SOUTHLAND star Tom Everett Scott talks Russell Clark

In our final SOUTHLAND interview to celebrate the new season, I had the great chance to speak with Tom Everett Scott, who plays Detective Russell Clark.  When we left Russell at the end of last season, he was shot by a neighbor, and left for dead.  As you saw in last night’s premiere, he’s alive and well, but not dealing so well with his recovery.  We chatted about his story this season, and what happens if TNT picks SOUTHLAND up for more episodes!

We are here to talk about SOUTHLAND and I have to say I am a huge fan.  I have been a fan since minute one and then of course the cliff hanger involving you at the end of last season.  I was so dying to see what happened. But I luckily have seen the first two episodes back so to speak and I am still as much in love with the show as I have been.
Well that’s good.  I’m glad to hear that.

Russell is kind of having a bad go of it in these first couple of episodes back.  Can you talk a little bit about his struggles what is happening with him?
Yeah I certainly can! I mean yeah, it can only get better.  We hope.  You know it’s been interesting.  This is an interesting story line for someone involved in this kind of line of work and most of the guys I have been talking to, real police officers and detectives, said you spend so much time on this job and it’s so intense, it is just tough to connect with the spouse, the family and the people who aren’t involved with it, don’t see it, and in a lot of these guys have gone through a number of marriages, you know what I’m saying?  It’s tough to make it work and I think that is what is going on with Russell.  I think he is having a hard time connecting with his wife and they really don’t understand each others’ needs and then he gets shot. You would think it almost looked like it would bring them together but I think ultimately it’s going to make it harder.  I think that he was trying to be a writer to try to fill some kind of void.  Something was missing, but when he gets hurt I think he realizes that it was the job and he doesn’t know if he can go back to it and it becomes a real struggle and that is kind of the story line for Russell Clark and the new episodes is struggling with not being physically able to continue to do that job, that one thing that he can connect to.

It also gives a good, new story line for Regina’s character, too, for Lydia not really accepting the fact that Russell might not come back.
Yeah right and it may be the longest relationship she has had with somebody you know even though it wasn’t like a love interest, it was somebody she was close with, being partners spending so much time together.

SOUTHLAND made news stories earlier this year when cancelled before they could even see season two and now moving over to TNT.  What are you saying to people as to why they should find this show now?  Like why is this a show they should be looking for?
It really is a groundbreaking, when more shows try to emulate it because I think the style of the show, the way that it is shot is beautiful and frenetic and gripping and the dialogue and the writing is excellent.  It is not a procedural show that just kind of follows a case each week.  It really does dive into who these people are and how tough this job is.  I think people will just understand that it is a unique show.

I have been talking to the cast throughout the day.  I talked to Ben and I talked to Michael and they both said the same thing.  It is not a show that really is worried about solving the crime.  It is a show about how the crime that you are investigating effects the cast members or the characters.
Right.  Exactly.

What kind of process did you go through to play this detective?  Where there conversations with actual LAPD and detectives and things like that?
Yeah, right off the bat we got to hang out with the LAPD and do as much research as was possible.  I did a lot of ride alongs in patrol cars with actual LAPD in different parts of the city.  It was a very eye opening experience.  Prior to that my interaction with cops, well they weren’t pleasant, usually, unless I was asking them for directions and they were like, yeah it’s right down there, but normally it was license, registration, and you’re late and you’re pissed and you’re handed a ticket, but this was sitting in a car with a guy for 8 hours and really getting to know him.  Laughing, crying, really get to know these guys and it was just a real tough job.  It was real great experience from that stand point and we did a lot of like getting to know the way that a cop thinks and acts and what is behind the actions and learning how to shoot and cuff and all that stuff and I really kind of became a big fan of non-fiction homicide books and,  yeah, it became a fascinating thing.  I started to wonder if like what if this was my line of work, would I be able to handle it?  All of the deaths and all of the …

I would never be able to do that.
I don’t think I could either. You know I’m lucky that I get to do something that I love and I’m really not that good at anything else anyway.

You do get to be around the death all day and not worry about it because it’s all fake, so…
Exactly.  It has been a real learning experience all the way through especially when we do all of the stunts and we get to drive really fast, or I should say Regina gets to drive really fast, I am usually sitting shot gun, panicking.  It’s been good times.

I have only seen the first two of the new episodes.  Is Russell involved in the rest of this shortened season or is it just a couple of episodes here and t hen maybe we would have gotten into it once the season continued?
My role changed once the new season started.  They changed to a guest starring role and the idea was like, we didn’t know we were going to be cancelled after six episodes.  The idea was to just let me figure it out in three or four episodes.  I am in three of the last six, but we will see.  I guess it’s the kind of thing where that is up in the air and if we get picked back up for another season it will be interesting to see if Russell Clark comes back.

And the promotion that TNT is doing for this show…everywhere you look you see a promotion.  Movie theaters, Facebook, Twitter, it’s everywhere and I think that really shows signs of support for a show.
Yeah, they are going a great job.  They always get out there and promote their shows well.  That was the good thing about moving to TNT.  They are just real passionate about it.  So hopefully this will prove to be a great home.  I think it is.  I think it fits in with the rest of the shows that they have on there and I am looking forward to seeing how the episodes do actually.

What else do you have coming up besides the new episodes of Southland?
I did a movie called MARS NEEDS MOMS with Seth Green and John Cusack.  It’s like one of those motion capture movies, so you might not even recognize me because it will be animated but it will be coming out, I don’t even know when, once we shoot it they go and animate it and that takes forever.  I did a couple of indies.  TANNER HALL at the Toronto Film Festival and that was written and directed by Tatiana VonFurstenberg, Diane VonFurstenberg’s daughter, in her first movie that she wrote and directed and a cast of young, you know, actors that are all going to just blow up, so that should be fun, that is a good movie actually. Then I just did an indie called After the Rise which is in post right now and that will make some festivals and get out there.

Do you have a character that you always go back to as one of your favorites playing?
Well, I think that it is probably a no brainer that THAT THING YOU DO was really a quintessential experience because it was my first movie and it was such a big deal and the relationships that started back then have continued to this day. I mean it has become an extraordinary experience but you know honestly let’s see. I had such a great time on ER, they wrote such great stuff for me there and then when I got on Southland I was really excited to have an opportunity to work with John Wells.

It’s great that you mention THAT THING YOU DO!  Everybody knows and loves you from that movie too.  I just finally got the sound track on my I-pod.  It is the only CD I think that I don’t skip when it comes on so it is always fresh in my mind too.
That was so sweet.  It is required listening in my house…just kidding