Just how momentous of an episode is tonight’s instalment of CRIMINAL MINDS for star Matthew Gray Gubler? Put it this way, not only does the episode mark his fourth time in the director’s chair, it promises to be a pivotal one for his on screen alter-ego Dr. Spencer Reid who is finally faced with the prospect of meeting his oft-talked about, albeit little seen girlfriend. But hey, don’t take our word for it, see what the delightful actor-turned-director had to say for himself, after the jump.
Recently you tweeted with regards to tonight’s episode that fans should, “Get ready for something unlike anything.” What exactly did you mean by that?
Matthew Gray Gubler: I think that’s a very fair assessment! I’ve been very fortunate in the three episodes I’ve directed before this to sort of deviate a little from our standard formula and with this fourth one I really feel like I’ve kind of gone the farthest in the best way possible so I’m very excited. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever done and I dare say it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen on a crime show before!
That’s not setting the bar too high at all!
I know! That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. To me it’s good because I like unique things, but it will depend on your taste. You’ll either love it or you may hate it and those are always my favorite sort of things. My assumption though is that fans will love it.
Judging from your recent reception at FanExpo Canada, you could pretty much sit and read a phone book and audiences would go nuts!
That’s what I mean by something you’ve never seen before, it’s me reading the phone book backwards/ It’s really a compelling episode!
The other aspect of the episode that have fans all a tizzy is the possibility of Reid finally meeting his mystery girlfriend. Anything you can spill on that front?
Yes! It’s sort of a big episode for my character in the sense that there’s been this ongoing mysterious girlfriend that he’s never met and without giving too much away in this episode she decides that it’s time to meet. And I’ll leave it at that.
This being your fourth time in the director’s chair, is it safe to assume that the CRIMINAL MINDS writing staff may have had a little fun when it came to giving you an episode that would challenge both your acting and directing skills?
You kind of nailed that on the head. I think the reason our show is great is that every single person does 110% of their best. No one realizes how hard everyone else’s job is, no one knows how hard the cinematographer’s job is. Everyone just assumes everyone is that talented and I think people sometimes forget that a lot of preparation goes into acting. I don’t just show up and say my words, so this one was definitely the most intense as far as the acting goes for me but luckily I work very well under pressure. Typically when a director is working in TV they get to watch playback, see what they shot and make sure it was good. Yet the nature of TV is that if it’s in focus you move on. It was very challenging and I hope I pulled it off.
What keeps you excited to go into work everyday after playing the same character for 171 episodes and counting?
You know, everything does. I’m very easily excited. I’m excited by a flower, maybe I have a low threshold for excitement. It helps that I’ve never once considered anything I do a job, even when I worked retail I really enjoy just living, so every moment of every day is fun no matter what and playing Reid is an absolute blessing. It is a rare blessing to get to play character for almost ten years and what is happening a lot more this season is that we’re slowly unveiling little nuances about Reid’s life, getting to see his apartment in an upcoming episode, getting to go home with him and meet his girlfriend, it’s fun to be able to have this long period of time to create a character.
Is there some facet of your character that you’d like the writers to concentrate more on moving forward?
I’ve loved everything that Reid has gotten to do. It’s sort of the nature of being on a very serious show for as long as we’ve been on is that I love anything lighthearted. Having played a character who has gone through some pretty terrible things, kidnapped, addicted to drugs, dealt with a schizophrenic mother, I love the sort of happy moments for Reid and I’d love to see some more of those. But again, I understand we’re on a pretty dark show. In my dream world after this show is over we get to do a three camera comedy kind of like FULL HOUSE, but with the same actors doing a light-hearted comedy to counteract the years of darkness.
Talking to actors I have often found that comedic actors don’t seem to have that much fun on set versus dramatic actors like on your show.
Isn’t that interesting and so true. Your mind forces you to always look for the joke or the funny thing because otherwise you’d go totally insane just looking at dead prostitutes all day! So really, we do have the funniest cast and crew, but I do hear that a lot, that comedies save the laughter for the takes where as we save the laughter for the intermissions!
You touched on this a bit earlier by mentioning you worked retail, but had your career not taken off as it has, what was your plan “B?”
You know I’d be doing pretty much exactly what I see myself doing now. Trying to make stuff as much as possible. I love entertaining, whether it’s for 15 million people a week or 1 person on the side of the road. I’d probably be playing a flute on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard with a hat or something.
CRIMINAL MINDS airs Wednesday at 9PM on CBS (Tuesdays at 10PM on CTV in Canada) and stars Thomas Gibson, Shemar Moore, Joe Mantegna, Matthew Gray Gubler, Kersten Vangsness, Paget Brewster and A.J. Cook. Catch up on past episodes you may have missed for free online at clicktowatch.tv