Archive for August, 2008
When “CSI: Crime Scene Investgation” star William L. Petersen returns to the stage of the Victory Gardens Theatre this season, he will be starring in British playwright David Harrower’s “Blackbird,” a hit in London’s West End during the 2006 season and the following year at New York’s Manhattan Theater Club.
Harrower’s drama (not to be confused with Adam Rapp’s play of the same name, performed here several season back by Profiles Theatre) is the story of the “reunion” between Ray, now 55, who 15 years earlier had a sexual relationship with Una, then a 12-year-old neighbor girl. Now, after he has served time in prison and she has endured years of ridicule, she has tracked him down. What transpires is bound to raise many questions.
The production is set to run July 3-Aug. 9, 2009.
Ever since the news regarding William Petersen’s eventual exit on CSI
emerged, producers of the series have been on the lookout for an additional cast member to the team in an effort to fill the void. Some huge Hollywood names have been reportedly considered such as John Malkovich and Kurt Russell but it seems that Laurence Fishburne has now emerged as the forensic drama’s leading suspect.
Best known for his roles as Jason “Furious” Styles in Boyz n the Hood and as Morpheus, the hacker-mentor of Neo, in the The Matrix science fiction film trilogy, Fishburne is an award-winning actor who has branched out behind the cameras as a playwright, director, and producer. His other credits include Two Trains Running, What’s Love Got to Do with It and Miss Evers’ Boys.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Matrix actor is currently in negotiations to join CSI. The 47-year-old actor will be playing a doctor/scientist who comes into the CSI as an outsider.
“He has an interesting genetic profile that in certain sorts of medical contexts they’ve noticed that many times serial killers have that same genetic profile,” CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler revealed at the TCA press tour.
While Fishburne might be the new face of CSI, but Tassler emphasized that his new character in no way a replacement of William Petersen’s character, as many fans will agree.
“Whoever comes in and joins the team after Grissom is going to be a different guy. But the nature of the show and what fans get out of it, that’s not going to change,” CSI executive producer Naren Shankar added.
As for Petersen, who has played Gil Grissom since the beginning of CSI in 2000, he will carry on as an executive producer to the show, while resurfacing the canvas with the occasional “special” appearance. Petersen’s exit marks the third departure of an original cast member on the show, following Jorja Fox and Gary Dourdan.
Let’s Download CSI Episodes
As has been widely reported, William Petersen will exit CSI: Crime Scene Investigation mid-way through the hit forensic drama’s upcoming ninth season.
Addressing reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour on Friday (July 18) morning, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler says that the show’s producers have a plan for the exit of their leading man.
“Strategically, we’ve been talking about this for quite some time,” she says. “It started last year. And they have an unbelievable season planned. We’re starting certainly with the resolution of the cliffhanger. Jorja Fox is coming back. We’ve got an unbelievable — I call it the DVR-proof season of CSI.”
Petersen, also an executive producer on the show, is expected to leave after the season’s 10th episode, but don’t expect a tragic end for the popular character. Tassler says that it is “certainly not the last time we’ll see him.” In the meantime, though, CSI will introduce a new male lead, a character who sounds like he’ll bring a fresh dimension to the long-running procedural.
“I don’t think you replace Billy, but you sort of look at adding elements to the show that are really going to invigorate and contribute to the — sort of the alchemy of the show where it is today,” Tassler explains. “They’ve created a great character. He’s a doctor, a scientist who’s got a very interesting DNA that is going to inform the duality of the character. So I think there — like I said, it’s not necessarily replacing Billy, but it’s adding an element that is going to sort of inform the dynamic of the team today.”
Interesting DNA? Like he’s half-frog? No.
“He is an outsider coming into the CSI unit,” Tassler elaborates. “He comes in not immediately as the boss, but he has an interesting genetic profile that in certain sort of medical contexts, they’ve noticed that many times serial killers have that same genetic profile. And this gentleman knows this about himself and is sort of in this journey and — and to discover who his true character will ultimately become.”
Tassler promises that the currently uncast role will be inhabited by an actor of stature. One performer mentioned in previous buzz was John Malkovich, who reportedly turned the network down.
“We never met with him, but we had talked about him,” Tassler says. “Certainly you like at someone like John Malkovich, who is an extraordinary actor and who has got a very interesting sort of internal life to every character he does. And we’re looking for someone who has depth and scope and gravitas.”
Another name that has come up is Laurence Fishburne and, again, Tassler doesn’t issue a denial.
“Did you see his show in New York?” Tassler asks rhetorically of Fishburne’s recent acclaimed performance as Thurgood Marshall. “He was amazing, so certainly a name that had been talked about as well.”
Either way, the exec promises fans will be satisfied.
“[W]ith CSI, it’s such a great time for that show in that you’ve also added Lauren Lee Smith, who is a terrific young actress, who comes in as a new CSI. And this new character is also going to give to the other supporting characters and Marg an opportunity to sort of show parts of their character, show parts of their personality, that the audiences perhaps haven’t seen ever before or at least in a while. So I think it will be a great transition. I promise you.”