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Interview with D.J. Qualls of "Memphis Beat" on TNT 6/29/11.
I love this show, and Qualls plays such a great, quirky
but likable character. He was very nice on this call. I enjoyed it, and
I so look forward to seeing him grow on the show.
Moderator: Chrissie Eckhardt
June 29, 2011
3:00 pm CT
Operator: Good day and welcome to the Turner
Entertainment Hosted D.J. Qualls conference call. Todayís conference is
At this time, Iíd like to turn the program over to Chrissie Eckhardt.
Please go ahead.
Chrissie Eckhardt: Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining the D.J.
Qualls Memphis Beat conference call. Memphis Beat is currently airing
new episodes on Tuesdays at 9:00 pm Eastern on TNT.
The conference call is now open for questions. Please press star 1 to
ask a question. Thank you.
Operator: And again, please press star 1 on your phone if youíd like to
ask a question. Our first comes from the side of Jamie Steinberg from
Starry Constellation Magazine. Please go ahead.
Jamie Steinberg: Hi, D.J. Itís a pleasure to speak with you again.
D.J. Qualls: Hello.
Jamie Steinberg: Iím wondering, what keeps challenging you about playing
as a police officer on Memphis Beat?
D.J. Qualls: Well, this year we had Ė this show has totally changed. We
shifted more to a more serious, I think, procedural kind of show.
Jamie Steinberg: Yes.
D.J. Qualls: Weíre still trying to keep the quirks that we had last
season but this year weíre focused, I think, more on the crime, a little
less on, sort of, the quirk of being in the south. And also, last year,
my character was Ė he was more, sort of, finding his footing you know as
a brand new cop. And this year, Iím actually getting to do more cop
And I find that more interesting because I donít often get to play a lot
of serious roles. And especially with the next episode, which is Ė every
year, I get one episode thatís a Sutton episode on my character.
Jamie Steinberg: Yes.
D.J. Qualls: So episode 4, which is next week, you really see Ė I find a
baby. And itís probably one of the hardest things Iíve ever had to do.
But it was beautiful. Iíve seen it and Iím so excited for the audience
to see it.
Jamie Steinberg: Why do you think people keep tuning in to watch Memphis
D.J. Qualls: Well, I think that itís Ė like, I said that weíve become
more of a standard procedural this year but also, we have maintained
that character focus kind of show where we really try to create a show
where people just want to tune in an hour with these people. I think
that thereís a lot of heart in our show. And, like, I read the message
boards. I donít know Ė people say that they donít.
If you donít read your message boards, I think youíre stupid because you
want to know whatís working and whatís not working about your show. And
people just Ė they really seem to respond to the heart of it.
Jamie Steinberg: Right. Thank you so much.
D.J. Qualls: Thank you.
Operator: And once again, itís star and 1 on your telephone to ask a
question today. And please try to limit your questions to one question
and one follow up.
Our next comes from the side of Suzanne Lanoue from the T.V. Megasite.
Please go ahead.
Suzanne Lanoue: Hi. I was wondering if your character would see any
romance on the show any time soon.
D.J. Qualls: I do have a little bit of a romantic interest this season.
Suzanne Lanoue: Oh, good.
D.J. Qualls: We have a crime later in the season where somebody is doing
identity theft. And the person from the bank whoís brought on to help us
solve the crime and I have a little bit of a romantic Ė not
((inaudible)). We donít Ė itís sort of left open. But it was really
sweet to play. The actress, Jennifer Masala, who plays the lady from the
bank, was wonderful and sweet and cute. And it was really fun.
Suzanne Lanoue: Well, thank you. I look forward to seeing it.
D.J. Qualls: Cool.
Operator: And once again, please press star and 1 on your phone if youíd
like to ask a question. Next, weíll go to the side of Allison Ebner from
Pop Culture Madness.com. Please go ahead.
Allison Ebner: Hi, D.J. Thanks for talking with us.
D.J. Qualls: Hey.
Allison Ebner: Hey. So how do you think this upcoming episode will shape
Sutton for the future of this show? You know will this experience with
the baby stick with him?
D.J. Qualls: It definitely does. And we Ė I mean, it changes who he is
as a man. Sutton has some realizations about himself and about what he
wants for his future based on this experience with the baby. I mean, it
actually changed me a little bit. It changed, sort of, what I Ė how I
feel about myself and maybe started making me think about, maybe itís
the time to start thinking about you know moving in a different
direction in my life and settling down.
So maybe thatís something that Iím going to start looking at soon.
Allison Ebner: Awesome. So youíve been involved in a lot of different
projects. What would you say youíve learned and taken away from Sutton
and Memphis Beat, in particular?
D.J. Qualls: Well, when I first got the script sent to me, I was like,
ďThereís no way I can pull this off. Thereís no way I can play a cop.Ē
So much so that Ė and Iíve spoken about this before Ė but so much so
that I didnít even Ė I turned down the initial audition for this show. I
just, sort of, walked away from it.
I had a crisis of confidence and said, ďNo.Ē And this show Ė the
producers pursued me. And so I went in and I did my initial reading and
they offered the show to me because they believed that I could do it.
And so what Iím taking away from this is keep myself open and that Iím
only limited by my own imagination. And we all are. So thatís what Iíll
take away from this show.
And also, I have great relationships on this show. I get to work with
Alfre Woodard, who Iíve known for 10 years. And Jason, Iíve also known
for about the same amount of time, Jason Lee. And you know I love the
show. Itís the best show Iíve ever had.
Itís a feeling of a family like Iíve never known professionally. When
you do a movie, thereís you know an end. The show is open-ended and
going for a very long time. And so you let your guard down in a
different way than you do in a film. People really do become very close
to you; I mean, your crew, also.
So I think that Iím going to take away from this experience just how
wonderful it was to have that feeling of belonging.
Allison Ebner: Great, thank you.
D.J. Qualls: Thank you.
Operator: And again, it is star and 1 on your telephone to ask a
question. Next, weíll go to the side of Alena Lamore from Lena
Lamore.com. Please go ahead.
Alena Lamore: Hey, D.J. Itís a pleasure to speak with you. Now, can you
talk about filming the shooting range scenes with Whitehead and are we
going to see more Sutton helping them out in the future?
D.J. Qualls: Those were really fun to shoot. Those shooting range scenes
were awesome. Yes, this year, you see Sutton and Whitehead Ė because
last year, Sutton and White Head really didnít have a lot of
interaction. Whitehead just sort of you know didnít like how green he
And this year, Sutton really starts to prove himself, so Whitehead
responds to it. The actual shooting of the scenes were great. We had
several days of prep. I donít know why they were so nervous about me
shooting a gun. Iím from the south; I got a gun when I was 12 years old.
But we got to shoot in an actual police shooting range where all of the
people, all of the New Orleans Police Department trained. And it took
about, maybe 6 hours. I shot probably 150 rounds during the filming of
And Iíve got to say, for a second Ė I mean, Iím actually Ė personally, I
donít really like guns. But it made me think, like, maybe I could own a
gun. But then I walk away from it going, ďYou do not need a gun in your
Alena Lamore: Can you tell us about some of the guest stars that are
D.J. Qualls: Oh, man, weíve had such great guest stars this year. And
itís another improvement from last season. You know we just had Thomas
Lennon on. He was so amazing. We have Gail OíGrady comes on the show
Weíve also had Ė oh, gosh. Hold on, let me think. Weíve had Jordy
Masterson, who is Danny Mastersonís little brother Ė was just on the
show. I mean, weíve been really blessed with the quality of actors that
come on the show. Itís been amazing.
Alena Lamore: Thank you.
Operator: And once again, please press star and 1 if youíd like to ask a
question. Next, weíll go to the set of (Cynthia Boris) from (Gellar).com.
Please go ahead.
Cynthia Boris: Hi, D.J.
D.J. Qualls: Hi.
Cynthia Boris: I have to say, last night when Jason had the line
about, ďI have an app for thatĒ before he breaks the window, I almost
fell out of my chair laughing. It was so funny.
D.J. Qualls: Thank you. It made me laugh, too.
Cynthia Boris: That was a great line. I wanted to ask about the music
on this show. Itís such a big part of creating the feeling. Iím
wondering if you could just talk a little bit about you know about how
that fits in and your feelings about the music.
D.J. Qualls: Yes, it definitely is a component. The music is a big
component to this show because Memphis, if youíve ever been there, the
city is all music, all the time. You have these people who have been
performing for 30 years on (Beal) Street in these barbecue joints and
blues clubs. And theyíre doing it for the pure love of it; theyíre not
doing it thinking that theyíre going to get famous for doing it.
And thatís a big difference from what you see in cities like L.A., where
you come here and if youíre good at something, you want to be famous for
it. These people just do it for the love of it. And I think thatís been
a Memphis tradition you know from the birth of, like, (Sack) Record and
And because we actually donít do the show in Memphis Ė we shoot it in
New Orleans Ė I think that that music is a really important component to
the show to make it have a more authentic feel.
Cynthia Boris: Well, thatís great. I really enjoy it every week and I
look forward to seeing what youíve got coming up. Thanks.
D.J. Qualls: ((Inaudible)).
Operator: And again, itís star and 1 if youíd like to ask a question.
Next, weíll go to the set of Earl Dittman from Wireless Digital Journal.
Please go ahead.
Earl Dittman: Hey, D.J. How are you doing?
D.J. Qualls: Iím good, how are you?
Earl Dittman: Doing great, doing great. I have to ask, what is your
relationship like with Jason? How do you get along with him? Is he a
great guy to work with? Does he welcome great fun improvisations or a
meat and potatoes man?
D.J. Qualls: Well, I think it helps a lot, the fact that this is the
third job Iíve had with Jason. I did my Ė I think it was my second or
third movie with Jason, and then I was on ďEarlĒ for a few episodes, and
then, now, this show. So Iíve known him a long time. And he was a friend
before I did the show, which makes it Ė I think it makes chemistry
What I like about working with him most is that he keeps the mood on the
set light. We work very long hours. We shoot in Ė I mean, a lot of our
show is on location outside in New Orleans in the summer time and thatís
Earl Dittman: Yes, thatís very Ė Iím in Houston, so thatís very brutal.
D.J. Qualls: And youíre pretty gnarly. And he always has a smile on his
face. And, I mean, it starts from the top. Like, heís number 1 on the
call sheet. Heís you know our hero, essentially, on the show. And so
working with him Ė and when heís in a good mood, we canít help but be
infected by that.
Earl Dittman: Yes. So he brings a whole lot of excitement and a lot of
friendship and camaraderie to the set?
D.J. Qualls: Right, and levity. And he also is so appreciate of, like,
his stand. Itís great to see how excited people get Ė people
((inaudible)) see him when weíre shooting on location. And a lot of what
you donít see is, I mean, the crew is just as an important part of our
show as the cast. I mean itís 200 people who are there to support us and
stand out in the heat for us.
And heís great with them. And it makes them want to work harder for him
Earl Dittman: Thatís great. Well, thank you so much and keep on putting
out a great show.
D.J. Qualls: Thank you so much.
Earl Dittman: Thank you so much. Bye-bye.
Operator: And one last time, please press star and 1 on your telephone
if youíd like to ask a question. It looks like thereís no further
questions in queue. Iíll give one last opportunity; star and 1 to ask a
question. Iíll pause for just a few more seconds.
All right, it looks like we have no further questions from the phone
Chrissie Eckhardt: Thank you, everyone, for joining todayís call. As a
reminder, Memphis Beat airs on Tuesdays at 9:00 pm Eastern on TNT. And a
transcript of this call will be available within 24 hours.
Thank you so much, D.J., for joining us and for your time. And thank
you, everyone, for participating. Have a great day.
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