Billingsley Talks About His CharactersBy Michelle
June 5, 2006 - 8:02 PM
John Billingsley (Phlox) has answered fan questions on his web site about new series The Nine and several recent guest characters he played, describing his audition process for his fall series and joking that he refuses to be a Method actor when it comes to the torture his character has undergone on Prison Break.
"There's a wonderful excitement for an actor in getting to play somebody who's trying, desperately, TO CHANGE HIS LIFE," the actor wrote at JohnBillingsley.net. "Egan, in the script, emerges from a traumatic situation with a great desire to 'boldly go where (he, at least) has never gone before'...whatever the genre, it's fun to play a man who is making discoveries about himself."
The Nine was Billingsley's firt audition of the past pilot season past and he felt that "the stars [were] in conjunction" to assist him. "They'd seen a lot of people and felt, I think, that actors were over-stressing the 'glum' notes instead of the 'upbeat' notes in the material," he was told by the casting director. "So...with that direction in mind...I marched saucily forward and there ya have it."
His wife was called in to read for Without a Trace by the same casting director, who then suggested that she would be perfect to play Billingsley's wife on The Nine. "It's a recurring role, so we don't know how prominent she will be, but it's one of the most exciting aspects of this whole shebang, for me."
Prison Break is a less pleasant role, and a fan asked whether the actor actually had to have teeth removed for the role. "Wait until you discover what they've done to him beneath the waist. I drew the line at 'the Method approach' at that point," he joked, saying it took perhaps five hours to get his false teeth put in to cover his own intact ones. However, it was well worth it, as the series was "definitely one of the cushier gigs I've had, reminiscent of [Enterprise] paychecks I received when I did bupkus", as was CSI: NY, a role he explained he did for the paycheck though he enjoyed working with the cast and crew. Billingsley is not certain that he will appear again on Prison Break now that he has been cast on The Nine on a different network.
As for Cold Case, where he played a character one fan described as creepy, Billingsley wrote, "It's the audience that defines somebody as 'creepy', not the actor." For him, playing a role is "all about figuring out another person's point of view and not being judgmental...in essence, you take long walks and talk to yourself as if you are the character you are playing, you explain to yourself why you feel what you feel, you tell yourself the reasons why you do the things you do." He added that it helps that apparently he looks like a serial killer.
More from Billingsley may be found at his web site.