The actor talks about music, Shield fans and skincare tips for the bald.
Lowell-born, Andover-bred Michael Chiklis, 49, stars in the CBS series Vegas, debuting this month. Known for his lead role in the cop drama The Shield, for which he won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe award, Chiklis earned a bachelor’s degree from B.U.’s School of Theatre before appearing in TV shows like No Ordinary Family, The Commish and Daddio. His film credits include playing the Thing in the Fantastic Four franchise, as well as roles in Eagle Eye, Rise, The Tax Man, Last Request, Body and Soul and the John Belushi biopic Wired. This winter, he’ll appear in the action feature Parker, and he recently wrapped production on the crime thriller Pawn. As a musician, he released a new single with the Michael Chiklis Band last month. He lives in Los Angeles.
Is your acting career a support system for your musical aspirations?
Pretty much. Me and my friend Bob Pascarella, who grew up in Andover with me, have been in bands together since we were 12 years old. We always wanted to put something out, but only if we could do it right. Next thing you know, 25 years went by, and he called me one day and said, “We’re getting old. Let’s make music and not worry about it.” So we did, and it all sort of grew organically. The first tune we did ended up on the soundtrack to a movie. The second song we did, we ended up performing live with the Boston Pops last summer.
I don’t know about cop shows in general, but The Shield, for sure. [Laughs.] Just the nature of the show, how down and dirty it was. There were certain people who were drawn to it who kind of set me on edge. You’ve gotta kind of wonder about some of the people drawn to something so dark.
Oh, God. That question again! I’ve answered it 40,000 times, but I’ve always deferred
to strength. It’d be cool to be invincibly strong.
[Laughs.] He’s definitely wound a little tight.
[Laughs.] Did you really just ask me that? That’s something I’m going to leave to your imagination, which is obviously sordid.
Oh, please. He’s certainly not the poor man between us. He’s made a helluva lot more money than I have.
My theatrical mentor, Mark Kaufman, cast me in a musical at the Town and Country Playhouse in New Hampshire. We became friends, and he became friends with my parents. One night over dinner, he asked my parents where they went to see top-flight professional theater, and their answer was Boston, which was 45 minutes away. He asked whether we thought the area could sustain it. We all said yes, and that was one of the reasons he founded and became artistic director of Merrimack Repertory Theatre.
Enjoy it. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t worry so much. It’s going to be really fun. There’s a number of other things I’d tell him, too, but I wouldn’t tell you. [Laughs.]
Bald guys do it better... in their minds.
I take it you weren’t a big Daddio fan, but I happened to enjoy that gig. I guess the one I wish I could take back would be Soldier.
It makes a great bookend in my library with the Golden Globe.
All the time!
Over the years, hundreds. I tell them it’s good luck. Thank God my wife is cool about it.
Big Hollywood checks.
There’s probably seven rings in Hollywood that you have to go through, and I think that I’m probably through the fifth ring.
Bob and I usually collaborate on the music. I write all the lyrics and the melodies.
Hey, that’s cool. I like Henry. He’s a cool dude.
It’s funny, because I’m not a Vegas guy. I’ve only been there like four times, because there’s something about losing money that just bothers me. I remember the first time I was there, a high roller came over to the craps table and dropped like 135 grand in five minutes. As a New England boy, I couldn’t help translating that into all the other things you could do with that money. I was apoplectic.
To take in a show at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre.
Mach3 in the shower, and it can be fun if your significant other does it for you. And then Kiehl’s afterward.
Makeup: Wendi Avignone
Wardrobe: Kathleen Detoro