Jerry O'Connell Chat at TV Guide Online Area 52 on January 27, 1997
These questions and answers originally appeared at a board hosted by TV Guide Online's Area 52. I have archived them here for those who only want access to the questions Jerry actually answered (there are many more that he didn't). It reamins the property of TV Guide Online, and was archived without permission. In a few cases, people asked multiple questions in one post, but Jerry only answered one of their questions. I cut out the unasked questions/comments and only included the parts that Jerry answered to. This interview was conducted by John Walsh of TV Guide. Mr. Walsh would sometimes ask follow-up questions when Jerry was answering and I've included those as well.
Joey: Jerry, I enjoyed the Sliders comic you wrote. Are you writing any Sliders episodes?
Jerry: No, I'm not writing any Sliders episodes. But I am directing one in about a month. It's a werewolf story. So that should be good because American Werewolf in London is one of my favorites and John Landis did co-create the show. So I'll be going to him for some advice. Note: The title of this episode is "Stoker" and the subject has since been changed to vampires.-Shannen
Ana: It's the question that everyone is wondering, but no one wants to ask: Got a girl friend?
Jerry: No, I do not. It is very hard trying to hold a relationship when you're bouncing from New York to LA.
John Walsh: How often do you get back to New York?
Jerry: Probably about once every three weeks.
John Walsh: That's bearable then.
Jerry: Yeah. I get my fix, I get my edge back, and then I come out to la-la land.
Annie: I was just curious, what kind of music do you like? I heard somewhere on the Net that you are working on a new project with Sam Elliot, a western of some sort? Sounds cool; please refute or elaborate.
Jerry: I'm really hot on Stevie Wonder right now.
John Walsh: No kidding?
John Walsh: Old stuff, new stuff?
Jerry: Old stuff. And I got to see him -- I flew back with him from LA It was very exciting. I went up and introduced myself. I've never been so star-struck in my life.
John Walsh: Was it what you had hoped it would be?
Jerry: Oh, yeah. He's a really nice guy.
Jerry:Sam and I worked together twice on two Hallmark Hall of Fame films and hopefully we'll work together again. I'd love to do a Western with him because it's where we're in our element.
John Walsh: Can you ride?
Jerry: Yeah, I can.
Raydelle: How is your adaptation of THE OUTFIT coming? What other screenplays have you written? Anything we'll get to see?
Jerry: Oh, the Outfit is a book that Sam Elliott owns. It's a Western, a modern- day Western, and I just finished my first draft of it, and I sent it off to Sam, and he was pretty happy. So hopefully, we'll do something with that.
John Walsh: You're adapting it for the screen?
Jerry: Yeah. It's called The Outfit by JPS Brown. Sort of a modern-day Western. It's really fun. I just want to do whatever I can to get on horseback with Elliott.
Jennifer: Anyway, I was wondering...is it true that you are going to play the role of Eddie Carr in The Lost World? First I heard that you were, then no one was sure, then I heard that you were again...I'm confused! :) Anyway, if you could shed some light on this situation, I'd really appreciate it. (BTW,for the record, I really hope you are in The Lost World.)
Jerry: No, that is not true. Although we do shoot on the same lot, and I've snuck over to the set a lot of times to get a look at the dinosaurs, and they look pretty cool.
John Walsh: It's going to be pretty hot stuff?
Jerry: Oh, yeah.
Kalie: Just wondering Jerry, if you see this, where do you get fan mail?
Jerry: Sliders has a Web page, and I am constantly visiting it. And answering questions. So you can get in touch with me through there.
Ellie: I enjoy Sliders and your movies. I hope you continue to act as long as you want to. I have a question that I thought a friend of mine would ask, but she didn't so I will. Do you have any plans to do a romantic/comedy movie?
Jerry: I would really like to. It's always fun. Especially to do something -- you know, because I'm at that age where I'm running around looking for the love of my life, and it would be fun to play that on screen.
Jayelle: Will your brother be on Sliders again?
Jerry: No, but my brother is out in LA with me and doing some acting. I love working with him because we just constantly make fun of each other.
Matthew: What plans do you have for the future? Now that you have conquered television and movies any plans to take on the stage?
Jerry: Growing up in New York, I've done a lot of theater. I did a play with Herbert Bergoff and a couple of off-off-Broadway productions.
John Walsh: What'd you do with Herbert?
Jerry: I did a play called The White Pony. It's by Don DiMateo. Patrick Dempsey was in it. It was really a nice project. God rest [Berghof's] soul. I was really lucky to have the opportunity to work with him.
John Walsh:Was that role a result of your studies at Berghof's HB Studios?
Jerry: Yeah. Because I studied with Herbert. And it's a whole other ballgame working with him. And, you know, I'm very involved in theater when I'm in New York. My brother was a member of the Atlantic Theater Company -- David Mamet's Theater Company -- I'm very involved over there. It's sort of hard not to be involved in theater when you're in New York because it's such a capital in the United States for theater.
John Walsh: Do you want to return here and settle down into that for awhile?
Jerry: Oh, definitely. I mean it's the actor medium, theater. So you really have to stay in touch with theater and your roots if you want to keep your chops sharp.
Marc: I realize you are limited in what you present by censors but does the possibility exist for more thought provoking slides that don't use special effects or current topical subjects- i.e. for example going to a world where the South won the Civil War and slavery still existed or a world where religion doesn't exist but evolution is the accepted form of creation? Also what show ideas have been quashed by the censors?
Jerry: The nice thing about working in science fiction is that you are able to make comments on society and reflect society without actually making direct judgments. You can use the whole science fiction realm. Like good Ray Bradbury or...
John Walsh: Harlan Ellison's good with that.
Jerry:Yeah. But more importantly, like The Twilight Zone. Rod Serling was always making comments about the whole red scare.
John Walsh: Right.
Jerry: And a lot of his science fiction and a lot of the episodes of The Twilight Zone. So it's interesting to do in that sense because you are constantly making statements and judgments of society. So it's a little more politically aware than doing a comedy, a sitcom, or even a drama. So I really enjoy working in scifi.
John Walsh: Have you been aware of any ideas that just got killed for one reason or another?
Jerry: Yes. A lot of the ideas because we are on at 8 p.m., so you really can't do very dark ideas.
John Walsh: Right.
Jerry: It can't get too crazy.
John Walsh: Your comic story, Narcotica, was really dark.
Jerry: Yeah. And that was one that got nixed by the show. But the comic is a great outlet for the show. It can get away with a lot more. Well, writing a comic was a blast. I had such a good time with that because I went to film school. I went to NYU Film. John Walsh: Right. So, yes, it's the same kind of media. Same kind of storytelling.
Jerry: Yes, the comic medium is basically visual and verbal storytelling. John Walsh: So on the off chance you have any more time, you want to do that again? Jerry: Oh, yes, I'd love to. In a second.
Shannen:What was it like to work with Cameron Crowe? He's always been one of my
favorite directors (Say Anything is a great movie), and I've always wondered what he's
really like, because he seems so laid back, and that comes across in his films.
2)How on earth did you decide to start fencing? It seems like an interesting and unusual sport to become involved in--of course, that could be because I'm from Ohio, where most kids choose to play football, basketball or baseball [we aren't noted for our originality here in Ohio! :-) ]
Jerry: He's always one of my favorite directors. Crowe was the best. He really allowed the actors to take off and do their -- and take off with their characters and be as free as possible on set. It was really a laid-back, uncontrolling atmosphere, and I think it shows in the movie. It's a fun film. I mean, Cuba Gooding really exploded during rehearsals and everything. It was like no other set I've worked on. It was such a family and everybody was there for each other. We rehearsed for a good three weeks, four weeks, before we started shooting. So it was really nice. And James Brooks was a big part of it as well.
John Walsh: Sure. So they really let actors bring stuff to it?
Jerry: Yes. And I see it really worked out.
John Walsh: The second part of the question is, how on earth did you decide to start fencing?
Jerry: Well, I was living in New York, born and raised in New York, and when you are there, you don't have many football fields or soccer fields. Space is hard to come by. And fencing was one of those after-school activities that I just picked up. I was doing it on a personal individual level. I wasn't doing it for high school or anything, and I realized I could do this in college. It actually got me into NYU.
John Walsh: Is that true?
Jerry: Yeah. I fenced for them. I was the sabre team captain for '93, '94.
John Walsh: And that was a draw when you applied?
Jerry: Yeah. Big time. We have a great team. We're in the top five every year.
Raydelle:What kind of car do you have?
Jerry: I have a 1977 International Scout that I actually bought from John Rhys-Davies. It's a big truck. You know, growing up in New York, cars are not only not necessary, they're almost frowned upon in most places. I was a subway and cab kid my whole life. So when I did get a car, I wanted to get a big truck. And I got one, and I pretty much own the road. It's a good feeling, knowing that if there is a lot of traffic you can go right over it all.
MickeyJ: Do you ever get tired of all of these drooling, obsessed fans? (Not that we ever get tired of you...;) Is it hard to be a star? I think that it would be weird to be the object of so much attention all the time. (Not that you don't deserve it!)
Jerry: I have yet to encounter a drooling fan. And if I did I'd probably give them a napkin. Is it hard to be a star? I don't really consider myself a star. I like to think of acting as a job, and it's what I do l. don't worry about any of that. I don't really worry about fame. I'm more concerned about getting a good project, challenging myself as an actor. But it's funny, when I was working with Cruise, you see a lot of crazed obsessed fans. And I remember one day I was walking past them and they were all yelling: Tom, Tom, Tom! And nobody said my name, and then I walked past afterwards. People were going, Jerry, Jerry! So I ran over to them, thinking I'd finally arrived. And they started screaming: Get us Tom's autograph! So, you know, fame is not one of my goals.
MickeyJ: What's your favorite Sliders episode?
Jerry: I would have to say the episode where we go to a world where men have been -- 90% of the men on the earth are extinct because of a chemical that was put in the air, and that was in the atmosphere, and then killed off the men. And the remaining 10% were used for breeding purposes only. It's a good ratio. It was definitely my fave. Everybody has a prom date there.
Raydelle: The obvious............what are Jerry's plans when Sliders wraps for the season? Does he have any movies lined up to do during the summer or will he take a much deserved vacation (where?)? Maybe just go home to NYC and relax!? Just wondering.....how many more episodes left to tape for this season?. Could you ask Jerry what a typical day is like? What time do they start, how long do they work? How many days spent on read-through and how many actually filming? You know what I mean! This kind of stuff fascinates me but I'm not where I can see how it works. How long does Jerry spend on learning a script? Etc., etc., etc.
Jerry: I'm definitely going back to New York. I'm hoping to get a project that shoots in New York.
John Walsh: A feature?
Jerry: Yes, a feature that shoots in New York. But being a superstitious actor, I try not to talk about those things until they actually happen.
[about a typical day on the set]
Jerry:We have five more to go. And I'm very excited because I get to direct the next to the last one. So that'll be a blast. We'll have a good time on that. What is a typical day like? A typical day is pretty much starting at 6 am. We work for about 14 hours. And it could be very tiring, but we have such a good time on the show. Today I'm running from zombies. Next week we're on a cruise. They're putting us on a cruise ship for seven days.
John Walsh: Oh, tough, tough job, man.
Jerry: Doing Cruise World. So I mean I really have the best job in the world. You will never hear one complaint about my -- the hours I have to work, or the amount of time I have to do things.
Thanks to Jerry O'Connell Rocks site for this transcript
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