Ed Burns: 'Mob City' Made Me Fall in Love With Acting Again and Led to My Dream Project
Ed Burns in "Mob City"
You've seen him play himself on "Entourage" and Grace's boyfriend on "Will & Grace," but director/actor/writer Ed Burns tells Yahoo TV that his role as real-life mobster Bugsy Siegel in Frank Darabont's new TNT crime noir drama "Mob City" is one of the most fun acting jobs he's ever had.
"You have a filmmaker who knows what he's doing, who is also very collaborative," Burns says of Darabont, creator of "The Walking Dead." "I get to play a guy who, as Frank said on day one, 'Look, this guy's larger than life. Go have fun with him.' When you get to play a bad guy who has a commanding presence — the guys all like him, they're willing to kill for him, the girls all love him, you get to beat the s--- out of people and whack people in every episode ... I don't know if I can speak for all actors, but for me, it's the kind of job that I love."
Burns, who began his Hollywood career 18 years ago with the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner "The Brothers McMullen" and has starred in big-screen movies such as "Saving Private Ryan," "Friends With Kids," and "Alex Cross" along the way, loved his experience on "Mob City" so much, in fact, that it drew him back to TV, and with the same network, for an upcoming series that the New York native calls his dream project.
What drew you to the project, and to the acting side of the camera?
Quite honestly, Frank Darabont. My agents called and said, "We've got this project, they're interested in you for the part of Bugsy. Take a look at the script." I get the script, and because it's Frank, I'm inclined to just say yes no matter what it is.
Then I start reading the script, and the dialogue is so much fun. The scripts are so well told that after I read that first one where my character is introduced, then you're just hoping that the rest of the scripts are as strong. This is one of those cases where I feel like with each episode, the show gets better and better and better. After reading through the five episodes they gave me, it was a no brainer. That's why I did it.
The nice thing that happens here is, [I showed] up on set, and it's even better than you would hope.
The setting, the clothes, the dialogue ... it really does look like it was so immersive, and fun ... kind of like the kind of playing you do when you're a kid, and you just let go and play these big characters.
Funny you say that. There was a night on set, we were shooting in downtown L.A. We show up. We've got our period clothes on. We've got the fedoras on. The street is lined with cars from the '40s. They've got the period street lamps. It looks like a scene from one of those classic film noirs that, as you were just saying, you grew up with. As an actor, there were certain kinds of movies you always wanted to be in. You want to be in a western, you want to be in a war film, you want to be a gangster in a film noir. I was a big fan of those films when I was in film school. Bogey, Cagney, Edward G. Robinson. Love that stuff. Me and the other actors were sitting there on the set that day. We're looking at one another, and we're like, "Can you believe this s---? We're actually getting paid to do this!" It was a blast. This is the most fun I've had acting since "Saving Private Ryan." Easily. It got me to fall back in love with acting.