'CSI' Star Gary Sinise Can't Live Down 'Forrest Gump'
'CSI: New York' has a big cast member change this year. Melina Kanakaredes left the show, and Sela Ward is replacing her. On a character driven show, this can really hurt.
Well, the franchise is strong. It's a very solid formula on our show. People loved Melina on the show, and I think they're going to love Sela. It's going to be a very seamless transition. I've seen the first episode, and while it's different, it's really, really good. Sela comes into the show as if she's been doing it for a long time.
How often do you actually shoot in New York? I've stumbled upon a shoot here and there, but not anywhere near the amount of times I seen a 'Law and Order' being filmed -- which is almost impossible to avoid.
We only come once a year. We used to come twice a year, but then they started cutting the budgets down, so now we come once a year. We love coming to New York and shooting there. I wish we could do it more, but we are based here in Los Angeles and it's expensive to come.
Do you ever get jealous of David Caruso on 'CSI: Miami' because he's got the whole sunglasses shtick and want to try something of your own? I was thinking that right before it goes to the opening titles, you could say your line and then spit out a piece of gum, or something...
[Laughs] Yeah, I could eat a lollipop like Telly Savalas. Look, he made that into a thing and God bless him. He's turned it into an Internet sensation. No, I'm not jealous of him or anything. We've got a good show going, and people seem to enjoy the characters on our show. Who knows? If our show stays on the air long enough, I might have some funny little thing I come up with.
Mac's back-story is that he's a 9/11 widow. Today, it seems like this plot devise is almost overused. Even on a show like 'Rubicon,' it's thrown in that the main character is a 9/11 widow. But when you guys did it, it was 2004. You were one of the first television shows to address something like that.
We were the first film crew to be allowed to shoot at Ground Zero. At the time we shot, if you look at the end of the first episode, Mac goes to Ground Zero and stands there. They had not let any film crews come down and shoot any scenes for any movies or television shows up until that point. So we were privileged to be able to use that in our show. I think it's done very respectfully. We played with that, on and off, throughout the first season. And then Mac had to try to move forward from that. We only occasionally reference that when a storyline requires him to reveal something about his past to somebody in the show.
When you see it done on other shows, do you ever think, hey, we did that six years ago?
I wasn't really aware that other shows were doing it. Look, it's a big part of American history and if you have a show that's set in New York, there's no avoiding it. It's a big part of all of our lives. I don't have any problem with it, as long as its done in a respectful manor.
Can you listen to The Who these days and not think about 'CSI'?
[Laughs] Well, not that one song. In fact, my band plays 'Baba O'Riley,' which is our 'CSI: New York' theme song. We do that in my band and it's always a fun moment when the audience realizes that I'm up there playing the theme to 'CSI: New York.'
When you walk down the street and people recognize you, what do they usually bring up? I'm going to guess it's not Ken Mattingly from 'Apollo 13.'
[Laughs] That will be a rare one when that's the top of the list. It's always 'CSI: New York' or 'Forrest Gump.'
It's funny what we take for granted today as far as special effects. I remember when 'Forrest Gump' came out, the CGI disappearance of Lt. Dan's legs was a huge deal.
Well now you look at the effects done on our television show, and how quickly they're done, it's just amazing. But back when Bob Zemeckis took my legs off in 'Forrest Gump,' it was the beginning of a new revolution in computer graphics. I remember when he called me up, he said, 'I know how we're going to do your legs. We're going to take them off in the computer.' [Laughs] I said, 'Oh, okay.' I didn't know how that was going to work. But when I saw it, of course, it was pretty impressive.
1994 is considered one of the greatest years when it comes to Academy Award nominated films. It included 'Forrest Gump,' 'Pulp Fiction' and 'The Shawshank Redemption.'
That was a great year. There are so many awards shows these days. At that time, that was all very, very new for me. 'Forrest Gump' was only the fourth or fifth movie I had been in. I hadn't done that much, so getting nominated for an Oscar kind of put you on this circuit of going to all of these different events. A lot of the folks, like you say: Sam Jackson, Chazz Palminteri and different folks were on the circuit because all of those movies were very popular at the time so we were running into each other at all of these different awards events. It was a very, very good year.
Television, over the last ten years, has surpassed a lot of movies, as far a quality.
Well, you're right. And that's why you see so many actors who used to do movies are now on television.
And the stigma is gone...
Are you kidding? Because there's so much competition now for people's entertainment eye and dollar, anything that gives you an edge in the market place is going to be helpful. That's why you see so many television actors transition to movies, or doing movies on their hiatuses, because these television shows are bought all around the world in market after market. Our show is in 200 markets around the world. All those people are seeing our show on a weekly basis, that's good for box-office.
You were mentioned by one of Ari Gold's agents in 'Entourage' as an example of an actor who switched to television -- though Ari was pretty against Vinnie Chase doing the same thing.
I didn't hear that. I guess they were trying to say that for folks who established themselves early in movies, television has become a place for those people to work. And a good place for those people to work -- it's certainly been a good place for me.
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