Nestled quietly in-between ABC’s Monday night juggernaut that is DANCING WITH THE STARS and Wednesdays freshman block of laugh-out-loud comedies (which include THE MIDDLE, MODERN FAMILY and COUGAR TOWN) is Christian Slater. Who at this very moment is hoping audiences don’t treat his new Jerry Bruckheimer produced procedural anything like the all-but-forgotten victims that his team of dedicated amateur detectives work on identifying in THE FORGOTTEN.
Which is probably why the movie-turned-small-screen star took to the phones late last week to talk to this TV Addict about why he decided to jump back into series television, the price of fame, and the little-known-fact that he knew Twilight’s Taylor Lautner long before the rest of you did.
How hesitant were you to jump back into series television after the way NBC treated MY OWN WORST ENEMY?
Christian Slater: You know in spite of the cancellation, I loved the experience on MY OWN WORST ENEMY. I really enjoyed the schedule, the family atmosphere, the cast, and the crew, so to get the opportunity to do something else so quickly again was very exiting.
Was there any apprehension to join a show that had already been labeled by the press as ‘troubled’ (courtesy of changes both in front of and behind the camera following the pilot’s completion)?
Not really. I read the pilot and thought it was a very interesting scenario and I really liked the idea. And as I’ve started to learn more and more about the subject matter as we get deeper and deeper into this adventure, I think it’s really cool that there are actual organizations out there that actually do what we do on the show. For instance, last week we did a PSA (Public Service Announcement) for nameless.gov and the amount of hits to their website doubled. So the fact that we can actually do something that’s contributing something positive to the world is very exciting.
How closely do you pay attention to your show’s ratings?
I don’t necessarily pay attention to them but from what I understand, the demographic ratings (18-49) are growing. And while it’s a slow build, we’re building in the right direction which is very exciting. It’s always an adventure when you’re launching something new. THE FORGOTTEN is an entirely new concept, it’s not about cops, but rather human beings, volunteers and it takes a while for people to get emotionally invested in the characters and the story-lines.
On MY OWN WORST ENEMY, your fictional TV son was played by a then-unknown Taylor Lautner (Twilight). What has it been like to watch his ascension to superstardom?
We bumped into each other at a Dodger game, his first and that was pretty cool. I understand he said some very lovely things about what it was like working with me which I’m grateful for. He couldn’t have been a sweeter kid, and I’m extraordinarily happy for all of his success.
As someone who’s spent virtually his entire life in the spotlight, did you have any advice for him?
He’s got his head screwed on right. Working with him on MY OWN WORST ENEMY, he was phenomenally impressive. He was a gentlemen, polite, and very disciplined (He’s been doing martial arts his whole life and is really quite masterful at it.) Really, he already possesses a lot of the qualities we all strive to achieve.
Looking back on your career, is the paparazzi and complete invasion of privacy a fair trade off? Is the price of fame too high?
Well you know I don’t know. There are certainly difficult ages to go through. But again, if your head is screwed on straight like Taylor Lautner and you’re a solid kid with a solid foundation and good family already in place, you really don’t take that stuff to seriously. But it can be a trap, that’s why Lady Gaga sings that song.
And finally, as somewhat of a STAR TREK addict, there is something slightly off-topic I’ve always wanted to ask you. What led to you taking on the role of bit part random red-shirt in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country?
[Laughs] My mother cast that film and needed someone to fill in. Yet even so, that was probably the most nervous I had ever been in my entire career. I was, and still am a huge Star Trek fan, loved the new movie, thought it was great and applaud JJ Abrams for doing such an amazing job.
THE FORGOTTEN airs on Tuesday nights on ABC at 10PM