Sunday, December 16, 2007

Newsweek Magazine features Sam Waterston

There is a great article about Sam Waterston in the recent Newsweek. It is also available on their website, at link:

Newsweek Sam Waterston

Here's an excerpt:

"Sam Waterston is sitting inside downtown Manhattan's City Hall restaurant, shooting a scene for what will become his 317th performance as tenacious prosecutor Jack McCoy in NBC's unsinkable crime drama "Law & Order." Today, his thespian pas de deux is with Jayne Atkinson; they're filming a type of scene that's among the show's staffs of life—the negotiation of a cozy deal in a cozy restaurant booth. For Waterston, 67, this has to be like tying a pair of shoes. Actually, like fastening a pair of Velcro shoes. But on this oppressively gray morning, Waterston is peppy, punchy even, as he and Atkinson, who's playing a politician, run lines from the script. "Have you ever heard of New Yorkers for Good Government?" she says. "No." "They want you to run for a full term in the next election." "They do?" "They admire you because you're not a politician." "So they want me to become one." "Ironic, isn't it?"

Ironic indeed. The scene is clearly a wink at Fred Thompson, who left his role on "Law & Order" (as District Attorney Arthur Branch) to mount a presidential campaign. It's also ironic because Waterston, who this season is taking over Thompson's D.A. chair, is himself circling politics, though from a safer distance. He's become the spokesman—he prefers "cheerleader"—for Unity08, a reform movement that aims to put a bipartisan ticket on the presidential ballot in all 50 states. But because cruel irony is the most excellent kind, the best part is that while Thompson is the "Law & Order" actor who is running for president, Waterston is the "Law & Order" actor who arguably cuts the best shadow of a president.

Have a look at this pedigree: he was born in Massachusetts to a semanticist father and a Mayflower-descendant mother; he graduated from Yale and spent a year studying abroad at the Sorbonne; he's deeply absorbed in his Episcopal faith; he's got two vertical inches over Bush 43; he's devoted a large chunk of his professional life to putting away special-guest bad guys while modeling fine suits. In fact, many of his roles suggest a fascination with morality, justice and human suffering. He earned an Oscar nomination in 1984 for his work as journalist Sydney Schanberg in "The Killing Fields." His first notable TV role came on the short-lived drama "I'll Fly Away," which was rooted in the social tumult of the 1950s. But lest you think he's humorless, he also appeared in a faux commercial on "Saturday Night Live" endorsing insurance for the elderly against robots who "eat old people's medicine for fuel." He has a folksy demeanor, not as genteel as you'd expect, but close. His natural speech is the stuff politicos practice—it's just eloquent enough that it doesn't sound calculated. "

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information,

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,
These Are Their Stories.

No comments: