I was recently invited by NBC to join a group phone interview with Chicago Fire’s Executive Producer, and cast members Matt Olmstead, Kara Killmer and Steven R. McQueen. Though my schedule would not let me participate, I’m very excited to share some of the highlights from the call with my readers.
Stephanie Peach with Mingle Media TV:
Thank you. Congratulations, Matt; I can’t believe its four seasons. Love your shows. My question is for Steven R. McQueen. Now that you’re not fighting vampires or any supernaturals, how excited are you about being on this hit show?
Steven R. McQueen:
You know, I couldn’t be more excited. You know, and when I heard about this, the opportunity to play an American hero I jumped at the opportunity. I’m very excited to be here.
Suzanne Lanu with The TV Media Site:
Hi, I was wondering, can you tell us how much involvement does Dick Wolf have in the series now?
He has a lot as by his own assessment, he likes to keep as he’ll say a light hand on the wheel. When it’s going well, he encourages everybody to do their job. Put them in the position to succeed. And when it starts to wobble or when there’s interference, infrequently I’ll say, from network on something that’s when he gets involved which is nice to have, I might add, you know. The call Dick is nice to kind of being able to pull out of your pocket when you need it. And but in particular he’s involved at the beginning of each season in terms of making sure the shows are going in the right direction. There’s enough conflict. He’s fully aware of the fact that with these relationship ensembles, you can burn through stories. And if you’re going to do it, you’ve got to have new characters or new conflicts like that. And it was his idea to introduce this Patterson character having come in at the beginning of the season and the Riddle character. And it was a good idea. If he’s there with fresh eyes to assess and make sure that everybody’s doing their best work and that the material is feeding, hopefully the prior season’s material.
David Martindale with Fort Worth Star Telegram:
How does the city of Chicago treat you all? Are you all like local heroes not just with the fire department but with, you know, everybody. Is it like, oh your money is no good here kind of thing.
Kara Killmer: Oh no. I mean thankfully the city seems to receive the show and the cast and the crew very well. I mean, you know, there are days whenever we will close up a whole city block and redirect traffic on days. And I’m sure a couple of people feel a little fired up about that every once in a while. But for most of the part, I feel like people are glad that we’re here. Its fun that this is happening in the city. And, you know, the show really I think sheds a fun light on the city of Chicago. I mean it’s such an incredible city to live in. So I think that we try to highlight that as much as possible in the show. And the local Chicagoans just love it.
David Martindale: And they treat you good, okay. Can you tell me after a season of doing your character, what are some of the things you like most about Sylvie?
Kara Killmer: Yes, I think what I love about Sylvie is that, you know, she comes from a small town. Obviously I know all about that. And similar just even to my own personal, she’s having to figure out how to kind of start over. And she’s figuring out what she’s made of. And she’s having to learn how to do that with, you know, this incredible group of people who are very supportive but very challenging. And so I think, you know, throughout last season and certainly through this season, you get to see different scenarios where Sylvie is really having to kind of reach in for her inner gumption. And I really like that about her because she seems very resilient and sort of an internal optimist.
Gina Zippilli with Talk Nerdy with Us:
So, you know, (Steven R. McQueen) you’re coming into a show that’s been around for four seasons now. It’s very well established. So the fans don’t really know Jimmy. We know a couple of little things. You know, how you entered. We know a couple of little things. But what are some things you can tell us about Jimmy that we don’t know yet?
Steven R. McQueen:
Well I think that’s going to be kind of the fun of it. You know, you kind of see it as it comes. You know, he’s the new guy so he’s got to earn his place. But he’s eager and hardworking. And he wedged himself in there, you know. It was interesting, when I first got to Chicago, I got to talk to a couple of fire fighters and asked that what it was like, you know, fighting their first fire. And then none of them said, fear. They all said it was kind of like clockwork. You know, you all have to move like gears, working together to accomplish one goal. And so if you’re the cadet, you’ve got to find your place in that clock. You’ve got to become a gear and you’ve got to make it work.
Anne Easton with New York Observer Examiner.com:
When you guys get a script, how do you feel right before your read it? Are you excited? Are you nervous?
Steven R. McQueen: I’m absolutely excited.
Kara Killmer: Oh yes.
Steven R. McQueen: It’s exciting to see what’s coming next.
Sorry. Yes, these last couple of episodes have been like a page turner. I’ve got to stop reading them on set because they’ll be like Kara, we’re calling you, can you please come? It’s like I’m finishing this last page, just let me, okay, okay here I go. And these last couple have just been kind of riveting. So it is exciting. It is exciting to see where they take things. And I feel like even as an audience member watching the show, it’s interesting to see the arcs that the writers are able to put into the stories. Like I feel like it’s sort of a pendulum swing. It always goes back and forth between conflict that’s happening within the house and within the characters with conflict that’s happening outside of the house and the adversity that they’re met with and that forces them to kind of stick together. So I feel like, you know, you can really see the pendulum swing back and forth between those two things. And it just makes it so interesting and keeps things fresh.
Steven R. McQueen:
Yes, the same. I mean I get excited with every script. And for myself, since this is a newer character for me, I kind of like I get to see more parts of Jimmy with every episode, you know. So I’ll see like some episodes where he’s just a super nice guy and some moments where he kind of snaps and its fun. It keeps it fun.
Anne Easton :
We haven’t touched too much and I’m hoping I can get a little something out of you about some of the other characters mainly I think I have a question about Dawson. And how we’ve heard, you know, she’s pregnant and she’s going to be dealing with that. And she’s going to be dealing with a lot personally. And the first thing I thought when I saw that storyline in that season finale is you can’t have a pregnant firefighter. It’s just not done. So I was very interested to see how the show is going to be handling her transition into another form of work during her pregnancy. Can you talk a little more about that?
Yes. That is a big turning point for the show, for the character, for the Casey character. As you point out, you can’t be an active duty firefighter while pregnant. And so she goes to work for Arson Investigation. And Severide had kind of helped there a little bit in the past. He was recruited to work there. His dad, Benny, had worked there so it’s kind of in the blood a little bit. He had shown an aptitude towards it and so had Dawson when they both investigated the Shay death slash arson. And so it’s already in her wheelhouse. There are already connections there so it’s a pretty easy move for her though jarring because she’s away from her extended family. And she’s away from the adrenaline of being a firefighter which she really wanted to be and was intending on doing it for many, many years. So it’s at once a step down and a step up because fairly quickly she is in charge of investigating an arson that 51 responded to and 51 is in hot water for. And she has a lot on the line in terms of investigating this arson to see if she can essentially clear the name of 51. But arson, as it’s been pointed on the show and in reality, is difficult to prove. It’s a slower process than perhaps 51 would care for. But she is doing the best she can. So yes, she transfers over to Arson Investigation and does that.
Courtney Vaudreuil with Ohsogray.com:
So can you just talk about maybe a scene that you’ve had so far this season that you really enjoyed for whatever reason. It was just fun or dramatic and just tell us maybe what you liked about it?
Steven R. McQueen:
I could say like well oh gosh, I don’t know what I’m allowed to say. But actually the stuff is all pretty sweet like I love doing all the stunt stuff. But again, I’m not sure what I’m allowed to reveal with that. But the stunts are a lot of fun.
Yes. I think, you know, right off the bat, Chili and Brett get a call that really challenges them both. It’s really emotional. We end up having a pregnant teenager who gets shot. And…
And such as it is in real life, you have paramedics have to make the call while they’re on the move. And so there’s some quick decisions that have to be made to decide, you know, what’s the right course of action. And once you make those decisions, you have to live with them. And so you see Chili and Brett go through a fairly, you know, the first few episodes are fairly emotional. And, you know, it’s been great to kind of like jump in and dig our heels in. Dora and I have enjoyed getting some like heavier material and being met with some scary situations for paramedics especially as two girls. And so I had a blast coming right back I mean right in Episode One. It was like, you know, wonderful, bold, dropped in our laps. So far it’s been a really great season.
About Chicago Fire:
The firefighters, Rescue Squad and paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51 are deeply committed to their rewarding and exhilarating jobs, despite the inherent danger and stressors. The truck company is led by Lt. Matthew Casey, who sometimes butts head with the leader of the Rescue Squad, the brash Lt. Kelly Severide. Regardless of personal tension, when it’s time to face the job, all the courageous team members quickly put their issues aside and their lives on the line. Emmy-winner Dick Wolf serves as an executive producer.
Don’t Miss the All New Season of Chicago Fire Tuesdays 10/9c on NBC, starting 10/13 !
Visit www.nbc.com/chicago-fire for more details, trailers and behind the scenes info.
Information provided by NBC as part of the NBC Digital Network.