May 8, 2001
ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT: Is there any coincidence to the fact that you happen to be directing this episode [Lifeline] and you have this passionate kiss with Catherine Bell?
DAVID JAMES ELLIOTT: (Laughs) No, I didn't write it, and I am married, so I wouldn't even venture to go down that road frankly.
ET: It seemed to be working awfully well.
DAVID: Well, you know, if it wasn't such a supportive group that we have here in the cast and the crew, it would be a lot more difficult than it is.
ET: Set the scene for me.
DAVID: Catherine's character and Mic Brumby, the well-loved Australian character on the show -- I say that because so many people hate that character -- are getting married, and the admiral threw an engagement party. We show up at the engagement party and we wind up outside. What happens is we run the whole gamut of this unrequited thing we've had together and -- I don't want to give anything away -- but it leads up to a kiss.
At the party, there was a great deal of comedy. Bud -- PATRICK LABYORTEAUX's character -- is experiencing instant karma from the moment he arrives. He happens to be caught looking at Lt. Singer -- my wife plays Lt. Singer -- and from that moment it is just downward spiral. He winds up with his tie stained. He gets wine dumped on his jacket. He walks into a plate full of meatballs. It is this sad, pathetic journey for this poor man, and it is very funny.
ET: Was it fun putting him through those paces?
DAVID: It was great because he is so funny. The performances have been stellar from absolutely everybody. It was thrilling to see all that. I never knew how thrilling it could be on the other side of the camera. When you picture something in your mind, you come in with your ideas, and they take your notes and they nail everything. It is so exhilarating. It is unbelievable.
ET: You mentioned that Brumby is not a popular character. Do you think it is because the audience wants Mac and Harm to get together?
DAVID: Maybe, because even in Australia they didn't like him and he is Australian. They go, "The one guy we hate is Brumby."
ET: So do you think this wedding is going to happen?
DAVID: There's a wedding. I will say that. "Hmm. What did he mean by that?" Tune in.
ET: How difficult is it for you to be directing and be in the scene?
DAVID: The difficult part wouldn't be what you think: "Was I good? Was I bad?" Because certainly after six years of playing this character, I know when I have the good takes and when I have the bad. I understand it is a certain way, but there are so many avenues to communicate through to people. For example, this particular shot was supposed to end on me, and I discovered after four takes when I was, "Print, great we're moving on," that no, "We didn't get it. We should be on you." I said, "Don't worry, we got it on the other three." He was, "No, I never got it. Sorry. I don't know what I was thinking." So those are the things you can't control. (Shakes his head). We have playback but it is very time consuming and there are time constraints. Often you are looking at a shot while they are moving on, too late, unless it is a big problem and budget people send up a red flare. It is really lovely to go through this process from another angle. We have been editing the stuff that I shot. It was cut really wonderfully. Everybody is really thrilled by it. Even the network called and loved the dailies. How much better can that be the first time out?
ET: Would you like to do more directing?
DAVID: Absolutely. Definitely.
ET: Your show? Other shows? Movies?
DAVID: Everything. I would just love to keep doing it. It's a thrilling process for me and I think it is something that I can do. It is certainly a challenge and I enjoy a challenge. It is a new thing to learn and it's just part of the whole ball. I would like to watch somebody like CLINT EASTWOOD direct himself -- these guys that are great at that that have been doing it so long.