SHE’S THE BOSS
June 2, 2006
Marg Helgenberger (‘CSI: Las Vegas’): ‘My character has changed TV.’
What do you think now of the whole five CSI seasons?
A lot of things have happened, among them, becoming a TV hit. The show is a lot better now, we’ve finished better than we started.
Why is that?
We started badly. Two of our actors were expelled off the show, though they were brought back. Besides, ‘C.S.I. New York’ was our direct competitor, something that affected us because we had to share the audience, but ‘C.S.I.’ has come out the winner and we’re the most important show of the whole lot.
How long would you be willing to play Catherine?
I still have two more years under contract. I don’t know what future holds, but I think that would be the right time to leave the show.
Do producers treat actors differently in TV than movies?
I’m afraid that’s true. A successful show on TV has the actors hired for seven years. That’s a long time. You’re in their hands. The idea that TV actors are replacable has spread and if you’re fired and cataloged as “irresponsible” you can’t find another job in this business. Like everyone else we also have bills to pay and we’re forced to behave exquisitely so that producers want to keep us employed. Sometimes that means working for less money.
Would you like to do a sitcom instead of C.S.I.?
Sitcoms are not that successful lately. In the past years, the best selling show has been CSI and I love being part of it. It’s become a cult series.
Do you wake up in the mornings being Catherine Willows?
My husband thinks I take the character home with me and that I take her too seriously. He says: “Stop playing that part and be yourself”. In those times he makes me think. ‘C.S.I.’ has been in my life for five years and it’s hard to shake the character off after ten hours of work but I try not to think about this too much.
What do you think about the shows that add characters based on Catherine?
I take it as a compliment.
Are you worried about the stress of this line of work?
Not at all. I don’t let it bother me. I have faith in what I can do. If they told me they were going to replace me with an actress that’s ten years younger, they would hurt my feelings but I would get ready for the next step soon. Life is a constant evolution.
What do you see in your professional future — more TV, more films, maybe theater?
The perfect thing would be to get going with characters that were unique. I’ve worked with very talented actors and directors and I’d love to still have that luck. Even if that means making less money, I want my career to be entertaining.
Would you have accepted a part in ‘CSI: New York’?
Probably yes. Working with Gary Sinise is an honor to any actor.
How does it feel to be a beauty role model for millions of women?
I don’t know if that is important. It feed my ego, I won’t deny it, and it gives me the opportunity to wear some big name dresses, but I don’t think anyone should imitate anyone else.
Do you watch ‘CSI: New York’ and ‘CSI: Miami’?
Honestly, no. Lucky for them they can manage on themselves and they don’t need us to keep going.
Jack Nicholson is a declared CSI fan. Would you like to have him as a guest star?
(She Laughs) One of my greatest joys would be to share a love scene with him. I think he’s a big star.
*Special thanks to Basilea for translating this article from Spanish to English for AAM members*