“Emerald City” stars Adria Arjona and Vincent D’Onofrio share with Access Hollywood Live’s Natalie Morales and Kit Hoover how the new NBC drama is “a reimagining of the classic” Wizard of Oz story. “Emerald City” premieres Jan. 6 at 9/8c on NBC.
Crave: When it comes across the desk are you like, “This is awesome! We’re doing The Magnificent Seven!” or is there an element of worry?
Vincent D’Onofrio: Well, immediately there’s an element of worry, but you know, if the script was just arriving with nobody attached to it and no director and everything, you would be like, “Eeegh…” But then you get the script knowing that [Antoine] Fuqua is going to direct it, you get it knowing that Denzel [Washington] is going to play the lead in it, and right away the cool factor is like unbelievable.
I mean, a caliber actor like Denzel Washington? Forget that he’s African-American, and that’s awesome in and of itself, that they would put him in the lead in a western. That’s fantastic. Forget that, even. Just the caliber of actor that he is, doing a western, that kind of western. Doing an action western, the caliber actor that Denzel Washington is, that is incredible. You just don’t get that caliber of actor doing action westerns. They do heavy westerns and stuff like that, but not… I mean Denzel is one of the greatest actors in the world…
Damn right. You just don’t get action westerns in general anymore. Like, we still make westerns. Everyone says they’re dead but they make ‘em every year…
But they’re lower budget and they’re revisionist and they’re depressing and they good, a lot of the time…
Yeah, a lot of the time they’re good.
But here you’ve got horse stunts and knife throwing.
Did you get to do any of that stuff yourself? Did you get to trap animals for research, anything like that?
No, there was no trapping of animals but we were all using the weapons ourselves and we were all doing all that stuff.
You’ve been around, you’ve been using weapons before in films. Is it different in a western at all? Is it a different aesthetic?
It is different. The guns are heavier, they’re louder, they’re not as accurate. But a week or two in everything just becomes gunplay and you don’t think twice about it.
When you think about the original Magnificent Seven, or The Dirty Dozen, or the new Magnificent Seven, a lot of the appeal – you’re right – is the ensemble cast. For a lot of the people at home you just think to yourself, “It must be cool to hang out with those guys.” What was that cast dinner like? Was there a sense of camaraderie or did everyone just go back to their trailers at the end of the day because it’s a gig?
Yeah, nobody went back to their trailers.
What do you do? Did you all play Uno? What do you do?
Um… I’m not sure we ever played Uno, but if somebody had had a deck we probably would have. I can’t tell you enough of how close we all are. We didn’t leave each other’s sights, it was that intense. We all fell in line, perfectly. We spent every moment that we could on set together. I mean, we rode together, we went shooting together. I mean Chris [Pratt] was already a friend of mine and Ethan [Hawke] has been a friend of mine for 20 years, but the fact that those two got along, for me, was great because they’re both good friends of mine. But Manuel [Garcia-Rulfo] and Martin [Sensmeier] and Denzel and Byung-hun [Lee], you know, we had incredible dinners, incredible cigar-smoking.
Just sitting on set in 110 degrees in the shade and wearing fur and full-out costumes and hats and stuff, it was a constant blast. I mean we worked our asses off and some of it was really hard and scary at times, because some of us did some dangerous things, but so much fun. And these guys, I mean, a two-week period doesn’t go by where Chris and I don’t speak. Ethan and I speak almost every day. Manuel and I, we talk all the time. Martin has become close. It couldn’t have been better.
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IGN: We recently talked to Chris Pratt and he really was singing your praises big time. Considering you’re both also part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, mind you, very distant corners of each other, is there any chance we can ever see Wilson Fisk and Peter Quill cross paths in any way, shape, or form? Or is that just too pie in the sky?
Vincent D’Onofrio: Well, I mean, you never know with those guys. They don’t tell us anything until they are ready to shoot. And then they asked about our availability, you know. They have to start to — I know these questions are all, they’re just fun questions, but the truth about it is that they would have to start to figure our how to mix the Marvel television with the Marvel movies first, and once they figure that out, I think everything is open. Everything is fair game. I know that Jeph Loeb over at the television part developing on Marvel is very, he’s very in love with Wilson Fisk. So, because Jeph was involved in writing the Daredevil Yellow, is the one by him. You know, so there’s always those hope. I can only hope. I’m a good friend of Robert Downey as well. These are guys that I would do a movie with them any time of the week, so it would just be really cool.
IGN: Well, the audience certainly has embraced Wilson Fisk as a great example of a Marvel villain done right. So, first of all, congratulations on that. And two, can you tease any sort of hint when we could see him again? Will he show up in Iron First? Luke Cage? The Punisher spin-off that they’re doing?
D’Onofrio: I can’t. I can’t say a word. I can say that Charlie [Cox] and I love working together. And I know that because of Jeph’s love of the character and the Daredevil series, that that’s probably not finished, that whole deal when it comes to Fisk. But when and where and how is not something I can talk about. I know that there’s … anybody that knows the whole Daredevil and Punisher series, they know that there’s a lot of Fisk in there. I love it because it shoots from New York and I can be home with my family and play this incredible character. For me, that first season that Steven DeKnight wrote is just so spectacular. The few episodes that I did in the second season .. was it one or two? I can’t remember. But those were really well-written also. As long as the writing stays as good as that, then I’m going to be there whenever they ask me to.
IGN: First of all, on a personal note, years ago, I was able to identify the guy who mugged me because as he’s mugging me, pulling a knife on me, I was like, wow, he looks just like Vincent D’Onofrio in Full Metal Jacket. And of course, I’m at the station two hours later and ended up talking to the cop about Full Metal Jacket for about 20 twenty minutes.
Vincent D’Onofrio: Oh, wow. That’s so funny.
IGN: So thank you for stopping crime when you had the chance.
D’Onofrio: That’s why I’m here, dude.
IGN: [Laughs.] Alright, so I like that your character Jack Horne a different generation of Old West kind of guy. He’s kind of like sort of a Grizzly Adams/Kit Carson/frontiersman kind of thing. Am I reading that correctly?
D’Onofrio: Yeah, I think that it’s also my chance to play that kind of iconic — that iconic character that appears in certain westerns throughout the western movie history, you know? I wanted to figure it out in a kind of — how to portray something that was unique to that, but also do it in kind of a new way, if I possibly could in some way, you know?
IGN: One of the interesting choices you made in the movie is the voice. Can you talk about the choice or trying to find the right kind of accent or right kind of voice for Jack Horne?
D’Onofrio: I met a guy once years ago, I was doing research for another part, and I had heard about this guy, seen pictures of him, but I’d never spoken to him. He was an undercover guy that worked at Scotland Yard actually. And I had wanted to meet him for years and stuff, and finally got the opportunity just by chance, really. And, you know, he had that voice. He was this big burly guy, and he had a very similar voice to the one I used in the movie and I just thought oh, I have to do this some day. You never expect that voice to come out of that guy.
IGN: Yeah, I think that was the thing that surprised the audience I saw it with. It just added to the overall eccentric nature of this guy. You couldn’t quite get a beat on him. Is he all there? Anyway, so this isn’t your first time working with Ethan Hawke obviously. You’ve been together a couple times now with Newton Boys and Sinister. What was it like re-teaming with him?
D’Onofrio: Ethan and I are very good friends. Our wives know each other, our children know each other. There’s only a couple guys in this business where, if I could, I would only do movies with them. One of them is Ethan, and one of them is Chris [Pratt, with whom he co-starred in Jurassic World]. I was very fortunate to have them both there at the same time.
IGN: It had to make the whole decision to do the film a real no-brainer then.
D’Onofrio: Yeah, especially with Denzel [Washington] playing the lead. I mean you just can’t lose with that guy. That guy’s just such a high caliber actor.
IGN: There are some folks that would probably be a little sensitive about remaking The Magnificent Seven, which is funny considering that movie in itself was a remake and they made a bunch of sequels to it. What would you say to those who might have a little trepidation about seeing a classic get remade?
D’Onofrio: I don’t know. It’s up to them of course. I mean, Magnificent Seven was a cool movie, I guess, it wasn’t my favorite western. I only saw Magnificent Seven because Steve McQueen was in it. He was one of my favorites from back in the day. So, you know, I never really thought of it as one of the best westerns out there, but it is iconic because of the name and because of the simplicity of the story. Seven Samurai was always a classic. … I think that the fact that Antoine wanted to make it with Denzel, I think the cool factor of that is also really, really big. I’ll never forget seeing Denzel in his costume on his horse, the first time on set. He came riding down the main street and I was like, s***, man, this is going to be good, man. This guy is awesome. The cool factor of this movie, I thought, is like sky high.
IGN: Is it true that you’re going to be in the remake of Death Wish [starring Bruce Willis]?
D’Onofrio: I am. Yes, I’m doing it. Yeah.
IGN: When do you start shooting that?
D’Onofrio: I think they start shooting at the end of this month. … And I go out there a few days after that.
IGN: Can you kind of tell us a little about what the take is for this particular version?
D’Onofrio: Well, it was a pretty good script when I read it. The guys over at MGM gave it to me to read, and I read it. And then Eli Roth, who is directing it, I’m sure you know who he is… he’s gotten a hold of the script now and it’s just getting better and better. With Eli at the helm, and Bruce coming in and kicking at, I think it’s going to be good. It’s the same guy, Roger Birnbaum, who was really the guy that was attached to making The Magnificent Seven again and brought it to Antoine with MGM. He’s doing the Death Wish one as well. It’s in good hands.
And bonus video: Vincent crashed Chris Pratt & Manuel Garcia-Rulfo interview: