Michael Weatherly recently visited Dubrovnik as part of the New Europe Market congress, the largest gathering of TV and media professionals in the region, which this was held in the Hotel Dubrovnik Palace from the 12th to the 15th of June. Weatherly is probably best known as the character Anthony DiNozzo from the popular television series NCIS, however he is also the star of the latest CBS smash hit Bull. Weatherly’s wife, Bojana Janković, has roots from the region and together with their two young children they certainly made the most of their time in the city. We caught up with Weatherly (we couldn’t stop calling him DiNozzo), to find out what his impressions were of Dubrovnik and his advice to budding actors looking to get their first break. To say he was relaxed would be an understatement, he ever performed an impromptu striptease for our cameraman.
We have already been spotted in an ice-cream shop in Dubrovnik, is this your first time here and what are your impressions? Yes, it is my first time in Dubrovnik. My wife however has been here before when she was a younger girl, but she hasn’t been for many years. We were both in Montenegro a couple of year ago and travelled around the region but this is my first time here. I have been dying to come here because I have a good friend who is an actress from Croatia and she has always been persuading me to come. I have to say she is right – it is incredibly beautiful. The Old City is kept so clean, I have never seen stone so polished in my life.
What was your first impression as you walked into the Old City for the first time? It is a remarkable city. It was great seeing it for the first time with my children. My son said “it’s a castle” and then my daughter added “no, it’s a town but the castle must be nearby.” Then they were off searching for the castle.
What are the pitfalls of being famous, is it annoying not being able to go anywhere incognito? To my amazement and great, great appreciation DiNozzo is a character that has resonated with viewers. We had made many seasons of NCIS before it actually became popular internationally. So I had the pleasure of totally anonymity for a very long time and it wasn’t until I was in my late thirties that I had the sensation of being famous. It freaks my wife out a bit more than me. I think I had a long time to think about the status of being famous. On a practical level it takes longer to get through airports. Thank god for the fans of the show because without them we wouldn’t be where we are now. It never bothers me or frustrates me. I feel terrible for people who become famous when they are in their teens, it must be much harder for them to cope. I had a full, proper life before I became famous, so I guess it was easier for me to cope with stardom.
You aren’t worried about the prying eyes of the paparazzi if you caught in a compromising situation? Well, I am very boring. That would be exciting...I would love to find myself in a compromising situation.
Are there any roles that you would love to do? When I was a young actor, I was 21 and had a manager in New York who I has just signed with, she sent me to the local cinema to watch as many films as possible. After that she asked what roles resonated with you. I came back and said I didn’t really find any, I didn’t see myself in any of the movies. We spent a couple of weeks really digging into that and that’s when she realised that I was much more comfortable watching Steve Martin movies, Cary Grant movies and David Letterman and that I was somewhere between a comedian, a talk show host and an actor from the 1940’s. Which didn’t really do me much good in the 1990’s. When I look at it now I am sort of the same way. There is so much horror and strangeness in the world that I kind of enjoy taking the load off a little bit. I am just trying to be me, if other people see me as castable in something that’s great. I tend to feel like an underdog in many ways, which is to say that I feel like I am still realising a lot of things. I would really like to play a character that we have been trying to develop, who is a journalist. They say in twenty-two episode television that journalists can’t be the hero, as they aren’t the story they are simply reacting to the actual story. But I think in the new world we live in, were journalists are more important than ever, they become part of the story.
What advice do you have to up and coming actors to get their big break? Yes, I have two pieces of advice. Firstly be yourself, don’t try to be what other people think you should be. And I think this important in all roles of life. Don’t force yourself to be different; don’t convince people that you are this other version of yourself. You are you, and you are authentic and interesting in your own way and whatever you choose to do it was always be more successful in you are you. And then the second thing is to prepare. If you have to be on set at 7am and you have to leave your house at 6am don’t wake up at a quarter to six. Get up at 5am, make a pot of coffee, have a nice long shower and a peaceful time to yourself, get relaxed before the working day.