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November 23, 2014

Christian Slater talks about The Forgotten, life at 40, and his love of TV

by Mike Moody, posted Oct 6th 2009 11:00AM
Christian Slater The Forgotten interviewStealing scenes on the small screen is nothing new for Christian Slater. The actor, known for films like Heathers, True Romance and Pump up the Volume, has made memorable guest appearances on shows like Alias, The West Wing and My Name is Earl. His first shot at his own series, the NBC spy thriller My Own Worst Enemy, struggled to find an audience, leading the network to cancel it halfway through the first season.

Slater is back starring in a new series, The Forgotten, produced by CSI head honcho Jerry Bruckheimer. The ABC procedural follows a team of amateur detectives who work murder cases involving unidentified victims, or John and Jane Does. Slater plays former cop Alex Donovan, whose search for his missing daughter inspires him in the field.

I got the chance to talk with Slater about The Forgotten, his new career in TV, and what one of his most famous big screen characters would think about his latest role.

This is something new for you, starring in a procedural show like The Forgotten. Tell me how it differs from the other procedurals on TV and what drew you to it?

I think it's unique in the fact that it's about a group of volunteers. They're human beings like you and me doing something very, very noble. It's about a great team of people comprised of a telephone repairman, a schoolteacher, an office worker and a former medical student who's there for community service.

Are some of the cases on the show based on real-life events?

I would say loosely based, but that's what's exciting about something like this and about what ABC is willing to do (which is) to raise everybody's awareness about the fact that this is a national crisis. There are 40,000 John and Jane Doe cases across the country, and there are organizations and people that do this for real.

This show seems to have a lot of heart to it. Is that something that attracted you to it?


Yeah, I think it really is coming from a truly noble and heartfelt place. As the stories unfold we begin to understand more and more about each character and what their motivation is. My character, Alex Donovan, is strongly motivated to give closure to other people, closure that he can't get himself because he hasn't been able to find his missing daughter yet. The hunt for his daughter doesn't stop and he continues to look and pursue and do everything he possibly can to bring her back.

The Forgotten
seems likes it's an ensemble show, unlike My Own Worst Enemy, which was all about your character.

Definitely.

What's it like not to have the spotlight on you or your character all the time?

Well, My Own Worst Enemy was a lot of fun as an actor, obviously. Bouncing back and forth between the two characters was very exciting, but (The Forgotten) is a show about human beings, and as far as I know, nobody has a microchip in their brain separating their personalities. So, yeah, it's different. It's about humans helping other humans.

What do you think JD from Heathers would think of Alex Donovan from The Forgotten?

Wow, that's an interesting question. I don't know. JD was definitely a phenomenal dark horse and he was much more interested in creating John and Jane Does (laughs) and Alex is much more interested in identifying them and finding them.

So, you've played a cop, or cop-like characters before. What makes Alex Donovan different from some of the characters you've played onscreen?

He's a former Chicago police detective, and he's definitely a guy who has gone over the edge and is starting to come back and feel a little bit more grounded in society again. Now we're catching him at a point where he's in the process of repairing and rebuilding, motivated by trying to give closure to as many other people as he can possibly give it to, because he can't get it within himself.

So you're 40, right?

Yeah!

Some people might say that you've made it to a landmark age for a guy who earned fame relatively young. What has kept you going and working through all of it?

Well, I'm very, very similar to Alex Donovan. I think I really identify with the character. He's a guy who knows that failure will not kill you, but not trying will. And I believe in persistence, I believe in myself, and I believe in the people around me who keep going and persevere.

You've done a number of successful films. Why the sudden interest in TV?

I think it comes from just being a viewer and seeing some of the shows that are out there that I love. I find myself watching certain shows and enjoying them and going, "Gosh, why don't I do something like this? If I get the opportunity, I should jump onboard." And when Jerry Bruckheimer was putting this show together, I thought it sounded like something very exciting and very interesting.

Do you see The Forgotten becoming a franchise down the line, like CSI?

I think anything is possible, absolutely. There are (investigation) networks across the country that do this for real, and as this show continues to unfold, we start to work with some of those other organizations. So there are always new characters coming in and very interesting and quirky people that we will continue to get to know and understand.

The Forgotten airs Tuesday at 10 PM ET on ABC

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RIC**ROD

Had a alot of laughs when Christian did a cameo on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'...I like him and his acting style. love the interview great job.

October 15 2009 at 9:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dwvela

Had a hoot when Christian did a cameo on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'...I like him and his acting style...'coooool'...

October 14 2009 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Blanca

I like Christian Slater....is a fantastic actor and I think this series will certainly be hit....very well written interview.

October 14 2009 at 12:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Carla Herwitz

I really like Christian Slater, think he's a good actor and want to see the Forgotten succeed and go for at least several seasons. There are many worse shows that have had more success than they deserve. But I looked this up mostly to find out if there are people like those in the show who try to trace unknown murdered people and return them to their families--and I'm glad that there are. I think Slater does steal every scene he's in, because he's a movie star as well as a potential TV star. This is one of my favorite new shows.

October 07 2009 at 1:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jamierays

You should have asked if JD would watch his new show. I think I know what the answer would be.

October 06 2009 at 12:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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