Tim Griffin (NBC's 'Prime Suspect')
'The Usual Suspect!'
Fresh off the set with noted industry players George Clooney and J.J. Abrams, drop-dead gorgeous leading man Tim Griffin is ready to set the world on fire.
Having starred in hits including STAR TREK, LEATHERHEADS, THE BOURNE SUPREMACY, THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS, CLOVERFIELD, IRON MAN and FAIR GAME, the hottest commodity in Hollywood will continue to ignite the silver screen throughout 2011.
Griffin is stopped in the streets for his role in THE BOURNE SUPREMACY, in which he famously interrogates a very mum Matt Damon. The global success of the BOURNE trilogy seemingly kicked Griffin’s already flourishing career into another stratosphere.
Griffin has also had the chance to work on multiple projects with the brilliant J.J. Abrams, who produced CLOVERFIELD and directed Griffin as the doomed UFSS Kelvin's Chief Engineer in the opening sequence of STAR TREK and just recently cast Griffin in the upcoming SUPER 8.
Griffin recently earned critical praise for his work starring in Doug Liman's true-life spy drama FAIR GAME as the lead analyst for the CIA. Griffin’s character "Paul" is charged with the unenviable task of taking on Scooter Libby (portrayed with devilish perfection by "Apollo 13'" star David Andrews) over the now infamous "yellow cake uranium."
Griffin’s extensive career in television has included memorable story arcs including his role as the autistic “Richie Grayson” on “Party of Five” and is well-known for playing T.R. Knight’s brother “Ronny O’Malley” on the mega-hit ABC medical drama series “Grey’s Anatomy.” Griffin has guest-starred on hit TV shows including “24,” “Big Love,” “NCIS,” “The Closer,” “Cold Case,” “Lie to Me,” and “Bones” to name only a few.
On the rare occasion when Griffin is not working, the Chicago native can be found building houses, rooting for the Cubs and spending time with his wife Alicia and two children.
Exclusive Magazine recently sat down with Tim Griffin and asked him some questions about his many past films roles, his upcoming film roles, who he is working with in NBC's 'Prime Suspect' Fall TV show, working with director John Singleton, and, of course ... penguins!
Taking it from the top and you've been termed as 'the actor who is in everything'! So, for the record, how many movies and TV shows HAVE you appeared in?! "If I told you, you wouldn't believe me. Let's just say ... many!"
And which of them all is the one that sits with you today as being your proudest role undertaken? "My 'proudest role,' that's tough to call. When I first started my career in the theatre I used to think, 'if I could just book that first TV show,' which then became 'first recurring lead,' followed by 'break into film,' then 'star in a film,' then 'star in a blockbuster' and so on down the line. As an actor you constantly set little milestones for yourself, and each time reach one, it's a proud moment. I guess the only way for me to answer is that I am most proud of my body of work."
OK, but out of them all, which is the one today that you wish you had NEVER undertaken?! "Can't help but smile at this, because EVERY actor has funny stories about disastrous jobs (including myself), but most people keep it on the QT for fear of offending someone."
"As for me I don't really have any 'regrets,' because even if a job was terrible at least you get a good story out of it. I will say that my most embarrassing moment was a movie I did for Showtime called 'The Last Escape' in which I played a young bellhop in the 1930's who falls for a down on her luck actress staying in his hotel."
"Back in the day, Showtime meant 'nudity,' and let's just say I was unprepared for how much I would be ... ahem, exposed! Anyway, it was early in my career and so my family in Chicago decided to throw a big party to watch my big premiere. Of course I myself hadn't seen the movie yet, and the producers swore that that they would edit the lovemaking scenes to be totally tasteful."
"Long story short, they exploited the h*ll out of me. All of my friends and relatives were glued to the set watching me make love for what seemed to be like eternity. Of course they all had a raucously good time, while I (who am not a shy person) was mortified!"
So, just how does one go from the son of a pediatric cardiologist to a movie star? Any speed bumps along the way, perhaps? "I have one brother, who as my Boston friends would say is 'wicked smart.' Graduated with honors from Wesleyan, then Law School, and now is a Radiologist! I myself have a double degree in English and Political Science, but I knew early on that Medicine was not for me. My brother's academic brilliance gave me the perfect excuse to pursue the arts, which I loved."
"In retrospect, it couldn't have worked out better for all. We are both doing what we love and are equally proud of each other. As for speed bumps, there were many. I was cast in a huge miniseries when I was 16 years old, but was replaced after my first week (apparently I was hired by the director against the network's wishes and someone got cold feet). I had been pulled out of school and said goodbye to all of my friends, and suddenly there I was ... back again!"
"But they ended up paying my full salary, which was nice. The thing is if I had done that show, I would never have gotten to graduate from a normal high school, and would have probably burned out of acting at an early age. I learned so much from that experience. Strangely enough, probably the best thing that could have happened to me."
It seems that you spent much of your early life doing TV shows. Growing up on these sets, did you find yourself lost sometimes - or were you happy as a pig in sh*t immediately?! "I was lucky, because even though I worked as a kid, my life was incredibly normal. Regular school. Regular friends. It helped that I lived in Chicago, because only a handful of major things would come to cast there, so it was never a grind. Plus, my agent was a wonderful woman (who has since passed) named Maureen Brookman, who helped launch the careers of many great actors (Bonnie Hunt, Chris O'Donnell, Robin Tunney, etc), and she really cared for and understood me (she was also the mother of my best friend)."
"There were times when I flat out just didn't want to act. One time I was cast as the lead kid in a CBS movie of the week, and I told her that I didn't want to do it because I was on the JV soccer team, or something crazy like that, and she got me out of it! She wasn't even mad. That woman always had my back, and I loved her for that."
Your first big screen debut came as you uttered the words: "How many of you came here to change the world?!" Reflecting back to your role in 'Higher Learning,' what can you recall of your days on that set? "After years of starring on television, 'Higher Learning' was my first job in the movies, and I was crazy nervous. We were filming on the UCLA campus, and I was supposed to be leading this huge pep rally of hundreds of students, and I had no idea what to expect. The now infamous, 'How many of you came here to change the world' was about my only scripted line, except the rally was supposed to go on for minutes while each of the main characters (Jennifer Connelly, Michael Rappaport, Omar Epps, et al) are established. So I'm supposed to be speaking the whole time!"
"I show up and the place is packed. Hundreds of extras, huge camera cranes everywhere, and an outdoor stage with a band that I'm told I will be leading before delivering my big speech. [Director John] Singleton comes to me and tells me to basically get the crowd hyped up, by any means necessary. No rehearsal. John then just grabs a megaphone and runs out of the shot. They yell 'Rolling!' and the band starts up and John's voice booms out ACTION!"
"Total out of body experience. I don't even know what the heck I said, just that I delivered my speech with a nearly possessed level of energy. Thank God the crowd totally went with me (I think many of them were real students used to real pep rallies). They applauded, they cheered, and like me they just went nuts. We shot all day. Over and over."
"By the end, I had lost my voice, but we had gotten the shots. John ended up using my stuff in the trailer and all the commercial promos, and at the wrap party took me aside and told me what a great job I did. It was one of the greatest compliments I had ever received as an actor. I was so thrilled."
In 'The Bourne Supremacy' one of the (funny) stories told of your role as a hapless CIA agent trying to interrogate a silent Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is that during the fight scene he IN REAL LIFE cracked you across the bridge of the nose, giving you a deviated septum! True or false?! "So true! The story has now become somewhat of a Hollywood Urban Legend, but it really DID happen. This was not Matt Damon's fault, by the way. We rehearsed that fight sequence extensively, but it was just one of those freak things. When we got into the actual room where we filmed the interrogation, and it was completely claustrophobic, which was great for the scene, but bad for our fight spacing."
"Matt grabs my pistol and cracks me with a spinning back fist using the butt of my gun. First take - WHAM! Go re-watch the film. My eyes go completely unfocused as I fall out of frame. Matt was incredibly gracious, and absolutely apologized. I probably leaned in to close. At least it made it into the film, right?"
If I said the words 'yellow cake uranium' to you, what stories would you have for me related to filming 'Fair Game'?! "It's a weird thing to reenact an epic event that really changed the trajectory of America. Facing off against David Andrews as Scooter Libby was scarier than being ordered by Jeff Bridges to walk across a real bed of hot coals in 'Men Who Stare at Goats.' The intensity and the stakes of that scene still gives me chills. So honored to be a part of 'Fair Game'."
Upcoming, well, you have many films for 2011. Some big, some indie, so please tell us more about your roles in these soon-to-be-seen movies:
'Carjacked' - "Bank-robbery thriller starring Maria Bello and Stephen Dorff. Maria is also our leading lady in 'Prime Suspect.' She is such a phenomenal actor. Can't say enough good things about her."
'The Collection' - "Sequel to the Horror Cult Classic 'The Collector.' I play a member of a team of wannabe mercenaries who enter the Collectors lair looking to rescue a girl but quickly find they are in way over their heads. My character, Dre, is no hero though. He's a real nasty piece of work, and sports the world's all-time worst haircut!"
'A Better Life' - "Beautiful film. Chris Weitz ('About a Boy,' 'New Moon') directs. At its core it's about an immigrant father trying to save his young son from the dangers of growing up in a gang dominated neighborhood in East LA. Again, heartbreaking and profoundly beautiful story."
'Abduction' - "Huge action spy thriller starring Taylor Lautner, who is forced to go on the run when he realizes he is the child pictured on a missing person's website, causing his whole world to be turned upside down. Taylor is already a huge star from 'Twilight,' but he absolutely carries this film. It could very well do for him what 'Bourne' did for Matt Damon. I also love this film because it reunited me with John Singleton, who does a brilliant job directing. My character is 'Flannel' (codename), one of Lautner's relentless pursuers. Think Robert Patrick's T-1000."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love penguins ... do you, perhaps? "I have a seven-year-old daughter who collects stuffed animals. Know how many penguins currently reside in my house? More than I can count. Penguins are the wind beneath my flightless wings!"
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
So, if you would like to win a SIGNED 'PRIME SUSPECT' movie poster from Tim, just answer this easy question: Which actor on CRIMINAL MINDS also had a role on Fringe?
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful signed items! Just send us an e:mail here before August 1st with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: PRIME SUSPECT SIGNED POSTERs to: email@example.com
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