It was awful those last moments when the other firefighter comes to the door & can't get it open and all the guys are on the other end knowing it is their grave. My Dad was a volunteer fireman for over 20 years and luckliy he never had to go through anything like that. I'm sure all of them don't die, but how could anyone get out alive.
On a lighter note, I LOVED Callie Thorne last night. Drunk Shelia is funny.
I’d already been on Rescue Me for Season 5, and I really wanted to come back. I’d played this kind of sexually aggressive cougar lady named Kelly McPhee, kind of a girl version of Denis Leary’s character Tommy Gavin. They loved what I’d done and scheduled me to come back for a second season. And then I got sick with breast cancer and had to go through treatment.
By the time I was due to come back to shoot, I was pretty much bald from the chemo, and I didn’t have any eyebrows. I didn’t look at all the same. So I had my agent call up (producer) Peter Tolan, told him they could let me out of the contract and didn’t have to use me for obvious reasons. I mean, I didn’t look the same and wasn’t sure I was capable of being the same person on the show. So it only made sense really.
Then Peter came back and said, ‘No, we really want to incorporate what’s going on with you into your character.’ I kind of hesitated for a minute. But I finally said ‘Yes,’ because I really trusted Peter and Denis and Even Reilly. It was clearly a hugely vulnerable time for me, certainly in terms of vanity without any hair or eyebrows.
The thing is, I’d also been working with this avant garde theater troupe at the time, the Wooster Group, in New York City, where I was doing this play where it didn’t really matter what I looked like. It had been an exciting opportunity to explore things I’d never tried before. So when the Rescue Me thing came up, I was creatively open and game. I didn’t feel like a fragile jewel. And besides, I was finished with the treatment and would now be playing a character who was sicker than I was. It felt like an opportunity to do some fantastic television. I just wanted it to be good.
But when the guys wrote something around the cancer theme, they kind of got it wrong at first. It was really melodramatic. They had my character sort of desperately looking to Denis’ character for sexual validation. I’m not saying that isn’t something that a person going through it doesn’t need. But I didn’t feel it was the most interesting way to look at what was going on in terms of the struggle with the disease, what you think, what you feel, what it does to you emotionally.
So I called up Peter and told him my concerns, and to his credit he said, ‘OK, let’s talk.’ I got on the phone with he and Denis and Evan and really explained the whole experience and separated the fantasy from the reality. I think it truly opened their eyes, because when they rewrote Kelly it was far more genuine without losing the humour. Because without the humour, it wouldn't be Rescue Me, of course.
Considering I had just finished my own treatment maybe six weeks before we started shooting, there were certain things I didn’t want to say - like anything about the cancer coming back. You don’t want to invite any irony to rebound back onto you. And I was also just plain scared, not as a woman, but as an artist wanting to make sure it was good and real for the people going through the whole cancer treatment maze.
In the end, I just sort of ****ing did it and let it all hang out. My character is able to examine the illness in a way that I personally really wasn’t doing. It turned into an opportunity to express something terrific with people I really trusted and loved. That’s what people will see when I’m on during the seventh season. People will see Tommy Gavin - who is always trying to rescue everyone - having to rescue Kelly McPhee in a way he’d never thought.
What’s wonderful about this show is how it’s never fit easily into a little box. The story of my character is far away from the story they’d planned. But it all worked somehow. Just like you never expect that a show about firefighters working around death and tragedy every day could be so irreverent. That’s why I loved working on the show so much, it’s so fast and loose and funny. There’s no screwing around, very little rehearsal. You hear it once, get your marks, go in and shoot it. It’s like guerrilla filmmaking, the kind you rarely get to do as an actress.
If anyone can do a cancer story and be not only real but funny at the same time, it’s these guys. I’m proud to have been part of something that took the kind of gamble we did here. You’ll have to tell me how it turns out, because I’m not sure I’ll ever watch it. It’s not because I don’t feel great about it. It may just be too tough to go through it all again.
You’ll have to tell me how it turns out, because I’m not sure I’ll ever watch it.
Okay, Maura. It was FABULOUS. Funny. Riveting. Heart rending. And in the words of one of my 7 year old students who just finished his own round of chemo treatments....you totally 'kicked cancer's butt!"
Post by paigeelysec on Sept 2, 2011 8:16:54 GMT 10
Martine, thanks you SO much for sharing that. I literally got chills when I read it. I can't even express how much I enjoy hearing things from her own words. It makes me so happy. I believe her when she says she will not watch it. Maura is anything but narcissistic and I know she has said in the past that she does not like to watch herself on camera. I believe she is pleased with her work and feels confident putting it out there.
In regards to last nights episode: I was so hurt and saddened. In the previews, Tommy's hat is on top of the coffin, and obviously it seems as though he did not make it. I don't know if all of this is a dream or what, but I don't like it. If he did die, then I believe we would see Kelly at the funeral, if that's how the writers decide to play it all out. But who knows. So many surprises this season, I am so sad that it's basically over.
And I agree, I love drunk Sheila! She is a riot. I really should watch Callie Thorne's new show on USA. I bet it would be good.
"I have so many insecurities they fight for prominence." - Maura Tierney
"I don't think there's anything particularly innocent about me." - Maura Tierney