As I had told you in the summer, there’s a lot of hotness to be expected from ‘Chicago Fire’, that will premiere on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 10 p.m. on NBC. While the show centers around the lives and daily struggles of a group of firefighters, the hotness won’t just be of the “extinguishing a fire” kind. In case you haven’t yet, take a look at the promo and you’ll see what I mean. (Disclaimer: if you’re in the middle of the Southern California heat wave, you may need ice handy. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
Yes, that would be none other than Taylor Kinney, showing up in all his shirtless glory to go head to head with Jesse Spencer (who is fully clothed. Tsk, tsk. Equal shirtlessness opportunity, NBC!). I’d say there’s little to complain both in the talent AND in the looks compartment here. As the twosome are preparing to save lives and face danger, playing firefighters Kelly Severide and Matthew Casey respectively, they took a break from their set duties earlier today, and shared their thoughts on their new adventure and what we are to expect from ‘Chicago Fire’ throughout the season. Executive Producer Danielle Gelber also joined us, providing more scoop on the new, compelling NBC freshman drama.
The “tense” relationship between Mr. Spencer and Mr. Kinney’s characters will be central to the show, as will the daily lives of the entire team, that will also include Monica Raymund and Lauren German playing paramedics Gabriela Dawson and Leslie Shay. [The cast is completed by Charlie Burnett, playing young new academy graduate Peter Mills, Eamon Walker as Battalion Chief Wallace Boden and David Eigenberg as seasoned firefighter Christopher Herrmann.]
Speaking of, one of the two paramedics may or may not be getting into a heated (see what I did there?) romance with Kelly Severide. I suggest promo evidence #2 to verify that part. And to see how the visually pleasant aspect of the show is never left behind by producers. (Translation: yes, you get a glimpse at a hot shower scene between Mr. Kinney and Ms. Dawson in one of the promos. Don’t even pretend you didn’t notice.)
But let’s get to what the actors and Executive Producer had to say about the freshman NBC drama. As usual, I warn you: SPOILERS AHEAD! If you don’t want to know about upcoming drama on Chicago Fire, stop reading at once! Needless to say, that means you won’t have details on how awesomely well these guys get on while filming in Chicago, how firefighters became a part of their everyday life, what secrets Mr. Kinney’s character Kelly Severide may be harboring, and all that. Can’t have it all, that’s life. So, here we go.
Alessandra: “We’ve already seen in promos that there seems to be some bone to pick between your two characters, Matthew Casey and Kelly Severide, because of what happens with a team member in the pilot, or maybe just because of different approach to things? I know that in one of the upcoming episodes Casey and paramedic Dawson are in a LOT of trouble, for different reasons, and Severide kind of pulls Casey out of a very dangerous situation. Will that be a turning point for their relationship? And could you tell us a bit more about the background of your characters, and how much of it we will get to discover during the season?”
Jesse Spencer: “I think what that symbolizes, when you see these guys’ personal and professional issues, whatever they disagree on and butt heads on, it’s always thrown out the window when they work together, everything overrides. We’ll see that time and time again in the series, the premise is it’s a big messy ugly family, but when the shit hits the fan they’ll throw themselves under a bus for each other. I think that’s true of the real firefighters, when their lives are at stake they just help each other.”
EP Danielle Gelber : “Severide’s character is gonna be grappling with what happens in the pilot when he has an injury that he tries to hide from his superiors and he faces potential disability.”
Taylor Kinney: “There’s a scene during the pilot when we lose a firefighter that Casey and Severide are both friends with, they go way back. Severide gets injured during the fire and the scar reminds him of what happens, and it’s sort of a catalyst for the tension between Casey and Severide. There’s emotional baggage that follows and pursues…Casey has his own struggles and I don’t necessarily reach out, I kind of bury it down and we see the escalation of the problem with that, there’s a big story with the injury and Severide anyway, that goes on for quite a few episodes.”
Yours truly can reveal that this may or may not come to a turning point around episode 6, when a dirty cop and drugs enter the scene. And things get very complicated both for Casey and for Severide. And Dawson as well, though not for the same reasons. Hey, can’t say ‘Chicago Fire’ writers don’t equally spread trouble amongst characters here. And it’s always of the personal and professional kind, in an interesting mix of different emotions and events impacting the characters’ lives. Don’t think it will always be fires to put down, either.
Jesse Spencer: “There’s always one big action sequence but it doesn’t necessarily involve fire. There’s so many car accidents, like Danielle says. I like that stuff, it’s exciting when you don’t approach every situation the same way, ‘cause every situation is different. In ep. 3 we have a car crash in which a drunk driver is involved: a young boy is paralyzed, victim of the car crash. A corrupt police officer gets into the mix and Casey decides to get to the bottom of it. This character pursues Casey in a very threatening way, physically and mentally, and the arc goes on for quite a few episodes.”
Once again, this may or may not come to a turning point around ep. 6, per above reference. What, I told you trouble comes a knocking on everyone’s door during that hour. Whether they face it shirtless or not, I do not know. But I’d tune in and check, if I were you. Better safe than sorry, right? Ahem.
As far as the background of his character goes, Mr. Spencer thinks the writers came up with a perfect combination for his professional life.
Jesse Spencer: “Casey has a side job at a construction business. All firemen have other jobs, they all have some other sort of career. They work 24-hours shifts ant then they have 2 days off. They all need to supplement their income with another career. So every person has a side career. And Casey’s construction business was perfect for the character.”
EP Danielle Gelber : “We also tried to add another dimension for each character, there are all kinds of emotional sub-stories with respect to what Casey does as a construction worker.”
Make no mistake, these actors have been working with real firefighters since the beginning of the show, and actual firefighters are involved in their everyday life at this point.
Taylor Kinney: “We spend time with them on set and we spend time with them off set. We go out and have beer with them, we get together and have a good time and then we can show up at work and can enjoy doing that, too. We’ll ask them about “Would you use this tool in this situation?”, what’s the most efficient way to go about any given situation, and then we’ll teach them about blocking and camera position. It’s give and take. It’s like a small family.”
In fact, the show is having a special premiere event tomorrow night in Chicago, that will include actors and crew as well as firefighters.
Jesse Spencer: “We’re having a premiere for the cast, crew members and some firefighters tomorrow evening. Working around our schedule, it’s gonna be a big event, a few producers are flying in and it’s gonna be a very special event. I think there are going to be 150 firefighter guests and (a total of) 450 guests.”
EP Danielle Gelber: “We’re really doing this show to keep in mind that the firefighters [the real ones in real life] are the heroes, so this premiere really centers on them.”
As far as who is going to attend the premiere with whom, Mr. Kinney — who is dating singer Lady Gaga — says his brother will be his date, while Mr. Spencer will more traditionally go to the event with his girlfriend. Both Mr. Kinney and Mr. Spencer underlined how great the atmosphere for everyone is both on and off set, and how filming on location in Chicago provided them with a chance to get to know each other.
Taylor Kinney: “We got really lucky, coming into a show that we’re all out of town, we’re all away from our homes, to show up to work together and to enjoy each other’s company… and at the weekend, whether it’s a football game or a poker or going out to eat, everyone enjoys it, nobody is stabbing. [He laughs].”
“Everybody enjoys each other’s instrument and we all connect outside of work too, it’s a labor of passion, whether it’s delve deeper in the characters or storylines . Getting along as well as we do is just an added dimension to the show that brings more color, and hopefully gets people excited.”
Jesse Spencer: “Being in Chicago gives us a better chance, I think a lot of shows that are on location (and in such a great city, thank God) do that, it gives us a lot more opportunity to get to a place where we know each other a lot better and develop a different type of relationship.”
“When I was on ‘House’ we had a great cast and everyone was on the same boat, and there were no egos going around. I think I’ve landed on a really, really great show where it’s the same thing. Bunch of really talented people, who are looking to do a good job, and that’s it. Thank being on location in Chicago is having us really band together as actors, and get excited about playing firefighters and meeting these guys and hearing their stories. I think we’re applying to the job the best way as we can.”
So much so, in fact, that actors are doing most of their own stunts, and wearing actual firefighter gear, not costumes that are fitted to look better and make things easier for them.
EP Danielle Gelber: “The bunker gear they’re wearing, it’s really regulation gear, it’s the real stuff. I put it on. It’s not made to suit them better.”
Taylor Kinney: “In the middle of the winter, when we’re working out on location it’s gonna be good.”
Jesse Spencer: “Yeah, in summer it’s been hell, but I think we’ll be grateful in the winter. Because it’s so heavy.”
“We’re doing most of it, they’re big long tough days, I can’t deny 55 pounds of gear to take around all day going in and out of scenes — and we do it over and over and over again — is hard.”
Taylor Kinney: “Jesse was staying at 45 feet, swinging from a ladder!”
Jesse Spencer: “Yeah! and that was quite fun hanging up there. It’s really tough work when you have to lie around with all that stuff.”
“Adrenaline is really, really high, there’s so much physical suffering. It’s hard work, but it’s very, very exciting stuff.”
Both actors said the development of characters was a joint effort of both the writers and the actors, adding layers to them as filming went on, rather than the actors adding something to the characters that wasn’t in the script.
Taylor Kinney: “Because we started with a single script in the pilot, it enabled us to evolve with the character. You come in with a set of ideas in any job and it evolves as you move… but you keep your eyes open, you spend time with firefighters, paramedics and you’re able to bring that to the table, to the character, to make it much more authentic.”
“Characters are also just people dealing with demons and trials and successes, just like everybody else. Whether they have a meal together, or go to a club together, the sense of camaraderie between these people I think is really special. It’s all one big collaborative effort.”
Jesse Spencer: “I think since we did the pilot, I feel like the writers, when they write the show, they’ve really started writing for us, and helped our characters evolve in a way that suits the characters.”
And this is all I have to share with you today, after a very pleasant chat with these fine gentlemen and gracious Executive Producer! Curious to know more? I can’t share anything else for the moment (I said for the moment, good things come to those who wait!), but quite surely the first episode of ‘Chicago Fire’ will answer some of your questions, so don’t forget to tune in on Oct. 10 at 10 p.m. EST on NBC! You wouldn’t want to miss out on all the hotness now, would you? Till next time, lovelies!