Ben McKenzie's Summer Travels: Japan or Turkey!
Ben McKenzie buys some oranges and some other groceries at the Farmer’s Market in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon (March 28).
The 31-year-old actor has had a lot of meetings recently about upcoming projects but took a quick break to talk to JustJared.com about the final two Southland episodes of season 2 (they start airing TONIGHT on TNT). Here’s what the always nice and always affable Ben had to share:
JJ: Is the fate of Southland still up in the air? Do you feel anxious at all?
BM: Look – it’s the way it’s always been with the show. We seem to always be in this situation, so we’re not in uncharted territory. The reviews have been amazing, the ratings have been solid, not spectacular – we’re just going to wait until all the episode ratings come back in two weeks and then we’ll make a decision. I really can’t call it either way. I think it’s a true toss-up right now. But I think TNT would like to renew the show – they believe in it! We’ll just have to see if the ratings hold up and continue to grow.
JJ: What can we expect from Tuesday’s episode, “What Makes Sammy Run?”
BM: Shawn Hatosy, who plays Detective Sammy Bryant, has a really great plotline involving a young kid that he’s trying to get out of the life of gang-banging. Michael [Cudlitz] and I uncover a large amount of contraband in a plotline revolving gun running and truck smuggling and cash. (laughs) I don’t know what else can I say! Oh, and I get some love. Yes, Ben Sherman finally gets laid! One of the rare opportunities – he’s very excited.
(Click inside to continue reading Ben McKenzie’s interview with JustJared.com…)
JJ: And the last episode, “Maximum Deployment”?
BM: Last episode, a lot goes on – it’s very heavily focused on Chickie. There’s a rapist who’s dressing up as a cop and pulling over women and raping them and it’s our job to find him and track him down. The entire force is put on the case – that’s what maximum deployment means – they double up and put extra officers on the street, usually to look out for one particular suspect or one particular guy who’s doing something bad – in this case, a rapist.
JJ: If this is the end of the series with episode six of season two, would you he happy with the ending?
BM: It’s a little tricky, to be honest, because we didn’t get to wrap it up the way you usually wrap up a show with a finale. Instead, NBC just pulled the plug two weeks before the premiere. I think it’s a very good episode – I think all of the episodes are very good. Is it a finale like a typical show would have a finale? I’m not going to lie to you and say that it is. There’s no big musical montage with all of us in various states of peril. It’s just another solid episode of a show that I’m very proud of.
JJ: If you could decide Sherman’s future, what would you choose for your character?
BM: I think the dynamic between him and Cooper is great and we should hold on to it as long as possible, but I think overall, his trajectory is to work his way up, to become a training officer himself, perhaps, become a detective and potentially more than that, but maybe just become a really great detective, maybe join the squad. There’s all sort of areas we could go into, particularly SWAT, actually. We could follow a guy who the audience is hopefully rooting for at this point as he continues to be challenged with a job that continues to get more and more intense as he works his way up the ladder.
JJ: If it is the end, is there a prop from the set you’d want to have for a keepsake?
BM: I got them to make a little nametag like cops would have on their uniforms! I have a Sherman and Cooper has a Cooper. And other than that, mementos…no, just a lot of relationships, a lot of great memories.
JJ: Did you keep anything from The O.C.?
BM: No, not really! There’s so much of it around – it’s such a big part of my life that it was just around. They gave us all DVDs of the entire show, so I have that – I haven’t exactly sat down and watched that or anything. (laughs) I don’t think I’ll forget it. I tend to value the relationships and the experiences more than anything completely physical. I’m not much of a keepsake guy, although if they had ever made an action figure of Ryan Atwood…(laughs)
JJ: One of my readers wants to know what the last thing you and Adam Brody did together.
BM: Usually, we just hang out either at my house or his house and just, whatever – shoot the breeze. Yeah, I don’t know! There’s no way to answer this question without it leading somewhere else! We do what guys do.
JJ: You’ve been doing a celebrity blog for TVGuide.com, how did that go? More? Do you feel you’re a good writer? Have you written any scripts?
BM: Uh, no. I like writing, though! It definitely reminded me that I could never actually have a blog – I have respect for guys like you who are doing it on a day-in, day-out basis. But once a week for maybe a page, maybe 500 words is where I try to cap it, it’s a nice little exercise. I like that it allows me to express in a longer form than a typical interview, in a more structured way, my thoughts and my passion for the show and to convey that to whoever the hell cares to read it. It’s fun – it’s a nice little exercise.
JJ: Have you written scripts in the past?
BM: Yeah, but if actors start talking about that, they sound pretentious! (laughs) So yes, but nothing worth speaking of at the moment.
JJ: Do you know about Cudlitz Corner on Facebook? What would you ask him?
BM: Is that what he calls it? Aww, that’s so adorable! I love that. I want to call mine, like, McKenzie Mashup. That is really cute – I’ll have to give him crap about that. Yeah, he does that every week, right? I’m thinking about hacking into it and berating him or something. Look, he is a tireless advocate for the show. He does it all – he tweets, he does Cudlitz Corner. He loves it as much as any of the rest of us, if not moreso, so it’s great. I think that interactivity is great – TNT is a little ahead of the curve in terms of embracing the new paradigm of Facebook pages and web chats – we did a full cast webchat for the premiere of the show – and having fan screenings all over the country.
It’s cool – I think a show like ours is only going to survive by having people talk about it because we’re not just going to be able to draw them in on a weekly basis with a marketing campaign – it has to be person to person.
JJ: Are you still involved with any of the projects listed on IMDB?
BM: I’m no longer involved with Forever – I don’t know what the state is. The Stanford Prison Experiment has been around for a long time and I don’t think that it’s going anytime soon. I wish that it were! A lot of actors and I have been involved for a long time and I don’t think it’s going anytime soon.
JJ: You started out in NY waiting tables. Which restaurants? Were you a good waiter?
BM: It was one restaurant and it doesn’t exist anymore! It was called Sag Harbor and it was a couple blocks south of Restaurant Row – maybe it was 44th between 8th and 9th? Terrible. I was absolutely awful. Really bad. Very poor multi-tasker. I can do one thing if I’m concentrating on it, but that’s about it. One table would get great service and everyone else was sort of screwed. A lot of spilling – I was awful!
Everybody was very sweet, I have to say. I remember spilling various things on people, luckily never red wine. I think I spilled a glass of milk, which was unusual that we were even serving milk to someone. Yeah, I don’t know. It was not my proudest moment. They say some actors are born to be waiters; I definitely couldn’t do what they do.
JJ: Do you have any plans for the summer? Going on vacation anywhere?
BM: Yeah! My brother’s getting married this summer and so I’m going to go to his wedding and other than that, going to try to travel. Going to try to travel to either Japan or Turkey depending on my availability. My brother lives in Japan and I have relatives in Turkey. So yeah, travel and relaxation!
JJ: How are you spending the weekend?
BM: Watching basketball – the NCAA tournament – and hanging with friends! Maybe getting out to the beach!
Southland airs TONIGHT @ 10PM ET/PT on TNT!