Interview from Le Parisien (Dec 17, 2009)
A “CSI” in Paris
The polar freeze makes no difference: WP is wearing a short-sleeved shirt in the bar of the Hotel Montalembert (Paris 7th arrondissement) and he’s drinking a Perrier. It’s because he’s used to the harsh winters in Chicago, where he lives. And above all, the fifty-six year old actor is enjoying his vacation in Paris, hardly disturbed by a bunch of interviews and TV appearances, he was on Sacrée Soirée last night.
Since he left CSI in the middle of the ninth season (not yet broadcast here) he’s been having a great time, he told us yesterday, but he still misses Grissom.
A week in Paris, is that a luxury when you’re coming out of nine years of CSI?
WP. It’s something I could never do when I was acting in the show. I’ve been married for six years, but it’s the first time that I’ve been able to enjoy Paris with my wife. The art galleries, the antique shops, the Orsay, Montmartre … It’s a real pleasure. I’m rediscovering the world! When you’re shooting a series like CSI, you’re enclosed in a bubble, eleven months a year, fourteen hours a day.
Did you leave the series to have more free time?
It was first to go back to the theatre, where I began my career. To have direct contact with the audience again and to tell a story each evening from the beginning to the end. I’ve been in two plays this year in Chicago. And also, I had the impression that I’d reached the end of what I could do with the character of Grissom. I wanted to stop before I got tired of it, and before the viewers did. It wasn’t an easy decision, it was very comfortable doing the show.
Since you left and Laurence Fishburne replaced you, the audiences have fallen in the US. Is CBS begging you to come back?
But audiences are lower all over the world. There’s an economic crisis, TV on the internet, on phones … In fact, as a CSI producer, I think we’re doing pretty well. Laurence has done a very good job. And after ten years on TV, we’re still in the top 10.
It was said that you could come back for a few episodes, is that still the case?
I don’t think it would be a good idea. The public wouldn’t understand Grissom coming back and then leaving soon after. However, we’ve still got the idea of making a movie, and I would act in that. I don’t know when this will happen, if it’s too soon or not, but we already have a story idea.
Apart from theatre and travel, what do you want to do now?
I’d love to do some films in Europe, to have other points of view. But first, I need to shake off Grissom. It’s like the breakup of a relationship, there’s a period of mourning to respect before going on to other things. For nine years I spent more time as Grissom than myself. I’m trying to be Zen about it, but I think it will take years before the public forgets [Grissom].