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Interview with Jimmy Smits of "24:
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.
FBC PUBLICITY: Conference Call with
Jimmy Smits of 24: Legacy
February 17, 2017/2:30 p.m. EST
Annie Geffroy Ė FBC Publicity
Smits Ė 24: Legacy
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
And Iíd now like to turn the conference
over to Annie Geffroy. Please go ahead.
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.
Good. I was trying to remember if you had worked before with
Jimmy No, we havenít. Iím a huge fan,
Suzanne Yes, heís great.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Thank you so much, Jimmy.
Jimmy Thank you, Gabrielle.
I appreciate it.
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
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?
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?
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.
thank you so much for saying that. Thank you.
pleasure. Thank you for your time.
Jimmy Well, you
know Vinick wasnít that bad either.
Lisa No, he
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.
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
Jimmy No worries, Greg. How are
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?
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].
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.
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,
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?
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.
are you, Art? How are you doing?
Art Good. How are
Jimmy Good, man. Good. [Indiscernible]ó
Jimmy Thank you.
I saw you at the party a couple of weeks ago.
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.
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
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
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
Jimmy No worries.
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
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
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 De nada. Adios.
Moderator And our last question comes from the
line of Greg Staffa with Your Entertainment Corner. Please
Greg Thanks again for taking our questions
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.
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
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?
Moderator And that does conclude
our conference for today. Thank you for your participation
and for using AT&T Executive TeleConference Service. You may
W Bye, guys. Thanks.
Jimmy Thanks, guys.
W That was great.
Annie Awesome. Thank you, Jimmy. We
really appreciate it.
W Thank you.
Jimmy No worries.
W Have a good weekend,
Jimmy Thank you. Bye, guys.
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