View Full Version : Daniel Sunjata On "Rescue Me" - Video Inside

01-15-2009, 07:57 AM
"Rescue Me" character believes 9/11 was an inside job ... and so does the actor playing him


Click Here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5jsb4Yzd8g&e) (GooTube)


From LA: Boy, did I open a can of worms today at the press conference for "Rescue Me," the great Denis Leary comedy. It's back (soon) for a fifth season, and in watching the second episode I noticed the show drifting back to the 9/11 memories theme it explored at length in the first season. So I grabbed a microphone and pursued that questioning with the producers, and I asked a couple of the actors to chime in as well.

One person I asked was Daniel Sunjata, who plays Franco on "Rescue Me." I asked him because there is this fascinating, where-did-THIS-come-from scene in the second episode. A French journalist is interviewing firemen who were at Ground Zero on 9/11 for a new 10th-anniversary commemorative coffee table book. First, watch what Sunjata's character says. I would call this high-end conspiracy theory-mongering, the type that many people might say, "Hm. Well, I don't agree, but you raise some very interesting points there."

In part Franco says:

"9/11? Inside job. Plain and simple. And all you gotta do is connect the dots. ... I am talking about a massive neoconservative government effort, been in the works 20 years. Ever heard of PNAC? Project for a New American Century? According to them, the end goal of their effort is American global domination. Full spectrum dominance, they call it. Now, first question that pops into my mind is: How do you pull that off in this day and age?"Answer: You blow up the Towers -- though in the scene Sunjata states it much more elegantly and forcefully.

So I asked about 9/11, and Sunjata gave a thoughtful reply, but at the very end he set off this little cherry bomb. From the transcript:

DANIEL SUNJATA: I'm really gratified that they allowed that to be focused through my character, because I happen to subscribe to a lot of those theories and beliefs that 9/11 was an inside job.

TVB: You're serious?

DANIEL SUNJATA: Oh, absolutely, 100 percent, yeah.

PETER TOLAN (show co-creator): That's part of the reason why we wrote it, is because Danny actually has -- is actually well-read on -- he's done a lot of research on this and has told us about it. And, you know, look, obviously not all of us buy in. But we went, wow, that's interesting, and he's passionate about it. Let's use that.

DANIEL SUNJATA: I mean, if it weren't for the structural constraint of consicion and speaking in a sound-bite format, you know, there are some very, very well-thought-out ideas and theories that seem to me to make a lot more sense than the ones that are popularly espoused. And anyway, the fact that they've allowed that conversation to be had within the world of RESCUE ME, I think, is admirable and should be applauded.I wasn't trying to challenge Sunjata. I just was a little gobsmacked and I didn't want to let the moment pass without confirming what I thought my ears had just heard: An actor on a popular cable show had just admitted to belief in one of the most notorious conspiracy myths in our culture.

The story is already popping on the wires.

So, a little googling later and I discover Sunjata has expressed these views before ... and a whole lot more. He is a Lefty with a capital "L." Here is a video I found of him giving a campaign speech this fall in favor of former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. She was the Green Party candidate for president this year. How many people of color this fall did you hear attacking Barack Obama from the left?

Let me be clear to those who are googling me -- I'm not a fan of "9/11 was an inside job" theories, as I went into in some detail explaining a couple of years ago. But I don't believe that people who believe them are all idiots. I'm actually kinda looking forward to seeing these ideas bandied about on "Rescue Me" because you just don't see that kind of stuff presented so passionately on TV. But you know what? I saw "J.F.K." more than once and, while I found it hugely entertaining, I never bought whatever Jim Garrison was selling about that terrible day in history.

I think if "Rescue Me" does its job, "9/11 was an inside job" will gain just a smidgen more respectability in its campaign to succeed JFK as America's favorite conspiracy theory. I guess I can live with that. My problem with such theories is that they unwittingly reflect the navel-gazing, insular, America-first viewpoint that I thought 9/11 was supposed to move us beyond. It's all about us. Al-Qaeda? Our pawns, somehow. Such a viewpoint can only be defended by turning a deaf ear to the origins of modern terror, which weren't the creation of Paul Wolfowitz's and Richard Perle's vivid imaginations.

As the unparalleled account of Lawrence Wright in The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 makes clear, the story of 9/11 stretches back 50 years to the persecution of radical Muslims by secular governments friendly to Western nations.

01-15-2009, 07:58 AM
Rescue Me Returns To FX After Two Years.
Dennis Leary and Peter Tolan are psyched about Season 5.


by Matt Fowler

January 13, 2009 - Rescue Me, a show that brilliantly blends drama and comedy, is making its long awaited return to FX this April. After two years off the air, due largely to the Writer's Strike of '07, Rescue is headed back to TV with a whopping 22 episodes. The time off plus the extended number of episodes for a cable season seemed to have really re-invigorated both Creator/Star Denis Leary and Creator/Writer Peter Tolan who revealed to the TCA at the recent press tour that they are having a blast. Working under the "write as we go" model, Leary and Tolan are usually about "two episodes ahead of what they're filming," Leary confessed. "Because we want to see what the actors are doing," said Leary. Being able to write to his fellow actor's strengths, Leary said that "the stories are bursting at the seams. We have so many stories that could be told."

"We're just full of ideas and energized," said Tolan. "I think we just wanted to come back strong. We told the guys that we've got to hit the ground running at 120 miles per hour. The episodes are very strong." This season boasts both Michael J. Fox and Maura Tierney as guest stars, with Fox appearing in the first five episodes as the wheelchair-bound and troubled Dwight. When asked about what kind of limits they have on a cable show like this, Leary answered comically with "I had a crazy idea of getting paid two hundred thousand dollars an episode and they kind of put a limit on that. That's Kiefer Sutherland money." Dennis was his usual amiable, yet bitterly funny, self during the panel, and even predicted that Michael J. Fox would win an Emmy for his performance while he himself will remain winless. Leary praised Fox for being one of the best guys around, and Tolan said that they were encouraged to dabble in a bit of "stunt casting" but that when they approached a lot of people who had told them that they wanted to do a spot on the show, they declined.

Leary's angry praise continued for his co-star Adam Ferrara. "Adam's a great comedian, but he's pissing me off now because he's become such a great dramatic actor," joked Leary. "Peter and I are like Double Joe Torres. We just have a great team." This season marks a return to the 9/11 theme that seemed to ground the show right at the beginning. The station is visited by a French Female Reporter who's making a coffee table book about 9/11 and wants to hear some on-hand accounts. It creates a bit of a rift among the boys, who think the idea of commercializing the events is terrible, but still want to have their stories told.

Another interesting note for Season 5 is the introduction of a potentially socio-politically controversial topic of "alternate" 9/11 disaster theories. Using their own method of writing for their actors, Leary and Tolan have made Daniel Sunjata's character of Franco believe that the tragic events on 9/11 were caused by an "inside job" due partially to the fact that Sunjata himself believes the very same thing. They wanted to explore the dynamics of a firehouse that's divided in debate over the theories and treat it in a serious way. Sunjata thinks that this move, to show differing opinions on the show is "admirable and should be applauded."

Leary, venting as usual, told the audience the story of how he lost the Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe for Recount this past Sunday night – "early, which was good so I could smoke." But then Leary had to head back in and stand in for his Recount co-star Kevin Spacey who was up for Best Actor, but couldn't be there because he was doing a play in London. So Dennis would have had to accept the award if Spacey had won. But Spacey lost, leaving Dennis thinking "I'm losing awards for other people now."

01-15-2009, 07:58 AM
'Rescue Me' braces for controversy
Michael J. Fox to play paraplegic on FX series



It’s been a hot-potato even for the most heavyweight of political pundits in recent years, but the fifth season of the FX series “Rescue Me” will intrepidly delve into the controversial theory that the 9/11 attacks were aided or perpetrated by the U.S. government.

Season five will find the men of Engine 62 divided over the polarizing theory after a journalist working on a 10-year-anniversary story delves up painful memories.

“I think there are a lot of well-thought-out ideas and theories (about 9/11) that to me make more sense than has been popularly espoused, and I’m glad we could explore it in the context of the show,” said cast member Daniel Sanjata, addressing tube journos at the Television Critics Assn. confab in Universal City Tuesday.

That storyline, and others, including a five-episode arc featuring Michael J. Fox as an alcoholic paraplegic, will punctuate “Rescue Me’s” fifth campaign -- one which series masterminds Denis Leary and Peter Tolan hope puts the show back on track creatively after what they felt was a lackluster season four.

“We didn’t have the clarity of vision we had in previous years,” noted Tolan. “There was a lack of focus.”

Added series star and exec producer Leary: “We’re five years in. You’ve got to have some suck parts, and we got those out of the way.”

01-15-2009, 07:59 AM
'Rescue Me' actor: 9/11 an 'inside job'



It's been a few years since FX brought the cast of "Rescue Me" to the Television Critics Association, which is a shame, since these guys can usually wake up even the sleepiest group. Even if half of what they say can't be printed in most newspapers.

Creators Denis Leary and Peter Tolan are doing the usual shtick, Leary bad-mouthing Hollywood friends who are doing better than he is financially -- especially "24's" Kiefer Sutherland and Michael J. Fox (who'll guest-star in several episodes in the coming season).

He's demanded food, and a critic has tossed him some of the snacks Fox has put out for reporters. (He seems to prefer chocolate to peanut butter-filled pretzels, but then, who doesn't?)

And people are amused.

But not really paying close attention until it's mentioned that the post-9/11 dramedy, which returns in April, plans to deal with some of the conspiracy theories surrounding the Sept. 11 attacks, and that that is thanks to actor Daniel Sunjata, whose character, Franco, will share some of his own beliefs, including the one that says the attacks were "an inside job."

"Obviously, not all of us buy in," noted Tolan, "but [they decided] 'That's interesting, and let's do that.'"