Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Peter Facinelli Talks ‘Damages’
PTR Staff Writer
Gregory Malina is alive and well.
Er, at least the actor who plays him is.
Recently, PTR was invited to participate in a conference a call with actor Peter Facinelli, who plays the now infamous Gregory Malina on PTR fave Damages. Those of you who have been following a) the show, and b) this blog know that Greg is a huge part of the overall plot of the show that has Patty Hewes desperately trying to take down corporate corruption poster boy Arthur Frobisher.
Everything hinges on Greg’s testimony, but as of last week, he has gone missing. If this week’s preview is any indication, it seems ol’ Greg is still alive ... and out to tell his story to the world.
In catching up with Peter, he offered some excellent insight on his character and his experience on the show:
PTR: What appealed to you most about the character of Gregory Malina?
Peter Facinelli: You know, it’s hard to say what appealed to me because he’s in such a hard place. It’s fun to play that [kind of] character because he is sandwiched between two sides and [doesn’t] know exactly which side to turn to. He’s a very lonely character, and all he had was Katie, [but] she’s gone now, too. So for him, he’s just kind of swimming in this huge ocean and just looking for somebody to help him because he wants out. But [at the same time], he’s not sure if he should go to the other side and tell [his] story.
PTR: Do you think he’s inherently a good guy caught up in a bad situation or do you think he’s more of a bad guy like Arthur Frobisher?
Peter Facinelli: No, I think he’s a good guy caught up in a bad situation.
PTR: What do you think is the best part about being on Damages for you personally?
Peter Facinelli: You know it’s such a phenomenal cast, and the writing is so good. Reading it is as fun as watching it, and every time I turn the page, I don’t know what’s going to happen next. And then I get to work with these phenomenal actors. It’s been a blast; I’ve been blessed to be a part of it.
PTR: If you could have a conversation with Greg, what would you want to say to him? Would you give some advice or would you just shoot the breeze?
Peter Facinelli: Oh, that’s a good question … I’d want to tell him to pick a side and dig yourself out of that hole. You’ve got to get Katie back because she didn’t deserve [what happened to her].
PTR: Can you name three things you’ve learned, either in general or about yourself being on the show? It could be anything you might have learned either through acting or the influence of other costars.
Peter Facinelli: What have I learned on Damages? I’ve learned how good the writers are [and] to really trust the writing. On some shows, there’s a tendency to ad-lib or go off the books, but on this show, I really try to stick to the writing. Sometimes they give out re-writes, and they’ll just change a period to an exclamation point – that’s how detail oriented they are. And you know if they are spending so much time on each word, then each word is very important. So, I try to really stick on book. That’s been interesting for me because I like to ad-lib.
PTR: Oh, so you’re allowed to ad-lib?
Peter Facinelli: Well, they let you ad-lib at times, but because they’re working so hard on the dialog, they really prefer that you stick to it. If you want to add something to the end and if it works, it works; if not, they can cut it out. But in the middle of a scene, it’s better on this series to really stick to the dialog. Also, I think why they put so much emphasis on [the dialog] is because if an actor comes in and changes a line, it might affect a piece of story that might be coming out three episodes from now. So, as an actor, you really have to just stick to the words. If I try to change something, all of a sudden that piece of information might not [come across correctly], and two episodes from now, people won’t understand it. It’s a very interesting piece. For me, this whole series has been different because it’s not close-ended; it’s like one long puzzle.
PTR: Has there been a practical joke, or is there an experience on the set in general that’s really made an impression on you, or that you remember specifically?
Peter Facinelli: You know, it gets to be pretty serious when we’re shooting because we have very short time to shoot, and a lot to shoot. There are times when we’re going 18 hours straight, so every minute counts. I’ve been on sets that were more relaxed, and you could do those practical jokes. But I remember at one point saying [to myself], “I’ve got to go do a comedy after this show.” I don’t want to say it’s stressful, but we’re aware of the amount of time we have, and the amount of work we have, and the quality of work we want to put in. I think everybody comes [to set] really focused and tries to bring as much to the table in that short amount of time. There really hasn’t been any downtime to play practical jokes.
PTR: Is there anything that happens to Greg, like a twist or a turn that you really didn’t see coming?
Peter Facinelli: Yes, in future episodes, you will see what I’m talking about. No hints, but I can tell you that there are a couple more surprises with my character.
PTR would like to thank both FX and Peter Facinelli for his time and thoughtful responses to our questions. Also, a special thanks to Marjorie Case of Blogger Reps.
You can catch up with Peter on his Official Web Site. New episodes of Damages air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.