Elisabeth Shue of 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation' on CBS
Q: What do you think about your new alter ego on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" so far?
A: The thing I'm starting to learn, and I'm enjoying, is that this is almost a character I've never played. That's always a good challenge. I think in the last years, I've been drawn to (portraying) more damaged people ... especially mothers. When you're playing them, it's much more interesting to play mothers who aren't necessarily so good at it.
I'm not a mom in this show. She's been married twice and has never found the right man, so she's more about her work. She's somebody who's a little aggressive, confident in her own skin, not afraid of her own shadow.
Q: Having been known for so long for your roles in such movies as the original "Karate Kid," the "Back to the Future" sequels and "Leaving Las Vegas," how is it to create a completely new character now?
A: It's a lot of fun, it really is. It's just fun to play. I'm starting to feel that she enjoys the game of life, and there's not a better place for her to be working than in the world of trying to solve crimes and figuring out the puzzle of what happened. It's exciting to her.
Q: Has Elisabeth Harnois mentioned she's glad to have someone else with the same first-name spelling on the show now?
A: I know! Isn't that amazing? She's lovely. I've worked with her and Jorja (Fox), and I was impressed with how present and committed and alive they were.
Mykelti Williamson of 'Justified' on FX
Q: It's always a challenge when a new cast member joins a show that's been going for a few seasons. You already had that experience joining the cast of "24," playing the head of CTU. So what was it like when you showed up on the set of this show to play the new character of Limehouse, the leader of his own self-contained Kentucky community?
A: For me, the first time I showed up on set, I was extremely nervous, because I'm a fan of the show, and the last thing I wanted to do was destroy something I love.
Q: When you got to work with the whole cast, what did you discover about how the chemistry of it all comes together?
A: I describe this cast as casting perfection. This was prior to my coming into the show. I don't know if it will stay that way. But I was extremely nervous. There's a lot to live up to. I mean, if you watch Walton (Goggins) and Tim (Olyphant) and Natalie (Zea) and the whole cast, you see exactly what I'm talking about. It's like the greatest group of jazz musicians playing together. So for us to bring our instruments, we have to figure out how to fill in those holes and make sure we don't repeat notes that they're already playing, but we keep the song flowing.
It's been interesting. It's been great. It's been a wonderful experience. I look forward to the world seeing what we've been doing.
Jon Heder of 'Napoleon Dynamite' on Fox
Q: When did you know you wanted to be an actor?
A: In college. I studied film in college, and before that I liked making videos with my brother. I was really into filmmaking and wanted to get into the business somehow. In college while studying film and animation, I started acting on the side. People started putting me in their student films, and I (thought) I like this, and this was fun so I will keep auditioning for student films and plays. I really enjoy this, but I was never quite sure what I was going to do as my main focus. And after "Napoleon" happened and the roller-coaster ride that was, I was just finishing college, and that kind of got me into deciding and led to this.
Q: What was your first time onstage?
A: I was 10, with my brother, and we played swindlers in "The Emperor's New Clothes." It was the first year kids in CET (Children's Educational Theater). It was back in the '90s. We wore bright turquoise, bright yellow outfits. This was in Salem, Ore., where I grew up. Next year was our main theatrical debut. We did "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." We were cast as Oompa-Loompas -- as rapper Oompa-Loompas. We had bright pink hair and outfits, and we rapped.
Q: What actors and directors inspire you?
A: I love Jeff Bridges. I have always loved his work. Director Christopher Nolan is rad, of course. I grew up thinking Steven Spielberg is amazing, and more recent people like Peter Jackson. Alexander Payne is wonderful. Darren Aronofsky, the Coen brothers are, of course, so fascinating. I loved Woody Allen all through college.