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Entertainment Tonight Interview
June 2, 1999


"Though the bride's gown is still top secret, David gives us the "inside" on his departure from the traditional groom's wardrobe -- for his first wedding!"

Jann: I've heard you are planning on getting married to your wife!

David: We never had a wedding. We eloped. We went to City Hall and didn't tell anybody because we were going to have a wedding and time passed and we were busy and it never happened. So we decided we were going to have a wedding.

Jann: Since you're already married, but now you're going to have the wedding, do you get the jitters? Do you get nervous?

David: I probably will on the day, because it's going to be such a big production. I always get a little nervous. I mean, not that I've been through a wedding, but it's like doing a play. So I'm sure I will, but right now I'm not.

Jann: Have you seen the dress?

David: No. I'm not allowed to.

Jann: I'm so glad you guys are sticking to those traditions!

David: Yeah. She's doing a dress-fitting today. I'm wearing a kilt. All the groomsmen are wearing kilts.

Jann: Of course, now the age old question: Do you wear anything underneath there, especially on you wedding day?

David: Well, yes. There's been some controversy over that one!

Jann: You're saying "no" and your wife is saying "yes," or the other way around?

David: Apparently the military cannot wear anything under the kilt. Everyone else should. If you wear something under your kilt in the military, you can be fined!


Jann: I wonder why that is?

David: I'm not quite sure why that is, but I'm sure there's a reason for it!

Jann: The next time we meet, I want to know if you have the answer. I want you to search that one out!

David: I think I knew it and I forgot, so I'll look into it.

Jann: Is that from family heritage?

David: Yes, Scottish.

Jann: Do you have a plaid that's a family...

David: Tartan? Yes. MacKenzie tartan is ours. You take it from your father's mother. So she was a MacKenzie.

Jann: Now, Stephanie -- will she be a part of the wedding?

David: Yes, she's going to be christened too. She's going to be the flower girl at the wedding. She really wanted to be the flower girl, so of course it's a great opportunity.

Jann: Yes! It's not very often you get to be flower girl at your parents' wedding and they're already married! Well, congratulations!

David: Thank you!


Jann: It think that's wonderful. That's great. I think you guys will have the best wedding, because the formal part of it -- the actual making the commitment -- that was done years ago. Now you just get to have the party!

David: Right! Now I don't have to sweat over it. I remember it at the time. You know, nobody knows about it, so I never had this rite of passage where the guys take you out and you have your last hurrah or whatever that moment is. There was no rite of passage, it was nothing. It was just her and I.

Jann: And nobody knew, not ever your parents?

David: We didn't tell anybody for years!

Jann: That you were married?

David: We had planned to have this wedding. We were going to have this big wedding and it just never happened.


Jann: Then you had a baby.

David: Then we had a baby.

Jann: When did you tell your parents, "Oh, by the way, we got married?"

David: I forget. I think I said, "Maybe we should just tell them because it doesn't look like there's going to be a wedding anytime soon." The information just trickled out eventually. I remember we pulled in and it was like, "Don't tell anybody!" Then it was like, "Go ahead, tell whoever you want." It was so far past the point by then. It was absurd.

Jann: I like the fact that you never gave up. And, of course, now you're doing it when you have so much time on your hands! You just finished the series, she's shooting a movie, you're shooting a movie, you're the parents of a six-year-old!

David: The plan started before all these things started happening. Of course, now they have to fit in.

Jann: Are you feeling like the little hamster in the wheel?

David: Yes. It's a little exhausting.

Jann: Well, congratulations!

David: Thank you. We're both very excited!

Jann Carl: How do you feel about the fact that every year, this show seems to get bigger and bigger?

David James Elliott: Its nice, obviously. I'm very happy that all the hard work has paid off. Odd that it's taken four years, but whatever it takes!

David: The good thing about it taking this long is that generally when a show hits, there is a life span of at least another two to three years. And in year four, you are looking at another two to three years. So steady work for another four years.

Jann: So if it had been a big hit right away...

David: Exactly -- it would be over by now! (laughs)

Jann: I guess there is the good and the bad. There has always been that trepidation.

David: I always thought it would be successful. I think the show has grown a lot. When I read the pilot and when I went into meetings, I decided that was the project to really go for. I thought it had great potential for success, and when it kind of fell into space and the media wouldn't touch it, except ET of course, everyone else chose to ignore it. Now we are at that point where they really can't. It suffered from the prejudice of it being labeled a military show, and that meant that it was so far to the right that it's not going to be of interest to anybody other than military.



Jann: Not politically correct.

David: Exactly -- so the Hollywood liberal press chose to walk away from it. I think because of word of mouth, the fact that Leslie moved us, and CBS was really behind the show and promoted it, that the show has slowly grown to success.

Jann: Doing a one hour drama is really grueling. What do you do to keep yourself motivated toward the end of the season?

David: Well, there is generally a point around show 19 that it seems to hit me. I just really have to dig deep inside to pull out. I hit the wall at 19, but I manage to make it through. And this year was especially difficult because I'm doing a movie, 'The Shrink Is In.' RICHARD BENJAMIN is directing. It's a comedy with COURTENEY COX and DAVID ARQUETTE. We were shooting at the same time as "JAG," so I was working seven days a week for five straight weeks without a day off. Talk about grueling!

Jann: I'm sure the family loved that!

David: Well, they are sort of not used to seeing me by the end of the season. (laughs) But what's another couple of weeks? I would take my daughter to work. She's pretty cool on the set and she knows when to be quiet. But on weekends, because "JAG" started shooting on weekends to accommodate the fact that the film could only shoot Monday to Friday, I would take her to work on weekends.

Jann: Well, that's nice. She also knows where the craft service [snacks] table is, I guess.

David: She digs the craft service table... and the truck. But I think she just likes the variety because she'll grab a bunch of stuff and then not eat it.

Jann: Kind of like going to a buffet where your eyes are always bigger then your stomach.

David: Yes.

Jann: She's certainly old enough to know what you do for a living. How does she react to the fact that daddy is on TV?

David: It is just like a job to her, I think. When she was younger, she was really her momma's girl. Occasionally when we went out, she would recognize -- often with business associates -- the focus would be on dad. So, she'd be with dad. But when we got back home, I was blown off and she'd be back with mom. (laughs) But now she is sort of tempered, and I think it's just like a job to her. She loves movies and she loves the whole thing, but I don't think it is this wild and great thing. You know what I mean? I think it is just a job that I do. The way dad makes a living. I think she is interested in the process. She likes the trailer the best. It is like a little world for her.

Jann:Your wife does movies, too. Do you have a get-away vacation planned?

David: We're having a wedding in June, so we are going to go away for a week. That has taken up a great deal of her time and energy to plan the trip.

Jann: Sometimes you just want to get away.

David: I can't. I have to start working again in July. But it's not forever. That's what I keep reminding her. A lot of people have to work their whole life-- nine to five, five days a week. This is really intense, but it is only for a period of time.

Jann: What drew you to this movie?

David: It's really funny. I read it and it's a really funny script. I was laughing a lot. Then I asked NANCI [CHAMBERS] to read it and she loved it. We decided together that it would be a good movie. Of course, then I had to get the role. That is the process, generally, if I'm wondering about something. I really trust her opinion. I will get her to read it or work with me on stuff.


Jann: So the idea of doing comedy... Are you more comfortable with that or more comfortable with the drama and the courtroom scenes?

David: Both. I come from theater, you know. I did a lot of comedy in the theater and it is a different thing. It's nice to do something different. It's a breath of fresh air because change is as good as a rest.

Jann: I'd be afraid to be in a funny movie. What if I wasn't funny?

David: That may be the case. (laughs) The thing about it, doing a comedy that is sort of broad, is that nobody laughs. You are shooting and nobody can laugh, so you are going "Am I dying? Is it working?" Richard Benjamin would come out laughing and assure me. The back of my head, though, is going "Is he just saying that? Has he just given up?" But everyone is very happy. And they keep telling me how great it is. So I guess I have to believe them. But it is weird, it is odd. It's not like doing a sitcom, where you have an audience that laughs.

Jann: Right!

David: This you don't know, but Richard Benjamin and Courteney Cox are very good at comedy. Richard has done some very funny films, so you have to trust him.


Jann: What is it like working with Courteney?

David: Very professional. She's great, very nice. Everyone on this thing is very nice.

Jann: What is it like to be working with Courteney and David who are soon to be married?

David:I don't really work much with him. This is sort of an on-screen thing between my character and her character, but he gets the girl. I don't think he's worried.(laughs) I just have one brief seen with them. He's a very nice man.