Q & A WITH SOUTHLAND'S SHAWN HATOSY
By Crystal Mello
Southland is back with an explosive Season Four. We had the chance to talk with star, Shawn Hatosy, about what to expect from his character Sammy Bryant who returns to the beat after the traumatic death of his partner last season.
Southland is an critically acclaimed drama series chronicling the lives of LAPD officers and detectives like no other series on television. This powerful, intensely emotional drama stars Shawn Hatosy, Michael Cudlitz, Regina King and Ben McKenzie, along with special guest star Lucy Liu.
Since premiering in 2009, Southland has redefined the police drama with its raw, authentic look at the lives and work of Los Angeles detectives and beat cops. The show centers on four main characters: Officer John Cooper (Cudlitz), a seasoned cop who will have to prove himself again after recovering from surgery; Officer Ben Sherman (McKenzie), who still has much to learn after recently completing his training rotation; Detective Lydia Adams (King), whose unending caseload hits closer to home; and Sammy Bryant (Hatosy), a former detective who decided to go back to being a uniform cop after the death of his partner. The show brings viewers the realistic environment of Los Angeles' city streets each week and it explores situations that often occur in real life.
Here's what Shawn Hatosy had to say about his career and his current role on the hit drama.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up in Maryland (Fredrick County) about 45 minutes from Baltimore.
Q: Did you always know you wanted to be an actor?
A: Yes, it was something I started at a young age; I was in middle school. My parents were very supportive in my desire to try community theater and things of that nature. I was very fortunate to get some auditions and meet the right people. I was “that” kid, always running around to auditions. In the beginning, I did stuff in Maryland- everything from local TV to really bad commercials, but eventually moved to New York when I was eighteen.
Q: How did you get your big break?
A: I worked on Homicide when I was nineteen which was on NBC, then I was cast in a small role in Jodie Fosters movie Home for the Holidays. Those are the two projects that launched me into in the New York scene. My biggest movie then was In & Out directed by Frank Oz and starring Kevin Kline, along with a huge cast.
Q: Which do you prefer working on a weekly TV show or movies?
A: Right now I prefer Southland. I have a child who is in school and I like being able to stay in one place and work on the show. Not to mention Southland is creatively satisfying work. TNT has been behind the show, we have great writers, and I thoroughly enjoy going to work. It’s very inspiring.
Q: Is the show shot completely in Los Angeles?
A: Yes, everything is on location. We go into those communities and the locals are very receptive to us filming there. We don’t block off any streets where people can’t see what’s going. We actually encourage them to join us just like any time a crime takes place, people crowd around and want to see what’s going on, so it brings realness to the show. A lot of the cops that are extras on the show are actual cops. We have a great relationship with groups that reform gang members so we get to use them in the show as well.
Q: You played a sociopath on Dexter, how do you find playing polar opposites. Good guy vs. bad guy?
A: The thing that is fun about acting is that you can take on different roles. With the role playing Boyd Fowler on Dexter they let me have the freedom to build this maniac character right down to the clothes he wore. The kill scene was intense. I mean there’s nothing like taking off all your clothes and getting on a table.
Q: Where do you see the rest of this season taking the cast on Southland?
A: Being we're in the fourth season, every character has sort of a reset. We all have new partners this season- though this is nothing new for Regina King’s character (Detective Lydia Adams) who is used having ever changing partners. I am back in uniform as well this season, after being a detective in the past seasons, partnering up with Benjamin McKenzie character (Officer Sherman). Sammy has gone through so much from last season that jumping in the car with Ben is literally black & white. It feels like a new show to me. We have a different dynamic than what the fans are used to because he’s training and learning the ropes. Sammy is an emotional guy and they are on the streets just doing their thing. I think the fans will love it!!
Q: So how is Southland’s Season Four going to be different from the first three seasons?
A: Last year, we dealt with losing Sammy’s partner. It was compelling as hell and it made him have to really deal with his home life. A lot of last season for me was dealing with that, now this season it’s a bit lighter. We are two young guys out there policing the city. Of course, there will be drama involved- it’s Southland. For those of you who haven’t watched the show, all you have to do is watch Episode One of Season Four and you are caught up. It feels like a feature film... I can’t even describe it. The show is tense, there’s tons of action.
Q: Are there any other actors you currently admire? Anyone you would like to work with that you haven’t?
A: Sean Penn is someone I have always looked up to as an actor. Of course I’d like to work with George Clooney , I appreciate the fact that he spends so much time developing, writing and directing in addition to acting. It’s inspiring!
Q: What is the best way for fans to keep in touch with you?
After chatting with Hatosy, it's easy to see why he is considered one of the most versatile actors of his generation. In Southland, he continues to expand upon his already impressive resume of buzz worthy projects, most notably his turn as a brilliant sociopath in Dexter. His other recent work includes the films Public Enemies and The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans.
Southland airs on TNT on Tuesdays 10/9C.