Gary Cole, star of NCIS, discussed what it takes to play Alden Parker. Here’s what he had to say about preparing to be an NCIS boss.
Gary Cole discusses his preparation for the role of Alden Parker.
Cole told Watch magazine that “being a working actor for 40 years” was the best preparation he had for playing Parker. For him, there isn’t much of a distinction between drama and comedy. He claims that the NCIS writers also assisted him by matching as much of his real-life backstory to his character as possible. For example, the writers made Parker from Chicago, just like Cole in real life. “What’s nice is that the producers and writers go out of their way to make the character personal to you,” Cole says. (This is what Gary Cole is well-known for.)
Gary Cole on the importance of not trying too hard
Cole also says he avoids “trying too hard” when playing his character. He tells Watch that being unprepared or putting in too much effort (whether in comedy or drama) can have a negative impact on a performance. It’s never a good idea to show up unprepared, but it’s even worse to overdo it.
Cole tells TV Insider that the writers were “smart” in introducing his character. He enjoys how Alden Parker was incorporated into the series. “The writers were very clever in having [Parker] arrive during a conflict among the other characters,” Cole says. “They were on the trail of a serial k1ll3r, and Parker was on the trail of the same one.” Because they collided in the middle of a case, there was immediate conflict and animosity [between them], which was beneficial.”
Gary Cole’s method for keeping complicated dialogue straight
Cole frequently has complicated dialogue with a lot of jargon because NCIS is a procedural. He claims that he tries his hardest to keep the dialogue natural so that he doesn’t come across as robotic when delivering his lines. “I take pride in making Parker sound like he knows what he’s talking about while also, you know, behaving normally,” Cole tells Watch.
Alden Parker has been added to the roster, according to Sean Murray.
Sean Murray claims that now that the Parker character has taken over, there is a different dynamic among the NCIS team. There was a parental dynamic when Gibbs was in charge. Murray claims that now that Parker is in charge, there is a sense that everyone is on equal footing. (To find out how much Sean Murray is worth, click here.)
Murray tells TV Insider, “Parker came in as a very different character than Gibbs.” “Whoever comes in will have to live up to a lot of expectations.” Parker, I believe we are dealing with a unique situation. Instead of a family structure with a paternal figure, [we have] something more equal.”
Cole claims that the writers were aware that when he joined the show following Mark Harmon’s departure, it would be difficult for longtime viewers. He praises the writers’ handling of the situation. Rather than ignoring the change, they found a way to address it in the conversation. (Here’s how NCIS bid farewell to Mark Harmon.)
“They actually wrote a moment for the audience as well as the team in the squad room when Parker said, ‘I know this is weird.'” ‘OK, I get it, but we’ve got to get past this so we can get the job done,’ Cole says in an interview with TV Insider. “That was a way for the writers to signal to the viewers that, yes, this was going to be different, but it was also going to be familiar because the show has been on for so long and has worked on so many different levels.” My hat is off to the authors. It wasn’t easy figuring out how to do that.”
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