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Network 24/The Chief of Staff

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"The Chief of Staff" is the twenty-first blog post on Network 24. It was posted by Shauna McGarry, on April 5, 2010, at 8:24pm CST

The blog consisted of an interview with Chris Diamantopoulos.

BlogEdit

Meet Chris Diamantopoulos, who plays “Rob Weiss” in Season 8.

Weiss puts himself into a moral grey area when he conspires with General Brucker to turn Omar Hassan over to the terrorists in order to save New York City from a radiological attack. This was a complex role to play and Chris brought a deft skill to the table with his performance.

[video transcript]

  • Chris Diamantopoulos: It's always better to burn out than to fade away, right? I think that what's great about Weiss is that he had kind of a slow burn; he comes in, makes a little bit of an impression, he's there at pivotal moments to see and perhaps steer things, then it kind of just feels like he's an angel on the shoulder under we realise, like in the very beginning, he takes what he does very seriously and ultimately what he does is help to protect the American people. This turn is a massive moral dilemma but perhaps not as much as you would think because it's pretty simple for him. He knows he's doing wrong but he's gotta do it. He doesn't think that what he's doing is the right thing; he knows its the wrong thing but it has to be done. It's a self-sacrificial move. That's fun to play that. He's also going in direct opposition to his Commander in Chief and, again, taking his position very seriously, that kills him. And he's put his mentor [Ethan Kanin] in grave danger doing so. Look, he took the wrong turn but he committed to it, and there was no way around it. I guess he looked at it; Commander in Chief or mentor - it's still two lives in the face of, potentially, tens of thousands.

His favorite scene:

[video transcript]

ChrisDiamantopoulos

Chris Diamantopoulos in the interview

  • Chris Diamantopoulos: In one of the later episodes when Rob takes his turn there's a sequence where Weiss and General Brucker stop Kanin from leaving his temporary office and basically make the decision to overrule the President's decision. It's a physically demanding scene, and an emotionally compelling scene, and this is another reason why I love this show; Milan Cheylov was directing this particular episode and he and Brad [Turner] are very similar in that if a two or two and a half page scene can be done in a single shot, they'll do it, and you very rarely get a chance to do that. Usually you just shoot little bits and so that kind mess with your rhythm. But this was physically challenging, emotionally challenging, and it was a long scene, and we played through the whole thing. It was very theatrical in that sense - staging wise - again watching the two different camera crew working choreography around each other so they can maintain the pace as well and when it comes together that synergy is just awesome. That was a really, really special scene. I haven't seen how that's come out but I think it's going to be great.

Chris is a veteran character and theater actor from New York who was tasked to play the challenging role of a hard-charging political adviser to President Allison Taylor. In many ways, he presents the counter-balance to Ethan Kanin, whose more staid and seasoned approach to politics is formed from years of experience -- a contrast to Weiss’ youth and zeal.

On getting the part:

[video transcript]

  • Chris Diamantopoulos: When I first got the script pages for the audition what I liked is that you don't often see in television - just from a strictly technical perspective - large passages of dialogue. And the first little tidbit we get of Weiss is him at a podium addressing journalists and saying how things are going to go when the President steps up to the podium. I just liked that this guy was sort of commanding a room and that he took his position very, very seriously. I liked the way this guy was written; like a real sort of spitfire and a real no-nonsense bull. I think it's safe to say he was fashioned after a Rahm Emanuel type, and he was written really well.

Talking with Chris on location, I found out some fun secrets:
- He went out and bought the suit he wears this season. And had it tailored.
- He’s married to Ugly Betty’s “Amanda,” played by the awesome Becky Newton.
- Between takes, Chris tries as hard as he can to make Cherry Jones laugh by singing show tunes.

Working with Cherry:

[video transcript]

  • Chris Diamantopoulos: Television doesn't allow for very much rehearsal time. I've been a huge fan of hers for years. I hadn't done theatre for about eight years but I know her stage work, and her film and TV work really, really well. When I knew she was going to be on the show I was thrilled. I had no idea - I probably should have - that pretty much the bulk of all my stuff was going to be with her. It was amazing. I could go on and on, we'd need a separate "Chris loves Cherry" blog, but to say that she's a wonderful actor is the understatement of the century. She's the most prepared and the most giving, humble actor I've ever met, especially for her successes. It's a joy to come work with her every day, which is why the nature of 24 is sometimes frustrating because you always know there's probably an end in sight and this is a dream team.

His was one of my favorite interviews this season just because he is such a sweet person and was so genuinely excited to be part of the “24” world.

On 24’s challenges:

[video transcript]

  • Chris Diamantopoulos: Actors call that the "exposition" right? It's like, come on in and deliver the stuff that some of the audience members may have missed from the last episode and may need to be reminded. I've never really felt that. I'm good with words and I like memorising big passages, and I like some of the technical stuff because it keeps me on my toes and make sure that it's not just a matter of memorising it but I actually have to know what I'm saying. As far as what's challenging on the show, I would say that its such a fast-paced show - both the way that it's edited and the way that it's shot that what's sometimes challenging is building performance into a take. Sometimes its so fast that you get in, do it, and just as they're moving on you're like "Oh wait, I'd love a chance to do it again". I think what's challenging is maintaining pace with the show. I've never been on a show that's so well run and so well oiled; it's really, really quick.

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