Leelee Sobieski Convincing in CBS Drama NYC 22 - Hunger Games Adds Diversity to Wes Bentley Credits
Leelee Sobieski certainly goes against type in her first regular series role, playing an Iraq War MP turned tough-cookie rookie cop in CBS's "NYC 22" police drama, which debuts April 15.
She's convincing, especially when she gets a juvenile thug in an armlock to make sure he understands the importance of treating her with respect. But the actress recalls that as soon as the director called "cut" in that scene, she was saying, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"
"He was really so cute -- like a little angel kid. It's very hard when you have to do some stuff like that. I'm always going around giving everyone hugs," admits Leelee.
She tells us she didn't have to think twice about taking the role.
Executive producers Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal were a lure, "of course."
Also, "I've always loved Richard Price's writing," she says of the esteemed author, whose credits include "Lush Life" and "The Wanderers," as well as scripts for "The Color of Money," "Sea of Love" and HBO's "The Wire."
Price created "NYC 22" in addition to being another executive producer.
Leelee has major personal considerations, as well.
"It's wonderful to be able to shoot in New York. My husband and daughter and I live here. My whole family is based here. My mother, mother-in-law, grandmother-in-law, brother and sister-in-law are all here and a lot of friends, too. And I liked that it was an ensemble piece," The schedule allows her to spend days at home with her little girl between shooting. Raising a 2-year-old "is much harder than doing the acting," she lets us know with a laugh.
The "Joan of Arc" star gleaned "interesting little things to put into my character" from talking to real NYPD officers, both women and men. "I went up to a lot of cops on the street. The female officers have to be really strong. I hadn't realized that, for a police officer in the first few days on the job, some of them almost felt like they were playing the part of a cop, too," she notes. She also learned that the gun belt "is really hard on women who have hips. It goes from side to side; it's moving around a lot. It digs into your hipbones."
With the first season's episodes of "NYC 22" in the can, Leelee is currently focusing on "just being a mom, and then also, I like to paint. I think I might even eventually segue into doing that as my main thing," she discloses. The silence and solitude of painting seem worlds away from the art of acting, but Leelee observes candidly, "I think I've never been too flashy of an actress or whatever. And it's really not so different; it's also a great outlet for emotions. There are lots of actors who enjoy painting, a lot of directors that paint, too."
VIEW FROM OUTSIDE:
The "Grimm" troupe is three episodes away from finishing production of its first season, with the cast and crew of that NBC supernatural crime drama in good spirits as they near the finish line. "I don't know that we're a huge hit, but certainly a hit enough. It exceeds most expectations," notes Silas Weir Mitchell, who plays the series' good wolfman, Monroe. "Being on Fridays is a nice element, because I think the expectations, viewership-wise, are less on a Friday. We're doing really well with Live+7, which is anybody who watches it on DVR or On Demand within seven days of the original airdate. As far as that metric goes, we're doing very well."
Mitchell is known for having played a string of disturbed and/or disturbing characters on "Prison Break" (as "Haywire" Patoshik), "Burn Notice" (as unstable arms dealer Seymour) and other shows. He laughs when asked whether he yearns to play a regular sort, say a suburban dad or an office worker.
"I don't know about playing 'regular,' per se, but I think it would be fun to play someone whose rhythms are slower and kind of more delicate than Monroe, whose brain fires at a certain speed," he says. "I love the bouncy, firecracker mind, but I think it would be fun to play someone deliberate, just as a change of pace."
The actor is grateful that he hasn't had to endure as many hours in the makeup chair as some might expect for the transformation into his creature alter ego. He tells us that the team shot sequences of Monroe, the Blutbad, doing various movements all at once and interspersed them through the season, as needed. "The guy who has really had to take it on the chin in terms of schedule is David Giuntoli," he says of the series' lead. "Especially at the beginning, it was really all about him and stuff he was doing. Now, as the story has entrenched itself and grown roots, there are more people involved in the story, and it's a little easier on him."
'HUNGER' FOR SUCCESS:
Wes Bentley, who told us his goal was to compile a diverse new set of credits over the past couple of years, couldn't get much further away from his police detective role in the recent "Gone" thriller than his character as head gamemaker Seneca Crane in the hugely anticipated "The Hunger Games," which opens March 23.
"Oh, gosh, yeah. They're totally different," notes the actor, who sports a beard cut with all the precision of a topiary garden in "Games."
The handsome heartthrob, who rose to fame in 1999's "American Beauty," rekindled his career -- and now enjoys family life with his wife and toddler son -- after surmounting years of drug addiction. He also has the Linda Lovelace biopic, "Lovelace," due to open this year. And he's most recently been shooting the apocalyptic Western-thriller "The Time Being" with Frank Langella.
© COPYRIGHT 2012 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH
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