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Hollywood Star Sinise Makes Move to Small Screen - 2004-05-30


A well-known Hollywood actor is making a dramatic move, from the big screen to the small. Gary Sinise is taking the lead role in the newest spin-off of the CSI series. Crime Scene Investigation, or CSI, is one of the most popular television shows in the United States. This newest version will be set in New York City.

"Listen up everyone. I'd like to thank you all for coming out here and showing your support. Obviously the situation is very secure. So, do me a big favor and remove yourselves from the crime scene Thank you."

Tough and decisive. These are some of the traits of the lead character in the upcoming TV series, CSI New York. Like its two previous incarnations, CSI Las Vegas, and CSI Miami, CSI New York is all about solving difficult murder cases, using state-of-the art forensic technology. The two current CSI programs have been acclaimed for originality. They have good music and moody, edgy camera work. So this latest spin-off, "CSI New York," opens with a natural advantage. An additional advantage is likely to be actor Gary Sinise. You may remember him from his costarring roles in movie such as The Human Stain, Forest Gump, Apollo 13, and others. In CSI New York, Sinise plays Detective Mac Taylor, the director of New York's crime scene investigating unit.

Taylor: "May I help you?"
Cain: "My name is Cain. Miami, CSI. I'm investigating a double murder case."
Taylor: "Detective Mac Taylor. Crime Scene Unit, First grade. I'm listening."
Cain: "Mac, I have a 16-year-old girl who is suddenly without both parents. I have promised her peace of mind."
Taylor: "I got an officer's widow who'd like some answers. We've got a deal."

I sat down with Gary Sinise to chat about his decision to enter the world of television.

Sinise: "That was a tough decision for me because I've had some good success in the movies and things have gone pretty well. But the past couple of years the opportunities that have been presented to me haven't been that interesting. With the exception of "The Human Stain" and a sweet little television movie that I did, I haven't worked all that much. So, when I was presented with the opportunity to do CSI I said, 'Do I want to settle into one character for what could be a long period of time if the show is a hit?' And that was a tough decision. But it's a very good deal. And it's a wonderful opportunity for me to be at home with my kids and work --[have] steady work, rather than having to worry a lot about the next movie job and those movie offers that aren't coming in. Now I know that I have a job and I'm going to be there and let's see what happens."

Poulou: "It's funny to hear you talk like that because you have been an international idol. It's funny to hear actors of your caliber talk about the uncertainty of the next movie deal. Why is that?"

Sinise: "Well, it's a very different business. It's a very 'young' [for young actors] business. I'm not getting younger.

Poulou: "Even for men [you have to be young to get a job]?"

Sinise: "Yes, absolutely! Sure! Look at the men {in Hollywood.] Movie stars are made when they are young, basically. I never had that kind of career that some of the younger stars like Tom Cruise and people like that have had. I've been a character actor playing supporting roles and occasionally [a] leading role. I haven't done a movie where I was the lead character that made a lot of money. You could be the worst actor in the world, but if you're in a movie that makes a lot of money you'll get another job. [laughs] They'll offer you another movie. So, for actors like me it's always going to be a little uncertain."

(reporter) "Talk to me a bit about your role and your co-stars [in "CSI New York."]

Sinise: "My role is Detective Mac Taylor. [My character] is a crime scene investigator. He's been on the force a while now. He's an ex-military man whose wife was tragically killed in the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11 [2001]. So, we'll be exploring various elements of the character through some of that. The creator of the show is Anthony Zeicker. He's the one who created the original "CSI"[series]. He's [going to] be our main producer and he [is going to be] writing a lot of the episodes. So, he's determined to make this a little bit different than the other two [shows]. [He wants to make it] a little bit more character-driven, where you actually see a little bit of how working as a crime scene investigator might affect these people. And certainly we will explore a little bit what has happened to my character in the past. We have a great cast. Melina Kanakaridis, who was on a show called 'Providence' for five years, [it was] a very popular show, she is the co-star with me in the series.

Poulou: "I'm sure "CSI" is going to gain even more ratings with you there."

Sinise: "Thank you. Thank you very much."

Poulou: "Thank you very much Mr. Sinise."

Gary Sinise's new television series CSI New York will premiere on American television in October. Around that time, his new movie The Forgotten a science fiction thriller also starring Julianne Moore will be released.

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