FX NETWORK: Terriers September 13, 2010/10:00 a.m. PDT
Kristy Silvernail – FX Network
Michael Raymond-James – “Britt Pollack,” Terriers
Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to
the Terriers conference call this afternoon. At this time, all
participants will be listening only. Later, we will open it up for
questions and answers. I will give instructions at that time. I will now
turn the conference over to our host, Kristy Silvernail. Go ahead,
K. Silvernail Hey, everyone. This is Kristy from FX. I just wanted to
take a real quick moment to thank everyone for participating this
morning. We’ve got Michael Raymond-James on the line and, as you know,
Terriers airs Wednesday nights at 10:00 p.m. only on FX. So with that,
let’s get started with the questions.
Moderator Your first question comes from Megan Ward. Go ahead, please.
M. Ward Hi, Michael. Thanks for taking the time today.
M. Raymond-James Hi, Megan. How are you doing?
M. Ward Good, thanks. So what was it about the role that drew you in?
M. Raymond-James Yes, I’ll get to that, but first of all I want to say
how did you remember all those directions you have to—what buttons to
push to ask questions seems nuts. This is crazy. What drew me to the
role? I’m just glad I’m on this side of this deal because I would have
screwed that up for sure and called 911 on accident.
It was the writing. It’s always about the script and initially I didn’t
know too much about attachments or anything like that I just opened it
up and started reading and was drawn to the writing and the opportunity
to play a character that people may actually root for was sort of a nice
little change. But once it was sort of – I was told that it was going to
be Shawn Ryan and Ted Griffin and, of course, Craig Brewer and Donal it
was just sort of a no-brainer.
I’ve known Donal and Craig for a while and the opportunity to work with
those guys again and then to jump into bed, so to speak, with Shawn Ryan
and Ted Griffin was just something I didn’t want to miss the opportunity
M. Ward Absolutely. Thank you so much.
M. Raymond-James Yes, thanks.
Moderator Okay and then your next question is coming from April
MacIntyre. Go ahead, April.
A. MacIntyre Hi there. How are you?
M. Raymond-James Hi, April. I’m good. Congrats on hitting the right
A. MacIntyre Well, speaking of buttons, your character, “Britt,” I just
love how thorough you make him. You hop over walls instead of going
through the gate like a human. You’re very thorough in your approach to
“Britt” and I don’t buy that “Britt” has got the criminal element out of
his system. I’ve watched five episodes and I really feel like if, man,
if there was like an opportunity and no one was watching you, your
character would be on it like in a second. I really feel like you’re
struggling with that and if you could talk about that.
M. Raymond-James Well, that’s interesting. That’s a cool point. I think,
yes, first of all there’s this sort of breezy freedom to “Britt” and
“Britt” is certainly the kind of dude who just lives on his impulses and
there’s a sort of forced march towards maturity that we’re undertaking
for my character in this first season, which inhibits some of that. But
I think it’s one of those things where the skill set was analogous to
what I used to do as a B&E thief.
I’m able to use some of those skills and get that out of my system by
taking my ninja powers to the good side. You know what I mean? So I
think that while you may very well be right that there is sort of this
perpetual draw to the dark side, even if its just for kicks as opposed
to any sort of nefarious; I don’t think either of these two guys, “Hank”
or “Britt,” ever want to hurt anybody, but there’s certainly a high
associated with the high jinks of breaking into a high security
A. MacIntyre Yes, but to me you’re like the terrier. You move like a
dog. You’re very low to ground, you’re very physical in the role where
Donal is sort of, he’s like—he walks upright, humanlike and you’re very
physical. It’s interesting how the two of you, your physical acting
M. Raymond-James Thank you I think that’s; I’m like a dog? That’s cool.
A. MacIntyre You know what I mean.
M. Raymond-James I know what you mean.
A. MacIntyre You’re instinctive. I think—
M. Raymond-James Yes, he’s a very impulsive dude and that’s sort of what
can get “Britt” into trouble sometimes and it’s like that for a lot of
people who sort of wear their emotions on their sleeves. You can see a
lot with athletes, too. Guys like Rasheed Wallace or whatever who can
let their emotions get carried away but it’s all just because their
hearts are so big, you know?
A. MacIntyre Yes. A quick follow-up. I enjoyed seeing you on the True
Blood finale last night. Are we going to see you next season?
M. Raymond-James I’m not sure. I’m so sort of in Terriers mode right now
and there’s been no sort of discussions of any sort regarding True Blood
from here on out. I would imagine it’s possible that it could come up at
some point, but I’m really just sort of focused on the Terriers now.
A. MacIntyre Excellent. Well, best of luck to you. It’s great seeing
M. Raymond-James Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Moderator Okay, thank you and your next question comes from Lena Lamoray.
Go ahead with your question, please.
L. Lamoray Hi, Michael. I absolutely love the show.
M. Raymond-James Hi, Lena. Thank you. I love your name. That’s a great
L. Lamoray Thank you. What is it like working with the cast of Terriers,
including “Winston?” And can you share any funny stories from the set
M. Raymond-James Oh, God. Well, first of all, the cast of Terriers is
fantastic, such great, great people and really talented actors. Donal
and I’s sort of bromance has been well publicized, but other actors like
Laura Allen is just brilliant and she’s so good in the show and as the
season goes on she gets to go pretty deep and it’s just amazing to just
sort of watch as another actor, as somebody who really digs acting it’s
really cool to be in that kind of presence.
Rockmond Dunbar is so solid and he’s another really great actor and just
so smooth and so solid and always knows what’s going on and where he’s
going and what he needs to be doing. Jamie Denbo is just a firecracker
who’s always cracking me up. She’s so funny and so good at the role of
“Maggie.” Kim Quinn is just so free. Such a sort of hippy, spirited
actress where she just sort of—she’ll show up on set and it just seems
effortless for her. But everybody associated with the show like Michael
Gaston and Karina Logue just, man, everybody just steps up to the plate
and hits it out of the park.
“Winston?” We had this sort of weird little love affair, man. The
actor’s name is Buster; I think it’s important to point that out. His
characters name is “Winston” and Buster immediately sort of—you know
they placed him in the truck for the first scene in the pilot and he
immediately starting humping my leg. No, “Hello,” or anything, just
there it is, man. This is how we’re going to do it. He was a lot of fun
to work with.
Animals are great. I love hanging with animals and that dude is crazy.
We would in a rehearsal just set up his mark and he would come around
the corner and hit the mark, hit the mark, hit the mark and then once we
yelled, “action,” he would walk right past the mark and just take his
spot somewhere else. I can’t, off the top of my head, I can’t think of
any funny stories that I could share necessarily. You may have to get
back to me on that one. I’ll keep thinking about it.
L. Lamoray Okay. Now in this week’s episode you have a bedroom scene
M. Raymond-James Yes.
L. Lamoray It says, “And a third party,” so can you talk about what it
was like filming that scene?
M. Raymond-James That scene was crazy. First of all, there’s sort of a
little, weird little nervousness stuff about doing a scene that is
intimate in a sexual way for the characters, not that the actors go
anywhere approaching that, but you want to make sure—for me it’s
important that Laura’s comfortable with everything we’re doing and she’s
concerned am I comfortable and so everybody wants to make sure
everybody’s comfortable and then the little dog is just so nervous, too
and God, he was so sweet and such a funny little dude and it was really
kind of weird. There’s a dog; me and the dog are under the covers and at
a certain point the dog is fetched out by his trainer with some noise
and he just comes walking between my legs also underneath the covers and
just sort of exits the room and it was my first threesome on film.
L. Lamoray Thank you.
M. Raymond-James You’re welcome.
Moderator Okay, thank you, and your next question is coming from Tom
Lewis and he’s with LAist. Go ahead, please.
T. Lewis Hi there.
M. Raymond-James Hi, Tom.
T. Lewis Hi, how’s it going, Michael?
M. Raymond-James Good, man.
T. Lewis Great to speak with you and you mentioned the bromance earlier
and I just am wondering about how you guys cultivated this incredible
rapport that you have. You guys really seem like you’re very comfortable
riding around in a beat-up Ford Courier. There’s probably some fast food
wrappings there in the foot wells and stuff and I’m just wondering, I
spoke with Donal a few weeks ago. He said that you guys had rented a
beach house, I guess, for a little while. What was that like? Were you
guys going over scripts? Can you maybe illuminate a bit more about how
you guys reached this very tangible kind of relationship that we can
M. Raymond-James Yes, sure. First of all, it required zero effort. Donal
and I hit it off immediately when I did a guest star on an episode of
Life and it was just one of those moments for me where it’s like no
matter where my journey takes me through life or whatever, this is some
dude that I’m going to be close with for the remainder of it. And it
doesn’t mean that this is somebody I’m going to necessarily see every
day or hangout with every day but it’s going to be somebody I know our
paths are going to cross at some point and we’ll pickup right where we
left off and that’s actually what happened.
And when we got the pickup to go to series we were going to shoot in San
Diego so we were trying to figure out living situations and the network
gives you like $7,500 for a relocation sort of thing and we decided to
take the money and rent our own house together just because a) we like
hanging together and we thought it would be helpful in the show with the
amount of hours we were going to have to work.
And we both play guitar and like a lot of similar sort of literature and
poetry and music and movies and just sort of kindred spirits, man, and
it did help a lot with the work. Every day when they would call wrap
we’d get the call sheet for tomorrow’s scenes and we would go home and
we would run lines together. Sometimes he’d run a scene with me between
me and Laura and he would read Laura’s lines and I would do it when he
had a scene with Kim Quinn or Rockmond or whatever and it was great.
We just sort of work shopped stuff and the benefit was just that we were
always prepared then the next day when we’d show up together even after
a 15 hour grind and it’s just really I was—we are both really lucky to
be in a situation where you a) have a friend that’s sort of with you on
this journey and b) this is somebody that is going to really help you
make the work better.
And aside from that, just having each other there as buddies is so huge,
man. When you’re working on location for five months people like Donal
and I can both start to get a little weird. As the time sort of drags on
you sort of start to feel isolated in this weird fishbowl. But being
there for each other and having a brother going through it with you is
just huge, man.
T. Lewis Thanks so much, Michael. That was great.
M. Raymond-James Yes, thank you.
Moderator Okay, thank you, and your next question is coming from Moki
Bobolink. She’s with Daemon’s TV. Go ahead, please.
M. Bobolink Hi, Michael. Thanks for talking to us today.
M. Raymond-James Another awesome name.
M. Bobolink Thank you. That’s actually my pen name.
M. Raymond-James Okay, cool. Well, you picked a good one.
M. Bobolink Oh, thank you. I was just wondering about, I know that
“Hank” and “Britt” are both struggling with maturity issues and you’ve
already mentioned that. I just wanted to know if you could tell us a
little bit more about what “Britt” is going to go through this season on
his journey through that?
M. Raymond-James You know, I’m a little hesitant to get into specifics,
but I can say that there is a point where it becomes clear to “Britt”
that the best and only way to sort of get out of a particular
predicament is to stop running and pretending that things are not
happening fast and to sort of step up to the plate and, for lack of a
better term, man up and every action has a reaction and sometimes we’re
not always prepared for what the reactions going to be.
When it’s not what we want it to be sometimes the best thing to do is
sort of take it head on and that’s, I would say that best describes it
without having to go in to too specifics. I don’t want to spoil where it
takes us because I think it’s pretty well planned, well thought out,
M. Bobolink Great. Thank you.
M. Raymond-James Yes, you bet.
Moderator Thank you and your next question is coming from Nick Nunziata
with CHUD. Go ahead, please.
N. Nunziata Hey, how you doing?
M. Raymond-James Good, man. How you doing, Nick?
N. Nunziata It’s a pleasure to talk to you. Thanks for your time.
M. Raymond-James You bet.
N. Nunziata I consider myself kind of a snob where I’m supposed to know
everything, but you snuck up on me with this show and part of it’s
because maybe I’m allergic to vampires or whatever, but I kind of want
to get an idea as to a little bit of your background. I don’t know much
about you and you kind of really came on the scene strong and it’s kind
of thing where now I want to use you as my go to guy for all these dream
M. Raymond-James Ah, cool. Thanks, man. So what was the--?
N. Nunziata Kind of what got you here? A little bit about your
background and what led you to this role.
M. Raymond-James Well, I guess background, I’m from Michigan and
acting’s not really something that’s really a possibility, but I sort of
stumbled upon it at a certain point and it really was what I had been
looking for all along, but it just wasn’t anything that I could’ve
imagined was possible.
I went to New York and I studied here at the Lee Strasberg Institute and
did a lot of theatre and then I was eventually invited to Los Angeles at
the behest of a casting director, who put me in contact with numerous
agents and executives and took meetings and so I kind of got a jump on
the game and I really, at that point, didn’t really have any sort of a
particular desire to go to Los Angeles.
I was doing small theatre in New York and waiting tables or building
fences in Connecticut or whatever to sort of make the ends meet and I
sort of figured I’d wind up in Los Angeles when I was in my 40’s or
something and become some kind of character actor dude. So I’m betting
house money now, man. It’s been great. I feel really fortunate.
Stephanie Elaine had a great quote one time when we talked about all
this stuff and it’s just hard earned luck. I love what I do and when I’m
not working I’m at the Actor’s Studio three times a week just because I
need to be doing this, otherwise, like I said before, I’ll start to get
a little weird.
N. Nunziata It’s got to help inform this character, though.
M. Raymond-James What’s that?
N. Nunziata The round-a-bout way and the kind of the work that you did
kind of getting to this.
M. Raymond-James Yes, the character really just; there’s certain roles
that you say, “Wow, that’s nowhere who I am and there’s a lot of work
here to do that’s interesting and I’m going to mine a lot of stuff
within myself and sort of start to find where this whole thing lives.”
“Rene” from True Blood is a character like that and this really didn’t
require that much. There’s certain parts that just you feel when you
read them that they’ve been written for you, you know? And this is one
of those times where I really responded to the material and having
worked with Craig before I knew it was going to be in safe hands because
he’s sort of—Craig kind of put me on the map in terms of people really
seeing my work like in Black Snake Moan. Even though like 57 people only
saw that movie but yes.
N. Nunziata Excellent. Thanks so much.
M. Raymond-James Yes, thanks man.
Moderator Okay. And you do have a question from Sheldon Wiebe with
Eclipse magazine. Go ahead, please.
S. Wiebe Hi, Michael. Thank you for doing this.
M. Raymond-James Yes.
S. Wiebe You seem to be one of these actors who can play guys who are
for all intents and purposes from the outside average guys who get in
over their heads. What is it about those characters that draws you?
M. Raymond-James That’s an interesting question. I’m not sure. Why do I
like the Rolling Stones, other than they speak to me? I listen to Bob
Dylan and I feel like he’s singing just to me. I don’t necessarily know
the answer to that. It probably has a lot to do with both nature and
nurture and it’s beyond my capacity to understand. There’s probably an
element of being from the Detroit area, too, that’s sort of ingrained in
me with regards to that. But yes, that’s an interesting question.
S. Wiebe I was also kind of wondering in the one instance where you
played “Rene” in True Blood, he seemed like an average character who was
kind of a little over his head with this gorgeous waitress as his lover
and then he turns out to be the psychotic villain. How do you play a
role that develops from an apparently average guy into a psycho? What is
the key there?
M. Raymond-James Yes, I think in terms of “Rene,” “Rene” was always the
psycho, but was trying to keep it hidden and so it’s a fun, really fun
challenge to, alright, when do we choose to foreshadow and how much do
we want to show because ultimately what you want to do is hopefully
people will go back and if they watch it again they’ll say, “Oh, I’m
starting to see things I didn’t pick up on before and I’m starting to
see an arc develop where it sort of came out of the blue the first time
I’d watched it.”
Because the eye sort of sees what it wants to see in a lot respects, but
once a reality is sort of unveiled hindsight is always 20/20 and when
you go back and see it again maybe sometimes things can stick out a
little bit more and that’s the challenge and that’s a really fun aspect
to playing a character like that is you don’t want to let them see you
coming, but at the same time it’s all got to be natural and it’s got to
be lived in and it can’t come out of nowhere even if it seems like that
for the audience the first time.
S. Wiebe Cool. Would I be correct in assuming that we will see
interesting changes in “Britt’s” character, not necessarily to that kind
M. Raymond-James Yes, I was going to say—yes, sure, absolutely. And I
hope they are interesting however not to the level—I’m safe, I’m pretty
sure I’m not going to get a call from Shawn or Ted or John Landgraf
angrily when I tell you that “Britt” is not a serial killer in Terriers.
S. Wiebe Cool. Thanks, so much.
M. Raymond-James Yes, thanks, man.
Moderator And your next question comes from Ernie Estrella with Buzz
Focus. Go ahead, please.
E. Estrella My question is there’s a lot of different directors on this
show and I know you worked with Craig in the pilot as well with Black
Snake Moan. Was there another director that maybe you worked with in the
first 13 episodes that made an impression or maybe we can kind of see a
really unique style in these first 13 episodes?
M. Raymond-James Yes, on both counts. I would say with regards to style,
Michael Offer directs an episode, I believe it’s the fourth episode that
sort of has some really cool unique little style flavors that without
making it something that doesn’t fit into the Terriers cannon, but I
would say him for sure. And Adam Arkin was such a great director to have
on this. He’s also an actor and he really knows his stuff, man, and he’s
really sort of giving to actors and knows what it is that we have to go
through with heavy scenes or whatever and he’s a smart, smart guy.
All the directors were really great and really smart and talented. Adam
did two episodes in the first season and so I had a little bit more
exposure to him and so a higher degree of comfortability was just
fantastic. Billy Gerhardt is another guy who’s a really fun director to
work with and sort of had a stamp on his episode as well. Ryan Johnson I
would point to as well as having some style in the episode that he
directed, which was right after the one that Michael Offer did; in fact,
they’re kind of a two-parter deal, the fourth and fifth ones. But yes,
they’re all great. They’re all fantastic. I would sort of—God, man, I
feel horrible not mentioning some people who whatever, but I guess I got
to stop it at some point.
E. Estrella Right. You’re on the screen with Donal and Laura almost 90%
to 95% of the time. Is there, because there is such a nice group of
casting on the show, do you ever—how can you maybe put into words when
you find out when you get the script that you get to act with some of
the other actors?
M. Raymond-James Point out when I get the script, what happens?
E. Estrella When you get a chance to work with some of the other
ensemble that you don’t normally get to because you’re always on screen
with Donal or Laura.
M. Raymond-James It’s great. The scripts will come in pretty late, like
the day before we start shooting the next episode and you go through
them and first of all, I love shooting with Donal and with Laura,
they’re just awesome people and awesome actors, but it’s fun when you
see—you know I got to do a couple scenes with Michael Gaston who is a
great guy and just a really good actor and I worked with him before,
too. I did a pilot in New York that didn’t go anywhere, but a David
Milch show with him and so I’ve known him for a while, too.
But yes, it’s always cool when you see I’m doing a scene with this
person or this guest star is coming on to do this scene and it’s going
to be played by so-and-so and then if there’s time you may look them up
and see if you recognize their work or whatever and sometimes you’re
like, “Oh, yes, it’s that dude or chick or whatever,” and it’s cool,
man, it’s good.
E. Estrella Thank you.
M. Raymond-James Yes, man.
Moderator Okay, thank you. Your next question comes from Nick Nunziata
with CHUD. Go ahead, please.
N. Nunziata Hi. There’s a really unpretentious and old school vibe to
the show which is kind of a breath of fresh air even though TV’s really
good right now. There’s a lot of high concept stuff and all that and I
kind of wanted to get did you guys realize that as you were developing
it or was it something that kind of came together because of the people
that are involved?
M. Raymond-James Yes, the chicken or the egg. I think we certainly did
recognize it and I think in part that’s kind of why they hired Donal and
I. I think that we kind of fit into that world pretty easily, which
isn’t to say; I think either of us could do sort of high-flying, fancy,
high-concept whatever, but just as a natural walking out of your life
and into a show this sort of fit us really well. But yes, we certainly
recognized that and wanted to make that an aspect.
And one of the important things is we want to these are two guys for the
most part that are going to be put out front and if you don’t, it can be
kind of personal, where it’s like if you don’t like these dudes, if you
don’t want to hang with these guys at all you’re probably not going to
like the show. If you think that they’re kind of alright maybe it might
be somebody you might want to have a beer with or whatever you probably
will like the show. We wanted to kind of keep that pretty mellow, pretty
N. Nunziata Well, Donal mentioned the Rockford Files in his interview
and it was funny because I had forgotten about the show and I had
forgotten that there was kind of an empty space where shows like that
were in today’s marketplace but it really just felt like time and I
think Terriers definitely fills that kind of empty space in TV right
M. Raymond-James Yes, I think you’re right. It’s definitely a throwback
to a lot of ways. In a lot of ways to those old sort of Rockford Files,
even Butch Cassidy, Sundance Kid, and Ted Griffin in particular has such
an affinity for those stories and that world and is so good at capturing
that with his writing and the whole staff, Tim Minear as well. There’s
just such a sort of affinity it’s almost like a tip of the hat from all
of us to that style of movie making and television from the old days.
N. Nunziata Well, here’s to hoping you guys keep that lived-in look.
M. Raymond-James Cheers! Thanks very much, man.
Moderator Thank you. There are no questions in queue at this time.
K. Silvernail Okay, I think we’re good then. Thank you guys—thanks to
everybody for participating and again, Terriers airs Wednesday nights at
10:00 p.m. only on FX. Thanks so much for doing this, Michael.
M. Raymond-James Yes, thanks everybody. I appreciate it.
K. Silvernail Everybody have a good day.
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