Donnie Wahlberg chats about playing a cop in 'Rizzoli & Isles' as well as 'Blue Bloods'Posted in DONNIE
July 29, 7:32 AMLA TV Insider ExaminerDanielle Turchiano
Donnie Wahlberg in Los Angeles
(c) Danielle Turchiano, 2010
It is the CBS-TV TCA party in Beverly Hills, and hot off his Blue Bloods presentation alongside co-star Tom Selleck-- and still looking quite daper in his crisp white suit-- Wahlberg chats casually with reporters and network executives. Mid-interview, he is pulled away to take a photo with network president Nina Tassler who must be a huge fan because she keeps him in conversation for a bit.
"It’s cause I’m rugged," Wahlberg jokes, when told that his cop show is the most believable of the new fall season.
And for the record, he's right: he is rugged. But the show is also much more than just a typical police procedural. Wahlberg plays a guy who comes from a long line of cops-- in fact his dad (Selleck) is the police chief and has some pretty big shoes to fill. Wahlberg says that working with Selleck is great because it makes him step up his game.
"He reminds me of my dad," Wahlberg shares. "He has this look about him, and growing up, my dad would have [a similar] look-- like he was just going to smack me on the back of the head. So a lot of times in scenes opposite Tom I'm just waiting for that hit."
Wahlberg also says that he doesn't think the show will rip any cases from the headlines. "It’s not that kind of show," he stresses. "It’s not just about a crime scene; it’s about the family and they happen to work in law enforcement. There are crimes, and there are issues that they’re dealing with from it, but there’s more to the hour than just, you know, throwing red herrings at the audience so they don’t know who did it."
The other layers he alludes to include the cast of characters that play his family members, including Will Estes as his brother who has a law degree but also graduates from the police academy to follow in the family legacy. Bridget Moynahan is a key member of the family, too, a DA, which can lead to some tense moments around the dinner table when maybe certain things are said about cases that certain members of the family shouldn't hear.
"I begged Bridget to do the show. She shot a pilot with me that I produced, and I just loved her, so I begged her to do the show. Fortunately she said yes. Will is great, and Tom is like our dad. He’s the real deal!" Wahlberg speaks highly of everyone he has been working with on the streets of New York.
And speaking of New York, Wahlberg who is a Boston guy, says he loves shooting in the city because of the energy: "When I walk down the street in the city and I’m shooting and New Yorkers will pat me on the back and are excited, I know I’m doing a good job!"
So what can Wahlberg share about his new character? "For this role I tried to do less work, if that makes sense," he says. "This time I didn’t [want to know everything about my character]…with this character there’s no black or white. His dad is the head guy on the NYC police department and has been for his whole life, and he’s living in his shadow. Sometimes he’s probably proud of it; sometimes he hates it; sometimes it makes him sick; sometimes he uses it to his advantage. There’s no right or wrong on how he feels about his dad as a cop; it depends on his mood."
In order to draw on such intense and wide range of emotions, Wahlberg explains that he draws from real life and his own life, at times. "Most people have been in a situation where they have to wonder what people are thinking when they walk into a room," he says, not implying anything in particular but conjuring up a bunch of ideas. "That’s where I go to. When my character walks into a room, [they’re thinking] ‘Did this guy earn his way or did he get a free ride because of his old man?’ And we tend to guess wrong, and when we guess wrong we give people the wrong attitude."
Wahlberg's excitement and humble attitude has only made Examiner want to tune in even more! Blue Bloods premieres on CBS on Fridays this fall at 10pm.