From the Set: NECESSARY ROUGHNESS star Scott Cohen talks Nico, Dani, and TK

As a part of the trip we took to Atlanta last month to tour the set of NECESSARY ROUGHNESS, we had the great opportunity to chat with Executive Producer Kevin Dowling, as well as series stars Mehcad Brooks, Scott Cohen, and Callie Thorne.

NECESSARY ROUGHNESS is back on USA tonight, June 6, at 10/9c.  We had the chance to chat with Scott Cohen (Nico) to discuss what he’s up to on the show this season, why he’s shadowing the director, and how Nico becomes a father figure for TK!

What is your Twitter?
@scottecohen.  Not Scottie.  Scott E Cohen.  I have a billion followers.

You do right now.  So Nico gets a nice surprise.  What can you tease about that avenue for Nico?
Um, what can I tease about it, uh…  I think basically I, just that it gets more complicated, I mean, it, Nico finds himself between a rock and a hard place, and he’s uh, because he, what, what, what is questioned is his loyalty and, and whether he’s uh, that he, whether he, working for R Marshall Pipmen really kind of controls his life.  Whether, whether that’s true or not.  And who he kind of, um, wants to be loyal to.  Whether he wants to be loyal to the team or to Pipmen and then you, but you discover a history with them that is a lot more complicated than you kind of thought in the beginning, so it’s not just about the wife, there’s other things that are involved and there’s competition and weird things with the daughter.  And stuff like that.

So we’ll maybe get to know more about Nico?
A little bit.  A little bit yes.  No, you, he, he remains a mystery. Is everything over between Gabriel and Nico and if so, will there be an appearance of a love interest for you?
Uh, that’s really a question for the writers.  Um, but I uh, it’s not over over, and I hear that there is love to come.

And it’s not with Dr. D?
I know, I know.  Well I didn’t want to say anything because I want, you know, I want them to continue on and fight for what’s right.  Did that answer your question?

It did.  I want some more juicy details you know.
Yeah I know I wish I could give them to you.  But I can’t.

Would you like to see Nico together with Dr. Dani?
With Dr. Dani?  Uh, yes and no.  I mean I, I think it’d be a really interesting dynamic.  I, I want it to happen if it’s ever going to happen, much later, ‘cause I want it to be teased for years to come.  Uh.

It’ll get really awkward at work?
Yeah, well it already has.  It’s like kind of weird.  I mean it’s like the tension between him and Matt, and him and [Ty Dugas?], he knows what’s going on, so it’s like he’s very uh, and he’s very protective of Dr. Dani, so he’s, he, you know, and so I think it’s um, it just kind of stays interesting.  And, and keeps us going for a while.

Is there anything that Nico doesn’t know?
There’s nothing Nico doesn’t know.

He’s knows everything.
Yeah just, the episode we just, we’re shooting now actually is, you know, you’re like, how did Nico do that?

Where can we get those films that?
Where can you, we get to be like Nico?

So you were behind the scenes today.
Yes, I’m, I’m trailing Andy Wolf, the director, to try to get experience in directing.

Is that where you see yourself going?
Yeah, loved to.  It’s very fun.

Would you want to direct an episode?
I would love to.  Yeah, love to.

Does it give you a different window into the acting side of things?
It does.  It completely gives you a different point of view and it’s uh, it’s a much more relaxed point of view.  First of all, and it’s uh, it takes away the pressure.  When you’re an actor you, you’re, you’re always under pressure just about you and your character, and you don’t see the big picture.  So, you know, you’re just kind of focused in, you’re very myopic and uh, reading the script, this script for this episode, knowing that I was going to do this, it kind of allowed me to see everybody and just be aware of everybody’s pos, uh, situation and, and have a very kind of equal balanced view of it.  As opposed to wait, I should have that line, wait I should be in that scene.  Wait, I, you know, like that.  Which is usually what an actor does.  It’s like, you know, how come I’m not in that scene.  How come I’m not doing that.

I could’ve done that better.
Yeah, I could’ve done that better.

What kind of preparation did you go for, for the role?  Did you actually talk to any Navy Seals?
Yeah, I talk, I talked to uh, two Navy Seals that um, I’m connected to actually.  Uh, via Facebook interestingly enough.  Um, and then uh, I talk, not, not so in depth, I mean, you know, I got some information from them uh, but I talked more to NFL security people who um, who exist and, and who are very present in uh, player’s lives.  Um, so I talk to them, and, and I kind of uh, got a sense of what their backgrounds might be, and who they are and where they come from and things like that.  And, uh, you know, that’s, that’s basically what I did.  And I mean for Nico I kind of like I mean from the very beginning I mean what was interesting to me, ‘cause I think I’ve always played characters, I mean not always, but I, I think I’ve always uh, have always played characters that are um, a lot more talkative, a lot more energetic, a lot more like, you know, uh, involved in, and Nico is um, I mean what attracted to me, what attracted me to him in the beginning was, was how quietly energetic he was.  I mean he was so quiet but so intense and that to me was always interesting and I mean, to be able to play that which I actually think I mean at least for me, is so difficult to actually just shut up and trust that your power is in your silence or in your eyes or whatever it may be.

Or your cell phone?
In your cell phone, exactly.  And uh, who are you?

I’m Amanda, hi.  I loved you on Gilmore Girls.
Amanda!  Um, have you seen, have you seen the uh, the ads for this new show on TBS, the Men at Work.  It’s very funny ‘cause some, one of the, one of them is being interviewed, one of the guys is being interviewed and he talks about how, how this show is like so new and exciting and nothing on TV is like it.  It’s just, it’s very funny.  It’s um, [sarcasm] there’s never been a comedy with four men in it, um.

It’ll never happen.
It’s hysterical.  Um, so anyway, so yeah, basically I mean, so, so what interested me in terms of in trying to, trying to play Nico was uh, was trusting that, and really kind of understanding like, that his, his presence was more than enough.  And um, I hope they continue that because it’s really fun to do, it’s really fun to kind of put the fear of God in people.  Like I mean, people on set, I mean it’s really funny, it’s like, you’re so scary.

No you’re not.
And I’m like, I’m like not even, I’m even doing anything.  I’m just like, I’m just kind of standing around, it’s like people get you know, it’s very funny.  It’s like what you don’t say, people kind of interpret what you’re doing and inside I’m like, you know, dah, dah, dah, dah.

So after the end premiere, how closely do you have to keep an eye on TK?
Very, very, very, very close.

Is that for the duration of the season?
Up on, yes.  Even, even now.  Is I think, yeah I know, I think it’s actually going to get more, this, this last episode that we do is very interesting because it’s about um, I think I can give you themes, that it’s uh, it’s about becoming a irrelevant and it’s about, and, and people and, and loyalty switches in that episode, and uh, and you see more of um, T, TK needing um, another body to kind of be near.  And, and Nico becomes that, that person.

What kind of input do you have into creating and shaping the character?
A lot.  Not his story arcs, um, a lot in I mean, I, I can, you know, they, I can, they can, they’ll take a phone call and I’ll pitch an idea, very easily, uh, in might not happen, they might say, oh that’s really interesting.  Um, but uh, they’re very open to ideas, they’re very open to um, uh, interpretations of what, of a scene.  Um, very, very free.  Not, not that things will be used, necessarily, but definitely like, you know, I can go home and say, oh I read this article and this looks like a really interesting thing for Nico, and you know, the background or what’s going to happen, and you know, or I thought about this and, and they would totally hear it and, and try to you know, put it into, into the, into the fray.

What kind of stories would you want to see for Nico?
Traveling to foreign countries.  Tropical islands.  Um, I would like to see uh, that’s an interesting question.  I mean I, I would love to see a little bit more of his background as, as time goes on.  I mean, I thinks early, too early now, um, and uh, and people that were in his life.  I, I really would enjoy that.  Um, kind of coming back into his life, like that would kind of interest me.  Um, and uh, you know, I’d love to see him like, I [would?] like the whole idea of him having a daughter last season was very interesting to me.  So that’s always kind of like that’s, you know, if that’s, if that’s somewhere to be had, that, that would be really interesting ‘cause I love the idea of, of a, of a man his age, does he have a family?  Does he not have a family?  Did he have a family?  Did he not have a family?  That’s, that’s interesting to me.

Are we going to see anymore of Nico’s vulnerable side?
Vulnerable, yeah you see a bunch in the, in the first four episodes um.  Him dealing with Pipmen.  It gets, it gets nasty.  It really gets nasty and uh, Evan Handler, who is superb um, is uh, plays a really uh, what you, what you believe is a evil human being.  And, and you have to, I mean, he doesn’t end up being an evil human being, but it’s um, Nico has to kind of keep it at bay.  And he’s having trouble doing it.

Life and death stakes or more emotional?
Um, I think it’s more emotional, I think it’s, it’s life and death in terms of, of the, the stakes of, of, the, the money that’s involved and the team.  And, and how many lives are at stake.  It’s more like that.

People know you one way, from the Gilmore Girls.  Do you ever foresee people from that show coming over to this show and bringing you and Laura Graham back.
Like a, you mean like a crossover with Parenthood?

Where she’s like evil too?
Um, I can’t say, yeah, I can’t say I, I have thought of that, but I mean, you know, I, if, if Lauren Graham ever wanted to come to this show, I, I would, I’d be so ecstatic, um.  If that’s what you’re asking.

I’d love to see everybody come back.
Like, it’s like a Gilmore Girl’s reunion on any show you’re saying.

Just on your show.
Oh just on my show.  Um, yeah, I don’t know how that would work exactly, but that, I mean sure.

Yeah, yeah.  I mean.

As your love interest.
I, you know, yeah.

We have to finish what you two started.
I get you, now I get you.  Um, but I’m a different character on this show.  I’m not, I’m not Max Medina.

You are to me.
That’s very cute.

Back to the world of Nico.  What’s the weapon in his arsenal that he is going to be really employing this season?
The, uh, explain.

He’s got a lot of different tools to control things.
Um, his, I mean, Nico’s main power is, is his uh, is, is his information.  Is, I mean, it is his knowledge and, and he’s capable of using it, it, in, at lightening speeds.  So I think that’s his greatest weapon, uh, if you’re talking about like guns and knives and things like that?  Is that what you’re talking about?

Tools of the trade.
Negotiation, manipulation, um, and threat.

Willingness to carry through?
Absolutely.  No question.  Which he does.

He can acquire information, but does he utilize it.
You will see in, yeah, in this season he utilizes quite a lot of the things that we just did not mention.  But you know, uh, his threats get carried out.  So.

Is there any limit that he will not cross?
No I don’t think so, I mean, I think that he’s um, he’s, he’s, I think that he, if he’s confronted with it, he has to make a decision but I think that if somebody that he needs to protect is in trouble then he’s willing to go the distance.  He’s willing to take a bullet for somebody.  That’s his, that’s his mentality.

But he’ll never lies.
Ever, never, ever.  As opposed to Scott Cohen, who is one big fat liar.

Isn’t lying the act of omission?  He controls information, he doesn’t revel it.
Yeah, I think that’s pretty accurate.

He holds and manipulates information that way.
Yep.  That’s very accurate.

So in the sense that he’s not lying.
He doesn’t lie about things about himself.  So I, I mean, if you ask him a question about him, you know, like he, he’ll be honest with you, like I mean, he doesn’t need to, there’s nothing he needs to hide.  Nothing.  So uh, but in terms of a negotiation or in terms of a manipulation, or in terms of just trying to get somebody to do what he needs them to do, he, he will manipulate information in order to get what he wants but I don’t think that’s in the, in, I don’t think that’s in the context of lying.  Lying is more about him.  He’s just, he has nothing to hide.  He has no regrets, he’s very uh, satisfied and content with who he is, which is, which might be his flaw is that he has a lot of uh, is that he’s just content like he’s, he’s happy where he is.  Like nothing will, will affect him that much.  But things do affect him that much.  That’s, that’s what we see in this season I think.

Do you feel that the writers are writing more towards you?
I, yeah I think so.  I mean I think that they, I think they were surprised in the beginning of last season of how, like Nico was, like how, how he was, uh, how he just kind of panned out.  I mean, it, today was a great example actually of like this kid that was hired to play uh, Ethan in this episode, um, to play the little kid that is the football player’s child, and he was so, he was just so fantastic.  And, and so you, the writer immediately thought, I got to put him in another scene.  And simply to resolve an issue that wasn’t explored in the beginning of the episode uh, but now has to be explored in the episode, because he’s just, you’re, you’re glued to the TV watching him.  So, uh, if an audience is going to, you know, if you’re, you’re the audience as you’re watching, shooting it, so if you’re interested than you’re going to be interest, the audience is probably going to be interested.  Um, so that, I think that’s what kind of happened last season with, you know, with Nico. And so um, I definitely think that they, they, you know, they are um, not modeling it after me by any stretch of the imagination.  But um, trying to infuse everything that they’ve created last season with mystery and uh, him knowing everything that’s underground, keeps it above, you know, or you know, keeps it above ground, or things like that.  And or, lives underground basically.  Um, and, and you know, utilizing that.  I think that’s uh, definitely happening.  Yeah.  And, and, excuse me, and trying to keep it a mystery at the same time.  I think they’ve really, they, they’re really attempting to keep him a, if there was another word for mystery, I’d love to use it right now, but I can’t, but a mystery.  That the knowledge of him, whatever, how, you know, you, you learn tiny, tiny pieces of it.

So you mentioned that Nico is going to have some kind of closeness with TK.  Could you expand on that?  How is Nico involved with TK and the shooter?
Nico, he uh, TK needs to be protected, and Nico’s the only one that can do it.  That’s basically what it is.  So Nico becomes his uh, his go to guy, I mean, he really, not, not through TK’s mind, but Nico kind of puts himself in that position.  And uh, and he just needs, he, he, he needs a, um… kind of like a father figure in certain ways.  Which Nico doesn’t really, he, he’s not his father, but he needs an older presence in his life.  And Nico kind of presents that to him.  Or allows him to use, use Nico in that way.  Nico allows TK to be, you know, for Nico to be used that way.

Does the mystery to the character make him difficult to play because you don’t have a back story?
Absolutely.  Yeah, I mean I have it my mind, of what I do.  Do you know what I mean?  It’s like I know it, for me.  Um, so that’s, that’s okay, and, and I would assume they would tell me if it’s wrong.  You know what I mean?  So I’m, ‘cause if I, ‘cause it comes out how I play it.

Is this a different approach than you’ve had before with characters?
Absolutely.  Not in terms of research, but in terms of just how I play it.  Yeah.  The other thing about, and I just want to go back to you, so, I, it can be looked at more like a best buddy thing.  Like a 48 Hours sometimes.  It’s like that’s kind of what we develop into.

You mention you talked with these NFL security guys.  Were there any parts of the show ripped from the NFL security guard headlines?
Not that I’m aware of.  No.  Except I mean, you know the, uh, just how much trouble TK is and Terrell Owens, Plaxico Burress, all them, the rest of them.

Mark Blucas’ character, they both seem like alpha dogs.  So Matt and Nico are vying for the alpha dog position.  Will we see that tension develop?
Um, you do, yeah, it, it reaches a head in the second episode, um.  And uh, it, it’s very tense between the two of them.  Um, mainly because of TK, not because of Dr. Dani.  But I think Dr. Dani’s playing a major role in it.  Uh, I, I, it’s funny you say that, because I don’t really see it like we’re, you know, uh, vying for position like for alpha dog position, but that’s prob, I guess that’s what it is really.  Um, and uh, it’s, it’s definitely very, it’s very present.  Very present.  And then, but, something happens to him and I’ll let him tell you, maybe if he wants to spoil it, but he’s uh, he um, he’s, he’s going places.

What do you think Nico’s motivation is in what he does?  Is he trying to help people?
I think he’s just.  No he’s just doing his job.  He’s just doing his job.  I think.  I mean I think it’s really plain and simple for him.  He’s really you know, if he, if he were to, if this job left, if, if this ended today, then he’d be okay.  Like he, you know, I don’t really think that, I mean, but that would be how he acts, but I mean, I think he would you know, he would hopefully uh, be friends with people, who knows.  Maybe nobody likes him.

I like him.
Thank you Amanda.

I just tweeted you.
Um, I think, but I, I think he just does his job.  I think it’s really you know, it’s just that his job is so intense it’s like, what he does involves so many people and involves such high level personality that, it, it you know, it, it’s, he’s very, I mean, you know, uh, it’s not the same story but it’s uh, you know “The Bodyguard” with um, Kevin Costner.  I mean it’s, it’s a similar type of you know, you, you do what you have to do to get the job done.  That’s simply what has to be done.  He’s very loyal to, what.

TK’s your Whitney.
TK’s my Whitney.  Exactly.  That’s going on Twitter tonight.