by Jennifer Squires Biller
Rescue Me fans, do I have a treat for you. I was invited to chat with Denis Leary on Wednesday about the upcoming new season of Rescue Me, the Season 2 DVD release, and all things Leary.
LA Times reporter Tom O’Neil, who you’ll recognize from E! as the Emmy expert, hosted the chat. Thanks Tom!
The new season starts May 30. Set your TiVos and VCRs, Tubers! Those of you wanting to get caught up, the Season 2 DVDs drop on May 9, and the soundtrack is debuting the third week of May. Enjoy!
As for what’s coming up this season for our troubled firefighters, Leary gave us some juicy details. Read on, to find out who he’ll be romancing, if “Jesus” will be making any appearances this season, which Oscar-winning actresses are joining the cast, and Leary’s thoughts on his role as Diego in Ice Age 2.
Chat Transcript - Part 1
Rescue Me Discussion- (includes some spoilers)
Tom O'Neil: What surprises do you have ahead for the new season of Rescue?
Denis Leary: There is a shocker at the end of the first episode
Tom O'Neil: Anybody get offed?
Denis Leary:There's also a shocker at the end of the third and fourth episodes but I am not at liberty to spill the beans No one gets offed, but a few characters may wish that they were getting offed
tubetalkgirl: Denis, can we expect to see a softer side of Tommy this season?
Denis Leary: Yes there will be some softer sides of Tommy revealed this season
Tom O'Neil: Tell us how you juggle the two roles of writer and actor.
Denis Leary: I spend most of my free time writing/discussing ideas and scenes with Peter Tolan and then frantically memorize my lines for the next day's scenes and then go to bed
Tom O'Neil: You write that close to deadline? Yikes
Denis Leary: Yeah, we write and rewrite even the morning of shooting scenes
Tom O'Neil: How would you say Tommy is different now from where he was in the first episode? Or is he really the same?
Denis Leary: He's not drinking, he's about to learn how to handle his kids in an unselfish way for the first time. Susan Sarandon's character teaches Tommy and Franco a life lesson that they had never thought of before and that helps them to approach their kids with fresh angles.
Denis Leary: May 30th and the second season DVD comes out May 9th. The soundtrack comes out the third week in May.
SweetP: Denis my father is a Fire Chief and we watch the show together. I just wanted to say that you've captured the spirit and camaraderie of the department wonderfully. I wish you and the show all the best at the Emmys.
Denis Leary: I would love to see other members of the cast get nominated as well.
KathyP: tell me how honey and I'll stuff the ballot box!
tubetalkgirl: Will Susan be a romantic interest for Tommy?
Denis Leary: No, Susan will be a romantic interest for Franco. She plays a very sexy, wealthy older woman who really turns Franco's head.
tubetalkgirl: It doesn't take much to turn Franco's head, if I recall.
Denis Leary: No, but this is the first time that an older woman, as opposed to a young model, has done that. I should probably also mention that Marisa Tomei is on the show this year playing my brother Johnny's ex-wife.
tubetalkgirl: What is it with Tommy and his relatives' wives? Hmm...
tubetalkgirl: Yay! Marissa and Susan. Sounds great. Is it May 30 yet?
Tom O'Neil: You've channeled a lot of Denis into Tommy. How much are you guys really the same guy?
Denis Leary: Very, very little actually. Tommy is a combination of two of my best friends who are firefighters here in New York. One knows that I am playing part of him and the other guy loves the show but has absolutely no idea.
Tom O'Neil: If you get Emmy nominated again for writing, what episode would you like that to be for?
Denis Leary: Peter and I submitted the last two episodes from last year.
KathyP: You REALLY deserve the Emmy
tmaya56: keeping my fingers crossed for you at the Emmys, Denis!
Denis Leary: KathyP, I hope you're a voter.
Denis Leary: I would love to see other members of the cast get nominated as well.
Tom O'Neil: If you get nominated for acting, what episode would you submit to judges? Episode 12? Episode 13?
Denis Leary: We did submit both of those episodes for writing and acting as well
Tom O'Neil: You'll only get ONE episode if you make the cut for acting, though. You'll have to choose between them. Do you think one is a stronger acting showcase than the other?
Denis Leary: That's very hard to say. I really think that's up to Peter and my producing partner Jim Serpico
SweetP: Denis - what reaction do you get from firemen/woman regarding the show? Has anyone expressed negative views on your portrayal of the department?
Leary: Some of the older members of the FDNY found it difficult to watch during the first season but a good friend of mine, Timmy Higgins, who was a member of the FDNY and died on 9/11, his brother Bobby and his brother Joey and his father are all firefighters. His father has put in 40 some odd years fighting fires in New York City and he loves the show. So, he's my touchstone.
Tom O'Neil: "Rescue Me" has a kind of cult hit status. Some of its fans are MOONIES. Do you think that's cool -- or creepy?
Denis Leary: Moonies--define Moonies. As in the religion?
Tom O'Neil: They're extreme fans. FANatic fans
Denis Leary: Oh, no, no, no, I am all for fanatic fans. We love doing the show, we love telling the stories, and if people are fanatic about it, that's a plus.
Q: what about other women joining the firehouse?
Denis Leary: We don't know yet. The probie becomes a full-time firefighter this year, and part of this season's story arc is whether or not he decides to stay with the crew or transfer to another house. If he transfers, there is always the possibility that he will be replaced by a female firefighter.
tubetalkgirl: What has been your favorite character to play so far in your career?
Denis Leary: Tommy Gavin, no doubt. Although Diego (from Ice Age 2) has been very, very good to me.
tubetalkgirl: I enjoyed Diego, too, but Tommy rules.
tmaya56: do you run up against a lot of censorship? Particularly in this politcal climate?
Denis Leary: No, FX is absolutely the best group of people I have ever worked with. All they do is ask us to push the envelope even further.
tubetalkgirl: Has Franco kicked the pill habit?
Denis Leary: Yes, Franco has kicked the pill habit and all the guys quit smoking in the first episode of the show.
tubetalkgirl: They all quit smoking at the same time? Wow, tempers will be flaring. Can't wait.
CwrdlyLyn: How does the experience with F/X compare to when you worked for ABC with THE JOB?
Leary: FX is so far and beyond ABC not just in terms of ideas but in terms of marketing that there is no comparison.
tubetalkgirl: Denis, will "Jesus" be making any appearances this season on Rescue Me?
Leary: It's possible that Jesus may make an appearance before the season is over. He represents Tommy's doubts about his own faith and belief in God which will be sorely tested before the season is over.
Q: is sheela still a lesbian?
DenisLeary: No, sheela is not a lesbian, but down deep she still could be, but right now she's not.
Give Me My Remote: You and Lenny C have any upcoming projects? I saw him at the Celts game a few weeks back...he's a skinny bastard again!
Denis Leary: Lenny's character is prison this year and I told him nobody gets fat in prison. So he lost 110 lbs before we started shooting the third season and I have a project that I am developing for him that is very secret and under wraps.
Tom O'Neil: Why does "Rescue’s" new season start when it does? May is not the traditional roll-out time
Denis Leary: We like playing our stories out over the course of the summer. There is less competition and it allows us to shoot the show from February into August, which gives us three seasons of weather.
Denis Leary: I am sure I will at some point.
tubetalkgirl: Are there any fun extras on the upcoming DVD i.e. bloopers, cast commentaries?
Denis Leary: Yes, there are all kinds of deleted scenes and behind the scenes extras.
Leary: Lots and lots of comic and dramatic activity. I think people forget that even though the show is about big, tough guys it's really about the women who run their lives.
Tom O'Neil: ah, well said
CwrdlyLyn: was there ever another station you were approaching w. RESCUE ME or was F/X always the ideal?
Denis Leary: we had offers from several different networks but FX made the best presentation.
Tom O'Neil: Do you feel like you're censored creatively being on FX? HBO shows can get away with so much more. Does that matter to you?
Denis Leary: No, the only thing I feel we can't do or say is the word "F---" and full frontal nudity, neither one of which feels like it would add anything to the show.
Tom O'Neil: I fear the day James Gandolfini does a nude scene on Sopranos. I'll cancel my HBO subscription
tubetalkgirl: Tom, it can't be worse than Terry Bradshaw in "Failure to Launch."
Tom O'Neil: So ... yeah, ask Denis: would you ever do a full nude scene if you felt it was important to telling the story?
Denis Leary: I've always avoided full nudity only because I have two teenagers. Maybe when they're a little older, but at that point no one is going to want to see my sorry ass on the big screen or the small screen.
Denis Leary: I think the Sopranos is hands down the greatest television show on TV and after the first two episodes of this season, I think Gandolfini, Edie Falco, David Chase and the show itself will capture each and every available award.
SweetP: Denis - do you find that Rescue Me has brought you "sex symbol" status?
Denis Leary: I think when People reach the point when they have to have me in their sexiest man episode we are almost in the bottom of the barrel. Could be a sign of Armageddon
Q: Will we ever hear Steven Pasquale sing on the show?
Leary: Steve Pasquale, I would love to find a way to get him to sing on the show. He sang last year during the birthday party for Jerry's gay son
Chat Transcript Part 2
Leary's TV picks and other scoop
Scooter McGavin: Anything else on TV you like?
Denis Leary: Family Guy, 24, Deadwood, Huff, and I think it is a crime that Homer Simpson has never been nominated for best actor.
Tom O'Neil: Happily, Homer's too drunk and stupid to realize the insult from the Emmys.
GMMR: i'd like to hear homer's acceptance speech
KathyP: Gonna see "The Simpson's " Movie, Denis?
Denis Leary: Seeing The Simpsons movie 15 times.
Boomer: What do you think about the current trend of full-season DVDs? You've had "The Job" and "Rescue Me" in that format. Which TV shows on DVD do you own?
Denis Leary: Colombo, 24, Lost, Dick Van Dyke show, Black Adder, the British Office, Fawlty Towers, The Simpsons, The Family Guy, too many to name.
SweetP: I love you forever for "I'm an A--hole"
KathyP: By the way I love "Traditional Irish Folk Song" I'm Irish too
Leary: "Traditional Irish Folk Song" is one of my favorites. We played it in front of 10,000 people at a gig I did in Dublin last fall.
Scooter McGavin: Denis is "F--- You" going to be part of a new comedy album?
Denis Leary: "F--- You" will be part of a new comedy album.
Denis Leary: Absolutely.
tmaya56: I’m looking forward to asking for "F--- You" at the stores
Denis Leary: Me too.
Scooter McGavin: I remember last year you were hocking Ryan Adams latest album at the time (which was great at the time, he may have released five more since then), what are you currently listening to?
Denis Leary: I am currently listening to Arctic Monkeys and Greg Dulli's brilliant new album called Powderburns. Best rock and roll album that I have heard in the last ten years.
Scooter McGavin: Arctic monkeys are great
Tom O'Neil: What do you think of people criticizing the upcoming release of "United 93" -- that flick about 9/11?
Denis Leary: I think it's a knee-jerk reaction. You can't judge the book by its cover. Bruce Springsteen released a fantastic song called "The Rising" shortly after 9/11 and that song had a healing effect so it's like "Rescue Me". It depends on what the piece has to say.
Denis Leary: Yes, I will see the film. I am looking forward to it. It's a story about bravery and since I didn't know anyone on that particular flight, it won't have a personal tragic effect for me. Oliver Stone's film contains shots of the planes ramming into the towers, and I had a friend on the second plane, so it's always difficult to watch that footage.
McGavin: Denis, are we ever going to see a second season of the funniest two hours ever on TV - Contest Searchlight?
Denis Leary: No, Contest Searchlight was a one off.
Denis Leary: Thank you, I love The Ref too.
Tom O'Neil: He wants YOUR donation!
Denis Leary: We are building a high-rise simulator here in New York City for the FDNY. This will enable firefighters to work in conditions that simulate fires and terrorist attacks in skyscrapers. We break ground next month.
tubetalkgirl: Where can my readers send their donations for the simulator?
Tom O'Neil: Do you have a URL address to give us for more info on the foundation?
Denis Leary: www.learyfirefighters.org
Denis Leary: we are also trying to help the New Orleans fire department, which was devastated by Katrina, and you can make donations to help them through my foundation and the branch named the Jeremiah Lucey fund.
CwrdlyLyn: Aside from writing for RESCUE ME, do you have any additional projects you are working on in terms of writing?
Denis Leary: Yes, a couple of television pilots and a couple of film scripts.
Denis Leary: Plus my book, Kiss my Irish Ass, which is due out in 2007.
KathyP: comedy or drama?
Denis Leary: Both.
KathyP: I'll get the book
Denis Leary: You better
SweetP: It's amazing you have time for us!
Denis Leary: Anything for Tom.
MicheBel: Tom rules.
Tom O'Neil: Are you still smoking cigarettes? I can't remember if you finally quit
Denis Leary: I go back and forth.
KathyP: I hope you quit, I want you around for a LONG time!
Tom O'Neil: Me, too.
Denis Leary: Me too.
Tom O'Neil: Those damn cigs. I'm off now. Hurrah
SweetP: You know that when there's smoke, there's fire. Why is that all firefighters smoke too?
Denis Leary: Are you going to tell firefighters, guys who run into burning building when you are running out, not to smoke?
CwrdlyLyn: Do you have any projects from the past that you really wish had been given the chance to go further... for example, SHORTIES WATCHIN' SHORTIES was hysterical... what was Comedy Central's issue with that one?
Denis Leary: Comedy Central dropped the ball on that one. I thought it was extremely funny, obviously.
CwrdlyLyn: Are there any roles you turned down in the past that you really regret?
Denis Leary: I never regret roles that I turn down because number one, life is too short, and I usually turn them down because the script sucks or I don't like the director or I don't feel I am correct for the role and then when I see the finished product, I am almost right. The movie either sucks or the guy playing my role is better than I would have been.
Boomer: I've heard you are in the Motion Picture Academy. What were some of your voting choices for this past Oscar ceremony?
Denis Leary: Capote, Matt Dillon, Katherine Keener, King Kong.
Tom O'Neil: King Kong waz robbed
CwrdlyLyn: thank God... someone realized KING KONG was among the best
Tom O'Neil: Kong shoulda been up for best pic
CwrdlyLyn: i agree completely Tom
BC: along with Walk the Line
tubetalkgirl: LOVED Walk the Line
tmaya56: hubris of man, such a great film, king kong..it's hard out there for a chimp...
tubetalkgirl: tmaya56, LOL at "It's hard out there for a chimp!"
CwrdlyLyn: was acting always a main aspiration Denis... or did it just grow on you as a result of your success in stand-up?
Denis Leary: I started out as an actor. I studied acting and I got into comedy just to get some stage time and to meet girls.
Tom O'Neil: Are you doing your own typing right now? If so, you’re a helluva typist! But maybe that's not surprising since you're a writer, eh?
Denis Leary: No, I am not doing my own typing. If I was doing my own typing, we'd still be on the first question.
Denis Leary: Thanks for your time too guys. Remember May 30th, FX, 10:00 pm and don't forget to drag your kids out to see Ice Age 2. See ya
For Tube Talk Girl’s other thoughts on Rescue Me and Leary, check out these previous columns.
Tube Talk Girl can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
by Jennifer Squires Biller