Tom Selleck Has 'No Remorse' When it Comes to 'Jesse Stone'
Emmy-winning actor Tom Selleck returns in his signature role as Police Chief Jesse Stone in the sixth installment of the Jesse Stone franchise, "No Remorse." The former "Magnum, P.I" star talks to ET about his love for Jesse Stone, his new CBS series and the possibility that there will be another sequel to '3 Men and a Baby.'
ET: Have you signed to do any more Jesse Stone TV movies for CBS?
Tom Selleck: The next Jesse Stone is already finished. It is called "Innocents Lost" and is about a little girl. No. 8 has been ordered and we are working on the writing. When, "Innocents Lost" airs, I can't say.
ET: What other projects are you working on these days?
Tom Selleck: I am off to New York to start "Blue Bloods." I am fortunate that something that good came along, especially at CBS. I was able to say, "I will not do 'Blue Bloods' at the expense of Jesse Stone." I am planning to shoot No. 8 as soon as we are done with "Blue Bloods" in the spring.
ET: Do you have to move to New York for "Blue Bloods"?
Tom Selleck: We are shooting in New York City. I wasn't anxious to relocate. I am not relocating full time. I am one of four leads, so I will be able to spend half my time in Los Angeles. The way the show is structured, it is not procedural, it is about family. It is about three generations. I think the city is going to be a main character in the show. It was hard for me to argue that it shouldn't be shot in New York City.
ET: Were you a fan of Robert Parker's Jesse Stone books before you signed on to play the character?
Tom Selleck: I hadn't read them, but ironically, I was up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where we shoot the Jesse Stones, doing a Scott Turow miniseries with Bill Macy, and my partner in a lot of Westerns, Michael Brandman said, "You've got to read Bob's new book." Both of us knew Robert Parker pretty well. It was Stone Cold, which isn't the first in the series. As soon as I read it, I said, "I've got to play this guy." I had the ability to go to CBS and say, "Look. This is a series of books. I think this character has legs." They wanted me to do a movie. I said, "How about a series of movies?" They said, "How about just one?" We agreed.
"The only other thing I agreed to was that I felt the network executive produced too many of its movies and there was a sameness to them. I wanted to make something that looked like a feature film. So they were kind enough to give me a lot of creative control and that is why the Jesse Stone movies look more like feature films than TV movies.
ET: And they have received Emmy nominations…
Tom Selleck: We have gotten great reviews, I am happy to say. I have been fortunate to get an Emmy nomination for playing the character. I hope some of the other people -- directors, supporting cast -- start getting recognized because most people do think these movies are good. They certainly deserve the recognition.
ET: Jesse Stone is a many-layered character. Does it get easier for you to find him the more you play him, or does he continue to surprise you?
Tom Selleck: He does continue to surprise me. As executive producer, I have had a hand in all the stories. We started diverging from the books starting with "Thin Ice" and continued to "No Remorse" and he always surprises me and he should surprise the audience. The movies are mysteries and part of the mystery is Jesse himself. One thing we do when we are coming up with stories is I walk in his shoes and go, "No, he wouldn't go there, I think he would go there." We don't let the audience get ahead of him. We never cut away to the bad guy that Jesse doesn't know about. Because it is told from his point of view, it seems to really deeply involve this audience. They want to get inside his head. That is exactly what we want and that is the kind of character I enjoy playing.
ET: I love the scene where Jesse is in bed and he has a dream or he is thinking about the case and all of a sudden he sees who he thinks the killer is.
Tom Selleck: I don't want to give it away for the new viewers, but Robert Harmon -- we have had the same director for all six that we have aired so far -- I said to Robert, "You want me in a parking garage in my underwear?" We have taken a lot of risks like that. I did love that scene and that is where it all came together for Jesse.
ET: My favorite character -- other than you -- is Reggie. They say never to work with kids or dogs, is he a tough co-star?
Tom Selleck: He is a great co-star. He wasn't a trained movie dog and that is probably good. What we evolved into is, in my opinion as exec producer/writer, he is Jesse's roommate and his conscience. We don't treat him like a dog, so when we cut to Reggie, he is thinking or staring at Jesse and the audience reads in an appropriate human thought. He doesn't do cute little whimpers or growl or bark. People absolutely love him. I love him. It isn't a chore at all working with him. When you can take a piece of film of that dog, and the audience reads in their own thought … he is the best canine actor I have ever worked with.
They both have issues. Jesse lost his dog in the first movie and Reggie lost his owner. Jesse found him sitting over his owner's dead body, who was murdered, so they both have a problem with commitment. We started with him when he was very young. Reggie's real name is Joe. I think he has some Irish Setter in him because he is so lean. Most people said that is too young for a dog on a movie set. He was, I think, two. He was well-behaved. He has a switch and he can get quite loony.
ET: I notice you had a writing credit. How much of it did you write?
Tom Selleck: I have been involved -- executive producers .. especially in television it is pretty creative at least for my partner Michael Brandman and I -- we have had a hand in rewriting as executive producers just about every Jesse Stone. About No. 5, where we diverged from the books from our friend Robert Parker, which was mutually agreeable … it wasn't some feud. Robert Parker has been enormously supportive of these movies. He would always say, "My books are 300 pages; your scripts are 90, they are going to be different." As each one got a little different, it came to the point where we [decided to] do Jesse Stone stories based on the character created by Robert Parker. At that point Michael and I got much more involved. We had a serious hand in "Thin Ice" -- the one before this one -- in terms of the story and in terms of rewriting. No 6., "No Remorse ' … I never really considered myself a writer, but I guess I am now. I am very good at walking in his shoes, so we wrote No. 6. We have also written No. 7, which is "Innocents Lost."
ET: Is the '3 Men and a Baby' sequel really happening?
Tom Selleck: That is true. That is probably realer than a "Magnum" movie. I know there is a script running around Disney, which they are waiting to decide if they want to do. I think it is a great idea. I don't think it is a gimmick. I think they could do a strong story, which '3 Men and a Baby' was. I think it is tentatively titled '3 Men and a Bride.' It is intriguing to me if Disney is listening. I am pretty sure it would be to Ted [Danson] and Steve [Guttenberg] as long as there is a good story there. Too many movies get made out of concept and there is nothing on the page. If there is a good story there, I think it could be a home run.
The "Jesse Stone: No Remorse" DVD will be in stores Tuesday, July 27.
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