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Michael stars as "Special Agent Anthony DiNizzo" on CBS's drama "Naval Crimminal Investigative Service". Raised in Fairfield, CT, he left college to pursue a career in acting. He also had a great passion for music, and played in a band while pursuing his acting career. While playing in the band, he began acting professionally and landed his first job as Theo Huxtable's roommate on "The Cosby Show," and a role in the independent film "Trigger Happy" opposite Rosario Dawson. This led to numerous guest spots on television and brought him to Los Angeles. After moving to Los Angeles, he landed a series regular role in the FOX television series "Significant Others." Michael then met director Whit Stillman, who cast him in the film The Last Days of Disco (1998) opposite Chloe Sevigny. Michael also starred as Christina Applegate's ex-husband in the television series "Jesse," and in the films The Specials (2000) opposite Rob Lowe, Venus and Mars (2001) opposite Lynn Redgrave and Gun Shy (2000) opposite Liam Neeson and Sandra Bullock. In 1995 he married actress Amelia Heinle who he appeared with in both "The City" and "Loving". Tragically, their marriage did not last long, and they divorced in 1997, despite the birth of their son, August , in 1996. Michael currently resides in Los Angeles. Michael was born on July 8, 1968, in New York City and raised in Fairfield, CT. Michael has 6 siblings in his family. After three happy years dating Honey star Jessica Alba they split up.
'Michael Weatherly has "Eyes Only" for Dark Angel's Logan'
Talk about debuting with a splash. Not only did Dark Angel--Fox's hip new series from mastermind James Cameron (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Titanic) and his producing partner Charles Eglee (Moonlighting, Murder One)--achieve top-flight ratings for its two hour premiere last November, it also just recently nabbed a People's Choice Award for Favorite New Drama Series.
So, what's next? We posed that question and more to actor Michael Weatherly, who plays Logan, the wheelchair-bound journalist who makes illicit, covert broadcasts across the Seattle in an effort to bring some degree of order to the chaos in this futuristic world, set about 20 years from today. Weatherly took a few minutes in between shooting scenes at the show's Vancouver set to ponder the show's success, his character and working opposite Jessica Alba's Max, dubbed a "genetically engineered superbabe" by Weatherly.
Did you have a lot of expectations for the series going in, given the names attached to it?
Weatherly: No. I mean, if anything, I was much more skeptical of any kind of success--immediate or otherwise. I just sort of thought, what a great script, what a great, fun concept, and ultimately what a great group of people to work with--from showrunners all the way down to Jessica and the cast.
Do you know if they plan to continue to have you in the wheelchair?
Weatherly: I know that the show has some plans for Logan getting out of the wheelchair in some capacity. It is, of course, a somewhat futuristic scenario, and there are options available. And what writer can resist trying to do that? But I have no idea when that's going to be, and certainly it's not something that's going to be airing now.
What do you think the appeal of the series has been? What is it that's made this show one of the only bona fide hits of this season?
Weatherly: If you look at the other shows that are on this year, I don't think there's anything like Dark Angel, is there? I was watching it a couple of weeks ago, and what occurred to me is that this is the show that I would have been watching a few years ago, when I had time to watch television. Because I think it's like a candy that's somewhat nutritious. It's like the candy vitamin C. I don't think it's a show that necessarily confounds anyone--it's not PBS--but it's certainly entertainment, and there are some interesting elements to it. Max doesn't use guns and, violent as it is, it's not a gory violence. I think it stops short of being a weekly morality tale. But it's not a show that's saying beat up your neighbor, burn the flag, and shoot a friend. [laughs] It's a show that I think, in a subtle way, asks you to ask yourself for whatever the answers are.
And certainly Max [stands] as a role model. I'm sure that this gets knocked around by pundits and the like--but I would think that she's a relatively sincere, straightforward, confident, empowered female figure for the 21st century. She's not a Doris Day throwback. Logan might be. [laughs]
What else can you tell us about Logan, relative to the other characters on the show?
Weatherly: He's a little bit of a revolutionary. I've figured out the whole story of what's going on with everybody. And I know on the Web site they have a whole world of stuff you can flip through and read about. Then there's [areas] where you can explore the myth of the show--you can explore Manticore [the facility where Max was genetically created] and explore Logan's "Eyes Only" databank files and stuff.
With all of the futuristic excitement flurrying around you, do you sometimes find it's hard to keep a straight face on the set?
Weatherly: Occasionally, I take it probably more seriously [than I should]. When I start to crack up a little bit is when I have to explain really tongue twistery stuff--then it can get a little bit tough.
Do you have a favorite episode?
Weatherly: My favorite show so far has been "Prodigy," in which I got thrown off the top of a building, and she dove after me, and then we slammed through a window and landed on a bed. [laughs] And I thought, "You know, I'm a lucky man to be able to do this for a living. What an odd occupation." Jessica and I had a fun scene on the bed where we sort of yelled at each other. Another fun one is "Blah Blah, Woof Woof." We had a huge set built over on these shipyards, really like a feature film kind of scenario--just gigantic, with hundreds of extras. It really creates the illusion of this world that these characters live in quite convincingly. We had to do some scenes going around some checkpoints, and Max goes flying across the hundred yards of sky on some sort of a table and lands on a moving bus and all this stuff. It's craziness. Really, I guess that's every week. But I happened to be around the day they were shooting that one. Normally, I'm in my wheelchair in my office, so I don't see that much action.
What's the toughest aspect to playing Logan?
Weatherly: The demanding part of my job is to try not to make everyone fall asleep or change the channel while I'm setting up all the expositional crap.
Do you enjoy science fiction?
Weatherly: I guess I do, if I enjoy this. Although I have to say that there's not a lot of stock-and-trade, beam-me-up-Scotty kind of stuff happening in our particular show.
What is it like playing opposite such a formidable character as Alba's Max?
Weatherly: The fun is in trying to see how these characters try and reveal their true selves to each other. No one else knows that Max has this secret of who she is and where she's from, yet Logan is the only person in her world that she trusts with that information. In the same way, Logan is this "Eyes Only" political activist guy, and Max is the only person in his world that he trusts with that information. So they each hold a secret of the other, and as they expand that into a deeper understanding of each other, it's fun. Of course, it can get a little dangerous, a little ornery, because they're both pretty willful characters, and neither one of them seems to be suffering from a deficit in intellect.
There's some great banter between Logan and Max in some of those scenes.
Weatherly: Yeah. And of course, she can snap his neck anytime she wanted, so that's the humming undercurrent of every scene. [laughs]
Aside from working opposite Jessica, what's the best thing about being on Dark Angel?
Weatherly: The crew on this show is just fun--you look forward to going to the set every day. Like any job, it's the people you work with more than anything else. And we have a giggle--more than once a day. Sometimes I have to resort to flipping over backwards in a wheelchair, but there's always fun to be had.
Michael Weatherly speaks about his role on Dark Angel
Have you been surprised by Dark Angel’s commercial and critical success?
"You never know what’s going to happen. We aired in October 2000 in the US, the night of the Presidential debate between Bush and Gore, which is odd – and 20 million people tuned in to watch us! Maureen O’Dowd wrote an article which said that Dark Angel was more interesting than the debate, adding that she wished the debate had had our witty dialogue. It seems like a really long time ago, as we were making a show about an America in a post-terrorist attack climate, with a spiralling economy and an over-hyped military. And, post-September 11th, that’s what we got. We didn’t intend to have a crystal ball, but watching the pilot now feels different. Immediately after Sep 11, there was a lot of talk about the ‘new earnestness’ and the death of irony, and how people would have trouble being throwaway. Logan is so earnest, which seemed ridiculous to me at the time, cos I’m an ironic, David Letterman-raised kid. But he seemed so mired in this great truth-seeking, he was the child of these times.
What do you like most about the show?
Dark Angel is a great show for all sorts of reasons: Jessica Alba is fantastic on a motorbike, her style and her tough-chick pose which you can see through. Her big giant eyeballs betray a human heart. It’s sexy, and has a political, ethical conscience and great humour, which all rolls up into a fantastic story. Series One is a great elaboration on the pilot, which returns to its very beginning at the end of the series where she returns to the place they made her. And Season 2 is like the photonegative of Series 1 – it’s brighter, lighter and with a completely different story. They’re like two books on the same thing but written at the same time. "
How would you describe your character?
"He’s an underground cyberjournalist, a revolutionary, who’s fashioned himself as a truth-seeker who looks at this broken-down world and this corrupt society and tries to fix its problems and shake it up completely by making these ‘eyes only’ hacks, where he breaks into their TV and says, in a very straight way, what the ills of that moment are. He takes himself and his problems very seriously, and is the perfect counterpart to Max, who is a jaded street kid, so disillusioned. He shakes loose this hope in her, and together they find themselves."
What is it like to work with James Cameron?
"He wrote the pilot, made the decisions but didn’t direct anything until the last episode, which took six months. When you do a TV show you have two and a half months off in the summer and people ask ‘what are you doing for your hiatus movie?, but this year the final episode was our hiatus movie! He’s a giant, he definitely has power cos of his attention to detail and drive. He doesn’t lack energy – you’ve gotta be able to concentrate for a very long time. It raised everybody’s game and reminds people that TV isn’t just the domain of people brought out to pasture; or with less talent; or imagination."
The show is based in Seattle. Was this a deliberate ploy to help the action look cool?
"I think they chose Seattle as they had the WTO riots there, and here was the place that had the dotcom explosion, hi-tech industries, and by the time we were doing this show it had imploded, and had the riots, the dotcom bust, and it seemed like a good template for a futuristic city. They wanted a dark, gloomy urban environment to reinforce this notion of hardship being all round – but the human spirit endures. It’s a story of tolerance. The show is pure entertainment, but also a look at human beings interacting with technology."
Would you agree that sci-fi is the most relevant art form in a fast-changing world?
"Yes. Sci-fi gives you that distance, so you can deal with today’s issues and get away with more."