"There's a lot of stuff going on and great directors, super, super tight scripts. I'm as excited for it to come out as the fans of the show are for it to come out." - Titus Welliver, actor, Bosch, Lost, Sons of Anarchy, Agents of SHIELD
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ABOUT TITUS WELLIVER:
Titus Welliver returns to the podcast for the second time to talk about the newest season of Bosch. Premiering on Amazon Prime TV on April 17, 2020, Season 6 finds Detective Harry Bosch picking up the pieces from last season, and dealing with a whole new threat. Plus, hear all about working with his four legged co-star, Coltrane the dog, and more. Don't forget to check out the first time Titus was on the podcast too, where he details just how he got the part in Bosch, and how he started acting.
Jeff: Titus, thank you so much for joining me on the show and in the state of the world, the way that we've been the last few episodes that I've been dealing with and talking to people, I just want to start off by asking how are you doing? Are you healthy? Are you sane? Is everything okay?
Titus Welliver: Well, my sanity is always in question, so it doesn't take a pandemic to push me over the edge but no, no. Good. I mean, I'm home in Venice, California, and two of my three kids are home. My middle son Quinn came out for spring break and got stranded here, but he's not too upset because his girlfriend lives out here. But of course, we are separately quarantined. So they're doing a lot of FaceTime and phone conversations. And both of my kids are having to do their schooling, of course, with the Zoom thing which is a brave new world. But everybody, it's kind of counterintuitive to how we exist in the world.
Titus Welliver: Typically, I go to work in the morning and shoot, and they go to school and do their thing. And my girlfriend does her thing and then we all kind of come together, but it's concentrated. It's interesting to say the least, but I think it is what it is. I mean, there's no alternative other than doing what everyone's doing because we've not seen anything like this, not to the extent. And I think it's just really about people accepting it and it's not easy, but it's just a question of accepting it and the globe will get through this, but obviously it's kind of scary. And how are you and your wife doing?
Jeff: We're doing good. We've been sequestered now for, this will be the fifth week isolated at home. But I'm the same way with you. It's scary. It's different. Especially going to the supermarket or going to places where there's tons of people all the time, like downtown Saratoga would be teeming with life and it just isn't. But I look at it like maybe this will ... We're all going to come out of this, we're all going to come out of this together, we're all going to come see the other side of it. And when we do, hopefully we'll all be better for it. I look at like the last time the world dealt with this was like the Spanish flu, and we didn't have the ability of doing what we're doing right now, connecting over the internet and being able to do that.
Jeff: I know I'm so lucky to be able to have a job where I can work from home. I know you can't say the same, and it's really this unifying factor across humanity where we're all going to have to change, we're all going to have to look at things differently. I've been laughing with people actually. I'm always that guy who, say like there's a kick ass rock band coming to my area, or a live play or something like that, 50% of the time I'm like, "I'll catch it next time. I'm tired today. I'll catch it the next time it comes around." I'm never going to say that again.
Titus Welliver: No, no, no. No way. No, I so agree. It's funny because I got tickets for my eldest son and I to go see the Deftones here in LA in August. And I was thinking, "God, please let things flatten out." I know that seems maybe oddly inappropriate, but just the idea of getting ... But then there's also the trepidation of going back into a giant social gathering like that. I think this will also change the way that that's done. But I think if anything also, it gives us a deeper appreciation of that which we have, our freedom of mobility and that, and the stuff that we obviously take for granted, going to the supermarket and not having to sort of fear that we're going to get a deadly illness. It's crazy. It's crazy. I mean, you see this stuff and we watch it in movies like Contagion, Andromeda Strain and it's like, "Wow, that's scary." But here we are. We're in it.
Jeff: Yeah. And I read an interesting article the other day and I wanted to hear your thoughts on it too. Speaking of someone who is in the industry of Hollywood, and you were mentioning movies like Andromeda Strain and 28 Days Later and Outbreak. I love that Netflix put Outbreak on as soon as this all hit too. I thought that was choice move. But those types of movies, obviously, we're probably not going to be getting those for a little bit, because nobody's going to want to go escape into a movie that's so close to real life.
Jeff: And after the terrible times of the Spanish Flu in the early 1900s, and then after the stock market crash and everything that people were dealing with in the very early 1900s up until the 1940s, it shifted the industry of radio and TV, and then eventually movies and stuff. And a lot of slapstick comedy came out and a lot of that escapism. Do you think that the industry might shift that way, and we might see more of a saturation of the opposite side of like sci-fi and drama, and that kind of thing?
Titus Welliver: No, I think so. If you look at the industry that way, I mean, certainly during the Vietnam War, there were not a lot of Vietnam films. I mean, movies like The Deer Hunter, and Go Tell the Spartans and Apocalypse Now we're fairly after the fact. And then we became inundated with the sort of psycho Vietnam vet characters in films, they became sort of the boogeyman which I always thought was a weird commentary, because here are people who went and fought this war to come back damaged and rather than trying to help them, now they're the Michael Myers of entertainment or [inaudible 00:06:36] the vet when these people put their lives in harm's way to, of course, what we now know is for not legitimate reasons. But either way, that never takes away from the valor of those characters.
Titus Welliver: And I think for instance, La La Land is kind of a perfect example, that after the election certainly for liberals in this country, there was such a kind of depression that set in that people didn't want to go and see certain films. They wanted pure escapism, and so La La Land and Stranger Things, those were the two big things and because it was pure escapism. And I think it will. I don't think that people, they're not going to want to see movies about plagues and contagions, and things like that. It's going to be a long time before we see anybody cranking that out, and with the exception of maybe vampire films, which I've always felt are kind of analogous anyway to play, and zombies of course.
Titus Welliver: But I don't think zombies are never going to go away. They seem to have an incredible shelf life. But I think we will see more light hearted entertainment coming along. I mean, we always need some of the darkness for this and you look now what's going on, and I guarantee you that shows like Hunters, and Bosch, and Ozark and Tiger King. Tiger King is kind of a little bit of that crazy bit of escapist entertainment because you sit, it's like a car wreck but it's wildly entertaining.
Titus Welliver: But then you do, you sit and you tuck into a show like Ozark which is intense, and it's dark and its characters are kind of duplicitous, and you're sort of ... But it all plays into that. Myself, I'm just rewatching Star Wars. I'm watching a lot of science fiction just because for me, it's kind of my lullaby. I'll even put on old episodes of Space: 1999 to go to sleep to. I'd rather be in outer space right now. And of course, Disney Plus is a revolution. It's pure crack for guys like you and I.
Titus Welliver: I discovered the Silver Surfer cartoon on Disney Plus the other night.
Jeff: So good.
Titus Welliver: So good. The Clone Wars, and old 80s cartoons like Spider Man and Friends, and Spider Woman, and all this. I mean, that's where I'm leaning more. I'm watching a lot of cartoons man, because that's where my head's at right now.
Jeff: Yeah, mine too. Actually, it's funny you mentioned Star Wars. Star Wars is always a staple. It's always in my CD player if it was a CD. It's always in the rotation especially with Disney Plus, and I'm such a big fan. Both my wife and I are, that I've watched probably let's say 50 random episodes of Clone Wars in my lifetime, and now that I had Disney Plus and they've announced there's going to be this whole connection to the next season of Mandalorian and everything, we just started from the beginning. We're like, "Okay, let's just ... We're stuck at home, we want something comforting," and it's just like, "Well, I want seven seasons of Clone Wars. I'm in."
Titus Welliver: The Mandalorian is a revelation. I mean, it's brilliant. Pedro Pascal and I go back. He played my Lieutenant on The Good Wife, and I'm happy for his success and I'm just happy for the success of that. Well, I just think it's ... Favreau has done and company have done an amazing job. I've rewatched the series four times and it's just the gift that keeps giving. And Rebels is also a great ... I mean, at first I thought these are going to be kitty shows and I thought it was going to be like Ewoks and Droids, although they both have value. And I sat down and binge watched all the seasons of Rebels. Superb. So good. So good.
Jeff: Yes. I love that we're just getting these new ideas from properties that have been around for decades. It's a great time to be alive even if we're all stuck at home. Speaking of being stuck at home, one of the things that I'm so excited to be talking to you right now while we're talking, is this Friday is season six premiere of Bosch. You mentioned Bosch earlier. So exciting.
Titus Welliver: Yeah man. I think you'll dig it. I don't want to say it's necessarily a departure, but the scope, the scale of this season is really, really big because we find ourselves in the ... In the first episode, Harry gets called out on a homicide at the Overlook up by the Hollywood sign. This guy has been killed execution style and through the process of investigation, discover that the victim had gone and obtained this radioactive material called cesium. And it's been stolen and the intent is to use it to create some sort of a dirty nuke device. Now it can't be used ... The properties don't allow it to manufacturer like a thermonuclear device, like a backpack nuke, but a dirty bomb that which if the water supply of LA was exposed to it or something like that, even the city if it was dispersed in certain ways, would make the city and certainly the water supply untouchable for 300 years because of the nature of the radioactive material.
Titus Welliver: So Bosch and Edgar are forced to work with the FBI and that's, as you know, it's a contentious relationship. He has no trust of the FBI whatsoever, and they construe him as being kind of a loose cannon and a cop with a checkered past, and they have to work together. But Bosch is, the panic button is on but they don't want to alert the public to the fact that this is a possibility. So it's all kind of on the down low, but Bosch is still proceeding and dealing with it as a straight homicide case, because his belief is catch the killers, you'll find the cesium. So it's an interesting dynamic because the stakes are as high as they could possibly be, but he's still doing his thing. So it's high peril.
Titus Welliver: It's good stuff and it's also a continuation from the previous season, where as we close in season five when Coltrane, when the dog came back that he rescued and Harry's opening up the box to the cold case of Daisy Clayton, he's working that case. And that's the case, for obvious reasons it's close to him being that Daisy Clayton was a street kid, not unlike himself and because she was part of the marginalized part of society, that the effort to obtain justice for her to get the killer was slacked off, and it's really good. It's a really good season. I'm very proud of it.
Jeff: I can't wait. And there's a lot to unpack from what you just said. I want to start by asking, the last time we had you on the show, we talked about how one of the most incredible things about Bosch as a production, is how close you guys have worked with the LAPD and the LA detectives to really get all the details down. So this season, having to do that Poland tape with the FBI, did you pull in any FBI consultation?
Titus Welliver: No, we didn't just because a lot of that procedural stuff is kind of known and the writers, they do their homework so they have a strong sense. But we have two amazing robbery homicide detectives that have worked with the Feds on many, many occasions. They have a really, really strong knowledge of how that plays out and protocols, and things like that. But it creates for some really interesting tension because there's mistrust between them, and yet they still have to set some of that aside for the greater good, which is potentially Los Angeles becoming uninhabitable for 300 years. And Harry's up to his usual stuff. He doesn't suffer fools. He's no more laid back than he was, and so there's good tension there.
Titus Welliver: And then we also have the subplot stuff, the continuation of Jerry Edgar still dealing with these bad guys from Haiti and dirty cops, and Chief Irving and Maddie. Maddie has gone to clerk for Honey Chandler which presents its own challenges, despite the fact that she defended and helped Bosch out in the previous season, and they had a kind of Mea Culpa. He doesn't want Maddie to be too drawn in or to be too enamored, because he still sees Chandler as someone whose moral compass is flawed. There's a lot of stuff going on and great directors, super, super tight scripts. I'm as excited for it to come out as the fans of the show are for it to come out.
Jeff: That's so rad. I have to ask too because you brought them up, my wife and I just rewatch all season five to get ready for season six just as the refresher course. And that final episode, that final scene when Coltrane comes back because it's such a trick on the audience like, "Is he there?" And he finally comes back and now we obviously know that Coltrane is going to be in season six. How great is it to work with that dog?
Titus Welliver: Well, he's great. And that was an idea that I came up with, and when I initially had gone to Connelly and Company, I said, "Look, I have this idea that when Bosch is undercover and he's at this compound in the Salton Sea, that he encounters this feral dog and the dog ultimately is sort of symbolic of Harry. I mean, it's sort of Harry's spiritual animal, in that here's a creature not unlike Harry when he was on the streets as a kid that has managed to survive, and that ultimately," I said, "so the relationship occurs that Harry recognizes this dog as it's sort of as a kindred spirit, he rescues the dog. To a certain degree, he comes between one of the bad guys and the dog, when the guy wants to kill the dog."
Titus Welliver: "The dog ultimately sort of returns the favor twofold, alerting him to the presence of the first bad guy that tries to come and shove him when he's on the bus, and then when the three bad guys show up for the big showdown to kill Harry in his house." So there was some hemming and hawing and then they kind of went, "You know what? This is a good idea." And I'm very grateful that they decided to do it. And I said, "But I really think this has got to be a hardy animal. And I think it should be an Australian Cattle Dog, because we need to believe that this creature could survive and that's a robust creature." So then I remember getting the first draft of the final episode, in which it was left that just Harry's alone in the house and he opens up the Daisy Clayton box, and flips through the murder book and we smashed to black.
Titus Welliver: And I called up the writer and I went, "Well, wait a minute, wait a minute. No, no. Where's the thing with the dog?" Because I also said the dog should run away when they come, and so that way it creates some level of peril for the dog. The audience will go, "Wait a minute, where's the dog?" But we got to bring the dog back. I said, "If you don't have that dog come back, people are going to just say, forget it. That's an Old Yeller scenario. Don't do that." And I had posted pictures on Twitter early on when we cast the dog. And if you saw on Twitter, I mean, endless posts that people said, "If anything happens to that dog, I will never watch the show."
Titus Welliver: And I just thought that it was also, I didn't want it to be a big saccharin scene where Harry comes running out of the house and, "Hey, boy," and we close with that. I wanted it to be the way that Ernest Dickerson so beautifully realized that with us pulling back, and just seeing the silhouette and the back of Coltrane, and then him coming and running into the house, and then we smashed to black with that killer Deftones song in the background, Be Quiet And Drive Far Away. And the dog was really green. Originally I brought my daughter to work with me that day, because the trainers were bringing in different animals. And they brought in a couple of other mot dogs that were interesting, but when I saw the Cattle Dogs I went, "No, no, no, this is Mad Max's dog man. This is the Road Warrior dog and it's an Easter egg to Max as well."
Titus Welliver: And we even did sort of an iconic picture of Harry walking with a cane with the dog next to him, and the leg brace thing and all that. I know it wasn't lost on you. And so I had chosen Brody, which is the actual name of the dog that plays Coltrane's father, but he was a little bit of advanced age and they were concerned that he might not be hardy enough to deal with some things. So we chose his son but he was really green, so production had to throw a lot of money in getting this dog up to snuff and training him just to do some very, very simple things. But he's awesome and as you saw, Amazon gave him his own spin off trailer thing, and he's tracked really well and yet he's back in a big way.
Titus Welliver: It was kind of a great metaphor that Harry saves the dog and the dog in turn rescues Harry, and rescues him not only saves his life, but rescues him from himself, nurtures and enriches Harry's soul. And yeah, he's back. I mean, he doesn't have a lot of lines but he's in evidence, and he's a great addition to the whole kind of Harry Bosch world.
Jeff: It's so great, and I love the moment in season five when you are undercover. I think it was a pure genius moment from a writing perspective of a story, because we know Harry Bosch at this moment. We've got five seasons under our belt and people who have been reading the books know this character, they are ingrained with this character. So when Harry Bosch is in the situation where he is undercover, he is definitely not comfortable, he's not really understanding how he's going to get out of that situation. What does he do? The first thing he befriends is the wild animal. It's such a great point for his character to do that and it's just, what a great piece of storytelling, but also what a great co-star.
Jeff: And that's the other thing I want to talk about with Bosch. So many amazing people besides yourself that are on this show that embody these characters. Amy and Lance, and Jamie, but one of the most ... And I don't want to say surprising, because I'm not surprised because she's amazing, but one of the most endearing characters is your daughter played by Madison Lintz. Seeing her in the beginning of season one, she's almost just a storytelling premise to extrapolate Harry Bosch as a person, as a father. Not just this crazy, awesome detective, but the trials and tribulations in his life. And she's kind of just that cog in that wheel to explain that, but she has blossomed into this integral part of the show that I'm always excited to see her react with you on stream.
Titus Welliver: Well, interestingly enough, that relationship has become really essential and central to the entire show. We just got very, very fortunate in the casting of Madison. I as a colleague, have had the pleasure and the privilege to not only see her character grow, but to see her grow as an artist, as an actor from a young girl to a young woman. And the relationship that Madison and I have professionally and personally, is very funny because I feel very ... I mean, her parents are amazing. All the kids are actors and it's a whole showbiz family. They've done an incredible job with their kids. They are all really thoughtful, gregarious, intelligent, not messed up, really well adjusted kids. And so she's a great pleasure to work with.
Titus Welliver: And I think in the beginning, we were just kind of trying to find our footing, but Madison and I really have a great trust, and an understanding and a shorthand in how we work. And I think initially, the temptation was for directors to kind of come in, and tweak and maneuver that relationship. And I, in the same way that I'm very protective of the character of Harry, I'm deeply protective of the character of Maddie but also of Madison, and we have a thing. And she and I, it's shorthand. It's really like a pitcher and a catcher. We don't have hand signals, but those are some of the most incredibly rewarding scenes that I've done in my career as an actor.
Titus Welliver: She's extremely generous and she really knows this character. And so Harry and Maddie have kind of grown up together in the same way that they are on the show in that whole discovery, and we have a good deal of stuff, interesting and harder stuff that Harry and Maddie have to navigate in season six. And it was always for me, I said, "I don't want this to ever feel like a father knows best cliche." Harry doesn't know jack shit about being a parent. He's not been in her life as a parent, and they don't come with instructions. And she doesn't really know Harry. And so it's been beautiful the way the writers have created that deeply nuanced relationship between these two, without ever, ever falling into the pitfalls of being cliche. It's actually quite the opposite.
Titus Welliver: I mean, it gets really uncomfortable and very awkward, and they exchange frustration and anger with each other. But it's rooted in reality. It's a pleasure to act that stuff. Those scenes are great and I torment her. I mean, I torment her. I'm sort of like the big brother/TV dad, always give her trouble about her personal life which is, she has a great personal life and a really, really sweet boyfriend. That of course she'd say, "Okay, well, he's coming to set. This is his first visit to set." We'd be in the makeup trailer and I would start saying things, and the next thing I know, the makeup artists and the hair person are putting me, they're going, "Stop, just stop, stop."
Titus Welliver: And she's going like, "Let him say whatever he wants to say. You know he's not going to say any of those things at all. He would never ever embarrassed me." But then there's a small part of her that goes, "Well, they do one of those little things just ..." And I have full carte blanche from her parents to torment her all I want. So I take that license with great responsibility.
Jeff: That's awesome. You guys are so great together on screen, and it shows that you guys really have grown into those roles throughout all the seasons. And not only the core cast, but one of the cool things about Bosch too is all the guest stars that you guys have been able to have on there as well, from the first few seasons like Jeri Ryan and Matthew Lillard. And last season, one of my favorite men in the entire world, Ryan Hurst got to be on the show with you as Hector, the too swerve for TV private I. I have to ask, will we see any more of him?
Titus Welliver: No. You know why? I think part of it was because he was doing Walking Dead. He's got a massive-
Jeff: ... role on that, yeah.
Titus Welliver: ... presence on Walking Dead. Ryan and I knew each other from Sons of Anarchy, and I was so happy when they cast him as Bonner because I adore him. I think he's an absolutely staggeringly gifted actor. He's a giant in more ways than one. We had a really good time. I mean, he's not dissimilar to Lance. It's one of those great things and he's just, very intimidating physical presence. He's like a lion. He's got this massive head of hair, and a giant beard and a booming voice. But he is kind, deeply kind and gentle, and hilariously funny, and very bright, very well read, super, super bright guy. So he's nothing but pure pleasure to work with. And his character juxtapose with Mimi Rogers' character. It was hilarious. You got it and you saw why she had him as her main guy. But no, alas, he could not come back due to that commitment.
Jeff: Well, it was great to see him last season, and I love the ability to just bring in all these random characters and be able to do that. And I know as we're recording this, everything's pretty much on a pause in Hollywood, but looking ahead, next season is the final season of Bosch. And have you guys started to have those talks? Because it is on one hand sad that the show is coming to an end, but on the other hand, I feel like it might give you as the producer and all the writers, the ability to look at the story and be able to tell the ending that you want to tell. Have you started to put your brains on that and where you're going to go into season seven?
Titus Welliver: Yeah. Well, one of the things because there was a possibility of a pending writers strike, and so Amazon wanted to order all the scripts to be completed prior to any kind of possible strike scenario, because that's the way that it works. If a strike occurs, you can't continue to write. It's only stuff that's already in the pipe that you can do. And so our writers have been ... They were already talking about what they wanted to do for season seven before we knew it was going to be the final season, and then decisions were made as to which books we are going to do. So they've been lashed to the mast writing, and now they're doing it remotely in the same way that you and I are communicating. Scripts are assigned to one or two writers. We know where we're going to go.
Titus Welliver: I mean, the one thing that I can say is we're not going to do something stupid. Harry's not going to get killed. We're not going to do anything like that because it serves no purpose ultimately. And Bosch, that character as he exists in the chronology of the novels, is he's still going and he's like 70 years old long since retired, but he's still working as a private I, works as a cold case auxiliary detective for San Fernando. I'm sure it will be something really poignant when we're in the final scene of the final episode. It'll be good. It'll be good. We'll pull out all the stops for that and it would be something really, really good. And we've talked about that. And obviously, I can't talk about that.
Jeff: Of course.
Titus Welliver: No, but we have some really good ideas, because it's got to be done with care and with dignity just because of the journey. A lot of people have gone on Twitter when that was announced and said, "Well, we're going to start a campaign with Amazon." And my attitude about that is, if it was not for the enormous fan base and all the support that we get from people, who are so generous to spend 10 hours or more of their time being dedicated to watching the show, who knows? Stranger things have happened. But at this point, what we're really, really focused on is how to do this final season with great integrity and service to character, and really give the fans something that they want. The books they've chosen are really good. And not sure if it's been announced. I don't want to say what books have been chosen.
Jeff: Yeah. I don't think it has, so keep that a secret for now.
Titus Welliver: Shut my piehole. I wanted to, speaking about guests on the show, how cool was it that my boy C. Thomas Howell rolled up? I mean-
Jeff: So cool.
Titus Welliver: He was so great. We're old friends and when they said, "What do you think about C. Thomas Howell for Degner?" I went, "Is that a question? Is that a serious question?" I said, "You know he's my boy." And they were like, "No, we didn't know." And I went, "Yeah, we go back like car seats." I was like, "Yeah. Now if you can get him, please do." And so, look, it's always great when you get to work with people that you've known, same way as it was with Jerry Ryan and I, get to work with. With old friends there's nothing better.
Jeff: It's so awesome. Another thing about the Bosch series is from the books, there's so many that it's littered with just this wealth of characters. And actually this is a question from one of the fans of here, Fueled By Death Cast, was asking if it had ever been talked about and if it has for season seven, you can keep that a secret as well. But was it ever talked about to include Mickey Haller into this series, his Bosch's half brother?
Titus Welliver: Yeah, unfortunately there's an issue with rights and so-
Jeff: ... because of the movie and-
Titus Welliver: Yeah, and now Lincoln Lawyer has its own series, that David E. Kelly and one of our producer writers from Bosch has gone on to do that show with Lincoln Lawyer. I'm sure it will be great. I'm excited for it. It was, unfortunately the rights were on elsewhere. And because in the original book that we chose, the Bonner character is Mickey Haller's investigator and that character's name is Cisco, based on a real guy. But we couldn't do that. But we knew he wanted to have that biker, that cool investigator character.
Titus Welliver: So knowing that, in the book it's Haller that represents Bosch in the reopening of the case. There's been some sort of malfeasance on his part. So we had to change it which worked really well. So suddenly you thrust Harry with Chandler together, and you still have the quality of the character that Ryan played, the Bonner character. But now alas, and I remember it was very funny a couple years ago, I was at the premiere for Kubo and how many strings? I can't remember.
Jeff: 12 strings I think [crosstalk 00:36:13].
Titus Welliver: A wonderful stop-motion animated that McConaughey had voiced, and I took my daughter and one of her friends to the premiere and Matthew was there. And I didn't know him really at all. I knew him sort of peripherally. But he had dated my late wife, way, way back in the day in the beginning of his career, and so we knew of each other and everything. And he was very sweet. We came up and we were talking, and the red carpet was ahead and in typical McConaughey fashion he says, "Hey man, should we walk up there and really fuck with their minds?" And of course as I got to the red carpet, they were, "So it's Haller and Bosch, does this mean we're going to see a crossover? Is McConaughey going to come on the show and [inaudible 00:37:18]?" We definitely got tongues wagging, but I'm not allowed to say that because of the right scenario that we have.
Jeff: That's what's so great about Bosch as not only a TV series, but just as again the wealth of information that Connelly has created with the books, and we're so lucky that we've gotten to see you portray him now starting season six on this coming Friday, and then looking ahead towards season seven which is just incredible. I would like to shift though and nerd out with you for a minute, if that's all right.
Titus Welliver: Please do.#
Jeff: Well, the last time you were on the show, we talked about your roots starting into acting and we talked about obviously, how you got the role of Bosch, and a little bit about working on Sons and a little bit on Transformers. But one of the roles that you got to play that I never got to talk to you about is one of my favorites, and that's portraying Felix in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I know that we are both kindred spirits when it comes to loving comic books and loving superheroes, and you not only got to portray this character on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, which I want to talk about in a second, but the first time you portrayed this character was on a special features portion for the Avengers movie, which right that sentence right there is just an amazing sentence to say out loud. What was that phone call like? How did that role come to be, for a special features vignette for a Blu-ray release of a movie?
Titus Welliver: Well, I got the call from my manager and my agent, and they said, "Hey, Marvel's doing these little mini movies, though there's one that's come up. Are you familiar at all with the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D?" And I went, "Okay. That's a non starter." Clark Gregg and I are long, long, long friends. He lived with me. We were roomies in college. We've been like brothers for a million years. And I said, "Yeah, sure. So what's the deal?" He said, "Well, you got to sign this NDA. All we can tell you is you're playing an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Does that mean anything to you?" And I went, "Woo-hoo." I was going to throw up from just pure excitement.
Titus Welliver: And so we went and we shot it, and it was Lizzy Caplan and Louis D'Esposito of Marvel Studios, producer extraordinaire directed it. So I got the material a couple of days before, watermarked and everything, and I just thought it's so cool. It's such a great link to try to get the alien tech back, and the whole thing of it's the aftermath when Clark's been killed.
Titus Welliver: Who knew that they would then say, "Hey, why don't we bring Blake over to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D?" It was a gas. I just remember one day I'm standing, we're on the Helicarrier set and Lola is on the ramp. And Clark and I are standing there and I was looking at him. We were just looking at each other and he went, "What?" And I went, "Do you understand the gravity of this moment right now, that you and I are standing on the helideck and we're Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D?" And he went, he said, "I know." Because I've always been a comic book fan. And Clark who loved comics but was not as crazy and immersed, I'm sure in college I would endlessly talk about stuff as if they were real people.
Titus Welliver: I couldn't remember if he was there or not, but there were several Halloweens when I was Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, putting the gray on the sides on my temples and wearing the passion, wearing the black suit, white shirt, and the string tie slightly undone. It was surreal. It was completely surreal. And we had this really funny moment where, because nobody touches Lola, where we're standing there in the scene and I say, "It's a nice car." And I start to reach out and he goes, "Don't do it. Don't do it." And I touched Lola and it was this huge ... The whole crew went, "What?" Clark said, "Do you realize?" I said, "I realize. I so realize."
Jeff: Oh my god.
Titus Welliver: Every time I got to go to work and of course Bill Paxton was a really old friend of mine, and I did my very first walk-on role in Navy SEALs, a film that he was one of the stars of it. That's where we met and his generosity, because I was terrified, I was nervous. I had never been on a big film, let alone a film beyond a student eight millimeter film, very nervous. And Bill was just super kind to me and we became friends from that day forward, and then suddenly fast forward to a billion years later, and we're doing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and just laughing, and he was such a deeply beautiful cat. And then he was a big fan of the Bosch books. He'd read them all. And he just showed up one day at the studios where you came to visit, and he just showed up one day to visit and it was surreal.
Titus Welliver: And then like six months later, I got a call that he had died. And not to go on a downtick, but I always feel that that experience aside from working with two people that I love so dearly, Clark and Bill, just enhanced that experience beyond, just the geek experience of being there was so ... And also the other thing, other directors that I got to work with, Bobby Roth who I'd never worked with before, he's a great director. And Jesse Bochco who I'd known since he was a little boy, because his dad was very much responsible and instrumental in my career in television. And so suddenly, I remembered him as this kind of snot nosed teenager, just barely a teenager and then suddenly he was calling, "Action and cut." I was like, "Oh my god, man." It was unbelievable. It was just a great experience.
Jeff: It's so great that as a lifelong comic book fan, that you get to play in that sandbox, that you get to be there, that you get to share with some of your best friends like Clark and Bill. It's the icing on the cake. I have to ask, being such a close friend of Clark, did you know walking into Avengers, did Clark tell you his turn going into that movie or were you surprised with his death in that movie?
Titus Welliver: I was completely surprised [crosstalk 00:44:59].
Jeff: So he didn't spoil it for you, good.
Titus Welliver: No, those guys are ... When you work for Marvel, and Disney and stuff, information and as it should be, is locked and super, super tight and as much as ... For instance, there's a project that I would really love to tell you that I popped in and did. It will reveal itself in due time. But it's just one of those things where you sign the paper, so you don't screw the pooch. And despite the fact that Clark and I are super tight, he did not violate his NDA whatsoever and tell me that. Plus if he had told me that, if he was even allowed to tell me that, I would have said, "Why would you do that? Why would you tell me that?" So when it happened I was, like everybody else, was stunned because we'd fallen in love with that character. What's not to love about him? But when they resurrected, I mean, it was just icing on the cake.
Jeff: And again speaking of television, at the end of May we're going to get the final season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I can't wait to see the end of that.
Titus Welliver: I'm still pissed about that not going. To me that was a show that could just kind of-
Jeff: ... go forever.
Titus Welliver: Go on and on and on until Clark decided he didn't want to do it anymore, because it's such a wealth of ... That whole universe is so vast. Never going to run out of stories to tell but man, you know what? These decisions are above our pay grades as actors. It's just one of those things. So you go and you do the best that you possibly can, and you enjoy it and you relish it, and if it comes to an end at a certain point, you accept it and you find something else, and hope that it's going to ... That for me will be the hard thing. Bosch is an extraordinarily hard act to follow. I don't know.
Jeff: When you leave a role, do you as an actor completely leave that role? Are there any roles in your career ... I don't like the question of like, "Do you have a favorite role you've played?" But are there any roles in your career that have never left you, that you either think finally back on, or maybe for lack of a better term haunt you?
Titus Welliver: The Smoke Monster, The Man in Black on Loss was a character that I really loved playing, such a complex character. And I must confess that that's a character not necessarily that haunts me, but that I think about every now and then because I felt like there was more of that story to tell. That would be my only regret in that way. I mean, some characters you remember more so than others obviously. A lot of it also revolves around the experience that you had doing it. I mean, if you go and play a great character but it's a shitty experience, because either you're working with people that you might not necessarily care for, that tends to kind of sully that. But I've been so fortunate in that way.
Titus Welliver: Jimmy O., one of the most terrifying and morally reprehensible characters I've ever played, was a gas to play. He was a bit of a cartoon to a certain degree. But once again, Charlie Hunnam, Ryan, and Perlman, and David and all those guys, and certainly Kurt Sutter, that was a great experience and it was tough show to do. Same, all the stuff that I've done with David Milch. I mean, Deadwood, while that was an extraordinarily hard show to shoot, the end result was something that we walked down the street with our heads held up on that. So a lot of those characters, it's less informed by the character and more informed by the experience itself.
Titus Welliver: When you get locked in to a work scenario, where you're just working with like-minded people that work really hard, and they're very good at what they do, that's what you take away from there. When people have asked me, "Are you going to miss playing Harry Bosch?" I say, "Well, yeah, of course. I mean, I have become very, very close to that character." Once again, there's a lot of stories to tell.
Jeff: I have to ask then, say you have the keys of the kingdom. And by the kingdom, I mean, the kingdom of Marvel. And I think I know the answer to this question, but you can cast yourself as anybody in the Marvel Universe. Who would that be?
Titus Welliver: Well, I know I've said this before, and I think that boat's sailed possibly because of age, because my son said that they had cast Kraven the Hunter-
Jeff: Yeah, I knew it.
Titus Welliver: I always loved Kraven as a Spidey villain because he didn't have ... He was like Batman. He didn't have superpowers. He was just a badass. He wasn't like ... What was his name? Man Mountain Marko, the giant mutant or the rhino. He was just all muscle, and intensity, and smart and a master hunter. He was a survivalist and he had that crazy ass costume. And I loved him and I loved the way the different artists drew him, but they always held to the core of what was created by Ditko which was, there was intense malevolence and danger about him. Spidey started trading blows with him. He didn't have Spidey strength, but Spidey could smack him and he would come back and he was just cool. He was just cool.
Titus Welliver: There are so many great characters. I dug him just as a villain because I sort of thought, "Well, what would be ..." People have also asked me, "Well, what of the good guys? What of the good guy?" But I'm not Asian so I can't be Shang-Chi, who was one of my favorites. But Marvel has done such an extraordinary job in casting some of the most iconic characters that I have done. I can't wait for Black Panther, man. Don't even get me started. My son was taking me through what's coming up, and I mean, I can't wait to see the Black Widow flick. I mean, Harbour looks great. There's the Winter Soldier Falcon series. There's so much good stuff coming out. So everybody stay home. Stay home. Social distancing.
Jeff: It's so great-
Titus Welliver: I wanted to say that to trivialize what we're dealing with, but it's like ... And I think those are the things that we were speaking about earlier that are going to be ... Because people piss and moan. Sometimes they go, "I don't want to see another superhero movie or another Star Wars movie," to which I just say, "Well, then don't go." You know what I mean?
Titus Welliver: That's sustenance for some of us. "Go see whatever you want. Want to see a movie about Queen Elizabeth? Have at it. Okay? You haven't seen them all."
Jeff: I'm with you, though. I'm so glad that we live in this age. Like I said it I think before we even started recording that, we as older gentlemen now can be the best kids that we ever wanted to be, because when we were kids, we didn't have all these cool toys and all these awesome movies and TV shows. And as it sucks to be isolated at home, it's awesome that we have all this entertainment at our fingertips, and new stuff coming. It's so great. I got to ask finally here on the geek side of it too, one of the things we talked about on the first time you were on the show as well, is we have a mutual love of a company called Sideshow Collectibles. And not only do you collect a lot of what they have to offer, you are a collector. You love comics, you love figures, you love statues, have you added to your collection since I've talked to you last? Anything new, any like maybe one six figures or anything new that's hit?
Titus Welliver: It's a little bit embarrassing because as you know, I do love them. I moved out. The house that you came to the last time, since then I got divorced so I'm living in a considerably smaller house. I had to put that massive collection into storage, so I have very few pieces. Hopefully in the future ... Actually, you know what? Maybe I have something here. Hold on [inaudible 00:54:17]. Yeah. Here's something really cool that my friend and Talbot Smith from Sideshow sent me for my recent birthday, which is the Boba Fett Mythos.
Jeff: Wow, look at that. That is rad. That's totally up my alley. Holy crow.
Titus Welliver: So sick.
Jeff: So sick.
Titus Welliver: And they sent me a one quarter scale, Darth Vader. So they've only made two quarter scale figures, and one is a Boba Fett which I actually, I bought when I was in London with Michael Connelly. We were promoting the first season of Bosch and I went to the Mothership, Forbidden Planet in London. And I saw it in the window and I went, "It's a statue. I'm not really all that into statues." But I went in and the guy was like, "No, man, it's legitimate, quarter scale but fully posable." And I went, "Okay, can you ship that to the United States?" He was like, "Yeah mate. We can ship it anywhere you want it to go." And I was like, "Ship it to my house, love. Ship it to California love."
Jeff: Oh my gosh, that's great.
Titus Welliver: Yeah, so I got a Vader. I got a quarter scale Vader and my son put ... I typically don't put in all the batteries and stuff in the Iron Man and shit. He completely dialed it in with all the little hearing aid batteries and everything, so all of his bits light up man. His chest piece is going back and forth, the lightsaber can ignite. It is killer. And you know what? Sideshow never rests. I mean, that's the beauty of them. Every time I turn around, there's something. They sent me also for my birthday an Alice Cooper, which is really boss.
Jeff: When I was out visiting you the last time, they were just finishing up the Alice, and they had them in their photography studio getting ready to take photos of them and I got to see that up close. I know exactly what you're talking about.
Titus Welliver: That's right.
Jeff: So frickin cool. Sideshow is amazing. In fact, it's funny that you brought up the Iron Man. They sent Death Wish Coffee, the Mark 45 and I gave up after 10 batteries. I was like, "I can't fit all these batteries into this Iron Man." Because it comes with literally 45 batteries, basically. It's ridiculous. And right before the entire pandemic hit, we just moved our headquarters. So we for the first time ever at Death Wish Coffee, have a brand new office that is ours. We've always been either sharing with the warehouse, or we were in this interim place for the last few years, and we just got this brand new ... It's an old building in Saratoga Springs, New York, built in the 1900s. I hope it's haunted. It's absolutely, absolutely gorgeous. And it has this beautiful, pillared marble walkway when you walk into the office.
Jeff: We actually got to go in for six hours the first day before everybody got isolated. So I was in there for six hours, unfortunately. But I've been talking to Mike our owner, that I really want to have to get a Darth Vader, a one of one Scale Darth Vader. Because I mean, you're walking into Death Wish Coffee, it'd be great to have Vader and you know the ones I'm talking about. At Sideshow's facility, they're full scale models. It'd be great to just have maybe that flank. So we'll see. Maybe I'll make that happen. I don't know. I don't know.
Titus Welliver: Michael Bay has some crazy stuff like that in his offices. He's got like a Jason and a Michael Myers. And he's got some one to one stuff that's just off the chain.
Jeff: It's crazy.
Titus Welliver: I mean, I can't afford it. I mean, I could but I'd have to take out a second mortgage, and my kids wouldn't be able to go to private school. But jeez, maybe I don't have my priorities so straight.
Jeff: Geeks rule the world, I'm telling you from one nerd to another.
Titus Welliver: My God. But I want a one to one Boba Fett.
Jeff: Exactly, exactly. Gosh. It's a great time. Even with all the craziness in the world, it's a great time to be alive because of everything that we can put our hands on, and see, and play with, and touch and be entertained by including as I wrap this up, the season six of Bosch coming out Friday, April 17th. I'm so excited for it. And I'm just ... I can't thank you enough for taking time to talk with me. It was amazing to catch up because, again, we're stuck at home but I feel like I got to hang out with you and it was great.
Titus Welliver: No man, likewise. I love you and I love Death Wish, and I love the show. And so for me, it's a tremendous privilege and a pleasure to come in and get to hang out with you, even if it's through social distancing. But hopefully soon enough, we'll go to the other side of it and I'll come back on for the season seven, and we can rap about that and other collectibles.