LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN – TRANSCRIPT OF MARG’S INTERVIEW
January 18, 2012
Dave: For 12 years, our first guest has starred on the very popular television series (Gee, I wonder what that’s like?)…it’s called CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and her final episode — I’m leaving twitter, she’s leaving her show.
Paul: Wow! That’s big news.
Dave: This is unbelievable! Her final episode airs Wednesday 10PM right here on CBS. Ladies and gentlemen, the always lovely Marg Helgenberger! Come on up!
Dave: You have a…nice to see you, by the way. You look fantastic. Thanks for being here.
Marg: Thank you! Thank you. Nice to see you too.
Dave: Your name, whenever I say it, I’m always — it sounds like it has more g’s than it does.
Marg: Let’s see…(mentally counts g’s)
Dave: You have three. Yeah.
Marg:(laughs) Thank you for reminding me.
Dave: Well, there you go. How are you doing?
Marg: You know what? I appreciate the fact that you say a hard ‘G’ because most people say – not most – a few people still say Marge.
Dave: Marge? Yeah, Marge. Marge is a name, by the way, that we don’t hear much anymore, do we?
Marg: Except for Marge Simpson, I guess. She’s quite popular.
Dave: Oh yeah, yeah. A cartoon character… (Marg laughs). But ‘Marg’ has a European feel to it, I guess that’s the intent.
Marg: It’s Mary Marg actually, not Mary Margaret, but…
Dave: Mary Marg…
Dave: So you could have been Mary Helgenberger?
Dave: And, of course, you’d lose a ‘g’.
Marg: I’d lose one ‘g’.
Dave: Now what – you’ve been on CSI all this time and now you’ve decided you’re not going to continue. Why? Why? What is that all about? Why do that?
Marg: That’s an excellent question. One I’ve been asked quite a bit in the last few months. I…it’s been an incredible job, the best job I’ve ever had, and a great group of people. I just felt compelled to take a break and step back, and…
Dave: For 12 years doing the same kind of thing…
Dave: And…but you’re not retiring? You’ll continue to be an actress and so forth?
Marg: Oh yes. I look forward to playing…
Dave: What kinds of things do you want to do now?
Marg: Um, besides, like, hiking with my dog?
Dave: Oh, you’re going to hike with your dog?
Marg: Yes, I just…I’m looking forward to just sort of having the time to just kind of goof off. But umm, no obviously, this job has provided the luxury to sort of pick and choose roles, and there’s lot of different…
Dave: Has this been an emotional time for you? The last few episodes?
Marg: Very. Yes, very. The last day was quite emotional.
Dave: How did they mark the occasion?
Marg: Well, once I – I finished my scene in which Catherine says goodbye to the team, the director, Alec Smight, he had a nail and hammer, and he said ‘I want to…’ He pounded a nail into the floor as my permanent mark, my last place that Catherine Willows stood, and so from here to eternity, at Stage 24 at Universal Studios, that will be my mark.
Dave: Not exactly a….
Dave: Not exactly a star on Hollywood Blvd, but a nail in the floor is something.
Marg: I am getting a star on Hollywood Blvd.!
Dave: Well, there ya go. That’s what it ought to be.
Marg (laughs): Thanks for setting that up.
Dave: How’s your family doing?
Marg: My family is doing great. My son Hughie – Hugh now that he’s 21 – is actually working on CSI. He works as a production assistant and so he’s kind of my lifeline to the show.
Dave: So, that must be fun. You going to work everyday and your son is there too.
Marg: It was fun, yes. It was great and now I quiz him like ‘Who’s directing? What’s this episode about?’
Marg: We actually had — we had rented a beach house in Kauai recently. Well, as soon as I wrapped, and I had my son with me, and his girlfriend Sasha, and my boyfriend, and you know, it was such an intense experience, it was nice to kind of decompress in Kauai, and I remember while we were there, driving going to get groceries or something, and…have you ever been to Kauai?
Dave: No, I’ve never been to Hawaii.
Marg: Oh really? Whoa, because it is…
Dave: What you do mean ‘whoa’? (Audience laughs)
Marg: I…I don’t know why I actually responded that way really. (laughs)
Dave: No, I feel stupid. I…
Marg: You go to the Caribbean.
Dave: I want to go to Hawaii. I’d like to go because when I lived in California, I was close to Hawaii.
Dave: I had no money. I couldn’t get there. So now, I’ve got some money put away, but I’m farther away and can’t get there. I hope to get there one day.
Marg: Well, the East Coast folks go to the Caribbean.
Marg: And the West Coast folks go to Hawaii.
Dave: That’s right.
Dave: So anyway, you’ve got a place…
Marg: Got a place and its, anyway, it’s breathtakingly beautiful, right?
Marg: And I’m cruising, you know, down the — crossing lots of one-way, one-lane bridges to get to this place — to our place we had rented, and…Anyway, the…it’s Christmas time and so the radio is playing (sings) ‘Mele Kalikimaka. It’s the time of year’ and…
Dave: Oh. (He and the audience laugh.)
Marg: And the DJ comes on because — it kind of enhances the whole incredible experience and this is how she’s sounding (starts talking in a low sexy voice). It was a voice kind of like that: ‘Mele Kalikimaka to all of you.’ She says ‘Okay, now in local news. Oh Oh, I don’t like hearing this one bit. Some equipment was stolen out of the back of a pickup at the end of Kaliwuhy (sp?) Road.’ (Dave laughs). ‘Three chainsaws and two weed whackers were stolen. Come on, people. Come on now.’ (Dave laughs harder).
Dave: Yeah, it’s a whole different gear, isn’t it?
Marg: Yeah, completely from the ‘urban jungle’ of Los Angeles. Yeah.
Dave: Well, good. It was nice there was something like that. Did you ever have any — when you think back over your career to date — and everybody has lousy jobs…
Marg: Oh yeah.
Dave: The CSI, which was a polar opposite, a great job…
Marg: Great job. Absolutely, yes.
Dave: What represents, in your mind, a lousy job?
Marg: Well, sometimes, the cast between takes, we’d chat about that sort of thing. Or, like, lousy days – ‘What’s your worst day you can recall?’ And Laurence Fishburne, who was on the show at the time, and Paul Guilfoyle, and I were in a scene together, and Laurence’s was when he was a teenager in ‘Apocalypse Now’ actually. It was monsoon season and he literally was playing a scene with real corpses.
Marg: Now that’s pretty bad, right? Paul Guilfoyle was shooting a movie in Croatia and it was during the Balkan War and he was in a helicopter, and he was being fired upon by anti-aircraft guns. (Marg laughs). And I didn’t really have a good story, so I thought … Well, I remember once I was on the top of a mountain in Hazzard, Kentucky,and I had to lovingly throw myself into the arms of Stephen Seagal (Audience laughs) who was packing two loaded weapons and pretend like I was…
Dave: Why? Why was he carrying loaded guns on the set?
Marg: You know, he was always afraid someone was after him, and probably is/was legitimate about that because…
Dave: So he’s actually — it had nothing to do with the character — he’s actually got loaded guns on him…
Marg: Loaded guns!
Dave: And you’re supposed to jump into his…Wow!
Marg: Yeah, yeah. And he would say “Oh. I got one right here (pats side). And I got on right here (pats somewhere else). So…
Dave: That’s crazy.
Marg: It is crazy!
Dave: Now where…now going back to the Laurence Fishburne story, doing a scene with actual corpses, I didn’t know that was legal.
Marg: I asked the same thing.
Marg: And he actually even said he didn’t even recall it because he was a teen, but when ‘Apocalypse Redux’ came out, that was an added scene or something and I guess, I don’t know if Francis Coppolla it was something he did while Martin Sheen wasn’t there. I’m probably telling tales that I shouldn’t be telling (laughs).
Dave: That’s all right.
Marg: I guess when Martin Sheen found out about it, he put a stop to it.
Dave: Put a stop to the corpse shootings.
Marg: What with teens and…
Dave: Wow. That’s just nuts, isn’t it?
Marg: I can’t imagine. I …it’s just crazy.
Dave: I mean, in show business, to create the imagery and the entertainment enjoyment, sometimes it really goes of the rails, doesn’t it?
Marg: Kind of, yeah. Well, I mean, there was that great documentary made about that film.
Dave: Oh sure, yeah. Yeah, it was just awful. God awful.
(Audience and Marg laugh.)
Dave: Well, it was. Francis Ford Coppolla has a heart attack in the middle of the shooting. They’re stuck in the Philippines and all hell breaks loose.
Marg: Yeah. Martin, I think Martin Sheen…
Dave: Martin Sheen has the heart attack, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah.
Dave: Well, Marg, congratulations and good luck.
Marg: Thank you.
Dave: And we’ll hope to see you soon.
Marg: Thank you. Thank you.
Dave: From the CSI, Marg Helgenberger, ladies and gentlemen!