Chicago is 'Boss' star Troy Garity's kind of town


  • Troy Garity stars as crusading reporter Sam Miller in the Chicago-set and filmed "Boss."
Troy Garity stars as crusading reporter Sam Miller in the Chicago-set and… (Starz )
December 01, 2011|By Curt Wagner | RedEye

After filming NBC’s “The Playboy Club” and Starz’ “Boss” in Chicago over the summer, Troy Garity misses the city.

“I’m going through total Chicago withdrawal at the moment,” Garity, who also filmed the “Barbershop” movies here, said during a recent phone conversation from his home in L.A.

The actor doesn’t have long to wait for his Chicago fix. Production on Season 2 of “Boss” is expected to begin here in January. Until then, you can see Garity in the final two “absolutely fantastic” episodes of the first season at 9 p.m. Friday and Dec. 9.  

The phrase “absolutely fantastic” comes from Garity, but I couldn’t agree more. The series, in which Kelsey Grammer delivers a powerhouse performance as Chicago Mayor Tom Kane, wraps the season in epic, Shakespearean style.

Garity’s character, dogged reporter Sam Miller, values and seeks the truth as much as Kane seeks power. He believes that in order for a democratic society to thrive, fact-based journalism must keep politicos honest and the public informed. He’s fought all season with his bosses and the mayor’s office to uncover the truth about Kane, his illness and his underhanded dealings.

But maintaining his principles can come at a high moral price, Garity said. “Everything he believes in becomes open for compromise the further he digs,” the actor teased, wary of giving too much away.

But he did give away one fact—Sam will be back in the second season, because Garity will be back in Chicago soon. And what is he most looking forward to when he returns?

“Well, this is going to sound perverse, but only because I'm from Los Angeles. I'm looking forward to the winter weather. I find it exciting,” he said. “There's nothing like being in Chicago and it's 20 degrees and you're being blown around Michigan Avenue and then you smell Garrett's popcorn. You feel like a zombie and you turn and you just have to go and get some Garrett's popcorn, despite the fact that you can't feel your cheeks.”

Garity, the son of Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden, took time out from filming the movie “Gangster Squad” to talk more about Chicago, American politics and working with his grandfather, Henry Fonda.

I’ve been a fan since “Soldier's Girl.”
Oh, thank you. Yeah, I actually saw Lee Pace last night. I think he gets taller every time I see him.

There are not a lot of tall guys out there in Hollywood.  
No, he's really tall. He's like 6'6" or something. I look at him and I go, “I can't believe I thought you were a woman.”

You were in “The Playboy Club” and also in “Boss.” What brought you to TV from the movies?
It’s been a strange couple of years in Hollywood and it’s been really hard to find good work. With the expansion of cable over the past, what's it been, 10 years, it's just given rise to a lot of great opportunities for actors and writers.

Actors, we're going to take the best jobs we can get, and there’s just a lot of really quality material on television these days. The idea of being able to bring life to a character and actually have that character reveal himself over a season or over several seasons is interesting.  And [it’s] certainly exciting for me, I would guess for any actor. Understand [that] if the character’s despicable and you hate it then perhaps not.

And you're stuck with it.
[Laughs.] A movie you will have two hours to tell the story and on a good TV series you can have a full year, which is great.  

Do you find that you have to approach the job differently in that case?
I mean, for me as an actor, the biggest difference is not really knowing what's going to happen from one week to the next. When you receive a film script you know what the beginning, the middle and the end is. When you work on a TV show you know who your characters are, you know what the overall theme and trajectory of the show is, but you don't really know what situations you're going to be in or what twists and turns you might take from one week to the next.

At first that caused me some anxiety, but ultimately it’s really sort of exciting. I found myself waiting at the mailbox to see where the story would go and if my character would live to see another week.  

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