Interview with Benjamin McKenzie of "Southland" on TNT - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite
 

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By Suzanne

Benjamin McKenzie

Interview with Benjamin McKenzie of "Southland" on TNT

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 episodes?

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 accent.

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 works?

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 similar.

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.?

Ben: No.

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 and beyond.

Ben: Thank you. No problem.

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