NBC’s newest and most talked about drama, The Black Donnellys, premiered on Monday night in place of the lack luster Studio 60. The show’s pilot featured romance, drama and a heck of a lot of blood. BuddyTV was fortunate enough to sit in on a press conference with the show’s main characters: Olivia Wilde who plays Jenny Reilly and Jonathan Tucker who plays Tommy Donnelly. Their storyline will have a romantic arc as the season continues. Each discussed their role on the show, the long wait until it’s premiere and working with director Paul Haggis.
Jonathan noted that he uses music to get into his character, with a personal playlist featuring The Flogging Molly’s. He believes that the show’s goal is to be truthful and cinematic, which helps in translating himself as an actor into a character from a very middle class environment. Though Jonathan does not have any brothers, he does have a sister (who he planned on surprising in DC for her 21st birthday). Not having had an experience with brothers doesn’t seem to be necessary for Jonathan who noted, “It’s a universal story in regards to family.” As for the graphic nature of the show, he notes, “The show is about contrast…there is violence and alcohol…but there is also tremendous love and family values and great humor.” Around his own friends, Jonathan does have a bit of Tommy Donnelly in him as both the peacekeeper and the troublemaker. When asked about the long road to the pilot’s premiere, Jonathan stated that it was more about the process. They got to shoot all 13 episodes and work with Paul Haggis who Jonathan believes is “a beautifully complex person with an incredible sense of empathy. He’s both behind the camera and right there next to you.” While Jonathan thinks that Tommy is a redemable character, we’ll have to to tune in next week to find out his fate.
Olivia Wilde has always wanted to be an actress. She noted, “There was no other profession for me, I was either going into an insaneasylum or becoming an actor.” Though she had not planned to go back into television, the script felt more like a movie, and she was hooked. Jenny Reilly is quite a tomboy, always tagging along with the other Donnelly’s, and Olivia can relate to her. Though she didn’t have any brothers or sisters, she adopted a few of her friends. Though she now has 10 great female friends, she believes she is a tomboy at heart. Another interesting fact is that Olivia is actually a princess! Her husband’s father was a prince in Rome, so by marriage that makes her royalty! Though the show does portray a negative side of the Irish American community, Olivia hopes that Irish people don’t take offense to what is said on the show. She noted, “The most important thing we’re showing is that this is a community that sticks together no matter what.” As the season continues we’ll get to see just how tight-knit a community they are.
-Cameron Curtis, BuddyTV Staff Writer
Photos Courtesy of NBC.com