Devane in The Missiles of October (1974)
|Born||William Joseph Devane
September 5, 1937
Albany, New York, U.S.
Eugenie Devane (1961â€“present; 2 children)
David was the kind of guy who was totally supportive of the actors and instructed the writing staff to trust the actor's instincts, since after all, it's the actors playing the character.
Even though shows like NYPD Blue are soaps in my opinion, but they're individualized to an extent that you can still follow what's going on if you miss a week.
A show like Knots or any other show that can be called a soap opera does terribly in syndication because if you're a viewer and you miss a week you don't know what's going on.
I'm trying to find a character that's my age and I can sustain week after week. I'd like to do a series.
At one time, whenever the hell it was, they wanted a character to come in and stir up the pot. They brought me in for 8-10 episodes and said we'll try it for that.
Joey, my older brother, had his own TV show in the '50s, along with Cathy Callahan.
I don't play polo anymore because I am too old. But we still have a half a dozen horses – a couple of young horses we are teaching how to play polo and older horses that are real trustworthy when you get them up in the mountains.
What I would have liked to do on that show was play a secretary of state who has huge personal business interests throughout the world. That, to me, seems to be more in synch with reality.
The same issue is happening on a show like Everybody Loves Raymond now, which is in its eighth year and struggling to come up with good stories. It'll be interesting to see how they do. The bottom line is, it starts with the writers and ends with the writers.
Clint Eastwood is aging beautifully. But someone like Burt Reynolds and others are practically destroying their faces in the amount of work they have.
I like working fast, but I got to the age where the real difference between television and the movies is, I'm not smart enough to be in the movies. It's a very political world. In all modesty, I can say that I'm a much better actor, but that doesn't matter.
And I have to credit David Jacobs with the opportunities he gave me. He was totally into sharing the creation of characters. David put together a show that told the story of people over many years' time and that was greatly enjoyable. Though nowadays that is frowned upon.
I knew with The West Wing that that wasn't going to be for very long, that I was just the red herring.
Writers are not always right however, but then again, I've been on shows where the actors have complete control and change everything and it's terrible.
When you go to a movie, it's about what's not being said. I tried to bring that to Greg Sumner. It was always about what's not being said.
The West Wing seems to be feeding the myth about how presidential politics are.
And all of Laura's stuff, what they wrote originally wasn't as good and Constance wound up doing that herself. That was all her stuff, reading to the child, because she had children herself and that's what she would have done.
Donna Mills came on the show as a female antagonist, about a year before, so now they wanted to have a male antagonist. I was cast as a Senator to shake things up.
I'm an Irish-American, and I grew up in an Irish-American neighborhood.
It would have been nice for Greg to eventually grow into a mature relationship with Laura. He was moving toward that already but then took a turn into the juvenile with Paige.
I live out in the desert, in farm country. I'm around a lot of farmers, guys with packing houses, that sort of thing. Half the time, these guys are in their pajamas or in their slippers. It's their place.
I didn't care about that because I'm not a diplomatic person to begin with. I just went along with things and did what I wanted to do because I knew they had to shoot their 12 pages a day. And when they realized that I didn't alter the text they really didn't mind what I did.
Networks don't want a show with a continuing story. There's no backend potential.
I would fix other people's lines if they asked me on occasion. The hard part of writing is the architecture of it, getting the story and structuring it. Not the tweaking of lines.
I try to watch only real things, which basically amounts to C-Span for me. I like real people in real situations. I learn from that.