Michael Chiklis on ‘Vegas’, Playing Bad Guys and Why Directing is in His Future

michael-chiklis---vegas

Despite playing a few good guys (in The Fantastic Four and No Ordinary Family), Michael Chiklis is best known for playing really, really bad guys.  He won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the ultimate baddie, Vic Mackey, on The Shield, and his new role has him playing a mob boss on CBS’ Vegas.  But don’t let his amazing acting skills fool you—he’s still a nice guy.

“I’m going to quote Jessica Rabbit: I’m not bad, I was just drawn that way,” Chiklis joked in an interview with The Los Angeles Times.  “I think part of it has to do with my look.  If you looked at the first half of my career, I was being cast as white-hatted, affable, roly-poly nice guys.  I was frustrated by that because I felt like I could do a lot more than that.  Then I got the role of Vic Mackey, and it really was a life-changing opportunity.”

Chiklis does share one quality with the villains he portrays: intense focus. This ambitiousness has helped him since the beginning of his career, when he guest-starred on Miami Vice in 1989.  “I’m a trained actor, I grew up in it,” he noted.  “I believe I’m a behaviorist—someone who studies human behavior—and an empath.  Just getting into the way I work…OK, I’m playing Vincent Savino [his character on Vegas.]  I try to envision the way they see the world through their prism, and I walk a mile in that man’s shoes.  Then I embrace their point of view while I’m working.  That’s it.”

“And I’m able to compartmentalize that because I’m never not aware of the fact that I’m Michael Chiklis.  There’s never any doubt of that.  Anybody who tells you they sink into a character to the extent that they lose themselves is full of baloney.  And if they do, they need to be institutionalized.  Otherwise, I’d be playing murderers and I’d be killing people on set.”

Overall, Chiklis is just happy to be working, regardless of the types of parts he plays.  “There are probably about seven actors out there who truly just choose 100% of where they’re going next and whom they’re working with,” he said.  “There are maybe 10 guys.  The rest of us are trying to identify the best material with the best people that we can get.  If you’re lucky like I am, particularly on the television side but even on the feature side, you have some choices, some not so great, some interesting, some really, really cool.”

But despite any challenges of being in the business (and pretending to do some pretty gruesome things), Chiklis admitted, “I will always be an actor.  That will always be my first love and the driving force of my career.  But I think I’m at a place now where directing and producing are definitely going to be more and more prevalent in my life.  I also want to have more control over storytelling.  It’s time for me to take the wheel.”

Wherever Chiklis decides to go, it’s sure to be an interesting ride.

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/sag-foundation-conversation-with.jpg
SAG Foundation Conversation with the Cast of NBC’s ‘Marry Me’
Earlier this month NBC put in an order for five additional episodes of its freshman romantic comedy series, Marry Me. While that isn’t exactly the shot of confidence that a full-season renewal provides, it’s enough to keep fans of the comedy — which is about an engaged couple who are determined to get married despite […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/michael-caine.jpg
Michael Caine Talks About Acting With Your Eyes and Does an Amazing Cold Read of a Script
This week acting legend Michael Caine appears in his sixth film directed by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar. In an interview clip from The New York Times that was shot around the release of the last movie Caine worked on with Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises, reporter Melena Ryzik spoke to Caine about his six-decade career. In […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/director-dan-gilroy-narrates-a-s.jpg
Director Dan Gilroy Narrates a Scene from ‘Nightcrawler’ Featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo
Nightcrawler is easily one of the best movies of the year and its star, Jake Gyllenhaal, is outstanding. Definitely check this out when you have a chance. In the above clip, writer/director Dan Gilroy narrates a sequence from the film that features Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. He talks about giving Gyllenhaal a small piece of […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/matthew-mcconaughey-talks-losing.png
Matthew McConaughey Talks Losing the Lead Role in ‘Bernie’ to Jack Black
Though Matthew McConaughey has increased his earned plenty of respect since he started taking on more substantive movie roles in the last few years (with Dallas Buyers Club even earning him an Oscar for Best Actor), one director that always has been a fan of McConaughey is Richard Linklater. Linklater gave McConaughey his first big […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/watch-benedict-cumberbatch-film.jpg
Watch: Benedict Cumberbatch Film the Smaug Motion Capture for ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’
Though Peter Jackson‘s movie adaptations of The Hobbit haven’t received the same critical acclaim as his films based on the book’s sequel, The Lord of the Rings (turning a 300 page book into 9+ hours of film tends to do that), fans are still eagerly anticipating the release of the final part of The Hobbit […]