Carl Weathers. Apollo Creed. Dillon off Predator. Chubbs Peterson. Even as himself in Arrested Development.
What. An. Absolute. Legend.
Now Weathers is playing State Attorney Mark Jefferies in new legal drama Chicago Justice, which premieres in the UK tomorrow on the Universal Channel.
THN caught up with for a quick one-two.
On Chicago Justice and his character Mark Jefferies…
“It’s a courtroom drama – crimes are committed and tried each week. My character is the State Attorney and he runs the prosecutor’s office in Cook County, Illinois.
“Jefferies has been elected to office and has ambition – perhaps to do more and go to higher office. But for now, he fancies himself a good attorney. So in a strange way he’s the bane on Peter Stone’s [Assistant State Attorney and lead character played by Philip Winchester) existence]. When you work for a boss who’s a politician as well as a lawyer, he’s going to leave no “stone” unturned so to speak. It makes for an interesting behind-the-scenes look at what goes on at a prosecutor’s office.
“I have time to develop this character over a period of time. Our writers do such a good job on a week-to-week basis. You don’t get all of Mark Jefferies thrown at you in one episode. It’s bit-by-bit over the season. We have a lot more to discover about Mark Jefferies and who he is, and how he operates as a human.
On how it feels to be an action icon…
“People remind me of it constantly. You accept the mantle if it’s what defines you in other people’s eyes. know there’s so much more to me, and hopefully in Chicago Justice we’ll get to see that. But, you know what, if people see me as an action icon, I’ll take it!”
On how he feels about Apollo Creed, 40 years after Rocky was made…
“I don’t think you can play a character like Apollo, that has been not only so well received but is beloved in some ways, and not feel a connection. When you go from this character that people love to hate, to one they love to love, over the course of 10 years, it’s so indelible… not just in movie lore, but in people’s lives.
“It’s kind of a strange and ironic in some ways. As an actor, when you start out you just want to do a good job, then the character becomes iconic. That’s the power of movies.
“The original Apollo was a god. There’s a hint that this character is somehow otherworldly. Heavyweight champions are iconic in the way we look at them. They are the biggest of the best. In boxing, these fighters are recognized as the pinnacle. We all want to be the best and all want success. He’s a package of success, and what success looks like. That’s all part of the allure of Apollo Creed.”
On who’s got the firmest handshake, Stallone or Schwarzenegger…
“There wasn’t a lot of handshaking in Rocky so I couldn’t say! But we did do something that’s memorable in Predator with the man-shake. That was one of my best experiences filmmaking. Not unlike Rocky… not unlike Happy Gilmore in some ways. I just got a chance to create something that 30 years later people are still talking about.”
On poking fun at his own persona in Arrested Development and Happy Gilmore…
“I think a sense of humour is really important. I don’t know how one can really look at what they’ve done and not say, ‘I put one over on them, didn’t I?’” Who can take that many punches and get up again? Who can do the kind of stuff we did in Predator and survive? You’ve got to just have a wink and a nod and say, ‘We’re having a great time, and we’re just fortunate enough that I get people to believe that it’s real.’ That’s what I do for a living, and I love doing it.
New legal drama Chicago Justice premieres Thursday 30th March at 9pm only on Universal Channel