Comic-Con 2012: 6 All-Stars Talk Knife-Wielding Fans, Mortifying Auditions and How Their Shows Should End
David Boreanaz ("Bones"), Stephen Amell ("Arrow"), Joshua Jackson ("Fringe"), Ginnifer Goodwin ("Once Upon a Time"), Jennifer Carpenter ("Dexter") and Lucy Liu ("Elementary") share the secret ups and downs of working in genre TV, from children named after them to fears of being attacked.
THR: Is that the same for all of you? Can you watch things that you auditioned for and didn't get?
Jackson: I don't know about anybody else's batting average, but if you get two out of every 10 jobs, you're doing well. So if you couldn't watch things that you didn't get, you …
Boreanaz: Would have nothing to watch. [Laughs.]
Amell: I'll fire through Spartacus on DVD one day … I usually book a job after a terrible audition.
Goodwin: Well, you stop trying so hard.
Jackson: I'm sure we've all had this experience where you walk out of a room and you're like, "Well, that sucked, I'm never going to hear from those people again." And then 10 minutes later it's like, "Congratulations, you got the part!" When I had to audition for Dawson's Creek, one of the guys in the audition fell asleep at the studio level. Literally, I'm in the middle of reading and this guy's like [snoring noise].
Carpenter: At every studio test, I pack a cooler with food so when the competition sits down, I say, "Do you want anything?" I feel like I'm collecting good karma, and my blood sugar is not going to drop.
Boreanaz: So you're coming to the door with a cooler?
Carpenter: Yeah, because they're going to keep you waiting forever. It just keeps it interesting. That's my trick.
Goodwin: I've been told -- and this breaks my heart -- that I am not a pleasant person to audition with.
Carpenter: I've auditioned with you.
Goodwin: And this is probably why -- I put on headphones. Because I'm: A) terrified; B) I don't want to affect anyone else; and C) I don't want anyone else affecting me. And so I seriously become a hermit inside myself. I don't know who I'm sitting in rooms with. I hear girls throwing each other and I just never want to be a part of that. What I'm trying to do is be courteous and keep myself focused, but apparently it's really unpleasant because I seem so cold.
Carpenter: I never would have said that, having auditioned with you.
Boreanaz: I had a horrific commercial audition when I first came out to Hollywood. It was for Doublemint gum. You have to watch this video for like 10 minutes, and they show you how to put the piece of gum in your mouth and then you have to pair up with people. Well, at the time I went in for the audition, I just got over this horrible breakup with this girl. I was in love, I got totally destroyed, and I go in and, lo and behold, who walks in the door for the Doublemint audition?
Goodwin: No ...
Boreanaz: My ex, and she's like, "Hey!" I'm dying inside, you know, and she's like, "We've got to pair up. Would you like to pair up with me?" And they have to be two people who put the gum in their mouth and kiss afterward. I'm like, "Yeah, sure, OK." So now we go into the room and not only can I not get the piece of gum out of the wrapper -- I'm shaking -- but then I had to kiss her and I hit her cheek with the gum. It was a complete disaster, and she was like, "Oh my God, really? I always book these spots." And I'm just standing there with a broken piece of Doublemint gum.
Goodwin: Sounds like a bitch, no offense.
THR: And did you book the commercial?
Boreanaz: No. I couldn't put the gum in my mouth! [Laughs.]
THR: Ginnifer, we're told they call you "the admiral" on the Once Upon a Time set. Why?
Goodwin: That's funny. It's the "admiral of the fun army" because I really like planning field trips. I'm big on organizing large groups of people to go to events. I don't mean events like Hollywood events, I mean like Disneyland. I like a museum exhibit, or to play at the science center.
THR: What other fun things do you guys do on set to liven it up?
Amell: When we were shooting the pilot [in Vancouver], we did a pub crawl.
Boreanaz: Josh, do you do pub crawls?
Jackson: No. I'm mostly in church on the weekends. [Laughs.] Yeah, I've done a little bit of drinking on the weekends. But it is important to get the cast and crew together. You spend so many hours working together that I think a lot of times the inclination for everybody -- actually, I've never shot in L.A., so I don't know how it is here -- but the inclination for everybody is to just sort of, poof!
Boreanaz: Disband. Yeah. I'm not big in the whole planning, let's all woo-ha together on the weekends. I enjoy the time because it's like your second family, but also, I have a family, I have two children.
Jackson: We do a softball team in the summer and a hockey team.
THR: So many shows shoot in Vancouver now. Do the casts of the different series hang out?
Jackson: We see each other a lot in the beginning of the season and then not at all through the middle of the season because everybody wears down, and then a little bit again at the end.
Goodwin: And everyone starts socializing again during pilot season when everyone starts showing up at the Sutton hotel.
Jackson: Oh God, the Sutton Place. It was nuts.
Goodwin: It becomes like a college campus for actors.
Jackson: The bar is just ...
Amell: There was one night where four or five different shows -- all pilots -- were all at the same bar in Gastown. It was insane. We were all playing pool against each other.
Boreanaz: I just wish they shot more in America. I really do. Especially in Los Angeles. It's so ripe, and it's a shame that they don't have tax incentives ... to produce the shows. It's a shame. It really is.
Amell: You're exactly right.
Boreanaz: I mean, I think it's great for the people where they're shooting these shows. I just think we need more jobs in America.
Jackson: What upset me about Fringe moving [from New York to Vancouver after season one] was that our show -- like so many shows in their first year -- was kind of a disaster, frankly. We were working crazy long hours, and in my opinion nobody behind the camera ever gets enough credit on a TV show. And we just broke that crew, and then we got picked up [for a second season] and they all got pink slips. I just think that's not an honorable thing.
Liu: One of the reasons I chose to do [Elementary] is because it's shooting in New York.
Jackson: I'm a little jealous. I'm not going to lie.
Boreanaz: Hey, you know what? You're a free agent!
Jackson: Exactly. I'm twittering it up right now. [Laughter.]
Amell: You're going to do Lucy's show and then I'm going to do Dexter and it's going to be awesome.
Carpenter: And I'm going to do Girls.
THR: Josh, your co-showrunner, Jeff Pinkner, has left Fringe for the final season. This is a little change for you, yes?
Jackson: We didn't have a little change in the showrunner, we had a massive one. It changes a lot. Jeff Pinkner is part of the creative DNA of the show, but because our show is ending I think it's less dire than it would be if the show was sort of ongoing. I think they, Jeff and Joel, have probably spoken quite a bit about where they thought the show was going to end up, so the blueprint was already there, and because it's those 13 episodes, there's a clear ending to the story this year. I'm sure Joel would like to have Jeff there to share the workload because suddenly he's cranking out 13 by himself, but I think we're going to be OK.
THR: How did you find out?
Jackson: Jeff told me. It wasn't acrimonious with any of the actors on the show. He's a man, he has a family, he has a mortgage, and to take a pay cut was not something that he wanted to do.
THR: The issue of actors being overworked came up recently with Lindsay Lohan being late to the set of the Lifetime movie Liz & Dick. Do you guys feel like the hours you work are fair?
Goodwin: I'm a big union girl. We are truly protected by our very good union. And without passing judgment on -- or without expressing my judgment I'm passing in my head on other people's sets [laughter] -- I think we all have a responsibility to get enough sleep and take care of ourselves and show up on time.
Jackson: I'm going to take the counterpoint. You can't show up late. But ... if you're burning your crew at 14, 16 hour days for seven, eight, nine months of the year, I do think it's diminishing returns. People are burnt out, and I certainly felt it in Dawson's Creek. I feel it in Fringe.
Liu: Now the media is so pervasive and invasive, there is no room for mistakes.
Jackson: Does anybody really give a shit if Lindsay Lohan fell asleep or didn't show up for work? Does that matter? It doesn't really matter, right?