Interview with Bruce McGill

Bruce McGill is known best for his role of Daniel Simpson Day, “D-Day”, in “Animal House”. After that role he has appear in over 65 other films and various TV series ranging from “MacGyver” to “The Cleveland Show”. Bruce is currently co-starring in TNT”s hit show “Rizzoli & Isles” playing Sergeant Vince Korsak. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Bruce about his show and also what else he has planned upcoming.

Mike Gencarelli: What do you like most about playing Detective Vince Korsak in “Rizzoli & Isles”?
Bruce McGill: Outside of the obvious, which is steady work in a tough time. The fact that I am working with such sharp aware people is great. Everybody likes the show and everybody wants to do the best we can to realize the good writing. There is nobody slowing down the process. It is an impossible amount of work but we all try and do the best we can.

MG: How is it working on the show with two female leads?
BM: I will say this. They are hard not to look at…so pretty good. [laughs] You know what I mean. They are just great. Most of my stuff is with Angie (Harmon). I have known her along time and she is just remarkable. She is so sharp and with it. When we have time to prepare and know it well enough, it is like playing music with a good musician. She sees everything I do and I see everything she does and we toss it back and forth. Sometimes when you work this fast, you are lucky if each actor knows there own lines, much less pays attention to what the other character is saying. That is the only way it is really vital and alive when it is that connection and the characters are paying attention to what each other does and responds to it.

MG: What can we expect from Korsak in season two?
BM: In this season starting around the third or fourth episode you start to see a lot of him. They suddenly realized “Hey that guy learns all his lines, give it to him”. So my work load increased and I was promoted to Sergeant, so Detective Frost and Detective Rizzoli and I can work as a three man team. So Frost and I are interchangeable in our Detective work. Although I am the superior officer to the two of them, but I do not like to pull rank…put I could [laughs].

MG: Tell us about your “Animal House” reference in the first season?
BM: [laughs] Well they were making fun of me because my character is the blue collared guy in an episode. He didn’t go to college. They are all college educated and smart, so they said something to me about it in the show. I said “Well I did see “Animal House” [laughs]. Janet (Tamaro), the executive producer asked me first if I would have a problem making the reference to the movie. I said “Are you kidding?” Being in that movie is something that never looks bad on your permanent record. I never mind when people bring that up.

MG: The film was big on the 80’s and still to today, What would you say is the “Animal House” of this generation?
BM: I think you will have to give it to “The Hangover”. It makes sense. If I was a young guy again, I would think that would be the movie that I would like to be in, as much as I liked being in “Animal House”. Although compared to what we were doing which we thought was so racy and crazy, there are off the charts now. We can even say things now on cable TV, like on TNT in “Rizzoli & Isles” that you could never say when I was doing “MacGyver” for example. You couldn’t even think about it.

MG: How does working on a show like this differ for you then working on a show like “MacGyver”?
BM: Obviously, the huge difference is there used to be three networks and PBS. Now it has fractured and splintered and there is literally hundreds. To distinguish yourself in a crowd is now much more difficult. You get flushed down the toilet much quicker if you do not find an audience right away. On the other side, there is a lot more pieces of the pie about the same size. It is just tougher to get a big chunk of it.

MG: How did you get involved with Seth MacFarlane and voicing characters on “Family Guy” & “The Cleveland Show”?
BM: I was doing Mr. Waterman on “The Cleveland Show” and as I was walking out I was singing some song. One of the casting directors ask “Do you sing?”. I said “Well, I am singing aren’t I” [laughs]. She asked me to play the role of Santa Clause in the Christmas episode of “Family Guy” and of course I said yes. They sent me the sheet music. I thought it was going to be an easy three cords of Silent Night. It was really challenging and I am musician. I sat at my piano, worked it out and sang it. So I went down and recorded it. I think the last time I broke a sweat singing when was I was on Broadway in the 80’s. I broke a sweat singing this stuff for Seth MacFarlane. I think everyone thinks that Seth is back in some Captain Kirk like console running the world, but he actually came out to see who this guy was doing this big vocal production for two hours. Seth was very impressed. Work gets work and I have always felt that way.

MG: Tell us about working on the film “FDR: American Badass” and its great cast?
BM: Oh that was counter culture programming [laughs]. It was to help out out young filmmakers who cannot afford to pay me. It is pretty radical. I haven’t seen it fully yet. Once I even had to leave the set, I thought it was too gross for me. At the same time though, the guys were really great and hard working, everyday I laughed at something. I mean actually laughed. So I do not know if it will translate but it was a whirlwind 10 or 11 days.

MG: Tell us about your involved with Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”?
BM: I am playing the Secretary of War, Secretary Stanton. I will be shooting that in two chucks as soon as I finish “Rizzoli & Isles”. I haven’t read the whole script because it is double secret probation, as I use an “Animal House” reference. They will not even give me the whole screenplay. I have the scenes I am in though. It is an examination, as I understand it, of the friction in the presidency and the legalities of the war. I know we will carry it through until Lincoln has been shot. That is literally all I know of it. I know it is going to be shot in the Fall and be done in Virginia.