VIDEO SCHEDULE SERIES MOVIES SPORTS GAMES SWEEPSTAKES DRAMA IS... MESSAGE BOARDS ASK TNT

First off, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone for responding to the "Call for Questions." I gotta tell you it's an awesome feeling to know so many people are responding in a positive way to the show we are making. So let me once again say on behalf of the entire cast and crew of SouthLAnd... Thank You !!

Before I answer some specific questions, I thought I would answer a few that seemed to keep coming up. I'll take the "Lightning Round" approach:

Yes, John Cooper is gay.

Yes, we did train with LAPD, (more on that below).

Yes, I have a great time working with Ben.

Yes, both Tom Scott and C.Thomas Howell will be back.

No, Regina King does not look that pretty in person. She is ten times hotter, because in person you realize how smart she is!!

Now on to the questions:

Question from Dino Clark:
Michael are you able to offer any input to the writers on the development of your character? If so, can we expect to find out more about Cooper's personal life in upcoming episodes? There have been some obvious hints at Cooper's homosexuality (the several scenes of him in a gay bar, his sensitive approach with the roughed-up drag queen, etc.). I understand that Cooper's sexuality is only one aspect of who he his and I appreciate that the writers are not focusing merely on that aspect. TV shows walk a fine line with gay characters and it's refreshing to see a character that does not fit the cookie-cutter, stereotypical version of a "Will & Grace"-style gay man. Kudos to you and the rest of the cast & crew for your outstanding work...and thanks for letting the world know that you can be gay and still kick someone's ass. Here's to many more seasons on TNT!

Cudlitz
Thanks, Dino. I will answer you briefly and then I will provide a link to a lengthy interview I did on this topic in the recent past. This whole experience has been amazing from the start. Ann Biderman has such a firm handle on who these characters are that up to this point there has been no need to give any real input as to the direction of the characters. That being said, we have an open line of communication with all the writers and John Wells as well.

I can tell you that the show will be going deeper into the personal lives of all the characters including John. But the show will continue to tell the stories in the same fashion we have been telling from the start. John is a cop who happens to be gay. Not the "GAY" cop on SouthLAnd. I think there is strength in that from a story telling perspective. I also think it gives the deserved respect to men and women who are living this story in the real world and not on television.

With regards to gay stereotypes on television I had spoken of this in an interview with *DVR* Assassin. I think that television has evolved and it's audience along with it. Those stereotypes do exist in the gay community, so I am sure we will see them represented in the future. What excites me about how John has been written is that his sexuality does not define him. Some people do run around with their sexuality on their sleeve but not everyone. John is probably the most complicated person I have ever portrayed. The fact that we might get to do another season is amazing.

For anyone who is interested I did a lengthy interview on the subject with Michael Jensen for AfterElton. It's an awesome interview on this very subject. http://www.afterelton.com/ people/2010/1/michaelcudli tz

---------------
Question from Lisa Ellis Henry
Is it a bit frightening at times to incorporate the residents of LA in your scenes? Seems a bit risky to me!

Cudlitz
Yes Lisa, on it's face it does seem risky. We never go into a situation on location that we don't have some level of control over. We have liaisons with both LAPD and The local communities. If an area of town is "too" dangerous or if the nature of the scene is not appropriate for the neighborhood we will not shoot the scene there. We have enough control to keep everyone safe but we do not completely alter the environment. This lets the scene and the actors be affected by everything around them. I think that I what makes SouthLAnd different from other shows on the air right now.

I would agree that at times it is "Risky" but never "Dangerous." Big difference and exciting as hell to watch.

---------------
Question from Ana Olvera Hernandez
Hi Michael. First of all, congratulations, you do such a good job playing that character. My question is, do you ever get so much into your character that you forget its not real and let certain scenes get to you emotionally?

Cudlitz
Great question Ana. I don't think I have ever lost myself so deep in a scene that I forgot it was a scene. That being said, I have gotten so into a scene that I have experienced things emotionally that I was not intending. I think as actors we have to be open to what is happening in the moment and respond to it. I also think you can get into murky waters if you start to "completely loose" yourself in a character and a scene to the point that you are not aware of what is real and what is acting. Part of what we do as actors is being able separate the two on demand. I think not being able to separate them makes you crazy, not an actor.

I would also say that, as an actor when you do connect to a scene emotionally there is no greater high. Sometimes it takes hours to come down from a great day at work. Sometimes days!

---------------
Question from Reynolds Anderson
I LOVE SouthLAnd! Michael..will the show being giving up any insight into your..ahem..private life..with Caesar?

Cudlitz
SouthLAnd loves you!! We will definitely be going deeper into Coopers personal life, whether it will involve Caesar or not, only time will tell. So many fish in the sea!!

---------------
Question from Ryan Skiba
Did the actors have to attend an official Police Academy?

Cudlitz
Ryan, we did attend a "Police Academy". We had about a week of classroom training and some time at the shooting range; coupled with "Ride Alongs" and one on one interviews with current and retired law enforcement. The classes are taught by our Technical advisor, Chic Daniel and his wife, Sheila. Both are retired LAPD and both are amazing resources. Obviously, there is much more to being a cop than can be taught in a couple of weeks, but it was a good foundation for the ongoing training that we experience everyday on the set. We always have an advisor on set at all times so we know what the "Proper" procedure is. Sometimes we break from procedure because of a story point. Most of the time when we do something "Wrong" it is for a reason and there are usually consequences.

---------------
Question from Jennifer Kelly-Guardado
What do you like best about working with this cast?

Cudlitz
I hate every last one of those Prima Donnas. (Kidding). We are very lucky. We have an amazing cast of seasoned professionals. I know that might sound kinda canned, but it's the truth. Every one of the regulars on the show is a fantastic, smart actor. We have also been fortunate enough to have amazing guest artists every week as well. I think the best thing about the cast is that everyone understands what we are trying to accomplish with the show. Everyone shows up ready to work and everyone has respect for each other. In my opinion I think we have a pretty good group.

---------------
Question from Scott Runner
How does working on Southland compare to working on Band of Brothers?

Cudlitz
The two will always be completely different amazing experiences. I think it is rare to come across a project like Band Of Brothers. How often as an actor do you get a chance to do something so important? (almost never). The impact the project has had on my life has been ongoing and the emotional reach of the project has been epic. Just last week I spent some time with Bill Guarnere, Babe Heffron and Buck Compton. I truly cherish those men.

The common thread between these projects is the wonderfully, egoless approach to the work by both cast and crew. I think this is a trend in Hollywood and I hope it continues. Everyone shows up ready to work and ready to make a difference. That approach makes the set a safe place to exchange ideas and a wonderful environment to be creative.

I have been very fortunate in my career.

---------------
Question from Alicia Gallen
Hey Michael. You play a very outspoken character, what's the hardest part of playing Cooper especially with the drug problems? Such a HUGE fan by the way, I am enjoying the show so much.

Cudlitz
Thank you, Alicia. We are all having a blast making the show. Yes, John is quite outspoken. He does not suffer a fool. I think the hardest part in any on going character issue - bad back, drugs - is remembering that the "problem" exists even if the problem or condition has nothing to do with what is going on in the scene. The pay off for the audience comes when they get to connect the dots down the road. I think it is very satisfying for a viewer to invest in a character and watch that character evolve and then learn things about them that they did not know, and then be able to apply them to things that they have already seen. Ann Biderman is amazing at this type of character development.

---------------
Question from Tee Edwards
Who's the funniest person on the cast while taping the episodes? Practical joker ?

Cudlitz
The funniest person. Hmmmmmm. I don't know who the "funniest" person would be. We all have a good time while filming. I think the pace the show moves -- very fast -- does not really lend itself to practial jokes. I don't know. I can tell you that we laugh a lot on set.

---------------
Question from Timmy Gunning
Mr. Cudlitz, has taking on the realistic role of a police officer changed your views towards our nation's law enforcement officers?

Cudlitz
Absolutely. I think we all have a "idea" of what it takes to be in law enforcement. Ironically, most of these ideas are shaped by what we watch on television. After the limited training we have received and close contact with officers both currently serving and retired. I can tell you most of the time television gets it wrong. This is not a judgement of television itself; it is just a fact. Television is supposed to be entertaining and satisfying. Because of this it does not reflect the "pressure cooker" that these men and women experience on a day to day basis. Even in our show, the officers never do paperwork. My point is, I don't think it's possible to truly understand what these men and women go through unless you have actually worn the uniform. I think that is why we try to get it as close to "right" as possible. That being said, Southland is also just a television show.

The emotional toll these men and women suffer is something that only they understand. In the words of John Cooper, "Nobody calls the cops because they're happy". I am grateful for these men and women.

---------------
Question from Deborah Godin
I watched the first group Q&A you were in, and was intrigued to learn that real people in the neighborhoods on locations have gotten have occasionally gotten involved in the action, and been left in the finished ep. My question is, when you're on locations like that, do you have real police there, or some other kind of security, in case something happens that could be seriously dangerous--like a live gun?

Cudlitz
We always have security on set. We also have many on duty and off duty LAPD on hand. When you shoot on location in any city you obtain permits from that city. Part of the process in issuing a permit is determining how much security is required for the specific event being filmed that day. Not only for the safety of the production company but the safety of the community.

---------------
Question from Michele Alton Denny
Will there be any love interest among the detectives with each other?? All of the characters are in relationships outside of the department.. another question.. Will Ben stay your partner? Great show. Keep up the good work.

Cudlitz
This question has come up before. The short answer is, "We don't know". The longer the show stays on the air the more these relationships will grow and in some cases fail. I would not be surprised to see interdepartmental relationships in the future. Let us not forget that Sal is married to a cop.

As far as Ben remaining my partner, we will leave that to the writers. I am training him. So, the natural progression is for him to finish his training and move on. That being said, I think the chemistry that Ben and I share is very apparent. To completely separate us would not serve any one's interests. I am pretty sure this is not news to anyone.

---------------
This completes the Q&A portion. Again, thank you for your participation. If you have more questions don't hesitate to send them in to Facebook. You can also ask them of me directly. Just follow me on www.twitter.com/cudlitz. If you are on Twitter already go to @cudlitz I might just Tweet you back.

-Cudlitz

The requested resource (/tnt_adspaces/movies/rgt.160x600.ad) is not available