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The Hollywood Reporter: How do you feel about bin Laden being killed?
Denis Leary: I admire the Navy SEALs who pulled the thing off. But having worked with so many firefighters on the show, it was weird. I think there’s a lot of closure for certain people and not for others. When I drive by Ground Zero, which I do almost every day, none of it makes you feel better. There’s celebration in the idea that this big, evil guy got caught, but I would much rather have the guys back.
THR: The Rescue Me series finale is scheduled to air a few days before the 10th anniversary of 9/11. How hard was it to wrap the show, considering the emotions?
Leary: Part of the plot line involves the 10-year anniversary celebration, too. We shot that a year ago, but even then, for some of the real firefighters — the guys that worked on our show — it was difficult for them. We had to stage some scenes at Ground Zero. Pretty heavy days.
THR: How meaningful has it been for your show to be on cable?
Leary: I’ve said it a million times: It was all about FX president John Landgraf. He’s a fantastic executive and a real smart guy. When we were doing the rounds with that project, USA and HBO were interested, but John was the only one who said, “This is what we want you to do; this is how much we spend on marketing,” and I just was like, “Oh my God.”
THR: What do you think is the biggest challenge in making television now as an actor and writer?
Leary: Technology is changing, so the viewership is getting broken up. My kids watch everything downloaded; they have no idea what the numbers or the names of the channels mean, except “FX makes the show that I see on my computer.” So it’s harder to get a show on the air, but at the same time, there are a lot of terrific shows.
THR: What are your favorites?
Leary: I really, really like Eastbound & Down. It’s one of the few things that makes me laugh. It’s almost too funny to get an award. Louis C.K.’s show — that’s another go-to one. And I watch 30 Rock; Alec Baldwin makes me die laughing.
THR: Neither you nor Rescue Me has won an Emmy. How important to you is this year’s final push?
Leary: In the beginning, when I was getting nominated — or we were, [co-creator] Peter Tolan and I — it was an honor. I still believe that. The only thing we won was for Michael J. Fox’s guest role. I’m happy for him, but Mike’s got, I’m guessing, four or five Emmys. So when you get to the point where one of your friends already has four Emmys, and you got him one of them, there’s a greedy little part of me that’s like, “You know, I wouldn’t mind having one.”
THR: He also had a guest arc on The Good Wife this year.
Leary: If he gets nominated and wins that one, I’m going to his house and I’m stealing the Emmy from him. Like he needs another one! He also has, like, $600 billion in Spin City money. I hate him. He’s a talented guy and nice and successful. He’s the worst kind of friend because he’s actually the greatest human being alive. There is no way to look good standing next to him.
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