A Jericho4Kids Interview with D.B. Sweeney

Mr. Sweeney plays Goetz on Jericho, the bad guy from Ravenwood that comes to town to run Jennings and Rall! He makes playing the baddest man in Jericho look soooo easy!! He is definitely an awesome actor because in real life he is a very nice person and very kcool to talk with!! :-)

A special thank you to D.B. for taking the time to talk with me! :-)

~ Shelby ~



Are you ready?

Ready.

Okay, in my research I found that your real name is not D.B. What made you decide to use that as your name instead?

Well, when I joined the screen actors guild, I mean, the first union I joined was Actors Equity and that’s the states actors union, when I worked in New York in the theatre I joined that first and I joined as Dan Sweeney, which that’s really what my dad’s name is, I was Dan Sweeney Jr., but everybody called me Sweens, I joined that not really thinking about it. But when I joined the screen actors guild there was a Dan Sweeney, there was a Danny Sweeney, there was a Daniel Sweeney so they said you gotta pick something else because it doesn’t matter what your real name is, it matters who joined the union first and who got a hold of the name. So I thought well I don’t want to have to learn to answer to a new name so I just went with my initials.

Hmm, that’s cool.

What did you like to do the most when you were a kid?

Well I think my favorite thing was playing sports and I also liked to travel. We didn’t travel very much in my family because my dad was a teacher and we didn’t have a ton of money for trips but every once in while we would get in the car and go some place and I really liked that.

Oh yeah, so do I, I love it.


I also discovered that you love Baseball.


Yeah that’s true.


Oh yeah!


Did you play baseball when you were a kid?


I played a lot of baseball growing up, and it’s a great, great passion of mine. I still to this day love to follow baseball. I have a lot of good memories from playing baseball, especially from doing the movie Eight Men Out where I got to play Joeseph “Shoeless Joe” Jackson?


and do you still play it now?


No, no not anymore.


When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?


Taller! mostly! I didn’t really have a big plan, I thought I would have like to have been a baseball player or a you know, a fighter pilot, or something like that, but I never really seriously thought about what I was gong to be, I didn’t have sort of that kind of a distant view into the future for myself, and I sort of became an actor by accident, so I don’t know, I guess it’s good to have a plan but you don’t always need one.


Do you have any kids?


I do, I have two children, I have a son and a daughter.


What are their names?


Cade and Cody


Hmmm.


Do you have any pets?


I don’t, umm, no I’ve never had a dog or anything, I mean I’ve had cats and things over the years that weren’t really mine that my family had, but no, I’ve never had a pet really.


Hmmm, if you did what kind of pet would you like to have?


I’d like to get a dog someday, been planning on it for a long time. I travel so much now that it seems like it wouldn’t be fair to a dog to put him in the kennel all of the time. But when my kids get a little bit bigger maybe we’ll get one, but it’s sort of like not on the immediate horizon.


Yep.


Who inspired you the most to become an actor?


Well, like I said before I didn’t really have a long term plan, I went to college to play baseball, that was sort of my short term plan, and then I hoped to make it beyond that, and when that didn’t work out I thought well what’s something I can do in the mean time while I am trying to figure out what I am gonna do and I sort of settled on acting. I had done a little bit of it in high school and it seemed like it could be fun and not too much work. Which one of those was true anyway, it’s a lot of work. But I don’t really remember exactly when I decided this is what I’m gonna do, it just sort of evolved over time. I started doing some plays, and all of a sudden I got a tv commercial and pretty soon I was getting a paycheck, and it sort of became a career kind of by default.


How old were you when you started acting and what was your first acting job?


Well I did a couple of plays in high school, but my first professional job was actually on Broadway in a show called The Caine Mutiny Court Martial and I was 22 years old, that was the first time I ever got paid to act, so I guess that would be the beginning of my career, though I had done many roles before that for free.


That’s pretty cool!


What role did you play in that play?


I was basically the bailiff, it’s a trial, the part is called “The Orderly” but the function in the play was to escort in each witness and make sure they sit down. I don’t really say a lot, I’m pretty much the door man with not many lines.


Neat!


I also researched that you recently wrote and directed your own movie, featuring your co star from The Cutting Edge.


That’s true. The movie is called Two Tickets to Paradise and it will be released this summer, First look studios is releasing it on DVD. It’s a road trip story, also in it is John C. Mcginley from Scrubs, Dr. Cox on Scrubs and Ed Harris and there is some other really good actors in it too, and it’s great music, and it’s a lot of fun. Unfortunately it’s not really for kids, it’s probably going to be rated R or PG-13 because it has some bad language in it.


I read that you have a new movie coming out in October, can you tell me a little bit about that?


I don’t know which one that is.


Hmmm, okay.


Umm, I did a movie with Spike Lee called Miracle at St. Anna, which I think is going to be out next Christmas, but they haven’t really set a date on that yet.


Hmm, yeah on the Internet it says it is going to be coming in October.

Oh, I don’t know, they don’t really check with me, you know, they’re just doing what they’re doing.

Yeah.

You have been in a lot of movies, which one would you say is your favorite?

 

I had a lot of fun being in Lonesome Dove which was not really a movie I guess it was a mini series, but I really enjoyed that one. Also Eight Men Out and you know, I had so much fun with Moira Kelly in The Cutting Edge, that’s also one of my favorites too, so I would say one of those three.

My dad loved Lonesome Dove, which made me notice that you have played a lot of different roles, do you like to work in dramas or comedies better?

Umm, well you know, I think comedies are harder in a way and their harder to write, but generally speaking I don’t go looking for a comedy or a drama, I just look for a good script.

I am so excited because on March 16th on ABC family channel I get to see like all of the Cutting Edge movies, including the one that you starred in, which is very kcool!!

Oh thank you!

You’re welcome!


You have like a ton of young fans that watch this movie, like me  Does it surprise you that The Cutting Edge is still so popular 16 years later?

No, you know I thought it was a really great script when I read it, and it was actually written by one of the best writers in Hollywood, Tony Gilroy, who this past year was nominated for best screen play and best director for Michael Clayton and he has also written all of the Bourne Identity movies. He is really one of the best writers in Hollywood and The Cutting Edge was his first movie. You could sort of tell right away that he was pretty special. I just thought that Moira and I had a good connection and when I saw the movie I thought you know what it’s a tricky genre, the romantic comedy genre is very tricky to do and I thought that we did pretty well with it. I am not surprised that people continue to watch it, because a lot of movies are not very carefully made and you would only want to watch them once or twice, but that one had such a good script and Terry O’Quinn who is on Lost now was just so good and just the whole team was really a great situation.

Oh yeah, definitely!

Are you a good skater or did you have a stunt person doing a lot of the skating?

I learned to skate for that movie and so did Moira. We had three months skating together and I think it’s one of the reasons the movie worked so well is that we had three months where we would see each other every day at the rink. You now we sort of, you can’t help but uncounciously start to play out the roles in the movie, you know tease each other and compete. I got to be pretty good at skating, but we still had to have doubles to do the figure skating jumps and things. And also just you can’t skate twelve hours a day, like a movie filming day is 12-14 hours, you know Kristi Yamaguchi couldn’t skate fourteen hours a day, your feet would swell up. We would alternate between me and a hockey double and then when they were skating jumps and stuff like that they had some stunt skaters that did that stuff.

What was the hardest thing about making a skating movie?

When you watch skating on TV you’re not interested in hearing people talk, you’re just interested in seeing their whole body moving in space and understanding the difficulty of what they are doing on the ice. But when you do a movie where people are talking on the ice the camera needs to be able to get closer to them, so that they can see their expressions, so we had to build some special rigs with the cameras and do some cool things to make it so you that could fell like you are out there on the ice with them. That was probably the trickiest part, breaking the convention of the way people are used to watching figure skating on TV which is sort of like a camera from a long distance where you see their whole body.

Yeah, skating and talking at the same time would be really hard.

Yeah, that’s sort of part of the gag of the show, that we are sort of banturing during these difficult things and I think that’s one of the things that’s very amusing to people.

You played a good guy in that movie, which do you like to play more, a good guy or a bad guy?

Well if you’re the main character and you are going to get the girl, it’s great to be the good guy. But if you are not going to get the girl I think it’s good to be the bad guy. Nothing in between.

Yeah, laughs.

Speaking of bad guys, you play one of the baddest guys on Jericho, how did you get your part as Goetz?

The casting people for Jericho also did a show called C-16 that I did about 10 years ago, they called me up and they said we have this part, would you be interested in checking it out, so that was one of those rare occasions where you sort of get a call from somebody and you just go and do it. Usually you have to audition for everything but this one fortunately I was able to just come in and do it.

Yeah.

Was it hard to get into the role of playing Goetz since he was seen as such a bad person?

Well, no, I mean when you play a part you can’t really say I am playing a good person or I am playing a bad person. You have to sort of be more specific about what they do and some of the behavior. The script is what makes them a good person or a bad person. But when you act them you have to sort of just make them believable and real and then if the events of the story make them a good person or a bad person the chips fall where their gonna fall, I don’t really worry about it, I just worry about making it believable.

Yeah you did a great job with making it believable!

Oh thanks,

Oh you’re welcome

Well my mom just thought of this, would you have done the same thing if you were in Stanley’s situation?

Umm, I don’t think so, I mean I think, I don’t know, I thought that was a bad decision because as soon as the good guys start behaving like the bad guys, then what’s the point?

Were you given any background about Goetz, like where he came from, to make him be so angry and bitter or did you create your own ideas about where he came from?

Sometimes in movies there’s a book or something, or if somebody’s done some extra work to fill in the back ground of the character. But generally it’s usually the actor’s job to connect all of the dots.

Let’s say you are in the character of Goetz, what is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

Uh, I don’t know, brush my teeth.

Laughs, okay…

Well, my family was hoping to see Goetz stick around,

Me too, ya know, I was sorry that they decided to end it the way they ended it but you know who knows he’s a crafty guy and if there’s a season three maybe he found a way to get his evil twin brother to be vanquished instead of him.

Laughs, yeah.

What scene that you were in on Jericho was your favorite and why?

I liked the scene a lot that I had with Alicia Coppola where she was in the office and we were by ourselves and I said I wanted the ledger and she was at her desk and I sort of intimidated her and encourage her to go get the ledger and because if she doesn’t I sort of implied that I would hurt her. I just thought it was a well written scene because it didn’t spell everything out yet you very much understood what was at stake for both the characters.

Yeah, it was a pretty serious scene, you guys did a very good job.

Oh well thanks,

You’re welcome.

Was there a scene that was harder to do then all of the others?

No, you know I think most actors are full of baloney when they talk about how hard it is to act. The hardest part about being an actor is getting hired. It’s a privilege to be able to be an actor and not like a regular job like being a school teacher or being in the military or going to work everyday and actually having to work for an hourly wage or something. None of it’s really hard.

Yeah, because like this year every year we do plays at our school and this year we had to audition because we have a new music teacher.

Oh yeah.

So I went to audition for the MC of the play and I was really nervous because she was acting all serious and acting like it was hard to get so it was really confusing because you didn’t know if you were going to get it or not, you didn’t know if you did a good job or a bad job, because it was just you and her in a room like privately and everybody else had to be quiet and everything.

Well I think the best way to know if you do a good job at something is within yourself anyway. If you rely on teachers, or coaches and or even at a certain point your parents to let you know when you think you’ve done a good job, I think that ultimately in your own heart you know if you prepared well and if you tried your hardest and if you gave it everything you had, and if you do those things, it doesn’t really matter what other people say, because if you apply those kinds of ideas to everything that you undertake you will always have a good result.

Yeah that’s great advice.

I kind of did that, but it was kind of really hard because I had memorized two of the parts instead of just trying out for one, so I tried my best at both.

Well that’s great.

Thanks.

What character on Jericho is most like D.B. Sweeney?

Nobody, Jericho’s too small a town to contain me.

Laughs.

I ask everyone this question: What makes Jericho a family show?

Oh I don’t know, I don’t really think it is a family show. I think it’s pretty scary. I know you are watching it with your parents and they are explaining to you some of the issues involved and everything like that. I don’t think I would call it a family show. I think it should be a show for mature audiences. It has a very scary idea right at the core of it.

I suppose you could argue that it’s a family show in the sense that it teaches some of the importance of being activity in your society whether you are small town or larger governments. I think it’s pretty scary to be called a family show.

Um, Richard Speight Jr. said the same thing.

Did he?

Yep.

He’s reading my mail again.

I think it’s kind of a family show because like everybody’s working together to help get through this time and it was winter and everything and they were trying to find food and everybody’s fighting back at them. And like now there are pretty strict rules, like Beck came in and made a lot of rules and there’s only certain people that can go into his office and then Goetz has died so that’s going to be pretty bad, so I wonder what he (Beck) is going to do now.

I don’t know

Before we get to the fan questions I am going to read you some stuff that they said like how they would like to interview you on the board. Oh and there was a thread called “ D.B. Sweeney, come out, come out, wherever you are”.

 

This is from Jericho Citizen

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm DYING to hear from DB Sweeney! 

How did it feel to be most hated character on television? 

Well that’s very high praise. It’s great to be the most anything I think. I liked playing the character a lot and I’m glad that the writers gave him a chance to be central to the story and not to sort of soften him up by giving him a puppy or anything.

Laughs, yeah.

How does he feel about Goetz? 

As an actor you look for bold colors, some strong actions and he gives you that. I don’t make any value judgments about the characters I play. I don’t feel like I have to like them or agree with them, I just want to understand them and I thought he was very clear, I understood him very well.

What did he wish Goetz character had the chance to accomplish? 

Oh I think he wanted to rule the world. You know, I would have liked to see them give him a little bit more artillery and a little bit more armored support and just let him run that town right over and head on up to the government of Wyoming and take them over too.

Do you think he would have run for President?

No, I think he would have appointed himself President.

Another fan named Holyhobbits said

agree! Someone please go get DB Sweeney! His character Goetz is someone we just LOVE to HATE!!! He's a great actor, and a terrific addition to the Jericho cast! I'm sure others have a billion questions for him, it'd be great to hear from him!

Nice.

And ga_lostgirl said

Come on out, DB. You're safe. We promise not to shoot, now.

Laughs, that’s funny.

PamLa7 said:

Goetz made Constantino look like a choir boy!!

Laughs, that’s great. It’s a great part the writers did a good job with it and I’m glad they let him take his fangs out a little bit.

What would you say to all of the fans that have been posting to you at the CBS boards as well as cheering you on for doing a super great job playing Goetz?

I just think it’s great the way the people have gotten engaged with this show and this character and I am really happy to have been a part of it. Because obviously there’s a whole lot of channels and a whole lot of TV shows and not every one of them generates the kind of grass roots passionate interest that this one did so it’s always exciting to have people care about what you are doing and to watch it so carefully and so faithfully. I think that it’s been a special experience for all of the actors on Jericho.

Do you think there will be a season three?

I don’t know. You know that’s up to, it’s up to the fans I guess, I mean obviously they brought it back for a season two. I didn’t see how the ratings were or anything like that but you never know, the networks are very mysterious in some of their decision making and I’ve given up trying to guess.

Well I don’t know if there will exactly be a season three because the ratings weren’t that good but then they went up like a million every time, the only thing I know is that there will be a season 25.

There ya go, right on!

Lisa, from the Jericho on CBS blogspot sent these questions:

I see you grew up not far from where I was raised on Long Island, do you still get back there?

I do, my family is moved away, but my favorite Aunt lives in Rosland Heights, and I get to go see her and her daughter has got my new cousins, so I do get there from time to time but I am mostly on the west coast now.

What is your most memorable place on the island?

I love Montack point I think it’s a beautiful place and I like to go out there, I love the end of Long Island, I love the North Fork on the way out to Orient Point as well, I think those are two very beautiful and distinct areas. I think Long Island is a very beautiful place. I’m glad that I’ve spent so much time there.

You were in one of my favorite movies, Spawn - what was that like?

Spawn was great fun. The guy who directed it was Mark………, he is a buddy of mine so he asked me to come and be in the movie. I got to hang around with so many terrific people, the actors. It was really fun. That was a great time, it’s interesting to work in the special effects are, you can learn a lot.

You were in two of my kids favorite movies, in Dinosaur you played Aladar, and Brother Bear playing Sitka, will we be seeing you in future animation films?

I hope so, I love doing that work, I had so much fun on Dinosaur and Brother Bear as well. I hope they call me, I would love to do a movie for Pixar, right now I think they are the state of the art and I never miss any of their movies. I love doing that kind of work. I do a lot of voice work in general, right now I am the voice for John Deere tractors and doing a bunch of other stuff. I’ve always kept up on that stuff so yeah, I am ready when they call.

Definitely, that would be awesome.

Do your kids watch those films and know that it’s you?

No not really. They sort of know I’m an actor kinda, but I don’t rub their nose in it. They will find out soon enough.

Rammy would like to know what it was like to work with Robert Duvall in Lonesome Dove?


Oh what a great question. I think he is the best we have in America. He is the American Olivier. He has even said that in Lonesome Dove that character is his Hamlet. I know that was a very special time for him. It was really a great time for me. All of the scenes I was in had either Tommie Lee Jones or Robert Duvall or the beautiful Diane Lane or all three in them. It was a great experience for me, I learned how to ride horses, and just had a great, great time. I have an abiding love for Texas, which predated that a little bit was pretty much cemented by that experience.


Yeah and that’s very cool.

JennyP221 said:

I think it would be interesting to also find out if he knew the role would
grow as much as it did from season one (when we just saw in one show)... to
having such a pivotal role in season two...

When I agreed to come in for season one, they told me what I was going to do and I thought well that’s not the kind of guy that gets set up and they never bring back. I supposed I thought it was in the back of their minds and I sort of thought it would happen as well to come back in season two. I didn’t know in what form. But the last line that I had in the first season was something along the lines of “You’ll be seeing me” so it wasn’t a surprise but it was a certainly a surprise the form that it took. But that was definitely one of the reasons that I got involved with it I thought it might be an ongoing villain and I thought that would interesting to be a part of.

Yeah, definitely.

Jenny also said:

Ask him what the actors’ reaction was when they found out Stanley was going to kill him the way he did.

They kept that last script under pretty tight wraps. I don’t think that anyone saw it until we started filming that episode, not any of the actors anyway. I don’t know, it’s not like I was trying to be like captain method actor or anything like that but during the day when you are filming you don’t really want to hob nob too much, since I’m the bad guy, you don’t want to hang around with the other people and have them see you as a real nice normal person. It’s easier for them I think if you allow them to see you as the character more then the as your own natural self. I don’t know what their reactions were. Maybe they were glad to be rid of me, I don’t know.

And the final question is:

What’s next for D.B. Sweeney?

Well, that’s a good question, I am working on a couple things that I have written, I sort of got my feet wet with Two Tickets to Paradise and it really opened up a lot of flood gates for me and I’m writing a couple of scripts right now. I also have an Internet TV show that I’ve written. So a lot of this stuff is going to be coming later this year, but nothing soon enough that I can give you a plug right now, as much as I would like to. But the Spike Lee movie should be great, Miracle at St. Anna. I’m just going to keep working, they can’t keep me down.

Well thanks for doing this interview with me.

 

Thank you, good luck with everything.