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THE 'CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION' INTERVIEWS - PART 2

Gary Dourdan

 

Do you ever think youíre supporting the crime rather than it being about the actors?

Thatís what you call formula TV. When we first started, we needed to show more of the characters and now weíre going, ďI need a day off. Díyou think this could be about the crime, cos thereís too much character stuff goin' on there". Iíd just love a week off.

This season has actually been really good. When we got back from summer break, we were actually really surprised; the scripts were much better, there were stronger storylines and itís good to go to work, I feel like Iím doing something. You come home from work and you feel like youíve put somethingÖ

How did you come to be in CSI?

I was doing theatre in New York, small parts in big films and big parts in small films. Couple of TV shows, couple of sitcoms and a couple of crime shows. Swift Justice was a crime show that we did for Dick Wolf, New York Undercover and Law & Order. I did a pilot with Mark, which was supposed to be a show, basically the precursor to this happening but was eight years before, and a guy named John Sacret Young wrote and directed it. Have you heard of China Beach? He was one of the writers on China Beach. Some actors, they are just professional pilot actors, they turn up and obviously know they wonít get picked up. I donít know if itís a tax write-off for the production company to do shit pilotsÖ

None of us were expecting this, certainly not this much success. Itís still going. Weíre still kind of like Ė itís ridiculous. Critics hate us. [Laughter] They keep on talking shows up to knock us off but they donít I understand why either. They ask us, we donít understand either, thereís no (forming?) to that.

Hopefully not no. Thereís a lot of shitty ones, itís true. When we came up with the concept I think, there was always certain dilutions that have to take place because of TV and if you try to dilute the diluted already you just end up coming up with (Ö) Weíre on network TV so we have to compete with HBO and Showtime and those (Ö) just making TV bigger and better with more curse words and bigger sex scenes and we have to compete with that. Itís hard to. Itís why they won all the awards and get all the accolades but you know, making a show thatís like that - thereís twenty-two of us now just in the States and across the world. (??!!)

Look at some of the HBO shows like The Sopranos. The Italians donít like The Sopranos!

Has the series had an effect on the judicial system?

Speaking to the law enforcement who couldnít catch a guy at first because he wore booties during the murder. He wore booties? Before he killed somebody, it was that premeditated. So definitely thereís some good and bad to it I suppose. Thatís what we get from law enforcement all the time, criminals watch our shows, this is what to see what not to do!

Has it had an effect on kids studying science?

Thatís the most positive CSI effect, I do have lots of kids come up to be and going ďwhat job is it? I want to be a forensic scientist.Ē ďAre you sure kid? Itís carving off the top of heads and shit. Itís nasty shit!Ē Itís rough, these guys whoíve been in law enforcement twenty-seven years, I donítí know how they do it, they see a lot of hard stuff. I did other shows before, a movie and a cop show in New York, Iíve seen my fair share of dead bodies and Iíve been to my fair share of coronerís autopsy visitations. They just stick in your mind forever about what youíve done to the human body, figure out what happened to it.

I said Ďassí the other day and someone quickly went (whispers) ďI donít think we can say ass!Ē We canít say ass? But you can show somebody getting a knife in them! (Heaviest Porsche???) and shit, but you canít say ass! And you canít show breasts. And you canít show an ass. It doesnít make sense at all.

I didnít think I would. I got there late. [Laughs] I was like this was going to suck but it was a lot of fun. When we did Alien Resurrection, we werenít able to do it with the whole cast because everyone was in different cities by the time they decided weíd do one for Alien Resurrection, like ten years after weíd done it. But it was fun to do because you donít watch the shows Ė you put them away after you see it, you do something else, youíre making another show, it happens. This showís a season I havenít even seen yet because Iíve been shooting at the same time with Aaron so I was able to go back and really see stuff that I hadnít seen before, really pick it apart.

Did you have favourite shows before CSI?

In the beginning it was The Mod Squad and Mission: Impossible, those were my favourite shows. I was really young when it [Mission: Impossible] was out. And then of course there was Barney and Starsky and Hutch. The cool cop shows. Barney was a funny, cool cop show.

Did you think thereíd be a lot of techno stuff in there?

The first couple of ones it was fascinating to me too, introducing the character so it had some science stuff in there but not as much as we later developed it and found what our show was about, what the people liked, and then we started putting a lot of that stuff in. They donít get put in until post, so weíre acting but then we see the show and we see all that cool science shit the science guys put in and I didnít know it was going to be about that!


Do you understand the science behind the show?

Iím learning something new everyday man, I donít know half this shit! I read the script and Iím like, what is that, but you need to learn. Thereís a really short learning curve. Lucky that weíve got all these cops around, ex cops and current cops, real CSIs who are there for the terminology, explain in laymanís terms what it is, Iíve got a guyís ten year history of being on the force with me half the time, at least a practical knowledge of it. The street stuff is something different, and having the stomach to do something different, having cause and effect, thatís something that we learn everyday so itís fascinating. Thatís something I really enjoy coming into work and learning. Some of the cops we have are really cool, they just talk to you, tell you about a case they dealt with where something went down, whatís the weirdest case they dealt with. Some great stories you know, and I enjoyed talking to them and learning about something that Iíd figured Iíd pursue. Like I told you, itís a hard job and thereís one guy who calls it easy money, one of the cops. ďHowíre you doing today Larry?Ē ďAw, itís easy money man.Ē (Kick them when youíre above the ground, talk about being here! Makes no sense at all)

Did you take an interest in the investigation of your brother's murder because of CSI?

[Gary's brother was murdered when he was on holiday in Haiti, when Gary was six years' old]

No, thatís just something fabricated by the press. It didnít really happen like that. Itís just something they put together because my brother had a mysterious death so they figured theyíd put a twist on it.

Have you considered doing some films?

Iím starting a film on Sunday, in New York and to be honest with you, I was just talking to someone about that. Youíre ambitious, you want to do a [muffled] you donít want to see another set or another director or another wardrobe person, you want to go home and hang! But as I said Iím ambitious so Iím taking projects and itís good to be at the level where you can choose, and you have to keep it coming along because youíve got to pay the rent.

There was talk about you starring in a movie about [70s rock band] Thin Lizzy?

The problem was that I just found out last weekend I heard that Phil Lynott's wife owns the rights to his music and doesnít want the film being made because she doesnít want any bad stories about her to come out. Itís all about the girl! Itís held up. I went to the island about two and a half years ago and sheís great, sheís fantastic. (The voice) Itís kinda deep, like someoneís punched his nose a couple of times yíknow? When I was there it was easy because youíre talking to everyone all day, then you come back and itís ďWhere the fuck you been, England?Ē Itís like over here, you start speaking with a little Western twang.

CSI has a very cinematic style...

I was lucky in our show, just two weeks ago I finally got HD on my TV and I found an HD-looking film, at least a show that I saw that theyíre shooting now which is a pain in the ass but heís a great filmmaker. It looks like a film, highly stylised and I appreciate it because theyíre shooting in smallscreen, but like I said Ė with HBO, Showtime, all these TV stations are making short films and youíve got to compete. A lot of movie actors are doing TV and not feeling secure about it, whereas five, ten years ago they felt really insecure about doing TV. Itís quality. And they need the money, and theyíre broke because the movie industry went belly up for a minute, and they looking at me going, ďDude, you donít know how fucking lucky you are to have a hit show, to be sitting there on a steady job, going in to work everyday.Ē These are actors who are fucking A-list saying that to me, and Iím going, ďIs it THAT bad? Everyone knows you! You canít get a job? Damn!Ē

There's been a shake-up at CSI... Louise, Eric etc?

Itís good. Itís nice to have (drama to play?), just like the wife thing. At first I was like, that came out of nowhere, but itís good to have. You donít want the same, you donít want to (Walk past the clock?) everyday, you want something different, something to throw you off, (something to get you??) off your trolley as you would say. Louise is hot shit! We look at dead bodies all day, you think sheís a problem?

Have the two teams been reintegrated?

Feeling better because it was getting a little bit weird, we were riding around all the time just being apart and it was starting to become an issue.

In the early days George and I used to hang out a bunch, but then he got a girlfriend. You know what happens. We were really lucky because thereís usually one or two divas on the set and we didnít really have them, or at least it was kept to a minimum, you know, like the divadum (????) two minimums so itís not really abrasive. Everyone gets on really well and we have good chemistry.

Do you have a favourite episode?

Not this year yet cos I havenít seen all of them, but still to this day my favourite one was in season two, Ellie, because it had a big story arc in it for me, that I had to be the boss for a day and it was hard work because I had to come in early every day! I had to carry the show and it taught me a lot about what hard work it is to carry a show, to keep that bar up there. When youíre support you can kind of lean on people (Öleague?) and you have to be there. It taught me a lot as an actor and raised the bar for me.

What was working with Quentin Tarantino like?

That was a lot of fun cos Quentin is a crazy motherfucker! [Laughs] Heís great, it was awesome to work with him, and heís always infectious, his enthusiasm, heís always above the roof, out of the roof, so excited, heís always telling these stories, Heís listening to great records old movies, he know the characters from the old movies, knows the names of the actors, heís an encyclopaedic walker! Heís a bad man, heís a bad motherfucker [Laugh]. It was a lot of fun, but it was hard. It was a hard episode, it was our last episode and we were all tired and in he comes all ďÖsqueaksĒ. So one show turns into two shows. ďIím (canít hear) and we still havenít gotten those five scenes? Oh no!Ē So then we did not envy Uma Thurman anymore. She got it hardcore. But it was a great honour to have him on, and for him to be so appreciative and to be such a fan. He came up to all of us and told us about our characters ďyou canít do thisĒ Weíre all sitting there going ďHe wonít say that! (???)Ē Yeah man, heís a big fan and he watches a lot of TV and stuff.

I heard Marlon Brando requested to be a body?

What? Why did nobody tell me?! That would have been cool man. We had Faye Dunaway but everyone said she was (madida??)

What are you working on next?

[A film called] Perfect Stranger. Bruce Willis and Halle Berry. I play Bruce Willisí lover. Itís a big break for him. Actually I have a date with him now.
 

The 'CSI' Interviews - Part 1

CSI: Crime Scene Investigations - Season 5 - Part 1 is available to buy on DVD now, with an RRP of £39.99


Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed here.


 

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