Interview with Christian Slater of "Breaking In" on FOX - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Christian Slater

Interview with Christian Slater of "Breaking In" on FOX 3/30/11.

I really enjoyed this. Slater is a big star, but he comes over as just a nice, regular guy. He's been in this business a long time. I always enjoy any project he does because he doesn't choose anything ordinary. I was very sad when "The Forgotten" was canceled, so I'm glad he's found something else to do. My review of the show will be coming soon, but it's very fun!!

FBC PUBLICITY: The Breaking In/Christian Slater Call
March 30, 2011/11:00 a.m. PDT

Todd Adair Ė Fox Publicity
Christian Slater Ė Oz, Breaking In

Moderator Welcome to the Breaking In Conference Call with Christian Slater. At this time, all lines are in a listen-only mode. Later there will be an opportunity for your questions and comments, and instructions will be given at that time. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

At this time, Iíd like to turn the conference over to our host, Todd Adair.

T. Adair Thanks for joining the call today. Christian, thanks for being on.

C. Slater Thanks for having me.

T. Adair Our new and last comedy of the season, Breaking In, premieres on Wednesday, April 6th at 9:30/8:30 Central, following American Idol. We have a seven episode run for this season, which will bring us through May 18th. The show will be on after Idol for all seven weeks. We also have a copy of the pilot episode available, so if anyone who is here on the call today has not had a chance to watch it, please contact me after the call and weíll sign you up for our online screening room or get you a DVD copy. At this time, we can start the Q&A.

Moderator Our first question comes from the line of Curt Wagner with RedEye.

C. Wagner I feel like Iíve sort of grown up with you. Name of the Rose and the Legend of Billie Jean were two of my favorite movies in the Ď80s. What I was wondering about this show is that it shows your great comic timing and it almost feels sort of like itís you and not Ö written, and I was wondering if thereís any kind of improv going on?

C. Slater Yes thereís definitely been a little bit of improv going on, certainly. When I first got the script, the character of Oz hadnít been really clearly identified. So when I sat down with Doug Robinson and Seth Gordon and Adam Goldenberg [sic], we just started talking and came up with ideas and I figured, you know what? Iíve got nothing to lose here so why donít I just throw out some options and some things that I would like to particularly do in a show and see what these guys think. They ended up popping everything I kind of suggested into the script and I read it and I was like, ďOh boy, okay, well this is pretty exciting. If we can actually pull off getting the Captain Kirk chair in the show that would be wondrous!Ē

C. Wagner I was going ask, was that Captain Kirk chair your idea? Because I know youíre a fan.

C. Slater Yes, well a buddy of mine had gotten me the chairódid I say Goldenberg or Goldberg? I donít know what I was thinking beforeóbut a buddy of mine had gotten me that chair for a birthday present about a year ago so it was really just sitting in my house and I really liked it and I just thought this chair, I think, would represent, in a way, who this Oz character is. He is definitely the captain of this particular ship. It does have a throne-like quality and it also has a little bit of a throwback-type quality as well. Iím a fairly eccentric character myself and the fact that these guys were so open to hiring people and including a lot of their own personal eccentricities into the characters was thrilling.

C. Wagner Bretís coming to town tomorrow here in Chicago. Give me some dirt.

C. Slater Some dirt on Bret? Lookóreally, honestlyóthere isnít that much to say. Heís a pretty decent guy. I mean, we did get to fly up to the Super Bowl together and we had a great time. What can I say? He was a total gentleman and quite hilarious. You can ask him about the poker game we played on the way back.

C. Wagner Good working with him?

C. Slater Really everybody involved has been a total dream. Iím really having a great time. I mean, itís a great gig. Great people. I get to wear shades and smoke a cigar and sit in the Kirk chair. I mean, life is good.

Moderator Okay, weíll move on to Joshua Maloney.

J. Maloney So, I guess in sort of a similar vein as the first caller, I was just watching Kuffs the other day and the thought occurred to me though that everything Iíve seen you in, youíve always been really just entertaining. But itís not just that youíre entertaining, I mean youíre alsoóyouíre a talented actor. I kind of almost think that you were maybe a little bit underrated in this industry a little bit. Do you think that youíre getting the roles and the parts and the offers these days that you really should be getting?

C. Slater Thank you. Look, I mean my ego of course wants to say, ďYeah, Iím the greatest actor who ever lived. Iím absolutely brilliant and I should be doing everything thatís out there.Ē But Iím going to use this show, hopefully, as an opportunity to exercise every kind of fantasy that I can get away with on national television.

J. Maloney Again, speaking about the cast, itís really a good crew youíre working with; some guys that really have some good TV work underneath their belts. What continues to be appealing to you about working on television?

C. Slater I like the consistency of it. I like the pace of it. With the first two experiences I had, I really did respond well to the schedule. Itís a very, very fast moving train. I donít like sitting around. I really like to get in there and do the job and get it done and feel good about it at the end of the day, and that pretty much seems to be the vibe on all the sets that Iíve gotten to be a part of.

J. Maloney Finally, I mean you have to love the fact that youíre following American Idol, I mean from a business standpoint it probably doesnít get any better than that.

C. Slater Sure. No, no, absolutely. We are all very thrilled and certainly happy with the support from FOX. Iíve been thinking about it a little bit, I kind of feel a little bit like Goldilocks. I mean I tried out the one bed, it didnít fit. I tried out the other bed, it didnít fit. This bed here at FOX feels just right.

Moderator Next, we will go to Alice Nugentís line.

A. Nugent Now I was just wondering, what is it about the character Oz that makes him tick? What attracted you to that character?

C. Slater Well, I do like the fact that he is an eight-moves ahead kind of guy. You know, he pretty much knows what the outcomes are going to be right from the get-go, which I really appreciated and I like. I think itís nice to have characters like that on TV. It makes people feel safe and comfortable. Even though itís a made up character it still, I think, makes people feel safe that thereís somebody out there like that, potentially. I like that heís in charge. I like that he likes to have fun, that he doesnít really take things all that seriously and heís just kind of a guyóa very mysterious guy, and thereís definitely a lot more going on beneath the surface than heís revealing.

A. Nugent Will the pilot show how the company got started? How he got into this line of work?

C. Slater I donít know if the pilot necessarily shows exactly how he got started. He is at a particular moment of need. I like the fact that he has the ability to kind of find these little diamonds in the rough, you know these people with these great skills that arenít really using them to their full and utmost potential. He picks these people, like Cameronís character whoís a brilliant computer hacker and really gives him the opportunity to kind of flourish and have fun and sort of point his skills in a particular direction where they could have gone down a darker path. Now heís getting the opportunity to break the law, legally.

A. Nugent Well, I understand there are a lot of pranks on the show. Do you guys have some of that going on behind the scenes as well?

C. Slater Behind the scenes, not yet. So far there have been so many pranks in front of the camera that itís been difficult to get things going, but Iím sure over time we will certainly have a lot of fun with each other. Iíve definitely had some good pranks in the past, on other shows that Iíve done. I mean, one prank I pulled kind of lasted even after the show was cancelled. Yes, about six months after, finally, the person found out that they were being pranked.

Moderator Our next question comes from Melissa Hayer.

M. Hayer With all of the different projects youíve done, is there one particularly special to you?

C. Slater I think so. Usually when Iím doing radio interviews, it always reminds me of Pump Up the Volume. I loved that character. I had a great time. It certainly was in the earlier portion of my career. I loved the director and I loved Samantha Mathis, and I just felt that the story was just very good and very rich and very emotional.

Moderator We have a question from Laurel Brown.

L. Brown In the past, and currently on Breaking In, youíve played a lot of really morally ambiguous characters. What tends to draw you to roles like that?

C. Slater I love characters with edge. I love characters that are a little bit more dangerous, a little bit unpredictable. I think theyíre just fun to play. Theyíre definitely more interesting than just your standard, run-of-the-mill action-y type hero. I love just being these guys that are a little offbeat and a little twisted, and just a little dangerous.

L. Brown How do you view Oz as a person? What kind of person do you see him as?

C. Slater I think he is definitely a guy who, at times, has to rule with a bit of an iron fist because he is dealing with a large group of misfits that heís assembled, but my personal feeling is that heís definitely got a heart of gold. I think he loves everyone that heís chosen to surround himself with.

L. Brown My final question would be: Is that really Captain Kirkís chair?

C. Slater Yes, well whatís nice is that as a way to do some research for this particular show, me and the gang all broke into the Smithsonian and stole the real one. Yes, so the one that they have at the Smithsonian is a replica now.

L. Brown Oh, thatís always good to know.

C. Slater Yes, we did a little replacement surgery there. It was very good.

Moderator Next, weíll go to Steve Eramoís line.

S. Eramo I wanted to find outómaybe if you can tell usóa little bit about your experiences filming the pilot episode for Breaking In, and perhaps some of the acting challenges you maybe found stepping into the role at first?

C. Slater Well, filming the pilotólook, Seth Gordon is certainly a wonderful director. I loved his movie, The King of Kong. I thought it was a great documentary and he certainly gets story and building characters. I found him to be an absolutely wonderful director. Itís always adventurous and exciting working with new people, figuring out how they work and how they like to do things, so itís a process.

I think weíve really fallen into a nice groove. I mean honestly, the last four episodes that weíve done have been a pleasure. The directors who have come in have been great. We had Fred Savage come in and direct. I did a movie with him when I was 17 and I think he was about 12, so itís just kind of amazing to see people grow up and take on these new roles.

S. Eramo What would you say has made a career as an actor rewarding for you so far?

C. Slater I think the opportunities to experience so many different things. To get the opportunity to, quite honestly, travel; see things. At times, I get the opportunities to go on USO tours where if I wasnít in the position that Iím in I wouldnít have those chances to get to go to Bahrain or Djibouti, or get to visit the Walter Reed Medical Center. So having those kinds of experiences are quite remarkable and certainly perspective-changing.

S. Eramo Did you always want to get into this industry while you were growing up or did you have other professions in mind?

C. Slater I did not really get too many opportunities to think of other professions. My mother talked to me about being a lawyer or a doctor, that sort of thing, but at the same time, she was a casting director so I was surrounded by actors. I would sit in her casting sessions when she couldnít get a babysitter and Iíd have to sit there and watch actors do auditions over and over again and my father was an actor, so pretty much show business was something that was just kind of ingrained into me at a very, very early age.

Moderator We have a question from Jenny Rarden.

J. Rarden Iíve seen the premiere and I really enjoyed it. You and Bret Harrison, especially, are terrific. Although Alphonsoís character is just the perfect prankster, I think.

C. Slater Oh, heís adorable. Heís adorable. Iím so happy and proud with the work everybodyís been doing and Iím telling you it just gets nuttier.

J. Rarden Well I canít wait to see more. Like Iíve said, Iíve seen the pilot but Iím anxious to see the rest of them.

C. Slater Yes, it gets crazy. Thereís a lot more going on beneath the surface as well.

J. Rarden Oz in Breaking In are different than a lot of your roles up until now in that itís a comedy rather than a drama. What made you decide you wanted to do this genre of TV?

C. Slater Well, Doug Robinson told me that heíd seen me do a few comedy things. I did a bit on Curb Your Enthusiasm and I did something on The Office and I was pretty much playing myself inówell I was, I was playing a version of myself in those particular shows. This was an opportunity to create a character from the ground up and really make somebody come to life in a comedy-esque type fashion. It was something new, it was something different. It was something that certainly feels more geared towards my strengths and things that I really do enjoy doing.

I definitely prefer doing comedy. I think comedy is vital in our world. I think itís very, very important and we need as many excuses to laugh and be jolly at this particular time.

J. Rarden A lot of viewers are hesitant to start a new show, especially when it premieres at kind of an odd time in the season. Youíve talked a lot about it already, but can you give them a couple of good reasons to tune in?

C. Slater Itís the greatest show ever made. I mean, youíd be crazy not to. Thereís two reasons right there.

Moderator Weíll move along to Suzanne Lanoueís line.

S. Lanoue I was wondering, is this the most extreme, zaniest thing youíve ever done, would you say?

C. Slater I think so, certainly on screen or in this particular venue. When I started my career I definitely did movies like Heathers, which was certainly a black comedy and very, very twisted in a lot of ways. So, in a certain respect this is a little bit of a nod and a wink to, I think, some of the earlier things that I started off doing.

S. Lanoue Now, I think you said there were seven episodes?

C. Slater There will be a total of seven. Weíve done the pilot and four episodes.

S. Lanoue Do you think weíll see a bit more character development of all the different characters over those seven episodes?

C. Slater Oh my goodness, yes, certainly a lot more insight into each one of these people and a deeper understanding. One of the things I really like about Adamís concept with this particular show, itís very much like Star Trek. They had a five-year mission to explore strange new worlds. Oz has a five-year plan and heís hired each of these people for very specific reasons.

S. Lanoue Well youíre a big science fiction fan, I gather, so do you thinkówill you be going to Comic-Con this year?

C. Slater Iím going toótheyíre doing somethingó

T. Adair WonderCon

C. Slater WonderCon on Sunday, I think, in San Francisco so Iím going to WonderCon at this point. As far as going to specifically Comic-Con I donít know if the schedule will permit it.

Moderator Next, weíll go to Joe Hummel.

J. Hummel I wanted to ask youóbecause of a lot of your roles, the public sees you as a dangerous, cool guy with a shady past. I know itís a role but thatís how we always see you. Can you tell us anything about yourself that would totally surprise or shock any Christian Slater fans?

C. Slater Iíve pretty much gone from a ďbad boyĒ to a ďdad boy.Ē Somebody came up with that one yesterday and I really liked it. ďDad boyĒ is definitely more a fitting moniker for me. I mean Iím going to LEGOLAND on Thursday to check out the new Star Wars exhibit they have there. Iím not going just myself, of course, Iím taking my son.

J. Hummel Okay, so your sonís your excuse for going?

C. Slater There you go.

J. Hummel I wanted to ask one thing, in the closing shot of the pilot, next to the Captain Kirk chair, I saw this old book. Is that on purpose and/or what is that?

C. Slater Well that is a bookóit was a prop that I stole from The Name of the Rose so we figured thereís a good spot for it, so we might as well put it in there and more will be revealed. A lot of the pages on that are very much like they were in the movie. Theyíve all beenóitís got that poison ink on it.

Moderator We have a question from Lance Carter.

L. Carter What would be your advice to actors?

C. Slater I think not taking yourself too seriously is vital. This is a job; itís a gig. Building a life outside of the business is extraordinarily important. It canít all just be about this business.

Moderator Next, we will go to Stephanie Hollandís line.

S. Holland So Iím wondering, Oz is such a man of mystery to the rest of us. Have you been clued in on his past and what heís really all about?

C. Slater Well, yes, very kindly Adam has certainly sat me down and exposed me to Ozís timeline, which of course, makes it a lot easier for me to understand the character and see the direction heís going in. Now, of course he made me swear to secrecy about it all so I canít say anything really about Ozís true past but it certainly gripped me and I found it very interesting. The guy whoís going to end up playing his father is pretty phenomenal.

S. Holland Working with actors like Bret and Alphonso, did you feel that you had to, sort of, raise your game when it came to your comedy skills?

C. Slater Yes, definitely. I definitely felt like they were setting the bar very, very high and if I didnít show up and be as prepared as I could possibly be then I would definitely fall behind with the timing and the comic genius that they possess.

Moderator We have time for one final question today and that will come from Reg Seeton.

R. Seeton How do you relate to all the high-tech security elements in the show? Like, are you a tech-type of guy in real life?

C. Slater I do love the tech stuff. I enjoy the iPad. Iíve got the iPhone. Iíve got a Mini Mac hooked up to my TV. Iíve got the Xbox. Iíve got the PlayStation. Iíve got the Wii. I mean, Iím insanely techie and I love to play all that stuff with my kids.

R. Seeton As you get older, what do you like most about the roles that you receive now, as compared to early days?

C. Slater Well, itís funny. I mean Iím now the boss, which is very interesting. For me, to kind ofóhave been around long enough to get the opportunity to be the guy who can actually appropriately sit in the captainís chair is quite shocking, but I guess thatís just what happens when you keep breathing.

R. Seeton Can we expect any Pump Up the Volume references in the show?

C. Slater Yes, definitely. Thereíll beóas many references as we can throw in. As many references as Adam Goldberg is comfortable throwing in. Weíre certainly willing to take those chances and kind ofóhopefully not overdo it but keep a nice, fine balance.

Moderator Mr. Adair, did you have any concluding remarks?

T. Adair Thank you again for everyone who asked questions and listened in this afternoon. Once again, Breaking In premieres its first of seven spring episodes Wednesday, April 6th, 9:30/8:30 Central, following American Idol.
Christian, thanks again for your time.

FOX Breaking In "Pilot"


Contra Security, a high-tech security firm that takes extreme Ė and often questionable Ė measures to sell its protection services is corporate Americaís answer to ďThe A-Team,Ē giving clients a sense of security by first ripping it away. In the opener, Contraís man of mystery owner OZ blackmails his newest recruit, computer hacker Cameron to join his team. Cameron quickly learns that cracking into state-of-the-art security systems is a lot easier than dealing with his co-workers including the alluring Melanie, prank-pulling Cash and competitive Josh in ďPilot,Ē the series premiere episode of BREAKING IN airing Wednesday, Apr 6 (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Great show!!

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