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C.S.I. Gary Dourdain Q&A

  The Spinning Image (TSI): Do you ever think you’re supporting the crime rather than it being about the actors?

Gary Dourdain (GD): That’s what you call formula tv. When we first started, we needed to show more of the characters and now we’re going, “I need a day off. D’you think this could be about the crime, cos there’s too much character stuff goin on there. I’d 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 it’s good to go to work, I feel like I’m doing something. You come home from work and you feel like you’ve put something…

TSI: How did you come to CSI?

CSIGD: 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. Sweet Justice in New York was a crime show that we did for Nick Wharf (check) New York Undercover and Law and 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 ** 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 won’t get picked up. I don’t know if it’s a tax right of the production company to do shit pilots…

None of us were expecting this, certainly not this much success. It’s still going. We’re still kind of like – it’s ridiculous. Critics hate us. (laughter) They keep on talking shows up to knock us off but they don’t I understand why either. They ask us, we don’t understand either, there’s no (forming?) to that.

Hopefully not no. There’s a lot of shitty ones it’s 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 (…) We’re on network TV so we have to compete with HBO and Showtime and those (…) just making TV bigger and better with more curse words and bigger sex scenes and we have to compete with that. It’s hard to. It’s why they won all the awards and get all the accolades but you know, making a show that’s like that - there’s 22 of us now just in the States and across the world. (??!!)

Look at some of the HBO shows like The Sopranos. The Italians don’t like The Sopranos!

TSI: So, what’s the effect of shows like CSI on judicial system (if any)

GD: Speaking to the law enforcement who couldn’t 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 there’s some good and bad to it I suppose. That’s what we get from law enforcement all the time, criminals watch our shows, this is what to see what not to do!

TSI: Do you get many kids showing an interest in forensic science?

CSIGD: That’s the most positive CSi effect, I do have lots of kids come up to be and going “what job is it? I want to be a forensic scientist.” “Are you sure kid? It’s carving off the top of heads and shit. It’s nasty shit!” It’s rought, these guys who’ve been in law enforcement 27 years, I don’t’ 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, I’ve seen my fair share of dead bodies and I’ve been to my fair share of coroner’s autopsy visitations. They just stick in your mind forever about what you’ve done to the human body, figure out what happened to it.

I said ‘ass’ the other day and someone quickly went (whispers) “I don’t think we can say ass!” We can’t say ass? But you can show somebody getting a knife in them! (Heaviest Porsche???) and shit, but you can’t say ass! And you can’t breasts. And you can’t show an ass. It doesn’t make sense at all.

I didn’t 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 weren’t able to do it with the whole cast because everyone was in different cities by the time they decided we’d do one for AR, like 10 years after we’d done it. But it was fun to do because you don’t watch the shows – you put them away after you see it, you do something else, you’re making another show, it happens. This show’s a season I haven’t even seen yet because I’ve been shooting at the same time with Aaron so I was able to go back and really see stuff that I hadn’t seen before, really pick it apart.

TSI: Did you have favourite shows that bonded?

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

TSI: Did you think there’d be a lot of techno stuff in there?

GD: 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 don’t get put in til post, so we’re acting but then we see the show and we see all that cool science shit the science guys put in and I didn’t know it was going to be about that!

TSI: How are you with the understanding of science?

CSIGD: I’m learning something new everyday man, I don’t know half this shit! I read the script and I’m like, what is that, but you need to learn. There’s a really short learning curve. Lucky that we’ve got all these cops around, ex cops and current cops, real CSIs who are there for the terminology, explain in layman’s terms what it is, I’ve got a guy’s 10 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, that’s something that we learn everyday so it’s fascinating. That’s 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, what’s the weirdest case they dealt with. Some great stories you know, and I enjoyed talking to them and learning about something that I’d figured I’d pursue. Like I told you, it’s a hard job and there’s one guy who calls it easy money, one of the cops. “How’re you doing today Larry?” “Aw, it’s easy money man.” (Kick them when you’re above the ground, talk about being here! Makes no sense at all)

TSI: Are you taking an interest in the investigation of your brothers death because of CSI?

GD: No, that’s just something fabricated by the press. It didn’t really happen like that. It’s just something they put together because my brother had a mysterious death so they figured they’d put a twist on it.

TSI: So, are you planning on making the jump from the small screen to the silver one?

GD: I’m starting a film on Sunday, in New York and to be honest with you, I was just talking to someone about that. You’re ambitious, you want to do a (can’t hear properly…) you don’t want to see another set or another director or another wardrobe person, you want to go home and hang! But as I said I’m ambitious so I’m taking projects and it’s good to be at the level where you can choose, and you have to keep it coming along because you’ve got to pay the rent.

TSI: What’s the deal with Thin Lizzy

GD: The problem was that I just found out last weekend I heard that Phil Lynott, his wife owns the rights to his music and doesn’t want the film being made because she doesn’t want any bad stories about her to come out. It’s all about the girl! It’s held up. I went to the island about two and a half years ago and she’s great, she’s fantastic. (The voice) It’s kinda deep, like someone’s punched his nose a couple of times y’know? When I was there it was easy because you’re talking to everyone all day, then you come back and it’s “Where the fuck you been, England?” It’s like over here, you start speaking with a little Western twang.

TSI: What do you think of the shows cinematic TV style?

CSIGD: 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 they’re shooting now which is a pain in the ass but he’s a great filmmaker. It looks like a film, highly stylised and I appreciate it because they’re shooting in small screen, but like I said – with HBO, Showtime, all these TV stations are making short films and you’ve 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. It’s quality. And they need the money, and they’re broke because the movie industry went belly up for a minute, and they looking at me going, “Dude, you don’t know how fucking lucky you are to have a hit show, to be sitting there on a steady job, going in to work everyday.” These are actors who are fucking A-list saying that to me, and I’m going, “Is it THAT bad? Everyone knows you! You can’t get a job? Damn!”

TSI: CSI to shake-up Louise, Eric etc?

GD: It’s good. It’s nice to have (drama to play?), just like the wife thing. At first I was like, that came out of nowhere, but it’s good to have. You don’t want the same, you don’t 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 she’s a problem?

TSI: Two teams reintegrated?

GD: 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 there’s usually one or two divas on the set and we didn’t really have them, or at least it was kept to a minimum, you know, like the divide-em (????) two minimums so it’s not really abrasive. Everyone gets on really well and we have good chemistry.

TSI: Excuse the cheesy questions, but what’s your favourite episode?

GD: Not this year yet cos I haven’t seen all of them, but still to this day my favourite one was in season 4 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 you’re support you can kind of lean on people (…league?) and you have to be there. It taught me a lot as an actor and raised the bar for me.

TSI: What did you think of Quentin Tarantino?

GD: That was a lot of fun cos Quentin is a crazy motherfucker! (laughs) He’s great, it was awesome to work with him, and he’s always infectious, his enthusiasm, he’s always above the roof, out of the roof, so excited, he’s always telling these stories, He’s listening to great records old movies, he know the characters from the old movies, knows the names of the actors, he’s an encyclopaedic walker! He’s a bad man, he’s 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 “…squeaks”. So one show turns into two shows. “I’m (can’t hear) and we still haven’t gotten those five scenes? Oh no!” 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 “you can’t do this” We’re all sitting there going “He won’t say that! (???)” Yeah man, he’s a big fan and he watches a lot of TV and stuff.


The team is back! Momentum Pictures is proud to present the eagerly awaited 24 April 2006 retail DVD release of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 5 Part 1. Twelve heart-stopping episodes of this first class drama presented in a three disc box set, including the 100th Episode Ch-Ch-Changes and a slew of fabulous extras: The Research of CSI: Maintaining The Accuracy, CSI: Procedures on the Scene and in the Lab and Commentaries accompanying episodes 8, 9, 15, 21 and 22. You can buy it here!
Author: Darren Jones.


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