Trouble brewing: High-octane drama Crisis stars (from left) Gillian Anderson, Rachael Taylor, Lance Gross and Dermot Mulroney.
Dermot Mulroney takes on a regular role in a TV series for the first time, as a man whose daughter is abducted.
Actors are usually drawn to a project because of a good script or because of the prestige names attached to it.
But actor Dermot Mulroney offers a more offbeat reason for taking up the television series Crisis.
He says drily over the telephone from Los Angeles: “For me, what sold me is when I had my own pinky cut off. The amputation of the finger is what sold me.”
He plays Francis Gibson, a former CIA analyst who volunteers as a chaperone for his estranged daughter’s school field trip - one which ends with the children getting abducted.
The cast includes The X-Files’ Gillian Anderson as a high-powered chief executive whose daughter is also abducted, Rachael Taylor as her FBI agent sister and Lance Gross as a rookie Secret Service agent protecting the President’s son.
Well, the thrilling plot did not hurt either and he sounds excited about it when he says: “It seems like a big story with important people and a terrible crisis that’s playing out in the media. But believe me, it’s a lot worse than it seems.”
As a father himself, the character of Gibson also resonated with Mulroney. He says that was an “easy way into the character” for him and adds: “All parents everywhere will understand the story because that is the pressing question: How far will a parent go to protect his child? What would you do if asked? At several times in the series, you will see people pushed to their very limit.”
Mulroney has a son, 15, with his former wife, actress Catherine Keener. He and his second wife, Tharita Catulle, have two daughters, aged six and five.
He is better known for his turns in films such as My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) and August: Osage County (2013), both of which also starred Julia Roberts. Crisis marks the first time that he is taking on a lead role on the small screen after guest spots in, among others, comedy series New Girl and Enlightened. Or as he puts it with a laugh: “I’ve never had steady work since I started as an actor, I’ve only ever worked in films, temporary jobs.”
One thing that stood out for him was the fact that when he started the part, he “didn’t know what happened at the end”, as opposed to movies which come with completed scripts. He adds: “I was really looking forward to exploring a character over a length of time.”
He gets to work with Anderson on the show though the trailer suggests they do not have much interaction at first.
“That storyline finally intersects later on and I had to anticipate and really got to look forward to how our characters meet. For me, it was a thrill for it was a long time to wait. And she’s fantastic, I’ve admired her work forever. It was really fun to have this ride with her,” he says.
Mulroney has been having quite a “nice little run” having just completed the Oscar-nominated drama August: Osage County with Meryl Streep and Roberts just before he started work on Crisis.
“That was a great role for me to get into,” he says of his part as the unsavoury fiance of the younger sister of Roberts’ character. “And I was pleased to join an Oscar-level cast. The whole experience of making that movie - George Clooney was the producer - it was just a dream.”
So, no mid-life crisis then for the actor who turned 50 last year? He says: “I saw it coming for a while and I’ve enjoyed myself immensely so far this year. No crisis, no catastrophe, I welcomed it. It came as no surprise at least.” – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network
> Crisis premieres tonight at 9.50pm on Fox (Astro Ch710).