by Patricia Grandjean
Nov 16, 2010
03:38 PMBox Office
Q & A: Bill Smitrovich
(page 1 of 4)
An on-and-off resident of Bridgeport through his college years and beyond, actor BILL SMITROVICH, 63, can currently be seen in NBC’s much-touted new series, “The Event.” His past roles include working as a bartender in the old Stratfield Hotel. (Bill wanted us to say “hi” to his sister, Vickie Bennett, who lives in Stratford.) He’s currently developing a one-man stage show about Theodore Roosevelt.
How did you get involved with "The Event?" What attracted you to it?
They attracted me. When I got the script, they had a couple of scenes for me to read, and Nick Waters, who is the creator of the show—who has been aware of my work for years—thankfully thought of me for the role of Vice President, and here I am. I'm delighted. It's going to be a great ride.
Tell me about Raymond Jarvis.
He’s a conservative gentleman from Louisiana, rather cosmopolitan, who’s stepped over party lines to join this ticket with President Elias Martinez [Blair Underwood]. Though some seeds were sown for my background and what my involvement in the Event is in the first couple of shows—but we didn’t really pick up on Mr. Jarvis until the seventh or eighth episode.That’s when my story started to bear fruit.
Hal Holbrook, who was a later addition to our cast, now plays one of my counterparts. I’m delighted about that; it just adds to our strong cast. It’ll be interesting to see how they develop that relationship.
It's a wonderful show, filled with great special effects that perhaps have never been seen on television like this. We come from a great pedigree. It's a great group of writers: Jim Wong from "X-Files "and people from "Medium" and "Lost" and "24." So the writing is just superb. With this wonderful cast that we have, and this wild concept, it's a great ride.
Would you say that Jarvis is based on any VPs we know?
No, I don't think so. I think he's an amalgam of the vice presidents of the past. But one thing we all have in common is nobody tells us anything, and we don't know anything.
The tag line of the show is, "Who do you believe?" And they kind of outline the letters "LIE" in that. It's like, you really don't know who people are until you get to know them and then you find out things that maybe you didn't want to know. There's always that ugly surprise lurking in the background.
The show’s themes are very “of the moment”—assassinations, terror plots, a CIA coverup. Do you think the show will get flak for any of this?
No, I think we’re mirroring the reality that we live in. Actually, our mirror is more like a fun house mirror. We're playing with the intrigue and the conspiratorial nature and the cover-up that goes on every day in our country. I’m sure everyone knows that there are things that go on in the government that we’re not privy to. I think the president gets gray hair very quickly because they start to tell him all the things he needs to know now as the Chief Executive. When they get into office, I think most presidents pull back and try to work the landscape a little bit. Because the special interest groups are really strong. And I think the show will bring that up.
When I was a student at the University of Bridgeport, I was a little bit of a rabble-rouser—we shut down the university when the U.S. invaded Laos. Nixon lied to us; we had great demonstrations on campus connected to many other colleges that were closed down around that time. I remember thinking, “We should call ourselves the United Corporations of America,” because special interests are so strong in this country. Obama’s finding that out big-time. Years ago, I believed there was a Century Group—the 100 most powerful people who control the world.
Like the Illuminati, or K Street?
There you go. That's right. Sure. Those things don't come out of the blue, I believe they come out of some sense of truth or insight that most people can't get past—it's like the Masons, y'know?