Q: How has your experience on “Chicago Fire” been so far?
A: I’m having the time of my life. Yesterday, as a matter of fact, We had some t-shirts made that say “I love my life.” We all pretty much feel the same way, we’re very lucky to be playing firemen. Being driven around by Chicago firemen, and playing with fire, and driving at 90miles per hour. With a great group of actors, having a ball. We’re having the best time ever.
Q: What originally made you want to specifically be a part of this show?
A: It was the script that caught me. It was very “filmic.” I loved the premise, of the fire house and the camaraderie that was in it. That camaraderie when you’re doing it together, doing the job and you’re life is on the line, it’s a special type of relationship. And that was the thing I read about the script for the part of Wallace. Plus the producer was Dick Wolf and he has a track record like no other. So I wanted to be a part of this.
Q: Did you meet the other cast members before you accepted the role?
A: No, I was actually the first one cast. It only took Dick Wolfe and the writers to make me accept. It was an idea they had for a while so when I had that meeting, when I heard that they wanted to do this, that was the other part, the meeting went so well! I was like, “I have got to be a part of this. It’s going to be something special.” And it’s proven that when every week goes by, it gets stronger. The script gets stronger and we get to know each other better. So I’m very pleased to be a part of this. Not since “Oz” have I worked with a cast like this that’s willing to be supportive. And “Oz” was a life changing point in my career as an actor, and I believe now I’m at the second kind of crossroads. To be at this point for a second time in my life in unbelievable. The ability of these actors and the writers and the alchemy of the whole team. And the camera crew! (They’re amazing) What they’ve done with the lighting and putting us through our paces, we’re in the middle of a fire! We are in corridors of fire, it gets very hot! It’s really thrilling to be a part of this.
(Photo Credit: Dennys Ilys)
Q: I heard the major Chicago was on the pilot episode, (laughs) How was it working with him?
A: I don’t know if I would call it work so much. He stood up and we shook hands. Me being from London, was unaware of the notoriety of the man. Because American politics, I’m just starting to wrap my head around it in terms of the personalities involved. Except Barack Obama who of course I know. He was a guy full of presence, he was very much the mayor, he was in a motorcade. And now that I look back on it, it was a very nice thing and a good thing for the show because it meant that he had given the show his blessing. That was important because the Chicago fire department had already given the show their blessing so it was just great to have him do that to.
I actually met Scottie Pippen the other day, and he also gave us his blessing so I’m going to try and do right by him. I cannot tell you, every day is a new day on this show. I had no idea that Chicago was hyping on the level that it is! I know LA of course, this is my first time in Chicago and the food is brilliant, the people are great, the music is fantastic, and going to Chicago Bulls games! And you get to talk about the era of Scottie Pippen, and Rodman, and Michael Jordan, while I’m watching the present game and these things are happening. I’m having a ball!
Q: Very cool. My final question is do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to talk about?
A: Right now, all my efforts are into this show because it’s so grueling in terms of hard work. We are basically making a movie a week. The special effects on this show, are on the level of any movie I’ve ever been a part of. So it’s got my full attention. I don’t want to get distracted by any other project. I want this project to be as good and as full as it possibly can. And any kind of distraction could mean that one could get hurt. (laughs) So I want full concentration at all times! (laughs) This cast, and the dedication that they have, we help inspire and aspire to be better every week with every script. And the writers are doing the same. So my full attention is on this. Because I believe this show is going to be huge.
– Jagpal Khahera