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THE SUNDAY CONVERSATION

With Denis Leary

The 'Rescue Me' star is always considering new dimensions.

July 12, 2009|Choire Sicha

Denis Leary was recently back from a holiday on the Italian Riviera, la-di-da. He stars in FX's "Rescue Me," now nearing the end of its fifth season -- and also appears as a sensitive saber-toothed tiger in the "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" in theaters now.

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How's your lovely wife? Do you have tips on how to make it 20 years?

I think that ultimately we would probably both agree that it's not like we have some secret, it's more like the big-bang theory. It's like two planets that are not even of their own will locked into this same magnetic force field. We're both Leos. So one of her friends said one time, "You guys could never break up. You're both Leos, you were born two days apart; if one left, the other would go kill themselves to go find the other in the afterlife."

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That's an intense bond.

Yeah. Basically what you're saying is that, "You know, if you leave, I'll find you and kill you."

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That's two decades, sounds good; the kids, some of them are leaving home actually?

Yeah, my son's in college. It doesn't have the same effect on us it does on other people, I guess.

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You're like: See ya?

No, obviously it's difficult to have one away, but maybe it's because . . . I can't describe it. It's a combination of jealousy, rage, envy, fear. It's all the elements that make a great relationship work.

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I feel that way about the young people; it'd be nice to try that again.

I don't think I could have enjoyed it more. Maybe there were a few hostages I could have taken, but then you've got jail time. It limits your future employment. It's much better to just carry a vicious grudge of hatred. Which I still have! . . . I was just talking to a friend of mine, who's a very charitable person, but he wasn't when we were younger, none of us were. It may be an Irish thing, but I think it's healthy. There's like three or four people I've really hated. That I've never forgiven the grudge for. And I jokingly say if someone came in the room and told me I had brain cancer, those would be the first people I'd go out and kill. And I kind of mean it! And I don't hate them actively, while I'm talking to you. But if I saw them? Yeah.

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Well, we live in this time where people play nice with people they hate.

Most people aren't worth hating for that long. But there's just people, yeah, they're scum, that I had enough personal experience with to actually mark down in my brain. And a couple of them are shared with good old friends of mine, which is also great. You have other people to say, "You see what he looks like?" Or, "You saw him? What's wrong with him? What happened to him?" I don't care if it's wrong or not. I love finding out that so and so is fat or ugly or bald or poor and things worked out really badly for him. Sometimes karma is pretty immediate, which I like.

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To backtrack, you have never been in jail?

I have never been in jail, thank God. Listen, I grew up Irish, so I've eaten jail food most of my life. So the food isn't really a problem.

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Do you come in through the Midtown tunnel and see the giant billboard of yourself, towering over everyone?

As it should be. I should be towering over everyone who drives into the tunnel or comes into an airport. Well, until the next Clint Eastwood movie comes out.

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It's a sign of something.

Hey, listen, man, after working at ABC on "The Job" and a couple of movies that you don't want to be giant on the poster, it's nice to be giant on the poster for something you're proud of.

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So what am I supposed to ask you about this movie?

What movie?

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Yes, exactly.

"Ice Age"! Oh, Jesus, I thought you were talking about something else. Was I in another movie? I didn't see it till last night, finished. I had seven kids with me from 19 to 4 last night, and once they put the glasses on, I have to say, I was with them! I thought the 3-D thing was going to be gimmicky. My two oldest loved it. They didn't even want to go. I threatened them. "Do you want to keep driving those cars? Do you want to go to college?" Everybody walked out of there going, "Now, that was cool."

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Soon enough everything will be 3-D somehow.

Here's my thing. Everybody's got these [gestures at TV] at home. So now? 3-D television. I'm thinking Season 6: "Rescue Me 3-D." Why not?

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You can throw lots of fire-axes toward the viewer.

What show is going to be better for 3-D? A show where you're running through a fire, you're up on a giant ladder, you're racing through a fire. I made a mental note today to talk to FX about it. I have a creative notes phone call today. I'm thinking, "Guys, it sells itself!" You get the regular viewers plus people who are going, "What? 3-D fires?" You feel like your own living room is on fire! I don't know if that's a good way to sell it.

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