After seven seasons, the FX drama Rescue Me comes to a close with its series finale on September 7th. While showcasing all of the emotional ups and downs for the characters on the series, it always made a point to shine a light on the truly noble, life-and-death work that the firefighters of the FDNY do, on a daily basis.
At the FX portion of the TCA Press Tour, actor Denis Leary took some time to reflect on his time on the series and playing a role as complex and layered as Tommy Gavin. He also talked about stepping into the shoes of Captain George Stacy, father of Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) in The Amazing Spider-Man, he much he enjoyed working with his young co-stars, revealed that he will not have the walking stick that his character uses in the comics, and confirmed that he is signed on for the second and third film as well (The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was given a release date yesterday). Check out what he had to say after the jump:
DENIS LEARY: No, there’s not going to be a Rescue Me movie. Not a chance.
LEARY: Because I think we wrapped it up, hopefully. If you watch the finale, there’s really no way you could have a movie.
If Tommy Gavin lives, where would you see him on the 20th anniversary of 9/11?
LEARY: Probably still at the firehouse. I would hope.
Where will you be on the 10th anniversary of 9/11?
LEARY: I’ll be in New York, actually. I’m doing a couple different things. Nothing of my own design. I’m appearing at other people’s things.
LEARY: I don’t know if it’s done anything like that. I would hope the thing that it changed was people’s perception of firefighters in general, but specifically the FDNY. I think people are really aware of what those guys do, and are aware of the fact that, in any given circumstance, as first responders, they’re actually on site before the military is, in terms of defending our country. For the firefighters I know in New York, the thing they hope for most out of this 10th anniversary is to remember the 343 guys from that day, but also to just remind people of who they are and what they do because people do tend to forget.
Did you take anything with you from the set?
LEARY: Well, I took the bunker gear and the helmet because I have a charity and I know the value of auctioning stuff off. And, I took some of his other fire equipment. I was going to save it for 10 years and then auction it off for a lot of money, but then the Smithsonian called and we had to give it to them. So, it’s in the Smithsonian now, and I’m not going to make any money off of it.
How is your paramedic show coming for USA?
LEARY: I’m producing a pilot for that project, so we’ll see what happens. There’s nothing going on right now, except the script is being written.
Are you going to be in it?
LEARY: No, I’m not going to be in it.
LEARY: No, it’s a completely different world, really. The only thematic thing that’s close is that paramedics are really considered the garbage men of the savior service because they’re supposed to just pick up the body and deliver it to the people that are going to do all the work. The firefighters are supposed to save them, and the paramedics take them and put them into the ambulance. That’s their insecurity complex.
Would you like to collaborate again with Peter Tolan?
LEARY: Peter and I are talking about something in the future, but we haven’t put our finger on it yet.
Can you imagine a better role than Tommy Gavin, in your career?
LEARY: It’s very hard to imagine. I got to do action, comedy and drama, which is unheard of, all at one time, and with a group of people that I really loved going to work with – the cast and the crew. I would hate to put that weight onto anybody else’s project ‘cause I don’t think it will ever happen again. It was great. It was in New York. Peter is my favorite guy to write with. John Scurti is one of my oldest friends. A lot of the guest stars that came on were old friends of mine that I’d always wanted to work with. You don’t really get that opportunity.
What was the last day of shooting like?
LEARY: The girls were all crying. I was trying not to cry because there were about 350 firemen on set that day. We were shooting in a church. Peter and I had to do a speech because we had to thank the crew and everybody for working on the show, so we wanted to be funny and we had to keep shooting that day. So, we tried not to cry, but the girls were breaking down, and a couple of the firefighters who are very big, tough guys, started to get teary-eyed and we were like, “Uh oh, this is going to get bad real soon.” It wasn’t until we were editing for a long time and had to do a brief re-shoot, that we really started to think that you’re not going to see these people again, at least not on a daily basis, so it made it a little difficult. But, it’s better than doing nine seasons and having everybody say, “What the fuck did you do those two extra seasons for?” That’s what I always think.
LEARY: It was about 150 firefighters, down on the waterfront in New York. It was a very complicated shot. That was the last thing that we shot, actually. It was nice.
Has your experience on the show made you a better person?
LEARY: It made me a better actor, a better writer and a better producer, just by virtue of how much work it was and the nature of it. I don’t know if it made me a better person. I’m still pretty self-centered, greedy and angry. It didn’t save me, but it taught me quite a bit.
Will you do more stand-up?
LEARY: I just did a mini-tour on the east coast, heading down towards the Smithsonian, to kick off the press for this season and to raise money for my foundation. I do it for charity.
Do you have any more Funny or Die stuff coming up?
LEARY: Not right now. Probably when Spider-Man comes out.
This Spider-Man is darker, but is there some humor in it as well?
LEARY: It’s a darker story, but there are some very funny things in it. Some of them were scripted, and some of them came out of the work.
George Stacy actually really hates Peter Parker in the comics, but what did you think of Andrew Garfield?
LEARY: I loved Andrew. I really did. I thought he was great.
LEARY: He’s terrific in the role. He was trained as a gymnast, when he was growing up in England, which came in handy. Most of the stunts in the movie are done live, in front of the cameras. There’s a ton of stuff. He’s just a terrific actor. I really loved working with him. I thought he was great. Same thing with Emma [Stone]. They’re actually more mature than I am, so that says a lot. They’re really incredibly talented and really professional. She’s 22 years old. I don’t want to tell you what I was doing when I was 22 years old. I was very impressed by her.
Are you definitely set for Spider-Man 2 and 3?
LEARY: Yeah. I guess they officially announced it yesterday.
Does Captain Stacy have the walking stick, like he does in the comics?
LEARY: No. Not yet, anyway.
Did you read the old Stan Lee comics to get familiar with them?
LEARY: No, I didn’t. I’m more of a Batman guy. Not the ‘60s Batman, but the really dark Batman. My wife was a Spider-Man nut, which is why I went to the Tobey Maguire ones. I have a good friend, Jeff Garlin, who is a Spider-Man freak, and he was the first guy that said to me, “The first time I met you, I thought you were George Stacy,” and that was 30 years ago. He had an old comic book frame on his computer and he showed it to me, and I was like, “You’re sick!,” and he was like, “No, I’m a Spider-Man freak.” People take it very seriously.
Is your hair the same, or does it go grey like Captain Stacy’s?
LEARY: I don’t know if I’m allowed to say. Every time you say something about this fucking movie, they go crazy.
Is it really that different from the Tobey Maguire films?
LEARY: Yeah. The tone is very different.