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Interview with Benjamin McKenzie of "Southland"
I was very nervous before speaking with Ben McKenzie.
For one thing, he's gorgeous and one of my favorite actors. For another,
I loved "The O.C." and especially his current show "Southland". He is an
amazing actor. Also, I have only done a few phone interviews, and it is
sometimes difficult to hear the actor. I try recording it, but it
doesn't always come out that well.
McKenzie is a very quiet, soft-spoken guy who doesn't
seem to really like to talk about himself. I'm sure that he does many
interviews and gets tired of them, too. He was very gracious and polite.
I felt bad because I had to keep asking him to speak up. He didn't mind,
though, and was really nice about it.
The main point that he wanted to convey is to watch the
show! They have been showing the old episodes of Southland on TNT that
were originally shown on NBC last spring. They had extra footage,
though, from the airings on NBC. Now they are showing
6 new episodes. These are
the ones they filmed for the Fall, but then NBC stupidly pulled the plug
on the show. I don't even recall where any TV network has done such a
thing before - renewed a show and then changed their mind at the last
moment. Once they put Jan Leno in the 9/10 time slot, though, they
had no room for shows like Southland. Now they are stuck with no
Leno and no Southland, either.
Anyway, it is a fantastic show, and you should
definitely watch it. Here are the questions I asked, and his
answers as best as I can remember them, or could hear them. Please know that these are not his exact words
but my paraphrasing.
Suzanne: What can fans look forward to in the six new
Ben: More of the same stuff as last season. Lots of
action and drama with the characters.
Suzanne: Do you think there will be more episodes made?
Ben: I really don't know at this point. It
all depends on the fans. It depends on you. You have to watch the show
and get all of your readers and friends to watch. It is up to you.
Suzanne: If the show does continue, what do you hope the
future will hold for your character?
Ben: That he will grow and be more independent, go out
on his own more. Hopefully there will be some romantic entanglements.
Suzanne: Yes, I can tell from the two episodes I saw
that there is a girl that he meets when he's out with his sister and her
friends, a brunette? That seems interested in him.
Ben: Yes, and that's what this show does, drops little
hints and then later they develop them into more things that happen,
maybe something sexual.
Suzanne: They seem to keep casting you, the boy from
Austin, Texas, as the Southern California boy. I wonder why that is?
Ben: Yes, I don't know. Maybe the blond hair. It just
sort of happened that way.
Suzanne: Well, you don't seem to have any trace of Texan
Ben: I try to keep that from showing through as much as
I can. I seem to have a kind of midwestern accent now.
Suzanne: And I guess there isn't too much of a heavy
accent in Austin anyway.
Ben. No, right.
Suzanne: We lived in Lubbock for a while, now
that's quite an accent.
Ben: Yes, definitely. It sure is.
Suzanne: I have a difficult question, and I'm not sure
how to phrase this in a nicer way, so I'll just ask it. It seemed to me last year that the cast was
heavy with white males. This season they seemed to have added more
people of color. Do you think this was a conscious decision on their
part to improve things?
Ben: I don't think that was really the case last year. I
mean, we have an African-American woman character, and another woman,
and a Latino character, and another African American woman, although
she's not on the force, and many people in the cast that are recurring
characters that are of different races and colors. (He did speak at
length on this but I don't want to put words in his mouth more than I
already am. He basically disagreed with my premise and defended the
show's ethnic cast, which is fine.) I'm sure they will keep
choosing the best people for the roles on the show.
Suzanne: What other plans or projects do you have in the
Ben: None. I am waiting to see what happens here. I am
totally invested in Southland.
Suzanne: Do you have other interests, things you'd like
to do, such as directing, writing, stage work.
Ben: Oh, yes, I would like to write, direct. Yes,
I have many interests in that.
Suzanne:Well, it's a great show. I love it. I don't know
if you ever got to see reruns of the show "Adam-12", but it is somewhat
Ben: Yes, I've heard that. No, I haven't seen the show.
It was before my time.
Suzanne: Oh, yes. It didn't go into detail about
the characters as much as Southland does, but it was about cops on the
street in L.A. so it was very similar in some ways. Feel free to
ignore this question if it is too personal. Valentine's Day is coming
up. Do you have someone special you are going to share it with?
Ben: I'm choosing to ignore that one.
Suzanne: Okay, that's fine. You're a very private
person. What one thing would fans be surprised to know about you?
Ben: I don't know. I really don't know. I can't think of
anything. I'm just a very straight-forward guy.
Suzanne: Are you active or involved on the net with
things like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.?
Suzanne: So that guy on Twitter is not really you?
Ben: No, definitely. It just takes up too much time.
Suzanne: Thank you for your time. I really appreciate
it. I'm sorry I had so much trouble hearing you. You are one of my
favorite actors, so I wish you the best in the future, with Southland
Ben: Thank you. No problem.
Southland's new episodes and
Review of Southland on DVD
More Southland info on our
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