(On landing To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)) [William] Petersen is an old friend of mine from a long time ago. We started a theater company in Chicago, and he's the one that got me on that. I was out here in Los Angeles. Billy was renting a big house while he was doing the movie, and there were other Chicago actors out here migrating, mooching off of him while we were out in L.A. auditioning for stuff. And there were some roles in it, and he mentioned me to William Friedkin, so I just got this role as one of a bunch of bad guys that Billy hunted down. (While filming it) I never ran so much in a day in my life. It was somewhere out in a railyard outside of downtown near a bridge, like a train trestle. And it was running there, it was running across the bridge, and it was running through the industrial park, and finally Billy tackles me and roughs me up. But we ran all day long.
(On his role in Fatal Vision (1984)) I was still really in Chicago. I don't even think I made any pilgrimages out here. I was doing theater in Chicago, and I had a couple plays in New York, which is really what led me to do it. There was a guy by the name of Joel Thurm, who was vice-president at NBC at the time, and he had seen a production of "True West" that I was in, in New York. And I think maybe a year before that or less, I had read for Miami Vice (1984) and did a network screen test for that. Obviously I didn't get that, but [Thurm] still had a memory of me. They had offered the MacDonald role to a few people who had turned it down, and the time for shooting it was approaching. And the casting director in Chicago, who I had known for a long time, suggested me to Joel Thurm. He remembered the play, and then I flew out and auditioned for it, and it became a reality. But it was one of those right-timing things, because they were getting down to the wire, and they were probably less than two weeks from shooting this thing. They already had Karl Malden and Eva Marie Saint and Andy Griffith. It wasn't a question of getting someone that was known, although nowadays I don't know that they'd cast an unknown in that role. It was massive, the role was massive. It was a four-hour miniseries, and I was basically in every scene in the movie. It was an eight- or nine-week shoot out here in L.A.. It was a whole change of life for me, so I was looking at that, too. I read it and re-read the book, and it seemed to me that their take on it was pretty one-sided, and they were pretty convinced that he was guilty. But I didn't disagree with that. That seemed to be the case, although I didn't want to play him like that, because I thought it would be better to play him if he was innocent. It would make him more convincing, which he was to a lot of people-a lot of people were convinced he was innocent.
(On his guest appearance on Miami Vice (1984)) I think the show was in its third season, so it was pretty popular at that point. It was a good experience for me. I was only there five or six days. There was a great actor in that episode who's now a director, Perry Lang. We were kind of partner bad guys, a couple of rich kids who became drug smugglers. I just remember having a decent time in Miami for 10 days...Miami Vice was very stylized, in a weird way. It was kind of like the old Batman (1966). Sometimes the villains were very... I wouldn't say they were cartoony, but they were themed. They were very strong characters. This was not NYPD Blue (1993). It wasn't trying to be hardcore authentic all the time.
In the Line of Fire (1993) wasn't technically the first feature I was in, but I'm going to say that it was, because the first one I did, I was basically invisible. I was in a movie called Lucas (1986) with Corey Haim in 1986. I played an assistant football coach who had one line, which was looped, and I realized it wasn't even my voice when I saw it. It was me saying the line on-screen, but it was someone else's voice. They lost my phone number, I guess. But yeah, In the Line of Fire (1993) was in '93, and that was an audition on tape, because that's the way [director] Wolfgang [Petersen] did it. He didn't usually meet people, and I believe Mr. Malkovich was responsible for getting me the part. I know John from college. I read for it and didn't hear anything for a long time and, in the meantime, I saw John, and he had been set in it for a while as this a villain, and I just mentioned I read for it, and he said, "Well, I wish I would've known about that". Then, a week or so later, I got a call that I was cast in it. So I think John put in a good word for me.