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In No Need Of Rescue

Denis Leary balances acting and writing for 'Rescue Me.' But can he take out Tony Soprano?

August 08, 2007|John Horn | Times Staff Writer

"RESCUE ME" is every inch Denis Leary's show. Not only does he star as troubled fireman Tommy Gavin, he also produces and co-writes the New York drama. In July, Leary was nominated for the lead actor in a drama series Emmy.

The show was inspired by Sept. 11. Now that we're nearly six years from the attacks, how has the show changed?

We can do almost anything now but it always comes back to that. In the next season, we'll do a story about the firehouse memorials and how one of them doesn't measure up. So we're combining great moments of comedy with great moments of tragedy.

The FX network, which makes "Rescue Me," also has "The Shield," "Nip/Tuck" and "The Riches," which were mostly blanked in major Emmy categories. Do you feel bad for the network?

Not really. Michael Chiklis has an Emmy for "The Shield." And I was there when "Nip/Tuck" won the Golden Globe. So I went to the prom, and those guys went home with the pretty girls. So it's my turn now.

James Gandolfini is nominated in your category for "The Sopranos." Could you beat him in a race up a fire ladder?

I think I could take him. But he'd beat me in eating. Maybe that's how we should decide the Emmys: Have an actors' Olympics on stage during the show.

You are so busy on "Rescue Me" that you don't have time for other projects and lost out on playing Capt. Ellerby in "The Departed."

I would have liked to do "The Departed," but I would have had to shoot on weekends, which isn't fair to anybody. And Alec Baldwin was much better in that role anyway. Everything works out for a reason.

Are you a better writer or actor?

I think both. We are writing better scripts but we have a great cast. And the actors on our show make our writing so much better -- not that we would ever let them get nominated.

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