Colin Egglesfield stirs up trouble, romance on 'Rizzoli & Isles'

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When Colin Egglesfield first appeared on TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles” as Det. Jane Rizzoli’s ex-con brother, Tommy, everyone suspected he was up to no good.

Things don’t change when he returns in the Sept. 5 episode, “Gone Daddy Gone,” and when the show returns for its winter season Nov. 28.

“He does find himself in trouble,” Egglesfield, who grew up in Crete, Ill., said. “There are a couple of instances where some crimes happen and they think Tommy did it and we’re not sure if he did or not, or if he’s going to end up back in jail.”

Tommy also spends some quality time with Dr. Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander)—“there’s some sexual chemistry there”—which doesn’t sit well with Rizzoli (Angie Harmon).

Egglesfield wouldn’t give many more hints about Tommy’s future in the upcoming episode or the winter episode for which he is booked, but he did say that if asked, he’d join the show full-time.

“Absolutely. I love this character and I love the show … He’s been a really fun character to play,” he said, adding that Harmon and Alexander are great to work with.

Egglesfield, who spends time with his brother in Wrigleyville when he visits Chicago, talked more about his “Rizzoli & Isles” experience, his upcoming movies and getting to throw out the first pitch and sing the seventh-inning stretch at a Cubs game.

I saw the first episode you were in. I felt kind of bad for your character though; nobody believed him.
Yeah, well, that’s just seems to be Tommy’s lot in life because he’s done a few shady things, so he’s not the easiest guy to trust.

He’s trying to get it together, right?  
He’s definitely got a good heart, but he always just kind of seems to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s got a little bit of a temper, so when he thinks anything is unjust he tends to not be afraid to voice his opinion on things and that’s what usually gets him in trouble.

That’s sort of what his sister does, too.
Yep, exactly.

How do you figure that he ended up on one side of the law and both his siblings are cops?
I think it probably has to do with both his brother and sister having the dark hair and the dark eyes. We talked about this, the producers and I, because Tommy has a little bit lighter hair and lighter eyes. I feel like he feels different just because he looks different. I’m sure he probably got teased by his brother and sister growing up [because] he was adopted. And so I kind of feel like as a younger sibling living in the shadow of an older brother and sister he probably wanted to do things to establish his own identity and usually that means doing things that are opposite from what your brother and sister do. He probably got more attention for acting up and acting out and probably just enjoyed it, and so kept on going with it.

How has it been working on “Rizzoli and Isles?”
It’s been great. To be on a show like this, which has been getting a lot of attention, a lot of critical acclaim, it’s just been a lot of fun. It’s like through your acting career some jobs you take just because you have to in order to eat and survive, but “Rizzoli and Isles” is one of the most fun and best jobs I’ve ever worked on just because Angie and Sasha are just some of the coolest people to work with.  

Angie, I don’t know if she drinks 20 cups of coffee every day, but she’s always just like amped up and she’s just a fun person to be on set with. Days can get really long and she’s always got so much energy and she’s just ready for anything exciting or, you know, there’s never a boring moment with her.  

And Sasha’s great. She’s a little bit more low key but she’s really intelligent and smart and we’ll go off and we’ll just talk about all sorts of different stuff going on. And Lorraine Bracco, I mean how can you not like her? She’s incredibly sweet, so funny. Bruce McGill and everyone else; it’s been a great experience.

Was it tricky doing the Boston accent?
A little bit. It’s a bit tricky. It’s funny cause before I started working I threw on “Good Will Hunting” and just watched that over and over again trying to get that Boston accent. In my trailer I’ll throw “The Town” as well. So as I’m getting ready and getting dressed in my costume, I’ll just have that on in the background so I can kind of hear the dialect and hopefully it gets in there.

Was it hard to not just try to do a Chicago accent?
[Laughs.] Yeah, well sometimes my Chicago accent probably slips in there a little bit. It’s hard not to have a Chicago accent sometimes.

It’s funny just hearing the Chicago accent sometimes cracks me up because I used to have a really strong one. It wasn’t until I went to University of Iowa where the accent was a little flatter, and I just got ripped on by my friends because they would imitate me so I kind of toned it down a little bit. But, yeah, whenever my mom or my sister call and leave messages on my voicemail it’s funny because it’s like [Chicago accent] “Hey Honey. Love you. OK bye, bye.”

You can really tell?
Yeah, absolutely. And then when I’m in Chicago for a few days, I kind of slipped back into it.

Right, so when you come back to Chicago, do you just hang out at your parents? Have any “must” spots?
My parents live out near Joliet, so it’s a little far to go out there but I do go out there. My brother lives right in Wrigleyville, so I usually stay with him and his wife and go to Cubs games.  

When my movie, “Something Borrowed,” came out in May, I got to throw out the first pitch and sing the seventh inning stretch at Wrigley, which was the absolute coolest, absolute most epic day ever. I mean to be able to do that; it was such an amazing out-of-body experience.

I knew I had arrived when after singing the seventh inning stretch, I came back down to my seat and this guy yelled my name. He goes “Hey Egglesfield!” and I thought it was maybe someone I went to high school with or something. I didn’t recognize him and he just goes, “You sucked!” [Laughs.]

I just looked at him, I go, “I know,” but as I was walking back to my seat I was saying to myself, “You know what, I just sang the seventh inning stretch at Wrigley. Can’t take that away.”

Everybody sucks doing that.
It’s hard because when you get up there they have the words to the song sitting in front of you and they give it to you and you’re like, “No I don’t need that.” But as soon as the organ starts playing and they point you to start singing it’s like everything goes out the window. Everyone looks up at the booth—30,000 people looking up there—you kind of freeze. And when you’re singing you can’t really hear yourself. And I’m tone deaf as it is. I knew it was horrible but it was kind of like the train had left the station; you just can’t stop it. You just go with it. So I did it with gusto.

Do you spend much time in Chicago?
Not a whole lot. Actually the only time I really lived in Chicago was after 9/11. Right after 9/11 happened, I decided to leave New York and go live with my sister, who was living in Chicago at the time. I stayed there for a couple months and then I moved out to Los Angeles.

I read you worked at the Illinois Theater Center. Was that in high school?
That was, yeah, it was during grade school and high school. And that was an amazing experience just because it got me exposed to being on stage and got my feet wet with acting. …

I read that you took a break after college and that’s when you met Bruce Weber and started your modeling career? If you hadn’t met him, would I be talking to Colin the doctor now instead of Colin the actor?
[Laughs.] Yeah, you probably would be. Although I think if you wanted to talk to me [as a doctor] you’d probably be speaking to me in Guiana or Ecuador or something like that. I always wanted to do Doctors Without Borders. I always wanted to travel and see the world and I’ve always been interested in doing something like that. So that’s probably what I’d be doing right now.

I also wanted to get your take on the soap operas being cancelled since you were on them.
It’s not too surprising but it is definitely sad to see. My mom used to watch “All My Children,” so I kind of grew up with all those characters and then having worked on it—I was there for three years—it becomes your family. And now to see all these talented and really great people have something like this happen, it’s incredibly sad. It’s sad to see something that’s been on the air for more than 40 years come off the air.

You also have the film “Open Road” coming up.
Yeah, that’s starring Andy Garcia, Camilla Belle and Juliette Lewis. It was great to work with Andy Garcia; he’s just such a stud. We just got back from Brazil last week where we finished up the rest of it. It’s a story about a girl whose parents got divorced when she was little (Camilla Belle). She goes looking for her father and finally finds him in a small little town where I play the local sheriff. She and I end up having a relationship together. And Juliette Lewis plays my cousin who works at the local diner. Being able to work with Juliette Lewis as well is an amazing experience. She’s incredibly cool, incredibly sweet, intelligent and just fascinating to just watch her act. Camilla is one of those beautiful girls on the planet so it wasn’t too hard to want to have to have a relationship with her. Brazil was an amazing experience too. Loved it. And hopefully we’ll have this put together in time to submit for Sundance, because I’ve never been there and would love the experience to go there with the film.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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