PaleyFest this year honored one of TV’s most iconic showrunners – Dick Wolf – with a panel all of his own. Celebs on the panel included Jason Beghe, Sophia Bush, Colin Donnell, Torey DeVitto, Ice-T, Taylor Kinney, S. Epatha Merkerson, Oliver Platt and Jesse Spencer.
Joining a Dick Wolf production:
All the actors had different “how we got involved” story, but one that stood out was Ice-T’s. He has worked with Dick on five shows now. The first show he was only supposed to play a character in one episode that gets killed off. On Law and Order SVU, he explained, “they called me in to do 4 episodes, it’s been 17 years.”
Atmosphere of a Dick Wolf production:
The cast all hang out in Chicago together. An example was give of one day they started out with just brunch plans and ended up staying together all day, ending with ice skating. To this, Ice-T responds, “We don’t hang out in my show!” He further explains, saying when you shoot for 14 hours straight, they’re the last one you want to look at. He just wants to go home and play video games.
Another common theme throughout the panel was the talk of long hours on set.
Dick Wolf’s effect on television:
Wolf knows his audience when it comes to his shows. He says these shows are old fashioned, broadcast network television. That’s the intended audience and they do well as a result. Meta scores talk.
There are 40,000 speaking roles (actors) that have been cast in Dick Wolf shows.
Dick Wolf’s work:
One of the hallmarks of Wolf’s works is that he is always looking for the truth. He is always looking to show these first responders in a truthful way. He’s done this with doctors, firefighters, detectives, etc.
Wolf acknowledges that other shows follow a different formula that are more suitable for their audiences. He gives the examples of Breaking Bad and Homeland (a few of his favorites) but points out how few episodes these shows have in comparison to his. His shows do much more than that.
Wolf would not trade what he gets to do with anybody on the planet. He speaks of his extreme gratitude. “This has been the best ride as far as I can see that anybody has ever ridden.” When asked about being scared of running out of ideas, Wolf says, “Have you picked up a newspaper today?”
Other fun facts we learned:
- Torrey DeVitto’s father was Billy Joel’s drummer. Billy Joel announced her birth on stage while on tour.
- Jesse Spencer says he still has his accent, but he teases about how his accent is becoming more like Dick Van Dyke.
- Chicago Justice starts shooting next week! DA of Chicago will be Carl Weathers.