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AUSXIP Interviews Bruce McGill
Interviewed by Lori
- 07 July 2011

Given your previous roles, which don’t normally fall into being the lovable cop, why did you want this role?

Well, I decided that given the way the business is going and my increasing displeasure in airports that I would like a steady job. Cause most of my work is feature work all over the world, but I don’t know how you feel about it now, but I’m so sick of the airport experience. So that’s why they put me in the market to do a TV series in any regard. Then I like the TNT schedule. I like the fact that they do 15 shows, so you work 5, 6, or 7 months of the year instead of 10 months of the year so I could still have a feature career. And then I responded to Angie Harmon being in it, who I’ve known for years and I like. And I responded to the material, I thought it was really well written…the pilot. I have to make my decision to do it based on one script and meeting the people. So once I decided I was going to do a TV series and I started looking around some of them, I just thought were so poorly written that I couldn’t do anything but be bad and this one I found had everything I was looking for.And in the pilot it was very clear that Korsak was an animal lover, and I have to say besides working with Angie who I like and I think is really, you know, fun to watch and fun to work with, I just thought it was really cool that this tough cop who would pull an ankle holster and blow a bad guy away in a second would stop and pick up a stray cat or a stray dog a make sure it got cleaned up and fed. And that just really resonated with me cause I love dogs, I looove dogs.

It’s a different aspect to a cop that you don’t normally see it

Well actually it comes from a real life thing that happened to Mike Robin who directed the pilot. When he was doing “NYPD Blues” or “Hillstreet”, one of those cop shows, they had a technical advisor who is a really tough guy and you know kept everybody in order and knew the whole drill and then one day he found a bird with an injured wing, he picked it up and started talking baby talk to it and then turned, wiped right around and yelled at somebody that was, you know, causing them problems to move it along. So I thought what an interesting dichotomy. Anyway that drew me, the fact that I wanted to do the show is probably largely affected by that character, and those character traits. It implies the opposite of the thug bad cop that we see a lot in movies in TV.

Are we going to see any changes to Korsak in the aftermath of Jane’s shooting?

He gets promoted to sergeant, which is sort of a big change. And that’s so she and I and Frost can work as a team rather than just two equal detectives, there’s a sergeant and two detectives, sort of under him, but of course we know it’s not called Korsak and Isles. So, we follow mainly the adventures of Jane. So, I think I’ve lost some weight from the last season, so I’m a better looking cop they tell me and I’m in it a lot more starting about the 3rd episode . I’m in it, you know I got a pretty good deal last season I’d work 2 or 3 days an episode and now I’m working every day. It gives me good insight into the workload that Angie Harmon is taking on, it’s really staggering. It really is because it comes fast. You know you don’t get it in time to know it all…you’re learning yesterday’s before you get tomorrow’s and you really don’t have the time that I used to use in the feature world strictly for memorizing and deciding how to attack the scene. You’re just shooting all the time so, it’s wild and having experienced it a little more I have great respect and compassion for what it’s like to have that workload. So, it’s good for me, it’s really good, all actors want a better part and I’ve got a better part starting about episode 3 or 4.

Since I’ve seen the first couple of episodes, I know that Korsak takes Frankie under his wing at work. How does it change the dynamic in the squad room and what’s it like working with Jordan?

Oh, Jordan is great, they are all great. Everybody I work with, you know, is very present and very interested in the project…there is no dilettante behavior, there’s no…you know, nobody’s a big problem, an obstacle to production which I’ve experienced in the past, so that’s great. And Jordan’s like a big dog himself, he’s just so happy to be there and that’s pleasant. We make some hay out of it, by me with Jane saying so what are you following him for, I’m a great detective. So we get some, you know, we’re always looking for some ways to wind up Jane Rizzoli’s character and Frankie studying under me is one of them. And at the same time when they fall into brother  and sister stuff, I go, you kids work it out I’ll be in the car. So, I don’t engage in their little brother and sisterly squabbles.

Will we be learning anything about Korsak’s past this season, any chance of an ex-wife popping up?

I don’t know, there are 3 that get mentioned, but I haven’t heard. I think it’s too early for them to…they really haven’t finished developing Jane and Maura yet and I’m sure when they look at this, hopefully they look to have stories and characters that unfold over many seasons. So at this point, we don’t know, Korsak is, you know a lot about Korsak as a cop and a lot about Korsak as a friend of Jane’s, but not a whole lot about his personal life and certainly we will not, no script that I have read do you meet one of the ex-wifes, they are referred to obliquely, usually her making fun of me giving anybody advice.

I think it would be interesting

Well write and tell them so and I bet they will. I know they will get around to it but I just don’t think…I surprised that I’ve even gotten as much more work days and screen time this season as I have. I expected that would probably take till season 3.

You’ve got a lovable character, so everybody enjoys you.

Oh, thank you, I like him a lot, he’s great and we have the greatest technical advisor and a real retired Boston Homicide cop that just, whenever I’m getting a little far from what’s plausible or real in the eyes of a real cop, he’s right there and he just such a valuable asset, Detective Russ Grant. I’m sure Angie has talked about him too. But he’s a really valuable thing to have there. And we just look toward whatever they write I got to do. I don’t have script approval, so whatever they write and they are very responsible with their characters and they too are trying to keep this thing open ended and interesting. I hope they don’t wait too long to where people don’t care what Korsak does away from work. But I’m hoping the first date you see Korsak have is with a good looking dog. I think Korsak has given up on women.

Was the “Animal House” reference in season 1 an ad-lib or scripted?

Oh no, in fact, Janet came up to me and said would I have a problem making a reference to “Animal House”? And I said absolutely not. I have no problem with being associated with one of the funniest movies ever. No it was scripted and she asked about it before she put it in.

With so many of the R&I cast and crew on Twitter sending out photos and videos, are you going to get on Twitter?

Oh no.

You’re not a Twitter person?

No. As soon as all that stuff started coming around I felt very clearly and it was very simple for me that I don’t even like as many portals into my life as I have to have to do good business. So, to add to it to me seemed counter intuitive.  Plus if I don’t tweet at all and can’t tweet anything inappropriate,can I.

That’s true. I did enjoy the twitvids of you playing the guitar.

Oh, that’s interesting. I think it’s interesting, but I’m just not going to get involved doing it actively, but  I can’t control it. When I was playing the guitar it was just because we happened to be shooting in the Rose Bowl and I always have a guitar and I thought when is the next chance I would get to play in that great big tiled shower at the Rose Bowl. Cause it’s huge, you know. And just all over the world I go to places that might be acoustically interesting for a classical guitar.

Who is the biggest prankster on the set and is there any prank you can tell about?

Well, I gotta say the funniest person is probably Angie. But there is no time for pranking…this is not like a long feature shoot. We are shooting so hard and so fast, and pages are flying, and rewrites are coming and the hours are impossibly long anyway. So, there is no pranks, but there are funny responses to things that go wrong between takes, or the difficulty of trying to do a scene that you don’t really know that well yet because you got it an hour ago. And when Angie explodes out of frustration with lines or whatever it’s often very funny. But there have not been any pranks, I don’t know if this one will ever get to the point where there is enough downtime or boredom to be George Clooney on his movie sets or anything like that. Anyway no one yet has immerged as the prankster.

And one final question, if you could use one word to describe the ladies of the cast what would it be?

I think tasmanian devil and honey badger.

What about Lorraine?


Interesting words…

Oh, I don’t really know, those are like a rorschach, off the very top of my head. Lorraine just did a reading, at a table reading and she was reading another character cause we don’t always have the whole cast when we do the table reads and for some reason she decided to read her so loud, it was like a Bayside Queens foghorn, it was funny. It’s a really great group of people and everybody brings it all the time, and that’s all you can ask. Sometimes we are like cross eyed tired and you think how come my mouth will not work. I’m telling it what to say and then you realize you’ve been shooting for 14 hours and you’ve just reached the wall. And you know coffee won’t do it after a period of time, you just get too tired. It’s a great group.

Well thank you very much Bruce, it’s been great talking to you.

And thank you and thanks for your interest. And tell them to write me some "what’s Korsak doing tonight stuff."