Without a Trace: Anthony LaPaglia interview
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Well, I love the sort of last season to this season
cliffhanger of what has Jack done to himself now. (at the
end of the show's sixth season, Jack Malone was pushed out from his
desk job and put back on the streets with the rest of the crew
tracing the missing people)
No, I wasn't surprised. I was more surprised that I actually got to keep my job in real life. I thought they were setting me up for an exit. But it was a really good change-up and it gave me a lot of different stuff to play, which I appreciated because seven years in, you gotta keep, you know. There's only so many ways you can say "dust for prints" before you run out of ways to do it.
I was amazed, too, 'cause it was - all of a sudden I was like, "Wow." I didn't realize it but I've never really, for more than a few seconds half a scene, seen you in the team's room.
Anthony LaPaglia : Right, yeah. 'Cause it was just in my office. "You, go there. You, you, you." I like that. But it was kind of good to be -it was a lot of fun to. It's weird because of the way the show is shot. It's very separated. I can't even speak. I'm so tired. It's all in different compartments. And so often, I won't get to work with particular actor, with Poppy, Enrique for weeks. A lot of the time, I never work with the guest actors at all 'cause they are missing, unless I happened to find them. And so you find yourself like a bit isolated at times. And going back in the bullpen was great 'cause I got to spend a lot of time with them again.
Are you surprised at how many ways there are for people to go missing? I mean, you're kind of doing the same thing each week but it never seems like it's the same.
Anthony LaPaglia: Well, I mean, there is a really thick file of people who have been missing for years and they all went in--some of them went similar ways but a lot of them went in completely different ways. And I think that's one of the great things about the show. It may have something to do with the longevity of the show. You know, I've been around long enough to realize that to be on the show that runs at all is a miracle, to be on the show that run seven years is beyond a miracle. So it's been a fantastic run and a lot of credit goes to the writers for week in week out coming up with interesting stories.
I like too that this season, there are a lot of changes personally for each of the team members.
Anthony LaPaglia :Yes, there's much more --the irony is that from the beginning I always pushed for that. And now that's become the kind of--that's become the cry from everybody in the business, "We can--Grey's Anatomy, "We need more personal. We need people making out in closets. Come one, let's go." But that's fine with me. Having the personal stuff in there makes it more interesting.
Well, you're getting in on that this season.
Anthony LaPaglia: I'm getting a lot of action this season. It's good. Jack needs a damn girlfriend, that's what he needs. One that he can hang on to for more than 10 minutes.
Well, with what Sam has gone through in the last year, the last season, she's right where he needs her to be.
Anthony LaPaglia: Yeah, she's Easy Pickins right now. Single mom. I'm just kidding.
But with all she went through with the baby's father...
Anthony LaPaglia: Oh, yeah, he isn't gone yet. He's still around. So, that part of it could get pretty interesting.
Do you look forward to that? I mean, obviously in the beginning of the season, the middle of the season, you don't know how things go all the way through the end, but seeing the possibilities and seeing where it can go.
Anthony LaPaglia: Yeah. Despite my demeanor--I am an eternal optimist and so I kind of--I get excited about the potential of change as it goes along and it's successful to varying degrees. Sometimes it's really successful, sometimes it just doesn't quite hit it. But that's the nature of doing 26 episodes in a year. Some are gonna be good, some are gonna be okay.
Are you surprised at all or do you know how the audience has changed in terms of their reaction to you and to the show over the course of the years?
Anthony LaPaglia: I have no idea. I mean, in terms of what audience response to and stuff, I have zero idea. 'Cause when I get there, it's dark and when I leave, it's dark. I don't have a life. So it's weird 'cause you're in there doing it but it's kind of a vacuum, and so you have no idea what's going on in the outside until the weekend and you go to some street market and, "What's going on with Jack Malone?" I was like, "What? I forget." I forget that that's what I do for a living. You also cannot--anybody that thinks that I can predict the likes or dislikes of an audience, there's a trail of skulls from here to the lost fields of people that thought they could predict that, and it's impossible to know. I think I stay with the basic premises. If the writing is good and the acting is good, people will watch it. But it really hinges on the writing. As an actor, you really got nothing if you don't have writing. It really hinges on that.