- Interview by Thief12 (Carlo Giovannetti)
Reed Diamond is an American actor who played the role of Jason Pillar, Charles Logan's Chief of Staff during Season 8 of 24. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Manhattan, Diamond was drawn into acting from an early age. This led him to study acting in Juilliard School, after which he has started a prolific career in television.
Through the years, Diamond has become a steady presence on television, with recurring and lead roles in shows like Homicide: Life on the Street, Journeyman, Dollhouse, Franklin & Bash, Wayward Pines, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and more recently Designated Survivor. Wiki 24 interviewed Diamond to know about his life and career, his experience working on 24, as well as his future projects.
Wiki 24: I read that your father was a stage manager and director. Did that influence your deicision to eventually become an actor, or did you ever see yourself doing something else?
Reed Diamond: I wanted to be so many things that being an actor seemed like the best way to be them all! I came across an "autobiography" that I wrote in the 3rd grade. I didn’t have much of a life to report on, so to fill the pages I added a final chapter: "The Future". In it I announced that one day I would own a van (they were very popular in the 70's) AND that I would become an actor. Included was an illustration of me in doublet and hose. By 8, I had clearly made some career decisions. My father's connection to the business (he directed the news, and talk shows in New York) provided an atmosphere where my career choice did not seem insane. We were surrounded by people who made their living in the arts.
W24: On a related note, IMDb says that you wanted to be a real police officer and attended the LA Police Academy. Is that true? And if so, what happened?
RD: True and... in the midst of some early adulthood existential questioning, I seriously considered joining the LAPD. I was going to trade putting on makeup and pretending for something more "manly". I had friends who were cops. I went on "ride-alongs", and spent a DAY at the police academy. The turning point: All the cops I met wanted to be actors. And acting was where my true passion and strength lay. I vowed to play a cop with all the truth and humor of the real guys/gals. A year later, I was on [the TV show] Homicide.
W24: You also played Terry Crowley on The Shield, and even though you appear in roughly one episode (not counting two flashbacks), your presence permeates everything that happens in the show; your fate fuels the plot through all 7 seasons. How do you feel about that?
RD: Honored... and jealous that I wasn't one of the guys. When I took that part, I was relieved that it was only the pilot. I was young and stupid, and thought I wanted a TV break. When I worked with all those incredibly talented people and witnessed the final product, I was bummed that I wasn't part of the gang. But proud to be part of the lore.
W24: I read a 2014 interview you did for Marvel's website where you said "I went to Juilliard, and for about 20 years I didn't use anything I learned there". I think that a lot of people in other jobs might say the same about their studies, but I have to ask you, was that a conscious decision from your part? To steer away from what you learned and find your own way in acting instead? or is it just the way things are in Hollywood in terms of what you are taught and what really happens in studios?
RD: That is the first half of the quote... then the Whedon family forced me to use it over and over! I had trained for the classical theater, and lamented to my wife that I didn't know why I went to Juilliard because I was never going to do Shakespeare again. Two weeks later, Joss [Whedon] e-mailed to see if I wanted to be in Much Ado [About Nothing]. then when Jed [Whedon] and Maurissa [Tancharoen] asked me to be on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I had to use every tool in my Juilliard toolbox to build that character. Voice, movement, etc. Your technique/study/training is there for when you are stuck. When instinct isn't enough. I'm grateful for my years at Juilliard.
W24: Were you a fan of 24 before working on it? If yes, any particular favorite character or moment from past seasons?
W24: How did the script describe the character of Jason Pillar? How did you adapt it to your acting style, or did you incorporate any trait that wasn't necessarily on the script?
RD: I barely recall, as the character morphed so much over the episodes. But he was probably referred to as [Charles] Logan's Chief of Staff. It was clear from the first scene in the limo that they were up to much more.
W24: Any scene that you thought was particularly demanding, whether it was physically or dramatically?
RD: I was a little nervous about having my ear bitten off. Was slightly concerned that Kiefer might get lost in the moment and take some real flesh off (I had a bad experience on a vampire film in Hungary, where a local actor bit through my neck prosthetic and left me with a nasty wound. They say the human mouth is filthier than a dog's) But Kiefer was, as always, the consummate professional and it went swimmingly.
W24: Were you impressed with the New York setting being achieved in Los Angeles? Did you prefer filming in studio or in location?
RD: The most impressive part are the visual effects (skyline) they are able to put in afterwards. Location is always a blast, but running the CTU with all those screens was a thrill.
W24: How would you describe the overall experience of filming 24? Still in touch with anyone?
RD: Well, I'm working with Kiefer right now on Designated Survivor, so we are still in touch!
W24: Any funny anecdote or memorable moment during your time in the show?
RD: I had the honor of being in the last scene shot on the final day of shooting. This crew and cast had been together for 8 years, so that was momentous.
W24: How was it working alongisde actors like Kiefer and Gregory Itzin?
RD: 2 great F*%king actors!
W24: I know you were just part of the cast, but since Charles Logan is such a popular character in the show, do you think he's still alive after what happened at the end of the season?
RD: He's hoping for a spot in the Trump administration.
W24: Looking at your career on TV, it seems you're a very steady worker, in that you happen to get a lot of regular/recurring roles (Wayward Pines, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Franklin & Bash, The Mentalist, Bones, Dollhouse, etc.) What draws you to a project, and what do you think draws casting directors/producers to you?
RD: I know my lines and I don't bump into the furniture. I've been crazy lucky to do this for a living since I graduated high school.
W24: On a similar topic, out of all the characters you've played, which one stands out for you?
RD: When you do this for a living, sometimes what you most remember are the times in your life when the role occurred. Certainly Memphis Belle will always stand out because it was my first movie. Also the people you meet: Kevin Falls, who created Journeyman (and then we went on to do Franklin & Bash and Minority Report), or Joss Whedon when he asked me to come on Dollhouse. But, for me, the role that will always stand out is Mike Kellerman on Homicide. I had the privilege to live his life for 100 hours of TV, with some of the most talented people on the planet.
W24: What is the next step in your career? What projects do you have in the near future?
RD: Designated Survivor, Baby!
W24: Finally, any particular director, actor or actress that you dream of working with?
RD: The list is very song, so I'll just say: Meryl.
W24: Thank you so much for the time. We wish you the best in your career.
RD: Thanks SO MUCH, and ROCK ON!
- ↑ Reed Diamond - Biography. IMDb.
- ↑ Strom, Marc (December 8, 2014). Reed Diamond Brings On the Bad Guys in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Marvel.com.