Softie Leelee Sobieski Gets Tough on ‘NYC 22’

Leelee Sobieski certainly goes against type in her first-ever regular series role — playing an Iraq War MP-turned-tough cookie rookie cop in CBS’s April 15-debuting “NYC 22” police drama.  She’s convincing, especially in moments like when she gets a juvenile thug in an armlock to make sure he understands the importance of treating her with respect.  But as soon as the director called “Cut” in that scene, she was saying “I’m sorry!  I’m sorry!” the actress recalls.

“He was really so cute — like a little angel kid.  It’s very hard when you have to do some stuff like that.  I’m always going around giving everyone hugs,” admits Leelee.

She tells us she didn’t have to think twice about taking the role. Executive producers Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal were a lure, “of course.”  Also, “I’ve always loved Richard Price’s writing,” she says of the esteemed author, whose credits include Lush Life and The Wanderers, as well as scripts for “The Color of Money,” “Sea of Love” and HBO’s “The Wire.”  Price created “NYC 22” in addition to being another executive producer.

Leelee has major personal considerations as well.  “It’s wonderful to be able to shoot in New York.  My husband and daughter and I live here.  My whole family is based here — my mother, mother-in-law, grandmother-in-law, brother and sister-in-law are all here and a lot of friends, too.  And I liked that it was an ensemble piece,”  The schedule allows her to spend days at home with her little girl between shooting.

Raising a two-year-old “is much harder than doing the acting,” she lets us know with a laugh.

The “Joan of Arc” star gleaned “interesting little things to put into my character” from talking to real NYPD officers, both women and men.  “I went up to a lot of cops on the street.  The female officers have to be really strong.  I hadn’t realized that, for a police officer in first few days on the job, some of them almost felt like they were playing the part of a cop, too,” she notes.  She also learned that the gun belt, “is really hard on women who have hips.  It goes from side to side; it’s moving around a lot.  It digs into your headphones.”

With the first season’s episodes of “NYC 22” in the can, Leelee is currently focusing on “just being a mom, and then also, I like to paint.  I think I might even eventually segue into doing that as my main thing,” she discloses.  The silence and solitude of painting seems worlds away from the art of acting, but Leelee observes candidly, “I think I’ve never been too flashy of an actress or whatever.  And it’s really not so different; it’s also a great outlet for emotions.  There are lots of actors who enjoy painting, a lot of directors that paint, too.”

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This entry was posted in The Hollywood Exclusive by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and tagged , , , , , on by .

About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

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