar: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: And there are certain aspects – I mean all the physical stuff that I did was from my own head, you know?

Stan Urankar: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: But the way of actually – the way the last scene can work and stuff, that was Rene Balcer’s writing. And then I would just try and take it off the page and do something even more different with it.

Stan Urankar: Right.

Vincent D’Onofrio: I mean that’s the extent I think.

Stan Urankar: Okay. Well you’ve done something very unique with him. We sure all enjoy it.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Well I appreciate that. Well thank you very much.

Stan Urankar: Thank you. Thanks for taking the time for the call.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Thanks.

Operator: A follow-up from David Martindale of Hearst Newspaper.

David Martindale: One more thing from me. You guys are so funny together. Is there any kind of gallows humor on the set for you two as actors kind of?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Oh my God. I annoy her so much.

Kathryn Erbe: We laugh a lot. We laugh a lot…

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes.

Kathryn Erbe: …especially because we – it – things (were) so hard for so long because – well (unintelligible) we were both going through an enormous amount. And – but we laugh a hell of a lot, and we’ve got jokes that, you know…

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes.

Kathryn Erbe: …(we’ve been using for seven years).

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes.

Kathryn Erbe: And we have a good time. We do – I really would love to do a spoof episode sometime or have a…

Kathryn Erbe: …much more comedic episode, because it is – we really have a good time.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes. And, you know, things always happen on the set that some people find funny and other don’t. And, you know, Kate and I are usually laughing and everybody else just wants us to stop so we can continue the work, you know?

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: But, yes we – it’s good. Yes.

David Martindale: Thanks so much.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes.

Kathryn Erbe: Thank you.

Operator: The last question is a follow-up from Michael Sheridan, New York Daily News.

Vincent D’Onofrio: (Hi).

Michael Sheridan: Oh hi. I just had – how does – with the introduction of Eric Bogosian last year, how did – I – and you guys talked about how is – the actor himself integrated himself into the show, but how did the character for you guys – how did you – do you feel that that changed the dynamic of the show at all?

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes.

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: It’s – first of all, we lost a main character, Courtney. And so just the amount of characters that are serviced in the writing, it makes the show different. It’s a minimal amount of characters now and that just makes the writing different.

Eric – what Eric brings to being the captain is a completely different vibe than Jamie, although I love Jamie. But it’s a completely different vibe and a completely different style of acting. And now that – with all this character driven stuff that Warren Leight’s writing for us, Eric’s character is very relevant in the referring of (the key) characters at times.

David Martindale: (Unintelligible) being a crime show, you deal with dark subject matter and things like that. And you guys mentioned that you like to goof around. Does the goofing around help you at all deal with some of – I know you play the part, they say, “Cut,” and you’re done. But does sometimes you feel like the laughter or something – just getting a laugh helps you shake that stuff off?

Vincent D’Onofrio: I don’t know.

Kathryn Erbe: I don’t know. Probably it does. It’s not (coming) conscious. But the – I mean we’ve been told by (Mike) Struk, who is our technical advisor – he is a detective and has been for many, many – probably too many years. And he – what he say is their humor is – it’s all – it’s the way that they function. It’s the only way to deal with walking into an apartment where someone has been dead for, you know, several days or, you know, these awful things that you have to look at. We’re just looking at (paper).

Vincent D’Onofrio: Yes. I mean…

Kathryn Erbe: It’s really a – on a totally different level. But from – we probably should have more gallows humor written into the stories…

Vincent D’Onofrio: (Unintelligible). (Yes).

Kathryn Erbe: …to paint a more realistic picture of what actually goes on, because they have to make these jokes to keep their morale up.

Vincent D’Onofrio: I think the biggest one though that happens on set is when we deal with children.

Kathryn Erbe: Oh.

Vincent D’Onofrio: I know it does with Katie. It does sometimes with me, too. It depends on the circumstance. But, you know, when we have children in here and they’re playing dead or we have children where they’re acting in very rough circumstances — violent circumstances — it’s – that’s not fun. I don’t like – it’s the one type of story that we don’t like to tell. And we – thank God we do it very rarely where a – where children are involved in some kind of crime or some kind of brutal thing, you know? That…

Kathryn Erbe: Yes.

Vincent D’Onofrio: …stuff is hard. I don’t like that stuff. I don’t think Katie does either.

Kathryn Erbe: No, I hate it.

David Martindale: Okay. And then I guess my last question would be, did you guys do anything during your hiatus’ that are going to be coming up at all, or…

Kathryn Erbe: Not me. I just hung with my kids.

David Martindale: Yes. I did two films and…

Kathryn Erbe: You (have) like 17 new projects coming out, right Vince?

Vincent D’Onofrio: (Only) 18, Kate (but) it – no I just did two films and then I spent the rest of the – I spent a couple months with my kids and my wife and hanging out.

David Martindale: Okay. Well thank you very much.

Vincent D’Onofrio: Thank you.

Carol Janson: Did Vince, you want to mention the name — the name for the films you (did)?

Vincent D’Onofrio: I did one called (Dineros), with – it’s a father/son thing in Brooklyn, and I did another one called Staten Island, which is with Seymour Cassel and Ethan Hawke and myself.

END

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Criminal intent – Last Resort Vid

Duchesscloverly of Youtube. This is a favourite of mine.

The Salton Sea Interview

Tribute’s Bonnie Laufer talks to Vincent D’onofrio about his role in The Salton Sea.

B.L. Wow, that’s quite the character you play in The Salton Sea. This Pooh-Bear, a cocaine-snorting kingpin, is not the most attractive guy! I understand that you were the filmmaker’s first choice to play him!

VDO. I didn’t know that until people began saying it today, but that’s nice to know, I guess.

B.L. So how do you feel about that?

V.DO. Maybe that’s why the director was so nice to me the whole time! Obviously, I feel great about it; it’s nice to know!

B.L.  D.J Caruso, the director, said not only could you pull this off but he was pretty confident that you’d be willing to take it on. Why is that? Why do you gravitate towards these kind of quirky roles?

V.D. Well I am glad that he was so confident. I would have asked for more money if I had known that! I guessover the years, I have established a kind of consciousness about my career that I can play different types ofthings. I’m a character actor and probably for some reason while he was reading the script, he saw me in the partand knew that I could handle it. I would assume it was as simple as that.

B.L. Do you make a conscious effort to look for these kinds of roles?

V.D. No, I don’t sit down and think, “I wonder what kind of extreme character I’ll play next?” But, I like good parts and good stories. It doesn’t matter if they are extreme characters or good guys or bad guys; as long as they are good, chunky roles. So, I guess in a way, I am attracted to them. They don’t always have to be so extreme but if they are written well, then I’m there.

B.L. You really took over this part; you were totally unrecognizable for most of the film. It was such an incredible transformation. Most of the actors lost weight to play drug addicts, but you put on the pounds. How much did you gain?

V.D. I put on somewhere between thirty and forty pounds.

B.L.Was that your choice? Because you have done that before for a role.

V.D. Yes, but it wasn’t really about weight; it was about having met somebody in my past who was very similar to the guy that I played. So, basically, I just took his character and put him in that circumstance. I thought that it would be an interesting choice to go the opposite way of what people think drug addicts look like. I knew that it
would still work because drugs don’t only affect your weight but they make you unhealthy and bit nuts. So, I knew that it was a legitimate choice and that it would probably be one that nobody else would make. That’s why I did it.

B.L. You said that you will never do this again; is this true?

V.D. I think I have put enough weight on and taken weight off — now it’s time to stop.

B.L. How’s your nose doing? In this film, you don’t have one! How gross was that?

V.D. It’s growing back!

B.L. I’m sorry, but that was a really creepy part of your character the nose thing!

V.D. It was written like that.

B.L. Do you like working in films where you have tools to transform yourself?

V.D. Sometimes it’s fun. If it’s gimmicky, I won’t do it. When it’s not, I’ll do it. Pooh-Bear wasn’t a difficult makeup job. Basically, we just plopped this thing on my nose. Then there is one scene where you see the hole in my face and that’s all done with computer graphics. They just put dots on my nose, so it wasn’t a lot of makeup time or anything like that.

B.L. Your day job is on the TV series Law & Order Criminal Intent; you play a pretty normal guy! Is that the way you stay sane in between all of these other roles?

V.D. Maybe it puts my karma metre into the grain a little bit. He’s not that normal. He’s actually kind of a weird guy, if you ask me, but I am having fun doing it. It’s a really good show. He’s kind of a contemporary Sherlock Holmes guy. I like it, it’s an interesting

Good Luck. The Movie.

Ability Magazine Good Luck Interviews

Good Luck. The Movie inspired by real events, is a story of Bernard Lemley (Gregory Hines), a dental technician in Seattle who is fed up with his job. He has been harboring a wild dream-to win a raft race across the ferocious rapids of Oregon’s Rogue River. Even wilder, he decides he wants his partner to be Tony “Ole” Olezeniak (Vince D’Onofrio), an ex-football superstar who lost his sight in an accident. Bernard Lemley is paraplegic.Good Luck is a rollicking and spirited film about two men and a journey called life.

 There was a sneak preview of the film at the Olympic Village in Atlanta, during the Paralympic Games. The film was sponsored by AT&T, Kodak and the Atlanta Governors’ Council. They paid for an outdoor screen and a DTS audio system because there are no theaters which house more than two or three wheelchairs at a time. Over1,000 athletes, judges and staff members saw the film. Later they said “it was one of the most important films Hollywood has produced about people with disabilities because it is the first time they are portrayed not as victims, but in a truly positive and uplifting light.”

 

 CC: How do you prepare yourself to play the role of a person that is blind?

VD: First you need to find out how the character you are playing became blind? Was he born blind or was it an accident of some kind? Because their physical behavior and their physiological behavior is different if they were born without sight than if they have lost their sight in an accident. I read a bit about blindness and I went to visit the Braille Institute. I spoke with some people there and I watched a few educational tapes. These tapes were

designed to help family members learn how to understand the psychological impact of being blind. Those were helpful. Once I thought what the psychological behavior was going to be like I knew how I would play the role. My character was depressed for a long time. He had lost his career and his wife had left him. The character of the story is not a heavy drama, so there is only so much you can put into it without making the movie too heavy because you want to keep it in the comedic genre. So you can’t go too heavy with it for this particular film. You

need to figure out what you can use. Then the actual technique of it as an actor to perform it as if you were sight impaired or without sight. My character had no sight at all. To do this you need a concentration technique called the Stanislavsky system of acting which turned into the Straussberg Studio of method acting. I don’t follow it all but it was a part of my schooling at the American Stanislavsky Theatre. You formulate your own technique through a blend of all the others you learn. The technique I would use to portray a sight impaired person, your

eyes still have to move. The muscles around the eyes, unless you have been injured, still work. So there is eye movement, you blink. So the way to do that is you sit in a dark room with a straight backed chair and you create an object that is familiar to you. Something that is easy to create. Something that you can put right in front of your minds’ eye, floating right in front of you. Less than two feet in front of you. Then you create this. In my case I used an eight ball. It was easy for me to create. So I pictured it and became comfortable viewing the eight ball with my eyes closed. Then you open your eyes and move your head around and move your eyes around but you are never seeing anything but what you are concentrating on, in my case the eight ball. This is how I play blind in plays and theatre.

 CC: Has anyone discussed the concept of having a blind person play the part of the blind character, instead of a sighted actor portraying a blind person

 VD: There have been people who have mentioned this but not actually discussed it with me. There have been blind people in the audience who have listened to it and have loved the film. But nobody has ever brought it up.  I am conscious of it though, that these problems exist for actors with a disability. They don’t get to play disabled roles very often. My opinion is that the producers are having to take into consideration that if they are going to hire someone to do the things Greg and I were doing, white water rafting, wheelchair antics, and things that could be

dangerous, the financiers, the bond companies and the banks would not like the fact that their money would be at risk. The insurance companies would never go for it. I do think that in a story with less antics in it would be fine to use a person with a disability. I can’t understand why they don’t use them every time. If they can act. They should not use somebody just because they are disabled, the person with a disability has to be able to act as well. Like any actor, they should be used if they are right for the part.

 CC: What movie are you producing?

 VD: A movie called the Velocity of Gary. It is about the New York street. It is a three character piece and it’s about their relationships as they live on the street. I produced a film about a year and a half ago with Director, Dan Ireland, called The Whole Wide World. He and I will do another one in September.

 CC: You also played the villain in the movie Men in Black.

 VD: Yes that was a great part. Barry gave me the control of my character and he let me do some things that weren’t in the script. This is why I have stayed a character actor all these years. Unless you look like Brad Pitt, it’s really hard to have full control of your character. When you are a character actor they trust you will go in and give them a full character and leave. I prefer that. They are much more fun.

Thumbsucker Clip – Cleaning the Garage

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VDO on the TODAY SHOW

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