FTV de Monte Carlo: a chat with Chicago Fire stars Jesse Spencer and Taylor Kinney

After the pleasure to meet three members of the cast of the last Chicago brand show Chicago Med, during the Festival de la Télévision de Montecarlo, we where lucky enough to sit also with Jesse Spencer and Taylor Kinney from Chicago Fire.

Jesse Spencer is the fireman Matthew Casey. Forget about the blonde Doctor Chase; the man you have in front is not far from the kind and strong character of Chicago Fire.

“A fire-show is a team effort. We have a lot of action stuffs, the real fire on set and a really good cast. From season one they put the characters through hell. I think people like to see good people overall our show is about good people trying to do the right thing. I mean, it’s great to see bad people too on tv but it’s also good to see someone trying to do his best”.

But Jesse, who has already been a good one in Doctor House, prefers to be a doctor or a fireman?

“Physically? A doctor. It’s less work…or better it’s more a work of mind but physically it’s just…easier to stay away from injuries. In Chicago Fire we try to keep it safe but at the end of the day, running around with 65000 kilos, …you know…we have to wear also all these stuffs…we have to be physically ready to do all these stuffs. The first two years this was really exciting…but from season 3…season 4…it gets hard…easier but there are bigger stuffs to do. We have to stay on shape and able to do everything so, right now, I can easily be a real fireman. Everyone is. I personally do gym, boxing classes, swimming…cardio. You have to stay strong all the time because you don’t have to do all these stuffs just once. For example if you’re carrying someone out of a building, you have to do it like eight times…not just one like in real life. Real firemen don’t have to wear their uniform all that time long so when they come on set they are like…holy crap, you guys are wearing this stuff all day?!?!…It’s not a role for everyone; I mean, you are seat in a freezing fire-truck, in a part of Chicago where there is nothing at all, it’s not glamour. It’s all about a great group. It works because the cast is amazing”.

How is shooting a cross-over with the others Chicago brand series?

“When you are on set it’s just like every other day on set. It’s just a normal schedule but I really like see on screen other characters from others series coming to the show and see them hang out together. We shoot in the same studios but in different locations;so it’s also about who is available that day, etc…and when there are three shows crossing over…it’s the worst schedule you can imagine. I haven’t done any cross-over with Chicago Med, yet”.

What’s so unique about Chicago?

“Mmm…the wind?!?! The Windy City?!?! By the way do you know that it’s not call like that for the real wind but it’s because of the politicians talking too much and giving air to their mouths…or at least it’s what was told me. Anyway it’s pretty windy too. It’s the perfect stage. It’s one of the best city in America and has a great history with fire…you know about the great fire of Chicago in 1871? And there was built the first skyscraper. It has a strong sense of community and the firemen are really, really supportive with us…their approval was something we were really really worried about. We are making a drama and when you are portraying someone, you know, …they love the show and they give us a lot of really important information”.

Left behind the skin of the werewolf from the acclaimed series The Vampire Diaries, Taylor Kinney is now the strong fireman Kelly Severide. Funny and wonderfully easy-going he even showed us some skills…

“I love playing a fireman. We have great stunts but I love to do as much as I can. I grow up as a country kid so…It’s a physical job so it’s not that I’m in the gym all the time but I do some push-ups and stuffs like this. I run. You know…we shoot 14 hours a day so you don’t have much time to go to the gym. It’s better if you don’t go out with pizza but if you put food down your body that really feeds your muscle. It’s strange to play a fireman because usually is the typical dream job for any kid…but when I was a kid I wanted to be an airplane. A real one. I just pointed one with my finger saying…I want to be that. Then I took theatre classes when I was in school and I felt really out of place”.

As Jesse, also Taylor is really grateful to the Chicago Firemen Department.

“Their feedback is always really positive. My worry was that after doing the show, walking around in Chicago, passing a firehouse someone could say…oh, what you do it’s just ridiculous…We try to tell the best story we can in the truthfully way we can but it’s television, there are licenses. But we wanna do good and now I go down the street and if  I pass a firehouse people say…oh hey Severide…you know, there I’m not Taylor, I’m fireman Severide,…come on in and grab a bite with us…And even if they don’t know it, that is the best compliment for what I do;because I feel like honouring their work through the media”.

And what about the Windy City?

“Chicago is one of the main character. We couldn’t do what we do, or Chicago PD does or Chicago Med does outside Chicago. Not even in L.A. studios using Chicago just for the externals. We do everything in Chicago, we walked from the North Side to the South Side. I did scenes in the Michigan, it was February and it was freezing…It was like 20 below…It’s not joke, just ridiculous…but the city, oh the city…People are cool and very respectful. In school I played football, softball, volleyball,…and I like fans response to the show like when you have a good game and I’m lucky, my character is really likeable. But especially I’m lucky to do what I do, I love every nuance of it. You need an audience to be an actor, so every time someone says hello, or well done, great episode,…I’m grateful and if I can I like to seat and chat with this person”.

Is to stay in shape enough to avoid injuries?

“This is kind of funny. I always try to stay in shape. Last year, shooting the last season, I had to go through this building with this guy on my shoulders. And I had to shoot the scene with the fireman cape…”

Taylor askes to one of the journalist to stand up and  he puts the reporter on his shoulders in the same position he had the guy in the series. Then he continues…

“…this guy was like 6′ 2”and like 250 pounds…and I had to do the scene 20 times. So, when I finished I couldn’t move my head and my neck anymore. For two weeks I worked without moving the neck…”

What is expecting Taylor from the future of the show?

“I’m just so happy for what we did so far. The writers and the showrunners did an amazing job and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to bring their work on screen…I hope they will let me do it for long time still”.

Where is his ego?

My ego?!?! I don’t…I might…I don’t…I think I’m a pretty easy-going guy. I f I can take care of my family and my love ones…that’s great”.

And we agree with him; he and Jesse are two wonderful easy-going souls, and we are so pleased to seated with them in that marvellous scenario.


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