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By Suzanne

Jimmy Smits

Interview with Jimmy Smits of "24: Legacy" on FOX 2/17/17

It was great to speak with Mr. Smits again! The first two times were for "Sons of Anarchy."  He's always great, though, and such a nice guy on these calls.  My favorite role of his was probably when he played Senator and then President Santos on "West Wing," but there are so many roles to choose from. I hope you're enjoying his work on "24: Legacy," which is a very good show, and I hope you enjoy reading this as well.

Final Transcript
FBC PUBLICITY: Conference Call with Jimmy Smits of 24: Legacy
February 17, 2017/2:30 p.m. EST

SPEAKERS
Annie Geffroy Ė FBC Publicity
Jimmy Smits Ė 24: Legacy

PRESENTATION

Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the Conference Call with Jimmy Smits of 24: Legacy. [Operator instructions]. As a reminder, this call is being recorded.

And Iíd now like to turn the conference over to Annie Geffroy. Please go ahead.

Annie Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for participating in todayís 24: Legacy conference call with series star, Jimmy Smits. Jimmy plays Senator John Donovan, as you know, and in this past weekís episode we left off with John trying to get to the bottom of the allegations against his campaign manager, Nilaa, whoís played by Sheila Vand. Nilaaís been accused of leaking the Army Rangersí identities. With his presidential campaign in jeopardy, Johnís father, Henry Donovan, played by Gerald McRaney, tries to convince John to replace Nilaa.

The next all new episode of 24: Legacy will air this Monday, February 20th on Fox, and itís also available for review on the Fox Screening Room. Please note also that we will be discussing some points of Episode 4, so be mindful when youíre publishing your stories for any spoiler-y content for our viewers.

I think thatís about it, so Iím going to go ahead and turn it over to the first question. Thank you.

Jimmy Good afternoon, guys.

Moderator That will be from the line of Suzanne Lanoue of The TV MegaSite. Please go ahead.

Suzanne Hi. Itís great to speak with you again.


Jimmy Hi, Suzanne. Howís it going? Hello, everybody thatís on the line there. Good afternoon.

Suzanne Good. I was trying to remember if you had worked before with Gerald McRaney.

Jimmy No, we havenít. Iím a huge fan, though.

Suzanne Yes, heís great.

Jimmy Heís my now major dad. Heís my major dad.

Suzanne So, did you guys have a lot of time to work on the scenes on Mondayís episode, especially the last one?

Jimmy We actually did not. And as it is in these kind of circumstances, we just finished filming some of my work in the 12th episode, which is our final hour for the season, and there was some serious emotional terrain that we had to cover. And I guess Iím alluding to that because itís just a testament as to the type of actor Mac is, you see heís all over the place, heís on Netflix, and House of Cards, and on that great show on NBC. Heís just a pro.

Suzanne Oh, This is Us, yes.

Jimmy Yes, This is Us. Heís a pro to the max. So, what I wanted to say about that was because of the way the filming went down it was very compressed and we didnít have a lot of time. And as it is with professional actors you have to find a way into each other in very short notice, thatís part of what we do, just sharing little tidbits about our lives and what weíve been through becomes an ice breaker for the performance but also for what we have to negotiate character-wise as well.

Suzanne Sure. You did a great job too. I love those scenes. And Iím glad to hear that you both last until the end of the season.

Jimmy So far, but you never know on this show.

Suzanne Thank you.

Jimmy Alright, Suzanne. Thank you.
Moderator And next weíll go to the line of Gabrielle Pantera with Hollywood Daily Star. Please go ahead.

Gabrielle Hi, Jimmy. This is Gabrielle.

Jimmy Hi, Gaby. How are you doing?

Gabrielle Iím fine. I have a question for you. Art imitates life with your father wanting you to get rid of your campaign manager, do you know when they wrote the script or if they were just hoping something like that would happen in real life as well to play off of?

Jimmy Okay. So, I should do a disclaimer right off the bat that none of this stuff parallels whatís happening in that other soap opera thatís going on. So, yes, that was written way before any of that stuff. But as it has happened in the other incarnations of this show, is it art imitates life or life imitates art? I donít know. Yes. And so itís not about any kind of parallels to what has happened, yes.

Gabrielle Okay. And if I may, thereís another slight part to this. How has this role changed your perception of politics?
Jimmy Oh, this particular role?

Gabrielle Yes, this particular role.

Jimmy I think more than anything is just a reaffirmation for me that even when you come in with very idealistic ways of how you perceive you want to do good, or how you want to serve, that in the process of negotiation and being diplomatic and traversing the whole political machine, that you have to be mindful that sometimes that idealism, you have to keep it from getting compromised. But at the same time in the way of trying to serve there is a whole thing about negotiation, and I wish that that little kernel of knowledge could be understood more in terms of whatís going on in our present situation. The bottom line is that we have to do things that are for the good of the country, thatís what the characters are going through, and again thatís the parallel of whatís happening now as well, I guess.

Gabrielle Fabulous. Thank you so much, Jimmy.

Jimmy Thank you, Gabrielle. I appreciate it.

Gabrielle Okay.
Moderator Next weíll go to the line of Lisa Steinberg with Starry Constellation. Please go ahead.

Lisa Hi. Itís such a pleasure to speak with you.

Jimmy Hi, Lisa. How are you doing?

Lisa Good. I was wondering if there was anything you added to this character that you may not have originally been given when he was first broken down for you.

Jimmy Well, the broken down part, as you can see from the pilot, was very sketchy, so Iíve been adding a lot simply because the flow in terms of what has happened in the 12 hours has changed considerably. So, yes, Iíve had to make internal adjustments with regard to what I originally perceived that I wanted to do and whatís gone down.

But thatís part of working in television. If youíre working on a film or a play thereís a beginning, a middle and an end, and as a performer you want to be able to score things so that something that you allude to, whether it be with inflection or how you might play a certain scene might, in your scoring of it, foreshadow what might come. And in television a lot of the time you have to be able to be a little bit [audio disruption]. So, the thing with me more than anything is to keep it honest and donít get into the realm of being so enigmatic, as you see sometimes in a daily soap opera, and that is a different kind of genre and gear in terms of the performance of the two, but you can get into those things where youíre enigmatic because they really donít know what theyíre going to do the next day. So, itís important for me as an actor to be able to do my work and not just say lines. Yes, so thatís been interesting in terms of adding or making adjustments this particular season.

I hope that answers your question. It was a roundabout way, but you get what Iím saying, right?

Lisa Absolutely. And I loved your brilliant portrayal of Matthew Santos in The West Wing. How do you think he would feel about our current state of our political climate?

Jimmy Matthew Santos?

Lisa Yes.
Jimmy Matthew Santos, even though he was a centrist he would be crawling up the wall. But thatís Santos.

Lisa He was an amazing character, and I hope that we get to see someone in real life like him in the near future.

Jimmy Oh, thank you so much for saying that. Thank you.

Lisa My pleasure. Thank you for your time.

Jimmy Well, you know Vinick wasnít that bad either.

Lisa No, he wasnít.

Jimmy He was a centrist Republican.

Lisa Not at the end.

Jimmy Not at the end.

Lisa Thatís Matthewís influence on him, though, I think. They ended up being quite a pairing.

Jimmy Absolutely. Thank you so much.

Moderator And next weíll go to the line of Greg Staffa with Your Entertainment Corner. Please go ahead.

Greg Thanks for taking our questions today.

Jimmy No worries, Greg. How are you?

Greg Good. With something like, even going back as far as Star Wars to 24, you are inhabiting a role of a world that has already existed for years, there might not be a Jack Bauer in this one, but what is it like as an actor to immerse yourself in a world but yet have it be completely your own? And did you approach it differently than, say, a normal pilot with starting at ground zero?

Jimmy Right. Well, what youíre alluding to is that there is a definite visual template that is part of the showís iconography, right, the lore of the show has a definite kind of visual template. And itís one of the reasons why I took the job, because I really embraced it, I thought that it was game- changing when it first appeared. And really the whole real-time factor of it injected a kind of energy into episodic television in a different kind of way. So, I really embraced that aspect of it.

And the fact that Stephen Hopkins, who directed the original pilot of 24, was on to direct this, and has come back on with us in latter episodes that we were shooting subsequently, really gave me a kind of actor comfort zone that I was ready to live and breathe with all that stuff. My work in the pilot was, there wasnít a lot there so it was relying upon a number of conversations, not many, but a number of conversations I had with the writers and producers who also had been part of the previous incarnations in different forms. And so that part of it was a real leap of faith [audio disruption].

Greg Hello? Thank you.

Jimmy Machinations of politics, so itís a little bit different. I hope I answered your question.

Greg Thank you.

Jimmy Thank you.

Moderator And next weíll go to the line of Joshua Maloney with Niagara Frontier. Please go ahead.

Joshua Hi, Jimmy. Thanks for your time today.

Jimmy No worries, Josh. How are you doing?

Joshua Good. Thank you. So, Jimmy, when you signed on for this role it was perhaps the worst time in recorded history to be a politician, let alone a presidential candidate, so what appealed to you about playing this kind of a role?

Jimmy Well, again, it wasnít so much about the political nature of it, it was more about the genre of the show. And again Iím going to use that word, it travels in the lane of [audio disruption].

W I wonder if thatís our Internet.
Jimmy This is something I havenít done much of and I wanted to delve into that and see where that would take me and that particular character. I hope Iím answering your question there. Is there something else that you wanted to follow up with, Josh?

Joshua Yes. We know that itís 24 and it seems that at some point everybody gets in on the action. How likely are we to see you with a gun, or in a fight, or doing any of the real 24-ish things on the show?

Jimmy I might have mentioned this in another interview, but we shoot in Atlanta and Iím back and forth, too many times, between Los Angeles, or New York and Atlanta and Iím taking a lot of anti-inflammatories on those trips because of that. So, the answer to that is, yes, there will be an element of that, which is good, I signed up for that part of it, so Iím embracing that totally and Iím just trying to keep up with Corey and Miranda.

Joshua Alright. Iím looking forward to it. Thanks, Jimmy.

Jimmy Thanks, Josh.

Moderator And next weíll go to the line of Art Shrian with myNewYorkeye. Please go ahead.

Art Hi, Jimmy. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.

Jimmy How are you, Art? How are you doing?

Art Good. How are you?

Jimmy Good, man. Good. [Indiscernible]ó

Art Congratulations.

Jimmy Thank you.

Art Yes. I saw you at the party a couple of weeks ago.

Jimmy Oh, okay.

Art And I was blown away by the pilot as well. Itís amazing of course. The cast is amazing as well and itís good to see the diversity and inclusion that weíre seeing in several shows, including this one with a black lead, and with you and with women, so itís doing well.

What I wanted to ask you about is that you have been a champion, especially for Latinos, in entertainment and outside, bringing the voices up, and we see that in TV and films things are changing for African-American, black actors and filmmakers, not as much as weíd want, but they are. But you still see the representation of brown people, or especially Latinos and Asians and others are not where it should be, so how do you see that progression going, and what do you think the industry and the artists themselves can do to improve that situation?

Jimmy Thanks for your question, Art. I think itís a really important thing. And, yes, with regards to our show itís another reason why I was really positive about jumping on to this with regards to Coreyís casting and their choice of where they want to go story-wise. I love the fact that, and Iíve talked about this in interviews, that the women characters are very proactive and really move the story forward, and when theyíre in positions of power theyíre really exercising that power. Yes, so itís something that I embrace totally.

And with regards to what you were saying about whatís happening generally, with regards to Latinos I think itís a process. And of course you see the numbers in the major metropolitan areas increasing, and I think thereís a lot to learn with what the African-American community is enjoying right now in terms of a real resurgence in terms of story and quality types of writing and characters. And what we can see is that itís not just about being in front of the cameras, to be in those positions where youíre doing writing, and producing, and directing, having people that are involved in it on those levels fortifies the possibility of those stories happening. So, if we can learn anything by that, thatís the place we have to get to, specifically with regards to your question about Latinos story-wise. I hope I was able to answer your question, Art.

Art Yes. Absolutely. And I also think itís great to see that youíre playing a presidential candidate, and when we see brown folks and other folks playing not just your typical roles but a wide variety of roles it inspires other actors as well. So, thank you for doing that.

Just a follow up question on that. This is a wonderful show, but are there any other brown actors or characters that youíre a fan of right now, any brown actors or shows that are representing brown folks that you are a fan of right now that we should look out for?

Jimmy Well, I love the work that Devís doing right now, heís represented in that Oscar film thatís in contention right now.

Art Lion.

Jimmy Yes, Lion. Definitely. For a story like that being told not only because of the truth thatís happening with regards to the documentary but for them to open it up even further and have a film about it with that quality just warms my heart.

Art Thank you so much, Jimmy, for taking the time and all your wonderful work and support.

Jimmy God bless you, Art. Thank you very much, Art. Take care.

Moderator And next weíll go to the line of Matthias Andre with Sky Germany. Please go ahead.

Jimmy Hello. I donít think theyíre on the line.

Moderator Can you please unmute your line, Mr. Andre? Weíll go to the next question. Weíll go to Nikoleta Morales of CelebrityXO. Please go ahead.

Nikoleta Hi, Jimmy. How are you?

Jimmy Nikoleta, how are you doing today? Howís everything?

Nikoleta Itís great. Iím in warm Chicago, so it is wonderful when itís warm in here in the cold city. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer the questions.

Jimmy No worries.

Nikoleta My question is, you play a very complicated character obviously with a lot of inner turmoil and emotional stuff going on. In the upcoming episodes, and even from the episodes that already passed, what would you say your characterís personal motives are pushing forward and that, letís say, are not so obvious to the viewer that you can discuss. Yes, tell us about it.

Jimmy Good question. Thank you. Thanks. I appreciate that. So, what weíve talked about and weíve seen just little brush strokes of, I think, is the fact that, and I have to frame it with regards not just to my character but the pairing of Mirandaís character and what I do because weíre joined at the hip in that regard, so what we talked about is that we wanted to explore this whole thing about a power couple. And the realm that weíre dealing with, the reality that we deal with on the show has to do with politics, but just in our conversations not only with the director and between us as actors and the writers have been how do people when theyíre in the same industry at high levels negotiate their work and the kind of contracts that they have to have that sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the other person so that they can take two steps forward.

And so thatís what the springboard was in terms of our storyline with regards to 24, you saw the allusion that Mirandaís character had been very successful in this operation and then now the contract between them was that she was going to take a step back and let Donovan and his campaign flourish, and then we have this thing that everybody gets sucked in. But it has to do with what the dynamic is between that and how much one throws themselves into whatever they do, their work, and when one, especially in the types of jobs that they have theyíre related but they have to keep secrets from, they canít tell everything to each other, there are little secrets that are kept between them. And during the course of the 12 episodes that weíre doing thatís going to become very, very evident and it plays in terms of their relationship.

Nikoleta Thank you. And then just a follow up question. What are some of the personal emotions that youíre dealing with in this series?

Jimmy Well, having now shot the final couple of episodes, there was a real emotional rollercoaster that both of our characters, well that all of the characters in the show really have to go through. But I didnít realize that we were going to go through it from A through Z, to ZZ with my guy, not this season, but thatís where weíre headed.

Nikoleta Okay. Sounds great. Well, thank you, Jimmy. I appreciate it. And good luck with the rest of the series. I look forward to it.

Jimmy Muchisima gracias, Nikoleta.

Nikoleta De nada. Adios.

Jimmy Adios.

Moderator And our last question comes from the line of Greg Staffa with Your Entertainment Corner. Please go ahead.

Greg Thanks again for taking our questions today.

Jimmy Hi, Greg.

Greg I have a personal question, kind of. These days so many times an actor like yourself gets associated with the roles that heís played. Oh, thatís Jimmy Smits from this or that. But when you look in the mirror, who is Jimmy Smits to you? You do charity work, there are other things, Iím just curious of who do you see yourself as.

Jimmy Itís interesting that you ask that. [Audio disruption].

Greg Oh, you broke up.

Jimmy Iím sorry. I mentioned that Iím traveling around [audio disruption] because I [indiscernible] by different people in different decades [audio disruption] the body of work, so on any given day some person might come up to me and say, I love what youíre doing on 24, the showís exciting, but then every now and then Iíll get, you know Iím a lawyer now because you really influenced my work, my decisions, or Iíll get a kid come up to me, are you really in Star Wars? So, Iím glad that Iíve had that panoramic effect in terms of the different decades.

But bottom line, [audio disruption] characters, that enigmatic quality that you want to keep because it fuels what I do as an actor. You guys really donít know the real Jimmy character in my everyday life, which is much, much different than any of the characters that Iíve gotten to play. I hope that answers your question.

Greg Yes. Thank you.

Jimmy Alright, buddy.

Moderator Now, Iíll turn it back over to Annie Geffroy for closing statements. Please go ahead.

Annie Hi. Thank you so much, everyone.
Jimmy Closing statements.

Annie Are we in court?

Jimmy Not yet.

Annie Thanks, everyone, for joining the call. And thank you, Jimmy, for taking the time. Just as a reminder to everyone, the next new episode of 24: Legacy will air this Monday at 8:00 on Fox. And please be mindful of spoilers when you are publishing your articles. Thank you so much.

Jimmy Yes. Thanks, and if anybody has any follow ups for today you can just shoot them over to Joanna or Annie and Iíll try to respond. Okay?

Annie Thanks, everyone.

Moderator And that does conclude our conference for today. Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T Executive TeleConference Service. You may now disconnect.

W Bye, guys. Thanks.

Jimmy Thanks, guys.

W That was great.

Jimmy Okay.

Annie Awesome. Thank you, Jimmy. We really appreciate it.

Jimmy Yes.

W Thank you.

Jimmy No worries.

W Have a good weekend, everyone.

Jimmy Thank you. Bye, guys.

W Bye.

Annie Bye.

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