'Rescue Me's' Denis Leary, Peter Tolan Spill Secrets About Series in Candid, Funny Conversation

Peter Tolan, left, and Denis Leary
Peter Tolan, left, and Denis Leary
 Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

The co-creators reveal to THR how the FX show -- whose series finale airs Wednesday night -- was almost a Toronto-filmed comedy on HBO, their hopes (and fears) for the legacy of the show and what's in store for the bickering pair.

Leary: By the way, on Rescue Me and The Job, my trailer became the writers' trailer, so it was always me, Evan, Peter and then some writers' assistants. Six guys in one regular-sized trailer. When we go into production on the half-hour, I'm getting that Ashton Kutcher trailer and it's going to be Peter and me each with our own floors. Evan is going to get a little bedroom down on the first floor and that's it.

Tolan: I knew that it was finally time to end the series because I had spent so much time in Denis' trailer with a lot of the guys, I think I was diagnosed with Stage III lung cancer.

Leary: I thought it was time to wrap it up when Peter started eating his way through the food supply -- peanuts, potato chips -- that were meant for five people in my trailer.

Tolan: True. We did normal seasons for the first four seasons and then, because of the writers' strike, we ended up doing a 22-episode fifth season. I think around that time, even though I felt we did very good work, we were hitting story points over and over. That was the indicator, late in the fifth season, that maybe we could do a few more and get out with our skin.

Leary: I'll tell you this, I don't regret our steadfastness in not turning Tommy Gavin into a television or movie creation. The instinct would be to have him easily give up drinking and recover and get his wife back. But having dealt with a lot of real firefighters, I know there are a lot of guys who, for lack of a better term, become addicted to the grief because it has kept them connected to these guys that they felt responsible for having lost.

Tolan: The other thing I wanted to mention is that Spider-Man comes out next year, and I realize that you have a three-mention minimum but perhaps you didn't want to bring it up yourself, so I'm doing it for you to save you the embarrassment.

Leary: It's Spider-Man 4 and Ice Age 4. Spider-Man is actually a reboot, so it's called The Amazing Spider-Man

Tolan: Shouldn't it just be One Big Movie No. 8?

Leary: Well, I think we're going to carry the Ice Ages up to Ice Age 15, which means basically they'll be in the present decade. We'll go through World War I and World War II and then by the last one, one of them is playing for the Yankees with [Derek] Jeter. It should be interesting.

Tolan: With Rescue Me, I really think the true legacy is that it's going to take many, many years -- and I say this without patting ourselves on the back too much -- for someone to watch something on television and say, "Wow, this is just like Rescue Me."

Leary: I think a lot of times this stuff is out of your hands. If you do good work, it tends to stick around. People still come up to me and say, "The Ref is my favorite Christmas movie." But at the same time, people come up and say, "Why the f-- did you do Operation Dumbo Drop?"

Tolan: Yeah, I think that's mostly me. The only thing I hope is that years from now, people won't watch Rescue Me and go, "Leary and Tolan, what ever happened to them?"  

Leary: "Yeah, Where are those guys? I think they're working on Ice Age 15 with Minka Kelly."

Tolan: Yeah, it's shooting in Santa Monica: Diego Runs a Club.

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