William Fichtner

William Fichtner

William Fichtner reprises the role of Carl Hickman in season 2 of Crossing Lines, as he returns to television.

We caught up with Fichtner to chat about the show, his character and what lies ahead for the actor.

- You are about to return with series two of Crossing Lines, so what can we expect from the show this time around?

Even as an actor on the show, you always wonder ‘where are we going to go now?’ What they did in the second season... we are a crime show; we are a group that comes together and tackles cross-boarder crime. Our creator Ed Bernero really dove in the second season and he really has woven in how some of the crimes touch certain people and their lives personally.

My highlight for the second season is that everyone gets a little bit deeper into who they are and why they are there in the first place. For my character, Carl Hickman, he is re-connected with his former partner from New York called Amanda Andrews, and she is played by Carrie-Anne Moss. She is amazing. To have her come in this season and have a nice arc to our season, which was my personal highlight of the entire year.

Not only did she have a professional relationship with Carl, but also a personal one and we have been able to explore that a bit. It’s not just for Hickman it’s for everyone, as we explore elements of who the characters are.

I love that because I don’t think that people tune in to a television show to watch the crime of the week, I think they tune in to watch the characters who are dealing with the crime of the week. The more you know about them makes is strong and better, and that is what is going to happen in the second series.

- Just going back to the beginning of the show for a moment, what was it about the character of Carl Hickman and the script that initially drew you to the project?

The creator Ed Bernero was a show runner for a long time on Criminal Minds and is a former Chicago police officer, so he really does come from that background.

He just happens to figure out in the middle of his life that he could write - and write really well. From the moment that I read the first two episodes of the first season, I felt that Ed really had a handle on this character of Carl Hickman: you can really feel that as an actor.

You find out about a character by what you read in the script. That is all the pieces of the puzzle, everything that happens before that first page of the first script defines who a guy is. You don’t figure out who a character is in the first episode, he is already there and you have to get to know him. I felt that Ed put so much into that character I episode one of season one, and for an actor, that is a joy. You are not having to search around for he answers to the questions, they are in there.

That drew me to it right away, as he was such a well-defined character: he was fractured and had plenty of problems, but that was all part of what was really exciting. Just reading the script filled in so many of the blanks for me.

- I was going to ask you about Ed. You really do feel that everything he knows about that world has been put into the script and the characters. So how have you found working with him?

I love working with Ed. I love having the opportunity to... and he teases me about this sometimes... and I have said to Ed ‘I have just read episode eight and that big scene between this character and that character, I have to tell you, you can do better. I really think that there is an opportunity here for this and this and this’.

He is a master at this and I am the guy who trying to make his words work and be realised, but it’s great to have a collaboration with someone. He has given me so much that is so right.

You are working on one episode and you are getting the script two days before you have finished shooting one episode and starting shooing another. Is it tough on an actor? Sure, it is not cancer research, but we are ready, we are there, and we are doing the best that we can. But it is also tough on the writers.

Every time they look at that script, I know that they are seeing changes. It is great to have that relationship where you can just say ‘I think this could be better’ or ‘I think this could change’ and ‘I think we could go deeper on this’ and twenty four hours he comes back and he has knocked it out of the park.

- Throughout your acting career you have been in some pretty big television shows such as Prison Break, so what made you want to return to TV?

It’s not like a game plan or anything. I never say ‘I only want to do things like this’, I am not that sort of actor. I don’t have that grand plan - some do, but I don’t - I am really a character guy. When it came to Crossing Lines, a lot of it came down to where it was and the experience that I wanted to have with wife and my two sons.

I live in LA now, and it is not like working on The Lone Ranger in New Mexico and flying home or working on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in New York and flying home in between and spending time alone in a hotel: which I do like to do because it means that you are thinking about the role.

This was different. This was eight thousand miles away and a nine-hour time change. I had been to Prague before with my wife. I said to Ed Burnero and the executive producer, ‘I love the show and I love the character but if this doesn’t work for me and the Mrs, I am just not going to do it.’ Therefore, this really was a decision that came down to me and my darling: we just said ‘ok let’s do it’ and away we went. I am so glad that I did.

- There is a very international feel to Crossing Lines - you have shot all over Europe - how much do you think that sets it apart from other crime dramas?

I think it truly does. The bottom line is, if it’s not on the page then it’s not on the stage, it really is all about the writing: you have to have good storytelling. However, there are many elements that make a television show work.

One of them is definitely the feel and the look of if. Back in the States, they shot CSI: New York in LA: every few weeks they would go to New York for some pick-up shots to give it the feel. But you can tell. But with Crossing Lines, if there is something in the script about drug dealers being on the Mediterranean, then we go to the Mediterranean and we shoot the show.

I love that we get to do that. It’s Europe, and the potential to move around is so much easier than being back in the States. We are in Prague, but if you get on the plane and fly for an hour, you could be in a dozen countries: we take advantage of that. It is a little bit more expensive to travel around but the show is committed to that, as it is part of the look and the feel of the show. I am really proud that is it part of the DNA that we maintain.

- We have seen a real surge in TV in recent years with some great writers making some terrific shows. How do you think TV compares to film at the moment?

Television in the last few years is sparkling and has been amazing, but that is for many different reasons. There are people who can speak better to this than I, but you can be an average Joe like myself, look around and think ‘wow, we are here on Amazon Prime and you can get the show when you want it’. That is the future of television: it’s not even the future, it’s right now.

A few months ago, my wife wanted to watch a series that had just wrapped after five seasons, and she watched it in two weeks. It really does fit into your timeframe and I think that has a lot to do with television.

It’s also original programming; it’s not like in America thirty year ago when it was ABC, CBS and NBC, now there is original programming on a hundred or two hundred stations.

It allows people to go in all sorts of eclectic directions: there is an audience out there; you just need to find it. The title ‘Golden Age of Television’ is well deserved but it is not a fluke: there is so much programming out there that is worthy to be seen.

Do I think it has eclipsed the film world? No. I think the experience of going to sit in a movie theatre, with a hundred foot screen and a bucket of popcorn on a Saturday afternoon is something all of its own; and I hope it always will be.

- Away from Crossing Lines, you are currently enjoying success with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - which has topped the U.S. box office. So how did that role come about?

I was getting on a plane in Santa Fe, New Mexico when my manger called me and said ’when you get home there is a script, and I really hope you like it because if you do, you are leaving in two days’. That is really how it happened. I checked in with my nieces and nephews - who all grew up in the eighties - and told them I have been offered a role in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and they were like ’you have to do it’.

I saw the movie for the first time two weeks ago - I don’t often get the chance to see things I work on - and it is really good (laughs). I’m not surprised, but then again I am because I didn’t grow up with the whole turtle thing.

I remember them being more cartoonish for the kids. When I saw the movie I thought ’if you liked the cartoon as a kid, you are going to love it that it comes to life’. I was very impressed with the movie and what they did with it. It was really great.

- Finally, what's next for you going through the rest of this year?

I don’t know. I don’t know what is around the corner. Do you know? Do you have something for me? (laughs). The home base for Crossing Line is Prague in the Czech Republic and we are going to find out soon if a third season of Crossing Lines is going to happen.

Regardless, I am back in Prague with my wife: we have lived there for two going on three years now and I am excited to continue my Prague adventure.

Crossing Lines Season 2 can be streamed exclusively now on Amazon Prime Instant Video.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
find me on and follow me on