Interview with Jason Lee of "Memphis Beat" on TNT - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Jason Lee

Transcript of Interview with Jason Lee 5/24/10

Unfortunately I missed this conference. I think Jason Lee is great, and I am really looking forward to his new show, "Memphis Beat"!

Operator: Good day and welcome to the Jason Lee conference call. Todayís conference is being recorded.

At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Chrissie Eckhardt. Please go ahead.

Chrissie Eckhardt: Hi everyone. Thank you so much for joining the Jason Lee Memphis Beat conference call. Jason Lee stars in TNTís new drama series Memphis Beat which premiers on TNT on Tuesday, June 22 at 10 pm Eastern.

Operator: Thank you. The question and answer session will be conducted electronically. If you would like to ask a question, please do so by pressing the star key followed by the digit 1 on your touch-tone telephone. If you are using a speakerphone, please make sure your mute function is turned off to allow your signal to reach our equipment. Please limit yourself to one question per turn and again, it is star 1.

Weíll take our first question from Jamie Steinberg with Starry Constellation Magazine.

Jamie Steinberg: Hi. Itís a pleasure to speak with you.

Jason Lee: Hi.

Jamie Steinberg: Just real quick, Iíd like to know, whatís it like working without the mustache?

Jason Lee: Itís quite nice to have a completely different look. Yes, it is.

Jamie Steinberg: And what made you want to be a part of this show?

Jason Lee: Well, you know, the character was very appealing and the fact that itís a very different and unique talk show and certainly that he performs Elvis songs at night.

Operator: Weíll take our next question from Jenny Rarden with

Jenny Rarden: Hi. Thanks for speaking with us today.

Jason Lee: Hello.

Jenny Rarden: In the pilot, we didnít get to see a lot of side-by-side interaction with Dwight and Whitehead. Show like - in other cop shows like Law & Order detectives are rarely seen apart. Will we see more of that or will they work together and separately both each episode?

Jason Lee: No. Theyíre connected. Theyíre joined at the hip for the rest of the series very well. Yeah, thereís a lot of interaction with those guys.

Operator: Weíll go next to Sandie Sahakians from Daemons TV.

Sandie Sahakians: Hi Jason. How are you today?

Jason Lee: Great. Thank you.

Sandie Sahakians: Thank you so much for speaking with us. Well I was wondering about the format of Memphis Beat. Is it going to be more like a procedural format where itís a new case every week or will some of the case kind of take multiple episodes to resolve?

Jason Lee: Some might take multiple episodes, yeah. Thereís still a lot to explore. You know, weíre only shooting nine episodes for the first season. But yeah, and itís also very much about the characters and the relationships, as it is the cases. So weíre trying to make it as well rounded a show as we can.

Operator: And as a reminder, it is star 1 to ask a question. Weíll go next to Jay Jacobs with

Jay Jacobs: Hi Jason. Youíve been doing mostly comic relief things like My Name is Earl and The Chipmunks and stuff. Is it nice to be able to do a more dramatic role again?

Jason Lee: Yeah, itís fantastic. Itís definitely something that Iíve never done, a role like this. And itís a great opportunity for me. Itís nice to have a balance. And this is definitely providing that balance for me. Iím really pleased with the work so far.

Operator: Weíll go next to Jamie Steinberg with Starry Constellation Magazine.

Jamie Steinberg: How were you approached to star in this role? How did this role find you?

Jason Lee: The writers Josh Harto and Liz Garcia, they came to me with a very beautiful, passionate letter, a very personal letter about what the project means to them and why they created it and that they would very much like me to come on board and play Dwight. And I was very flattered and that was, you know, coupled with the material itself, you know, it was something very important to me.

Operator: Weíll go next to Jenny Rarden with

Jenny Rarden: I wondered if we would get to see Dwight with a love interest at all this season.

Jason Lee: Yes. There are many, many things taking shape in that area, dealings with his ex-wife and we see what ends up happening with that. A lot of surprises, a lot of interesting angles. Thatís a big part of Dwightís life and of course the other woman in his life, his mother. We see some interesting things with that relationship as well.

Operator: And once again, it is star 1 to ask a question. Weíll go to Jay Jacobs of

Jay Jacobs: Well, Memphis, the city also plays a really big role in the show. I know that I read that you guys were actually filming in New Orleans but Memphis recently had all that flooding. Is that something thatís going to be worked into the show? Or do you know if that will be like part of the story line?

Jason Lee: I donít think that will happen. You know, weíre shooting sort of part time in Memphis as well because, you know thereís just certain things that youíve got to get and Memphis is such a great city, you know. So we want as much of real Memphis on the show as possible. So weíre going to be going up to Memphis and shooting up there.

Operator: Weíll go next to Sandie Sahakians with Daemons TV.

Sandie Sahakians: Hi again. You know, you mentioned the singing and I was wondering if thatís something thatís going to happen every episode. Are we going to see him sing every episode?

Jason Lee: Yeah and in different ways. You might see him rehearsing. You might see him just playing guitar and singing at home. You might see him performing at the beginning of an episode or at the end. Yeah, so I mean itís a big part of his life. And so we will see that side of him in every episode.

Operator: Once again, it is star 1 to ask a question. Weíll go to Jay Jacobs with

Jay Jacobs: Okay. Well following up on the singing, you have done a lot of singing in the past as well in things like Earl and the Chipmunks and particularly in Almost Famous which I loved by the way. Is that something that you really enjoy? Is that something that youíd like to do more of?

Jason Lee: Yeah. You know, Iím always up for it. I like playing guitar. You know, I love music and Almost Famous was an opportunity for me to play guitar as a character, and try and sing now with Memphis Beat and I get to play guitar on the show. Thatís always nice when itís you doing the singing yourself, as the character. So thatís been good for me.

Operator: Weíll take our next question from Mike Vicic with TV Tango.

Mike Vicic: Hi Jason. Besides guitar, what other instruments do you play in real life? And will you have the chance to play something besides guitar on the show?

Jason Lee: No. I normally just play guitar and I just kind of fiddle around here and there with it. But, yeah, Iíd like to be able to play it stronger but I just canít do it. I wish I could but Iím a little limited musically but Iím...


Jason Lee: ...the guitar.

Mike Vicic: Thank you.

Operator: Once again, it is star 1 to ask a question. Weíll take out next question from Anthony Ferrante with iF Magazine.

Anthony Ferrante: Hey, Jason, how are you doing?

Jason Lee: Hey.

Anthony Ferrante: Hey. So thereís been a lot of talk lately of the blurring of the lines between network television and cable and, you know, with (kind of) coming over and doing all this other kind of stuff and Southland. Now that youíve kind of been in both areas, do you see that you can do more with this show because itís on cable? Or do you think that there is no difference?

Jason Lee: Yeah, I donít feel much of a difference. Itís tough too because - to say because these two shows are totally different. Earl - theyíre just two completely different worlds. We actually had a good deal of freedom on Earl. And they were very kind and let us kind of do what we wanted. And TNT is also very, very supportive of us here creatively. So itís really hard to say. But both have been great opportunities for me. They both feel like they are what they are and they are what they should be.

Anthony Ferrante: Do you feel that there is some boundary-pushing though with this show, with Memphis?

Jason Lee: Yeah. I mean I think a lot of this stuff could be done elsewhere, you know. Itís not a show that really needs to be - to prove anything really or that needs to be raw or rough or tough or gritty. Itís a fairly gentle show thatís very character driven. So I donít - think weíre at a good home and I think weíre just about where we should be.

Anthony Ferrante: Thank you.

Operator: Weíll go next to Jay Jacobs with

Jay Jacobs: I really think that Clark Johnson is a really terrific director as well as a good actor too. Had you dealt with him before? And what was he like to work on on the show?

Jason Lee: No, I hadnít worked with him before. He was very excitable and he pushed a lot for the pilot to be different and unique and with a great energy to it and depth. And, you know, the whole energy was - everybody was really, really excited and really wanted to make the best pilot that we could make. And he certainly pushed for that.

Jay Jacobs: Okay, great.

Operator: And again, it is star 1 to ask a question. With no further questions in the queue, Iíd like to turn it back to Chrissie Eckhardt for any additional or closing remarks.

Chrissie Eckhardt: Everyone, thank you so much for joining the conference call. A transcript will be available within 24 hours and TNT publicist will send that out to you. Thanks everyone. Have a great day.

Operator: This does conclude todayís conference. We thank you for your participation.

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