Tag Archives: Robert De Niro

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.”

‘Little Fockers’ Gears Up for September Start

Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Blythe Danner and Teri Polo in Universal's "Meet the Parents"

Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Blythe Danner and Teri Polo in Universal's "Meet the Parents"

“Little Fockers” – the third installment of the Focker comedies starring by Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, and Teri Polo — will be rolling the beginning of September, a couple of months later than initially planned, with rehearsals to begin next month or August.  The delay, according to Polo, has to do with Stiller’s crowded work schedule on another project.

What does she think of the script?  “We’re not seeing the script ’til we start shooting, basically,” says the lovely actress, who just turned 40.  “They’re working on that as well.”

For Polo, the “Fockers” films – also starring Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Blythe Danner, and Owen Wilson — are “a dream job…it’s an honor to be part of this.”  It also happens to fit well into her personal life as the mother of two.  “My daughter is young enough, she can come on the set,” she says of two-year-old Bailey.  Her son Griffin, who turns seven this summer, “came onto the set of ‘Meet the Fockers’ with me,” she recalls.  “It’s being shot in L.A. so I really don’t have to break away from them.  It’s nice to have a little bit of normalcy, then a little bit of abnormalcy.”

The actress also lucked out, schedule-wise, she says, in the production of NBC’s July 26 and Aug. 2 “The Storm” mini series with James Van Der Beek, David James Elliott, Treat Williams and John Larroquette.  “I’m in the beginning of the movie, hunting down what’s going on and hunting down the bad guys,” says Polo, who plays “a very feisty, ornery personality” in the mini.  “The weather only gets really bad when I’m out of the picture.”