Rescue Me Q&A with Denis Leary - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Rescue Me Q&A with Denis Leary

April 13, 2006 by  

Denis LearyGive Me My Remote has a little somthing for fans of the FX drama Rescue Me.  Last night I was lucky enough to partake in a chat with the star of Rescue MeDenis Leary. In the Q&A below, Denis talks about what we can expect to see in Season 3, how his fellow firefighters are changing this year, and what Denis is up to while not working on Rescue Me

A special thanks to my friends at Scooter McGavin’s 9th Green, TubeTalk, and Random Acts of Television for helping me to get this transcript pulled together. 

WARNING: This Q&A contains SPOILERS!!!

Q: What surprises do you have ahead for the new season of Rescue Me?
Denis Leary: There is a shocker at the end of the first episode. There’s also a shocker at the end of the third and fourth episodes but I am not at liberty to spill the beans

Q: Anybody get offed?
DL: No one gets offed but a few characters may wish that they were getting offed

Q: Tell us how you juggle the two roles of writer and actor
DL: 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

Q: You write that close to deadline? Yikes
DL: Yeah, we write and rewrite even the morning of shooting scenes

Q: How would you say Tommy is different now from where he was in the first episode? Or is he really the same?
DL: 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

Q: When is Rescue Me coming back?  I’ve heard May 30th?
DL:  May 30th and the second season DVD comes out May 9th.  THe soundtrack comes out the third week in May.

Q: Will Susan be a romantic interest for Tommy?
DL: No, Susan will be a romantic interest for Franco.  She plays a very sexy, wealthy older woman who really turns Franco’s head.

Q: It doesn’t take much to turn Franco’s head, if I recall.  
DL: 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 Marissa Tomei is on the show this year playing my brother Johnny’s ex-wife. Tommy’s romantic interests this year include Marissa.

Q: You’ve channeled a lot of Denis into Tommy. How much are you guys really the same guy?
DL: Very, very litte 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

Q: If you get Emmy nominated again for writing, what episode would you like that to be for?
DL: Peter and I submitted the last two episdoes from last year.  I would love to see other members of the cast get nominated as well.

Q: If you get nominated for acting, what episode would you submit to judges? Episode 12? Episode 13?
DL: We did submit both of those episodes for writing and acting as well
Q: What reaction do you get from firemen/woman regarding the show? Has anyone expressed negative views on your portrayal of the department?
DL: 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.

Q: What do you think of people criticizing the upcoming release of “United 93” — that flick about 9/11?
DL: 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.
Q: will you see the film?
DL: 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.
Q: “Rescue Me” has a kind of cult hit status. Some of its fans are MOONIES. Do you think that’s cool — or creepy?
DL: 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?
DL: 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.

Q: What has been your favorite character to play so far in your career?
DL:Tommy Gavin, no doubt.  Although Diego has been very, very good to me.

Q: What are your current plans with your firefighter charity? (
DL: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. We are also trying to help the New Orleans fire department which was devestated by Katrina and you can make donations to help them through my foundation and the branch named the Jeremiah Lucey fund.

Q: What’s in store for Lou, Sean and the chief this season?
DL: Lou is contemplating his retirement.  The cheif has a financial burden because they’ve raised the charges at the home where his wife is being taken care of.  Sean falls in love with the wrong woman.

Q: Aside from writing for RESCUE ME, do you have any additional projects you are working on in terms of writing?
DL: Yes, a couple of television pilots and a couple of film scripts.Plus my book, Kiss my Irish Ass, which is due out in 2007.

Q: I think Rescue Me really pushes the you ever feel stifled by the network censors?
DL: 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.

Q Has Franco kicked the pill habit?
DL:Yes, Franco has kicked the pill habit and all the guys quit smoking in the first episode of the show.

Q: How does the experience w. F/X compare to when you worked for ABC with THE JOB?
DL: FX is so far and beyond ABC not just in terms of ideas but in terms of marketing that there is no comparison.

Q: 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!
DL: 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.

Q: Why does “Rescue”‘s new season start when it does? May is not the traditional roll-out time
DL: 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.

Q: Are there any fun extras on the upcoming DVD i.e. bloopers, cast commentaries?
DL: Yes, there are all kinds of deleted scenes and behind the scenes extras.

Q: What’s coming up for the ladies on the show?
DL: 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.

Q: 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?
DL: No, the only thing I feel we can’t do or say is the word Fuck and full frontal nudity, neither one of which feels like it would add anything to the show.

Q: Are there any roles you turned down in the past that you really regret?
DL: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.

Q: Would you ever do a full nude scene if you felt it was important to telling the story?
DL: 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.

Q: Denis – do you find that Rescue Me has brought you “sex symbol” status?
DL: I think when People reaches 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: Was acting always a main aspiration Denis… or did it just grow on you as a result of your success in stand-up?
DL: I started out as an actor.  I studied acting and I got into comedy just to get some stage time and to meet girls.

Q: Is sheela still a lesbian?

DL: No, sheela is not a lesbian, but down deep she still could be, but right now she’s not.

Q: Will we ever hear Steven Pasquale sing on the show?
DL: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.
Q: Will Jesus make an appearance on the show?
DL:: 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.

All: Thanks for your time Denis 
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




8 Responses to “Rescue Me Q&A with Denis Leary”

  1. coloradokila on April 13th, 2006 11:37 am

    Thank you GMMR – I am absolutely fantical about this show. I have been deprived of it lately because my FX is on West Coast time, even though I am on Mountain time, so it has been tough to keep up with it.

    I am always thrilled to read about it.
    More, more more!!!

  2. GMMR on April 13th, 2006 11:40 am

    Glad you enjoyed this. I’m hoping to cover Rescue Me a lot more on the site when it returns in May.

  3. Spender on April 14th, 2006 3:22 pm

    Wonderful interview. Denis Leary is a man I’ve admired for many years because he puts his money where his mouth is, speaks the truth and gives not a damn for what others may think of him. I enjoy his stand-up and his acting (“The Ref” was brilliant). Thanks for the good work!
    By the way, I found your site through Pajiba and I will be a regular reader

  4. GMMR on April 14th, 2006 8:07 pm

    Thanks Spender. Always love when new people find us 🙂 It was nice of Pajiba to link to me 🙂

  5. Scooby on May 31st, 2006 2:31 am

    Just wanted to let you know, a poster at TelevisionWithoutPity put me on to this link (don’t know whether or not that person would wish to be named, so I’ll refrain), otherwise I’d never have known about it or seen this Q&A… great stuff! I promptly gave thanks there, and thanks very much to you. Pretty amazing what Leary’s foundation is doing, isn’t it?

    I’m kinda nuts about Rescue Me, so I will be checking back from time to time… looks like you might cover some other things that interest me, too.

    Thanks again.

  6. Back in action from down south » Fatback and Collards » Blog Archive on May 31st, 2006 9:55 am

    […] Rescue Me is a show I’d probably watch if it had more frontal nudity. Not of Dennis leary though. GMMR has an interview and some spoilers. (GMMR) […]

  7. Ronda on February 25th, 2007 3:57 am

    When dose the new season start for rescue me?

  8. Bob Harty on June 3rd, 2008 10:31 pm

    When is the 08′ season starting?!