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I'm surprised this journal is still active. I have changed so much since I last blogged.
 I have done so much travel in the last year or so. Will update when I can.

First-time feature director Vincent D'Onofrio and screenwriter Joe Vinciguerra
 on making their B-movie throwback. 

Don't Go in the Woods

Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film / credit: Nathan West

Over the past three decades, Vincent D’Onofrio has amassed a diverse, respected career as a genius character actor in movies such as Full Metal JacketMen In BlackMystic Pizza, andThe Player, and many more know him best as the intense Detective Goren on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. In 2005, D’Onofrio directed himself as a cinematic legend in the short filmFive Minutes, Mr. Welles, and he’s now moved on to a feature project: a low-budget “slasher musical” (in which he does not act) called Don’t Go in the Woods, which debuts today on nationwide VOD. (Find a screen near you here.)

While the story is credited to D’Onofrio, he enlisted two of his buddies to flesh out the screenplay:Joe Vinciguerra and Sam Bisbee, the latter of whom also wrote the songs that serve as the soundtrack for the movie. What exactly is a slasher musical, you might ask? Here’s the gist: a group of guys in an up-and-coming Brooklyn band head to the woods to camp for the weekend, with the disciplined intention of nailing down a group of songs that will land them their big break: no booze, no cell phones, no distractions. Distraction arrives, however, in the form of a group of girlfriends, and the whole gang starts getting killed off one by one… but not before each one gets to sing a swan song.

Don’t Go in the Woods is kind of hard to pin down—there’s not much to compare it too—but it’s a fun ride, with the loose feel of a campy B-horror-movie from decades past (the difference here is that Bisbee’s music is good), with twists and turns and jumps galore. When D’Onofrio and Vinciguerra stopped by the Tribeca offices last week, their conversation went in the same direction—you can just tell they had a great time making this movie.

Don't Go in the Woods

Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film / credit: Nathan West

Kristin McCracken: Whose crazy idea was this? What was the inspiration? Were there other films you had in mind, or did you just want to mash up genres?

Vincent D’Onofrio: I was driving down from upstate with my wife, and Sam, Joe and I had this project in the works [Johnny and Me], but we were waiting for Johnny Cash’s estate to approve it, and I was just getting anxious to shoot something. So I was thinking: What do I have available? What can I do? We have 100 acres of woods upstate, and Joe’s a writer, and Sam’s a composer, so why not make a musical horror movie… don’t use a casting agent, just use [non-actors]. So I called up Sam, and then two months after that, we were shooting. Joe came up with the script pretty quickly…

Joe Vinciguerra: We knew the movie, right? The second he pitched it, we knew we had 5 guys in a band, and they go to the woods, and we’re just going to come up with as many ridiculous ways as we can to kill them. [laughs] We basically did that in a weekend. [To Vincent:] We went to your house, up there, and we goofed around in the woods at night, which scared the s&!% out of us.

We came up with 10 kinds of archetypal characters—the kind who are in all these movies—so that it was very easy to know their storylines and relationships: the smart girl, the stoned rocker, that kind of thing.

Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film

KMc: And the blind guy! You don’t often see a blind guy in a movie.

JV: We started to think backwards: What’s the scariest thing that could happen? What if you were blind and stuck in the woods, and there’s some kind of killer on the loose…

VD’O: The idea was always that it would be like a B-horror film structure, and that everybody sings, and everybody dies.

KMc: Well, except… [spoiler redacted]

VD’O: [laughs] He’ll die in the next one.

KMc: Can you tell us about your cast? Who are the band members? Do they really play together?

VD’O: Well, three of them, Matt [Sbeglia]Nick [Thorp] and Soomin [Lee], had a band calledThe Dirty Dirty. I had heard them play before and thought that they were all really talented, and I asked them to come over to my house with Sam, and sing some of Sam’s stuff, and see if they could handle it, and they were just brilliant—really talented guys.

KMc: What about the girls?

VD’O: Two of the girls were extras on Criminal Intent, and the other ones worked at the coffee shop around the corner from my house. The art director worked in the coffee shop, too. We did casting sessions while I was doing the show, and we’d invite people in to my dressing room to sing, and we’d give them a guitar. I really wanted the least experienced actors; that’s what I was really going for.

KMc: And so the two girls were extras, but were any of the rest of them actors?

VD’O: No.

KMc: Do they have the bug now?

VD’O: No. I mean, the two actresses still want to be actresses…

KMc: Are they excited about the movie coming out?

VD’O: Yeah, they still don’t believe it’s coming out.

JV: I don’t either!

See below Part 2

KMc: It’s for real! Don’t Go in the Woods launches in over 40 million homes on VOD on December 26. That’s kind of a crazy amount of distribution. Indie films are usually just shown in small theaters in 2 cities… Have you ever been in a film that premiered on VOD?

VD’O: No, it’s all brand new to me. I think it’s awesome. I love the whole idea of it. I think it’s the way everything is going; there’s no denying it anymore. When I’m traveling around, which I do a lot, that’s all I see: people watching movies on little screens. They share headphones—you see couples in airports watching on iPads or iPhones or smartphones or whatever. I mean, that’s it.

KMc: Does it bother you? You don’t feel precious about your movie being seen on the big screen?

JV: This is not a movie to be precious about. [laughs]

VD’O: This particular movie? No, it doesn’t bother me at all. I think that it depends on what it is, really. Joe and I are not going to sit here and say that Don’t Go in the Woods has to be seen on a big screen. It doesn’t. But if we’re talking about a David Lean movie, or something like that—yeah, you should see it on the big screen, because that’s what it was made for.

JV: There’s a word of mouth now, that has an immediacy—you see it all the time with these kinds of films.

KMc: That’s how this movie is going to spread.

VD’O: Your film can sell a ticket [or a view, a download] while two people are having a conversation, wherever.

KMc: So the shoot was on your property. How long were you out in the woods?

VD’O: About 12 days. I think we had like a Saturday off in the middle.

KMc: Did anything change while you were shooting?

VD’O: We all knew going in that I had a certain style and vision for the film. I had in my mind how it was going to work, and nobody—well, I think Joe and Sam got what I meant, but no one else—understood until we were actually shooting it. And I knew I had to do it economically. We had a huge cast, so you have to be really economic with your coverage. So you just shoot, shoot, shoot and just don’t stop shooting until the 12th day is up.

KMc: Clearly, the audience for the film is young people. You’ve had some screenings on the road. What’s the reaction been?

VD’O: We were surprised a lot of the time, because a lot of audiences weren’t young.

JV: There have been some older people…

KMc: And did they like it?

JV: Yeah! I think there are people over a certain age who grew up seeing 70s, schlocky B-movies and appreciated them, as opposed to the kind of pure product that a lot of the horror movies have become now. So I think a lot of the older people appreciated the looseness of the story—the madness, and the craziness of it—how unique it was.

VD’O: And they really liked the music too. One thing that the film definitely has going for it is Sam Bisbee’s music.

KMc: As a first time feature director, what are a few of the biggest things you learned?

VD’O: You know, you get more confidence when you’ve done it. My confidence wasn’t bad when we were doing it, but I feel better now. I just know now that I can just go with my heart and shoot, shoot, shoot, and everything’s going to be fine. If we were ever to make another one, I would go even further. I am confident now that I can go further and people with take that leap with me. As a filmmaker, you really have to be the one with the vision.

With a film like this, people are either going to take the leap or not; they are going to hate it or they are going to love it. We knew that going in. In a way, you have to look at it as kind of an experiment; you don’t really care what people are going to think. Otherwise, why make it?

KMc: What did you bring with you as an actor to the directing role, with these people who were not actors? Did you teach them anything?

VD’O: The one thing is trust. I promised them all during some of the read-throughs we had that I wasn’t going to make them look bad. They had to put their trust in me. I know that, as an actor, once a director gets my trust, I just listen to everything they say. The biggest thing was to instill that trust, and then they just follow you anywhere.

I told them there was a certain style of acting that I wanted: a very flat, slacker—Linklater’sSlacker—feel to it. I would direct them in a very literal way: move there, do that, do that faster, don’t think about it, just say the lines. Speak in your own voice, and be as honest as you can. Just don’t worry about it, don’t get in the way of yourself; that’s the biggest thing.

KMc: Joe, how involved were you with the filming process?

JV: Sam and I were on the set everyday. We had to change some of the script, as disasters would come up. 

KMc: Disasters? 

JV: Well, we couldn’t use the entire opening sequence—there was a whole thing we filmed that explains and sets up the whole movie—and it just didn’t work out: it was raining, the actor didn’t know his lines… So we had to try to figure out ways to get little bits of information across in other scenes.

But otherwise, the production was pretty smooth, I thought. We kept to the schedule, and the script changed a little bit… There was stuff that didn’t make sense anymore when it was 3 am. We didn’t really have a lot of rehearsals, so by the time the camera was rolling, that was when you found out if a sentence didn’t work, or if a line didn’t make sense anymore. We’d just change it.

KMc: What makes Don’t Go in the Woods a must-see?

VD’O: It’s a fun little trip to go on. It’s rock n roll….

JV: It’s a musical that’s not cheesy. It’s just not.

KMc: The songs are good!

VD’O: So I think if you want a musical experience and have a lot of fun while you’re watching it, and if you like that horror feel, then you are definitely going to want to watch Don’t Go in the Woods.

JV: And it’s original. You can’t quite say you’ve seen it before.

KMc: It’s true. We were stumped about what other movies it’s like.

JV: The reality is like you’d have to say Easy Rider is more like this than actual horror films. I can’t really explain it, but that’s just the way it feels.

VD’O: The thing that’s different from the other musical horrors is that ours is not an opera.

KMc: Yeah, the other musical horrors we came up with were Sweeney ToddRocky HorrorRepo! The Genetic Opera

VD’O: Those are very operatic, with sets.

KMc: They are not the same sensibility.

VD’O: No, they’re not, at all. And except for Rocky Horror, the music is not as good as in ours, I’m sorry to say. Sam’s music is just outstanding.

KMc: Any final advice you can share with those looking to follow in your footsteps?

VD’O: Just do it. Just ride with it. I don’t think that you should try to do something too grandiose to start with. Just approach it as an experiment—that’s how I think about it—don’t put so much weight on it. If you feel like it’s your passion, then most likely, you have a talent. So just try not to do anything that’s too difficult to start with. Do something you know.

JV: Like killing people in the woods. [laughs]

Don’t Go in the Woods is now playing on VOD. 

Oct. 27th, 2011

Wow, its been ages since I was on here, will return shortly.
 Wow! its been a while since I posted on here. Must visit more often.
 This is just a brief note.

LJ is cancelling blogs that have been 6 months inactive. 

Mar. 11th, 2010

An image of Kathryn and Vincent from 2001


d onofrio 250x350 Law & Order: CI Ditching DOnofrio, Erbe, Bogosian

It’s shake-up time for “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”

Sources from the “L&O” galaxy say that stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe, and Eric Bogosian are all expected to be phased out at various points during the series’ upcoming ninth season. Julianne Nicholson left the show a few months ago. Executive producer Dick Wolf is turning to Jeff Goldblum, who joined the cast last season, to remain as lead detective in the series along with Saffron Burrows, who was recently cast to replace Nicholson as Goldblum’s partner.

It’s a big change for a show that has weathered a lot of casting changes since it began in 2001. D’Onofrio and Erbe have been there since the beginning, while Bogosian joined in 2006. Since then, the original pair have had to make room for Nicholson and Chris Noth, who left last year. Goldblum arrived in 2008.

Details about D’Onofrio, Erbe and Bogosian’s exit are still unclear as the actors’ deals are being worked out. The network only recently renewed the Wolf Films/Universal Cable Prods. series for a ninth season, slated to premiere in late spring with a two-parter.

How interesting that Wolf has decided to go this way since D’Onofrio, while erratic, has been very popular. But “L&O:CI” is a USA Network show now after running on sister channel NBC. And USA, insiders point out, likes lighter fare when it comes to its shows. Goldblum is more in the tradition of Tony Shalhoub’s “Monk” than D’Onofrio.

While D’Onofrio is departing as a regular, it is possible for him to reprise his character in guest stints.

“Law & Order” just keeps chugging along in its various guises. The names change but the music remains the same.

D'Onofrio to leave 'Criminal Intent'
September 26, 2009
LOS ANGELES — Changes are afoot at "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," with charter cast member Vincent D'Onofrio exiting the USA Network series and recent recruit Jeff Goldblum taking over full time.

D'Onofrio's character, Detective Robert Goren, will say goodbye in a two-hour handoff episode to open the ninth season early next year, "Criminal Intent" creator and executive producer Dick Wolf said yesterday.

Goldblum, who joined the series last season, will continue as Detective Zack Nichols in the NYPD Major Case Squad.

"After eight seasons, and with the addition of Jeff Goldblum, now is the perfect time for me to explore other acting opportunities," D'Onofrio said in a statement.

He added, "I wouldn't be surprised if Goren pops up from time to time."

"Criminal Intent" premiered on NBC in 2001 with D'Onofrio as the series' sole lead. From 2005 through Goldblum's arrival, Chris Noth co-starred on an alternating basis with D'Onofrio.

USA became the series' primary outlet two years ago.

In another possible cast change next season, Goldblum could be joined by Saffron Burrows, replacing Julianne Nicholson, according to a person close to the production who spoke on condition of anonymity. The person, who is not authorized to speak publicly about casting, said Nicholson isn't expected to continue with the series. She has played Detective Megan Wheeler since 2006.

Burrows' credits include the film "The Bank Job."




Law and Order Criminal Intent stars talk about the new season

Interview with Kathryn Erbe and Vincent D’Onfrio

USA sponsored a call with the stars of Criminal Intent- here is what they had to say about the new season:

Q: Kathryn, what about your role continues to challenge you?

K. Erbe
Finding ways to – let’s see. That’s a very good question. I don’t know, every day we have new challenges, just in dealing with the new actors that we get to work with. We have new writers on the show, new producers and I feel like it’s a challenge just staying involved with the work that we’re doing and staying actively involved in finding ways for Eames to stay important to the stories and to bring a positive – just have a positive effect on what we’re doing.

Q: And Vincent, after so many seasons, how do you all continue to maintain chemistry between each other?

V. D’Onofrio I think it’s been eight years now, so I think that anything the audience sees is just whatever has happened naturally in the eight years. I think that both of us kind of just rely on that – the history of the show and the history of the characters – to just somehow translate to the audience in some way.

Q: This is for either one of you: How much more in-depth is the Goren-Wallace frame-up story going to go into during season seven? Or is that just completely done?

K. Erbe Oh, she’s dead. Right?

V. D’Onofrio
Yes, that’s over.

K. Erbe Yes. Unfortunately, sadly, they killed her.
Q: There’s no way it’s going to come back to haunt you guys later on?

V. D’Onofrio
I don’t think so, no. That was a certain set of writers that were doing that, and we were enjoying that with them. And then we’ve had another set of writers since then, so – that’s not going to happen again, I don’t think.

K. Erbe Yes. It’s sad.

Q: This first question is for Vincent. You’ve played quite a variety of topics. What kind of role do you enjoy the most, or does like playing maybe evil have a different set of challenges than what you’re doing now?

V. D’Onofrio Is the question which I prefer?

Q: Yes, what kind of role; because you play good and evil, so –

V. D’Onofrio
I don’t know, I think I’m – it’s the same as most actors. Anything that’s interesting, you know. Like whatever comes my way, like the most interesting parts of those are the ones that I would do. I don’t really have like a dream role or anything like that. I just go script by script and see what’s interesting, and if not, then I don’t do it. You know, it’s like that.

Q: Vincent, I wanted to ask, with the events of last season’s finale, what is your character’s mental state at the beginning of the season? Is he resolved about – resigned himself to all of the loose ends being tied up or is he at all – has he broken down at all in the face of everything that’s happened to him and his nephew being missing?

V. D’Onofrio We never really tie anything up when it comes to Kate and my characters, because it’s – they always want to leave it open. You know, we tie up criminals, but – we’ll end those stories, but not – they’ll never really shut any kind of storyline down completely, so it’s kind of open as to what’s going to happen with my character, I don’t know. I think that this eighth season, I just – you know, I just played it differently than last season, but last season was very, very extreme. So this season, it’s like he’s just trying to be a cop, trying to do the best you can kind of a thing.

Q: My question here is for Vincent and I’d like to know, what is it like to be developing a character over several TV seasons as opposed to having to develop a character in a two-hour film?

V. D’Onofrio Yes, it’s completely different. When I first started the TV show, I kind of thought it’s ostensibly about the character, and did a lot of planning and stuff. Most of the planning went out the window, and then I just kind of tried my best after that. With a film, it’s much more – it’s really planned out scene by scene and there’s a real solid arc hopefully most of the time. The structure of the film is in three acts, you know it’s going to end – it’s easier to plan out a role like that. It’s just as interesting but it’s a completely different thing. With the show, it’s just wide open. We just keep doing it, and there’s different crimes, different little stories to tell. So it’s two different things. I think I just always will prefer films. I just think that’s my favorite thing to do. But Goren’s a great character, so it’s good to do.

Q: What do you feel it is about a show like Law & Order that resonates well with viewers?

V. D’Onofrio
I think in our show I think it’s the characters, and I think we investigate weird crimes and I think it’s a popular thing on TV, these kind of crime shows and – just like people were not – and still are – into like crime novels and short stories. That’s what we’re doing, but we’re doing like a TV version of that, so – you know, it takes off and people like it.

K. Clarke Do you have a favorite type of case to tackle on the show?

V. D’Onofrio Yes, I like simpler stories. Like we just finished one like a spree killer type story about one guy doing bad things, and Kate and I had to like, you know, catch him. It was more direct, not complicated, and it had heart, and I like that kind of thing.

Q: Jeff Goldblum is new to the show and I know you guys aren’t working directly with him, but have you seen any of his work and how is he fitting in with the show?

V. D’Onofrio To me it looks like he’s psyched. Kate, do you want to – go ahead.

K. Erbe That’s okay. We only really got to see him in the beginning when he was waiting for his scripts to be ready. He came and hung out with us extensively and learned all the names of everybody on the crew and just asked us a lot of questions. It seems like the crew is really happy with him and the producers and like he’s having a good time.

V. D’Onofrio Yes. He seems really enthusiastic. And I haven’t seen any of his episodes, so I can’t comment on that.

K. Erbe Yes.
Q: Have you worked with any particularly interesting guest stars or bad guys for the new season?

K. Erbe We have a lot. We have Lynn Redgrave, we have Scott Cohen and Kathy Baker are in the episode Sunday night. We had a great time with them. Who else, Vince?

V. D’Onofrio We’ve also worked with some really good unknown actors, like young people that were really good. We’re very lucky in that way, that most times we get really good actors, whether they’re known actors or not.

K. Erbe Yes.

V. D’Onofrio
That’s one of the pros of working on this show.

K. Erbe Yes.

Q: This question is for Vincent: Your character goes into some very dark places, and we’ve seen a lot of changes in him since the beginning in the last season, and I was wondering what kind of toll that takes on you as a person, what effect that has on you, if any, in your real life.

V. D’Onofrio Well, it takes a lot of time. It used to take a lot more time before we started sharing the episodes with another detective. But – you know, it’s – how do I answer this? The first four years, or maybe the first three years of the show, when we were trying to make the show a show, you know, just make it distinct from the other Law & Orders and just a plain old good show that people would watch, that was – that was hard. It was like a 24-hour job and it was with me all the time.

But that’s a long time ago now, and we all know how to do the show, and we know what the show is. And so it’s not that exhausting anymore. The hours are long sometimes, and when we are working we don’t see our families as much as we want. But that’s part of our job, so we have to do it. And as far as Goren, bringing Goren home, that just doesn’t happen anymore. I’ve been playing him too long, and it’s – it’s not something that stays with me.

Q: When you guys first took on these roles, did you go into it knowing full well that this might become like a lifelong fulltime job … Law & Order franchise –

V. D’Onofrio Lifelong, huh?

K. Erbe I don’t think either of us thought that we were going to be doing it for eight years.

V. D’Onofrio No way.

K. Erbe No. They never would have gotten you to agree to that.

V. D’Onofrio
No way. And the first – what did we do, we did 13 at first, Kate?

K. Erbe Right, yes.

V. D’Onofrio The first 13 was such a blur that I don’t think either of us was even thinking about – I don’t think it was – I don’t know, it wasn’t weighing heavy on me what was going to happen. Was it weighing heavy on you, Kate?

K. Erbe No. We had no idea. It was just getting through each day, really, trying to make it to the end.

V. D’Onofrio
The first 13 scripts were really, really good scripts and maybe there was like one clunker out of the 13, but they were really good scripts and very tough to figure out how to pull the show off while we were doing them. The last thing on my mind was like – it was just a blur. I wasn’t thinking about whether the show was going to run, honestly. That’s the honest truth. And I think we knew earlier than most people do with a – when you shoot 3, right? I think we knew pretty early that it was going to go.

K. Erbe Yes.
New Question- Vincent had to repeat it as Kathryn couldn’t hear it.

V. D’Onofrio
What do you like best about your character?

K. Erbe What do I like best about my character? What I like best about my character is she usually has the right thing to say. She knows what to say; she’s fairly straightforward and doesn’t seem to have difficulty making choices. Nothing like myself in real life. I rarely know the right thing to say and she seems to almost have infinite courage and she’s sort of like my fantasy of what it would be like to be like that – strong all the time and know what to do all the time and have a clear idea of what the right thing is to do and that sort of thing. So I like that about her. I like that she’s a strong woman in a tough job and a scary job. I think they’re both courageous. I think most of NYPD is very courageous. So that’s what I like about her.

Q I have one question for both of you regarding your roles outside of Criminal Intent. Out of all the work that you’ve done in movies, stage or whatever, what roles do you want to be remembered for, and which roles would you like to just kind of forget?

V. D’Onofrio A lot of them I’d like to forget.

Kathryn Erbe in Mighty Ducks 2

Kathryn Erbe in Mighty Ducks 2

K. Erbe The Mighty Ducks 2.

Q: Vincent, what about you?

V. D’Onofrio
Can I just say most of them?

K. Erbe You would not say that, you’re being sarcastic.

V. D’Onofrio
Rather than name them? Because I don’t want to like insult the filmmakers.

Q: No, that’s okay. That’s all right.

K. Erbe Yes, I even feel bad that I even said Mighty Ducks 2, because some people liked that movie.

Q: That’s okay, I’ll delete it from my memory banks. But Kathryn, I do have one more question for you: Goren is always touted as being this unstable genius and the brains of the partnership, and sometimes you’re there to be like the dry witness conscience. Are you okay with this role, or do you think Eames deserves more respect?

K. Erbe
Sometimes I get a lot to do, Eames has a lot to do, and sometimes she doesn’t. I’ve fought for the whole time for her to have more of an impact on the work that they’re doing, and it’s gone up and down. I like being the dry wit. I wish I actually did more of that these days. The humor has kind of gone out of the character and so I would like to find a way to bring that back.

Q: I think you guys need some more episodes like Vanishing Act.

K. Erbe Yes –

V. D’Onofrio Which one was that?

K. Erbe
Was that the magician one?

V. D’Onofrio
Oh, okay.

K. Erbe
Was that the magician one? I think it was. I can’t Google it because I’m on my phone.

Q This is for both of you: What got you started in acting in the first place?

V. D’Onofrio I was introduced to it by my dad at a very young age, because he was always involved in community theater and stuff. So I used to run lights and sound and stuff like that for plays and things. But I really didn’t think of acting until I guess I was like 18, and then – I don’t know, it just – I just thought I’d try it out. I don’t really know why. I think it was just in my life, really. I think it’s my dad’s fault. So I just thought I would give acting school in New York, in Manhattan, a try, so I did. And then I guess I just caught the bug and went for it.

Q: I just wanted to follow up on some of the stuff you guys have been saying. Vincent, Kathryn said that if you’d known it was going to be eight seasons, they probably wouldn’t have been able to lock you into the character. Why – I guess I have to ask – how have the managed to keep you two on and interested for so long, especially you, Vincent? You’ve certainly looked for a lot of variety in your film roles. Is it a love of the characters or is it a comfort zone or are they writing you the big checks, or is it a combination of all three?

V. D’Onofrio For me it’s a combination of all three.

K. Erbe Yes, for me too.

V. D’Onofrio I have a lot of freedom because of Law & Order. I have a lot of creative freedom. I have a lot of creative freedom on the show and I have a lot of creative freedom with my own time to do other films and do anything I want, so – it’s a very good situation.

K. Erbe Yes, and it gives us a structure for our lives. I mean, as actors, I never – I was ready to give up acting because I could not handle never knowing when I would have a paycheck or where the job would be, where it would take me; and having a daughter and now my son, I just couldn’t – it was just too hard of a life. And this gives us a – when we have time off, we know that it’s time off; it’s not time out of work, looking for other work.

And it’s really such an amazing experience to work with the same people for this length of time. It’s challenging and it’s so gratifying to know everybody’s families and – it’s just a very different experience from the sort of crash and burn of going from one job to another and really never knowing – this like gypsy lifestyle, never knowing where you’re going to be when. So it’s a very different, much more stable, if it’s even possible to say that – a stable environment.

Q: You were just mentioning creative freedom. I was wondering, I know it’s been a couple of years now, but has moving to cable and the USA Network sort of freed the show up to do different things that they couldn’t necessarily do in the – at NBC?

V. D’Onofrio I don’t think so. I think it’s exactly the same, right?

K. Erbe Yes. Because they show them on NBC too, so –

V. D’Onofrio I think the only change that I know, I think there’s like a minute – the episodes are like a minute longer or something like that, something silly like that.

Q: All right. And we have an older interview with Eric Bogosian. I’m a big fan of his.

V. D’Onofrio
Me, too.

Q: What’s he like to work with and is he going to be doing anything this season?

V. D’Onofrio He’s going to – yes, he’s doing lots.

K. Erbe
Yes. We just got him out in the woods last night in the rain.

V. D’Onofrio We located a girl in the woods with the captain last night.

K. Erbe Yes. He comes out a lot more this season than he ever has, I think. He was wondering really why he wanted to do that, when we were standing out in the middle of the woods in the rain.

Q: I have another question for both of you: What kind of advice would you give to new young actors coming up as far as what kind of education they should get and how they should pursue an acting career.

K. Erbe What would you say, Vin?

V. D’Onofrio I think when I was younger I would have said go to like a private acting school or something like that, but I think that these days, the drama departments and the universities are so great that I think that’s the way to go.

K. Erbe Get an education.

V. D’Onofrio Get an education. Go into the drama department, whatever, film department, or just like the arts section of a university and – start there, study there. And then after that, go to the city you want to live in, like L.A. or New York and then try to be – then try to get jobs. Do theater and stuff. But when I was younger I would have said just go straight to the city and take an acting class and try to get jobs. But I think these days – I’ve been checking out universities and stuff and I know some teachers and some teachers that teach writing, film writing, and I know some drama teachers and – they’re all really good teachers, so – I’m swaying towards that now.

Q: Your characters have a pretty complex and interesting relationship. After all they’ve been through, what would you like to see happen between them during this season?

K. Erbe I personally am very happy because this season we’re back on the same page. I, for some reason, really like that, when they’re on the same team and they’re just on the path together. Although it makes for probably a more interesting show when we’re at odds or going in different directions, I personally like that; and this season we were working together.

Q: Vincent?

V. D’Onofrio Yes, I agree with Kate, what she said. I think there’s nothing left to argue about, really. I think it depends on what the writers come up with. If they can come up with another good conflict between us, then most likely it will be cool to do. But I agree with what Kate said.

Q: We’re just curious to know if you had a favorite episode or onscreen moment from the coming season so far.

K. Erbe I would have to say that in the episode that is going to be on Sunday night, Kathy Baker and Scott Cohen, their characters, when they were in the interrogation room at the end when she kind of grabbed him and –

V. D’Onofrio
Oh, yes.

K. Erbe
— pressed him to her – to her chest and tried to comfort him after screaming at him, they were fantastic. It was very twisted and – I mean, we’ve had a lot, but that one really sticks out in my mind.

V. D’Onofrio Yes. He turned into this big baby right in front of her eyes. It was awesome.

K. Erbe Oh, such a baby. Yes.

V. D’Onofrio It was really good. So I guess it was somebody else’s screen moment that we liked most.

K. Erbe I guess. Can you think of one that was ours?

V. D’Onofrio No, I can’t. I think you’re exactly right, that was very entertaining.

K. Erbe It was very entertaining.

Both Kathryn and Vincent responded that they have no interest in directing or writing an episode of LNO- their work acting in this show is enough though Kathryn may be interested in directing something else.

Q: Do either of you have any new, I guess, acting projects coming up?

K. Erbe You have lots, right, Vin?

V. D’Onofrio

K. Erbe You did like 17 films on the last hiatus – directed, starred.

V. D’Onofrio
That’s good, I’ll talk about that. I directed a film over the summer, a kind of new genre that I invented, slasher musical. I just finished it, and we’re taking it to L.A. in a week to sell to a distributor, so it’ll probably be out sometime, I hope, soon. I have a movie, The Narrows, coming out, and a movie called Staten Island coming out that I acted in – both of those. And that’s all.

K. Erbe And I have a movie with Edie Falco and Elias Koteas called Three Backyards.

Q: Vincent, I have a question about the very end of the last season, after Vincent or Goren realized that his nemesis had been killed and it was for his benefit – do you know what I’m talking about? – and he’s sitting with that professor. And you kind of looked at the end, when he said, “I did it to free you,” basically, and you got that look on your face like, you got it. And I was wondering if we’re going to be seeing now in this season a change in you or a kind of a freeing in your character because of this action.

V. D’Onofrio It’s nice that you saw it that way, because that’s the way I wanted you to see it, so it’s – yes. I wanted it to kind of be a freeing thing so that I could treat the next season fresh, so it could be a guy trying to keep his stuff together, do his job; and so what’s interesting about this kind of storytelling is that we always have that – like, the audiences that watch our show, if they’re fans of the show, then they know that that’s part of the learning. So even if we don’t mention it or I just show this kind of earnest cop trying to do his thing throughout the season, the season previous to that or other things in the previous years, they’re still present, because people are fans of the show and they know that that’s the guy they’re watching that went through all that stuff. So, yes, that’s what I did, and that’s what I’m doing now.

Q: How do you feel about the new writing team this season? Are you pleased with your episodes?

V. D’Onofrio It’s tough to – always tough when we switch writers to – it’s all – these last eight years have been just experience after experience, learning experience after learning experience, and it’s quite a business. To be a performer on a television show, you get a lot of curve balls thrown at you and you have to deal with them, and you know that the show has to be shot so you do your best to contribute and make it the best show you can. But you get thrown curve balls, like a new writing crew, and – who have never written for you and they’re trying their hardest to get it right, and they’re in a position where they have to get it right fairly quickly, because there are shows to shoot and to air, and so it’s tough. It takes a while.

But the great thing about is that they’re all talented people and everybody’s scripts are getting better and better, and what we’ve been talking about for the last few minutes is these great things about this season already. So there have been some amazing things already this season. But it’s tough. It’s tough to get new writers. And they’re great people and so we’re – this show is – this last show that we did was great, and it’s a good season so far, so we’re happy.

K. Erbe

Q: The show seems to have completely dropped the law end of it, is that ever coming back? Or has it just kind of gone by the wayside?

K. Erbe We miss Courtney. ( Courtney B Vance- recently seen on ER) But we haven’t been in court at all this year, not once. I didn’t even think about that.

V. D’Onofrio No, it’s been just straight out catch the bad guy, political – we’ve been involved in politics of big corporations and stuff like that. It’s that kind of season. But we haven’t been – no, I think we do less of the law part, I think you’re right. I mean, as you know, it never really focused on that very much anyway, but – one of the cool things about having an ADA in the show is that you have to actually answer to somebody. Because there’s this kind of tension between the captain and the two detectives, but there’s a certain kind of tension between the detectives and the assistant district attorney and that’s fun to play. So we don’t get to do that often anymore.

K. Erbe

J. Ruby I just want to ask Vincent, what’s the name of your slasher musical, so we can look out for it?

V. D’Onofrio
It’s called Don’t Go in the Woods.

Q Okay, that sounds interesting.

K. Erbe
It is. It’s very good.
April 2009

Sep. 26th, 2009

Source: ausiellofiles.ew.com
NBC is finally confirming what I first hinted at last week: Vincent D’Onofrio is exiting Law & Order: CI. He’ll say good-bye in the show’s two-part season 9 premiere, at which time he’ll pass the baton to co-star Jeff Goldblum.
Law & Order: Criminal Intent -USA NETWORK
Vincent D'Onofrio

Kathryn Erbe, Eric Bogosian also out

as Jeff Goldblum takes over.

By Elizabeth Guider and Roger Friedman

Sept 24, 2009, 11:00 PM ET

"Law & Order: Criminal Intent" is planning dramatic cast changes for next season, with four regulars, including star Vincent D'Onofrio, departing.

D'Onofrio is expected to exit sometime during the series' upcoming ninth season, handing over his badge to Jeff Goldblum as the top detective on the major case squad.

Kathryn Erbe, who, like D'Onofrio, has been with the show since its beginning and plays his long-suffering partner Alex Eames, also will be phased out, as will Eric Bogosian, who plays the force's captain, Danny Ross.

As previously reported, Julianne Nicholson, who played Goldblum's partner but has just had a baby, her second, also is leaving. She's being replaced by British actress Saffron Burrows.

Details about D'Onofrio, Erbe and Bogosian's exit are still unclear as the actors' deals are being worked out. The network only recently renewed the Wolf Films/Universal Cable Prods. series for a ninth season, slated to premiere in late spring with a two-parter.

Creator and executive producer Dick Wolf has long said that it is the stories, and not the actors, that form the core attraction of his "Law & Order" franchise.

Yet, like Sam Waterston on the original "L&O," D'Onofrio has long been identified with "Criminal Intent" and has helped set its tone as Det. Robert Goren. His trademark gesture, the in-your-face tilt of his head when he interrogates criminals, is a highlight of each episode, as is his encyclopedic knowledge of the arcane that often helps in fingering the suspect.

But, after originating on NBC, "L&O:CI" migrated to sibling USA, which has put together a cluster of dramas that are lighter in tone and subject matter and have more quirkily upbeat characters, as in "Monk," "Psych" and "Burn Notice."

Goldblum, who brings an easy eccentricity to most of his work, is more in the tradition of Tony Shalhoub's "Monk" than D'Onofrio's brooding and tortured Goren.

Additionally, cost savings always factor in production equations these days, with long-standing actors on a show, like D'Onofrio and Erbe, pulling in substantially more than more recent additions.

The sweeping cast changes on "CI" resemble the 2003 shakeup on ABC's "The Practice" when several key actors, including lead Dylan McDermott, Lara Flynn Boyle and Kelli Williams, were let go as a way to slash production costs.

The "CI" changes also represent the biggest shift so far for a show that has seen a number of faces come and go since it began in 2001. For several years, Chris Noth, who played detective Mike Logan, has alternated with D'Onofrio in the top role. He exited the Wolf fold at the end of the 2008 season and is now recurring on the CBS freshman series "The Good Wife."

While D'Onofrio is departing as a regular, it is possible for him to reprise his character in guest stints.

Elizabeth Guider reported from Los Angeles; Roger Friedman reported from New York.

It is sad to see that Vincent and Kathryn will no longer be on Criminal Intent but I am looking forward to their continued presence in Movies. 

Cross fingers we may see Vincent go back to the stage, wouldn't that be great if we were able to see him LIVE on stage.


"Law & Order" Ditching

D'Onofrio, Erbe, Bogosian
By Roger Friedman
September 25, 2009

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - It's shake-up time for "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

Sources from the "L&O" galaxy say that stars Vincent D'Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe and Eric Bogosian are expected to be phased out at various points during the series' upcoming ninth season.

Julianne Nicholson already has departed because she is having a baby. Executive producer Dick Wolf is turning to Jeff Goldblum, who joined the cast last season, to remain as lead detective in the series, along with Saffron Burrows, who was recently cast to replace Nicholson as Goldblum's partner.

It's a big change for a show that has weathered a lot of casting shifts since it began in 2001. D'Onofrio and Erbe have been there since the beginning, and Bogosian joined in 2006. Since then, the original pair have had to make room for Nicholson and Chris Noth, who left last year. Goldblum arrived in 2008.

D'Onofrio has been popular in his role. But "L&O:CI" is a USA Network show, after running on sister channel NBC. And USA, insiders point out, prefers lighter fare. Compared with D'Onofrio, Goldblum is more in the tradition of Tony Shalhoub's comic-dramatic "Monk."

Details about D'Onofrio, Erbe and Bogosian's exits are still unclear as the actors' deals are being worked out. It's possible that D'Onofrio will reprise his character in guest stints.

The network only recently renewed the series for a ninth season, slated to premiere in late spring with a two-part episode.

(Editing by SheriLinden at Reuters)

IMDB site for Vincent >Detective Robert Goren (131 episodes, 2001-2009)