FRANCE-SOIR – INTERVIEW WITH MARG
May 7, 2011
Marg Helgenberger: “I want a breather.”
For eleven years she has embodied Catherine Willows in the original version of CSI. The actress now wants to distance herself.
While visiting Paris, Marg Helgenberger, Catherine Willows in CSI: Las Vegas, talks about her character, the evolution of the series, and puts her all cards on the table.
FRANCE-SOIR: You announced that you would be departing after season 10, but you’re in the credits of the 11th season (which is currently airing in the U.S.). Do you still intend to go?
Marg Helgenberger: In fact, three major players had already left the show and the producers were afraid that I would follow suit… so they insisted that I stay. I wanted to have time to travel, do theater … get some air! Eleven months a year was too much. So, I dropped to doing 19 out of 22 episodes in season 11, and I will be present in only about half of the season 12 episodes.
FRANCE-SOIR: If you do less, who could replace you?
Marg Helgenberger: Logically, it should be Nick (George Eads).
FRANCE-SOIR: Has the departure of William Petersen affected the series in the U.S.?
Marg Helgenberger: The ratings were a bit down, but this decline is normal for a series broadcast for so long. The audience loved Grissom, his intelligent side and his eccentricities. William wanted to reconnect with his roots, doing theater in Chicago. For my part, I do not want to leave Los Angeles.
FRANCE-SOIR: What is your relationship with Laurence Fishburne (who plays Raymond Langston)?
Marg Helgenberger: He’s very cool. One day a man was flirting with me – he had the same name as my ex-husband and other things in common. Laurence turned into Morpheus from The Matrix and he said: “It’s like the sword. There are two sides, one is worn and dull and the other is shiny and new.” (Laughs) He’s a very strong guy.
FRANCE-SOIR: Do you feel responsible when you hear that criminals have learned to cover their tracks from watching your show?
Marg Helgenberger: CSI decode the crime scene, so obviously we do educate criminals. But potential victims also… at the beginning of Season 7, Catherine wakes up in a motel, drugged, possibly raped, and she must figure out what happened to her. The storyline was my idea, and I received many messages from young women. The date rape drug is a scourge in the United States.
FRANCE-SOIR: What is your greatest fear, as a woman and as an actress?
Marg Helgenberger: As an actress, to be zero (laughs). As a woman, to not give good advice to Hugh, my 20-year old son.
Thank you to NadiaRichard for translating this for us.