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HBO Interview

Before Season 2

HBO: I had a little something. That I should really know what the show what kind of responses it was going to get. It comes out. Great reviews. Comments. Awards. People win awards. It's kind of that kind of a season. But why do you think it hit so early with the viewers?

LEE TERGESEN: (BRONX CHEER) I have no idea. I think the writing is great. And I think it's sort of because of the pace of the show. The show moves along rather quickly. And I think that that it just sucks people in. Because they get caught up in it. And I think it's, people are fascinated with prison. And they want to know what…granted, it's an intelligent show. But, they want to know what, what's going on in there.

HBO: And how, how did it feel playing the victim? How is it emotionally for you? Like, is it hard to kind of get out of it sometimes?

LEE TERGESEN: Yeah. It was definitely weird. Because I noticed, and I haven't had this experience with a lot of other jobs, but, with this job, I noticed that a lot of like things were coming up for me. In my life. Not, not directly related to the show. But it was in my whole time, that four months was very sort of uh, you know, tumultuous. There was a lot of things going on. And it took me a while to get over it, after we were done.

HBO: How is it changing this season? What new direction do you think it's going to be?

LEE TERGESEN: You mean, for the entire show?

HBO: Yeah, and specifically about your character, Beecher.

LEE TERGESEN: I think, for the first time, people will start to see what they were trying to do in Emerald City, which they never really had a chance to do in the first because things were so hot, when the show started. And from episode one, they were talking about the riot. And they felt the riot was coming. And things were just falling apart. So I think now, they're showing, they're really trying to affect the prisoners, trying to educate them, and stuff like that.

HBO: How, how do things change for Beecher this year? And does he take revenge on Schillinger? And where do, where do we put that in season two?

LEE TERGESEN: The first episode starts right after the riot and, and then the second episode is a ten month jump. From which, to where everybody's coming out of Gen Pop now and is being put back into Emerald City. So now it's really about assimilation. What I'm doing to, become part of it. Because that's what you have to do. If you're not gonna die, you have to become part of it. And so my character has done some things that have given him this sort of reputation of being sort of crazy. And so, people have a certain amount of fear about him.

HBO: That's great.

LEE TERGESEN: Yeah. It was like when I was a kid. And my dad always used to say, "Nobody wants to fight a crazy guy." [LAUGHS] Because you don't know what he's going to do.

HBO: Did you do any special research on your own? Did you go to a prison, to sort of like just see it at all?

LEE TERGESEN: Well, I didn't really go to prison because I felt like, for my character, I'm coming to this place. And this is the reality for me, and not necessarily what happens in another prison. So I decided that I would let this world be, let it exist on its own. And although I had a friend who went to jail for a certain amount of time. Ten years, for attempted murder. So, I spoke to him.

HBO: How do you think being on HBO affects the kind of realism for this show?

LEE TERGESEN: Well, you know, for something like this, it gives it, the language. And some of the things that are graphically shown and implied. And sometimes, a lot of times, the violence is implied on this show, more than really shown. But there's that freedom to, push it, and to make it, that's the kind of stuff, when you hear somebody, [LAUGHS] when you hear the way people talk. I mean, that's the way people talk. You couldn't have this show on NBC.

HBO: Great. Is there anything in store this season for you? How did your initial character, was that a little different from last season?

LEE TERGESEN: As the character, I am trying to emulate something that I want to be. I want people to be afraid of me because of my actions, because of the things I've done which are scary. And, but then also, like for people watching the show, I wanted them to be going...well, what? Does he think he's tough now? So, Tom sort of suggested that I do something with my facial hair.

HBO: It's different. Now how do you and um, J.K. in your encounters? This season?

LEE TERGESEN: Well, I'm not spit shining his shoes with my tongue. [LAUGHS] The great thing about, J.K. is that because of like last year, we had a lot of really tough stuff to do. And, this year, there's a little bit of it, but it's not the same. It's not as degrading for me. And the one thing that I would keep in my head, to like pull me back, when we were doing scenes like that, was that he was Captain Hook. To Cathy Rigby's, Tinkerbell. It sort of fills you with like, happiness. [LAUGHS] He's not really going to hurt me. But he's a great actor, it's great to work with him. And that's the thing about this show. All across the board everybody is so committed to it and everybody is really talented.

HBO: I just wanted to ask, I mean, it seems like you said, it sounds like you guys have a lot of fun together?

LEE TERGESEN:Well, somebody was just talking about they're working on a sitcom here in town. And that it was like, they were temper, and, it was like a lot of stuff going on. t was very intense. But here, it's like everything that goes on in the show is so intense, that there's very little posturing, which is refreshing. When you get a bunch of men together, who are actors.

HBO: Anything else you want to add about what happens to Beecher? Anything that, without being too specific, you could say?

LEE TERGESEN: Yeah. You know, it's what is happening to him is still on going. And he's still, there's still a lot of hurdles that he has to overcome. And, it's not over. Even though there are certain things that happen, that feel like it's movement, and like that I'm safe again, in reality, you're never really safe.


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