You can now listen to The Wayne Ayers Podcast interview with Daniela! She spoke about the show and directing, and answered some fan questions.
Daniela Ruah stepped behind the camera to direct her fifth episode of NCIS: Los Angeles with the November 6 “Flesh & Blood.”
Her approach to directing hasn’t changed since she did so for the first time in Season 12. “I think I’m just as obsessive with the details as I was in the beginning in the sense that I want to make sure I don’t miss anything,” she tells TV Insider. (The Directors Guild of America provides a workshop for first-time directors, then she evolved from there.) Something she’s learned is to “make sure you have an answer for people,” no matter which department might have a question, and she tries to avoid making the same mistakes twice.
“Every episode that passes I fall more and more in love with the craft and I’ll never leave acting because I’m too much of a show-off and I love being in front of the camera, but visually storytelling through a camera is definitely a passion that has been growing exponentially for me,” she shares.
Here, Ruah shares more about directing and previews “Flesh & Blood.”
Do you enjoy directing action or more emotional character driven scenes more?
Daniela Ruah: I like both. I love the intimate scenes, but I think that comes from my own experience as an actor and how fun it is to dive deep into your emotions and feelings and interpret a situation and play that. And then maybe the other actor gives you something a little bit different, and so you’re listening to them, so you shift what you thought you were gonna do and it’s an animal that finds its own shape in the room in the moment, especially in a show like ours where there’s very little rehearsal time.
But the action sequences are so fun and I tend to be pretty loud and excited when we get a good shot. I will say that the action sequences and bigger days like that are definitely still more challenging for me, I think just because I have to grow my skill set. Fortunately I’m surrounded by a really, really experienced crew and they always are very helpful with everything. Our special effects teams, the Frazee family, they’re unbelievable, and Troy Brown, our stunt coordinator — everybody is just so good at working together as a team and pulling off really hard days in very few hours. I want to do more action sequences just so I can learn more. It’s a lot to think about, a lot of logistics. You need to be very on it with your prep and when people are fighting and falling and blowing things up and shooting, safety is a huge concern always.
This episode you get both. Set up the case.
Because of the cold open — there’s blood on [the victim’s wife] and she’s trying to open the door and he’s dead on the floor with knife wounds — we presume that [she] killed him, but really his death has nothing to do with her at all. … Some episodes, the case is the focus and some episodes like mine, the characters are the focus, their personal journeys. We explore some really important issues here and we allow ourselves as well to get to know Deeks [Eric Christian Olsen] a little bit better and his life experiences, which he connects with Marnee Carpenter’s character and her experience with domestic violence.
It’s always so much fun when Roberta (Pamela Reed) is around, and we got some great scenes with her and Kensi, including one about parenting, which was sweet in a Mama Deeks way. What can Kensi learn from her about being a parent?
Both Kensi and Dani are going to learn things from Mama Deeks. It’s funny, the scene where I’m like, “I feel like I’m always missing something,” that doesn’t happen to me personally as much as my kids are much younger. I think when they become teenagers, they maybe open up to their friends, not always with you as much as you’d want them to — hopefully my kids will. But you do feel like you’re missing out on a little something here and there. And when she’s like, being a parent is like being pecked by something. And I’m like, I thought that was gonna be a more positive piece of advice. And she goes, “What are you talking about? It’s a slow death.” As horrible as that sounds, she means you have time, enjoy the time you have with your kid because it’s not short. Enjoy every day, enjoy every moment, learn from it and move on. She just decides to describe it as a slow death.
Pamela’s wonderful. I wish I could put in every single take that she does. And then the end of the episode, [part of the conversation between Deeks and his mother] was written [but then she added some] improv.
Speaking of parenting, I have to say how much I enjoyed the chaotic feel of Kensi, Deeks, and Rosa (Natalia Del Riego) getting ready in the morning early on in the episode.
I felt like being on a steady cam adds a little bit more movement and allows the camera operator to move around in a more flexible way than if he’s on a dolly or something like that. It’s representing the hecticness and people are coming out from different parts of the house and she’s tying her shoes and looking for a backpack and Kensi’s trying to shove food down her face quickly before she needs to go. And oddly enough, Deeks is the one, after he catches a bag, who just kind of stands there and is looking at everybody else running around like headless chickens, kind of cool as a cucumber.
And that phone call, oh my gosh. We were very particular about the car we chose for Pam, by the way. That was a very conscious choice to have the one with the wood on the sides, that like old school, soccer mom car.
It fit her so well.
Perfectly. And then with all her camping stuff and all her stuff behind her in the car. Those things become a little bit of background, but at the end of the day in prep, those are the kind of things that we put more thought into than you would think. What car would she drive? Now we’re establishing that car for future episodes. What kind of junk would she have around her? I remember specifically saying she wouldn’t have a loud speaker in that car because it’s an old car, so let’s get one of those phone holders and put it right in front of her on the windshield. Details like that that really sort of show what kind of a character she is.
What can you tease about the three-show crossover?
It’s been shot and it went really well. It was extremely fun. Some of the actors I already knew. For example, I’ve known Wilmer [Valderrama] for a few years now and it was so fun to catch up with him and show pictures of the kids and the spouses and all that. And then I got to meet the people, for example, from NCIS: Hawai’i. They came over, I hadn’t met any of them before, and it was just wonderful. Everybody was just happy to see each other and happy to be together.
I was happy to see that LA is involved because it’s mostly been single characters for your show.
Yeah. The thing is logistically, it’s kind of a nightmare for the producers of every show because you have a set of characters that are coming to our show or whatever we’re doing, [but] they have to maybe be on our show in the morning and then, for the regular NCIS, drive back to Santa Clarita to finish off the day up there. The coordination of schedules was a big, big deal for the producers and kudos to them for making it work.
What else is coming up for Kensi?
On a less emotional note, I got some really good fight scenes coming up.
I love when Kensi gets fight scenes!
I know, me too. It’s one of my favorite parts of playing Kensi is the fact that I get to do a bunch of fight sequences. I have an amazing stunt double Kim [Shannon Murphy], and she choreographs everything for me. She does all the really dangerous stuff, but she’s very kind to let me do large portions of the fight sequences. I’m not allowed to get flipped over on my back or be in the car in driving sequences.
And I’m directing Episode 14, so we’ll have another directed episode by me this season.
Is there anything you can share about more with Kessler (played by writer Frank Military)?
Not that I’ve heard of, but bringing back Kessler is definitely one of my hopes.
Those two in an interrogation in the boatshed would be amazing.
I think so, too. And Frank Military is a very good friend of mine, so it’s always fun when you already have that trust and comfortability with another person and to just see where it goes in the scenes.
O telefilme “Os Vivos, o Morto e o Peixe Frito”, baseado na obra de Ondjaki e realizado pela @danielaruah, estreia a 7 de dezembro, às 21h, na RTP1.
Este pertence a “Contado por Mulheres”, um projeto que reúne dez telefilmes baseados em contos, novelas e romances da literatura portuguesa dos séculos XX e XXI, e que foram adaptados por argumentistas e dez realizadoras.
O primeiro é apresentado a 16 de novembro, e todas as quartas-feiras estreia um novo.
Clique na imagem ou aqui para obter mais informações.
The telefilm “Os Vivos, o Morto e o Peixe Frito”, directed by @danielaruah, premieres on December 7, at 9pm, on RTP1.
It belongs to “Contado por Mulheres”, a project that brings together ten TV movies based on short stories, novels and novellas from 20th and 21st century Portuguese literature, which were adapted by screenwriters and ten female directors.
The first film will air on November 16th, and a new one premieres every Wednesday.
Tap on the picture or here to learn more.
Source: TV Insider.
NCIS: Los Angeles is officially back for its 14th season, and while there might have been a scare in the premiere about Hetty (Linda Hunt) — the body with an ID of one of her aliases’ was not hers — there are more of those to come (not involving her).
After all, the team will once again be dealing with a case that was left very open-ended from Season 9, and for Kensi (Daniela Ruah), the threat of Kessler (Frank Military) is very much ever-present. When will he make his move?
When TV Insider recently caught up with Ruah, who directed Episode 5, she teased what’s ahead there and more.
The serial killers from “The Monster” in Season 9 are coming back — that’s the most terrifying episode of the series.
Daniela Ruah: Yes! You can thank Frank Military for that, and Adam George Key, who wrote it with him.
I’m not surprised considering Frank Military is Kessler.
What can you say about their return?
Thus far the episode that we shot will once again finish with an open ending. So that’s pretty fascinating. Yeah, it’s kind of scary, but the conclusions we come to at the end are pretty terrifying. And I don’t want to say anymore because I really want people to watch. [Laughs]
Speaking of Kessler, I need something to happen with him because that threat’s just hanging over them.
I know, me too, trust me. I have no idea when he’s coming back. But I really hope he does. Frank Military created that character, which is so funny because Frank Military as a human is the lightest, most positive, kindest person you’ve ever met. And he really goes down the rabbit hole of creating these awful characters, dark characters. I hope that he comes back and plays him again because I think Frank was brilliant and it was such an interesting dynamic with Kensi.
So it sounds like you haven’t done anything with that yet, but do we see Kensi doing anything to protect her family in the meantime? Or is that kind of just falling to the background because of everything else?
It’s always there. We always know it’s there. But it has fallen ever so slightly to the background right now because there’s so much else going on.
Callen (Chris O’Donnell) and Anna’s (Bar Paly) wedding is coming up and chances are it will be as exciting as Kensi and Deeks’ was. So do you know anything about that?
What do you know about that?
I don’t know anything yet.
[Laughs] I don’t know anything either. I wish I did. I was trying to get a scoop from you. It is discussed in Episode 5. And Callen is concerned that Hetty is not present and this makes him hesitant, if you will.
I hope we get some good Kensi, Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen), and Arkady (Vyto Ruginis) scenes leading up to it because those three together…
Oh my gosh, I love Arkady. He’s such a phenomenal actor and character. How often does the character like that get called back over and over and over again? He’s so wonderful.
Will we see him in the early part of the season, say in the episode you directed? Since you mentioned the wedding…
He’s talked about, but he will not be physically in the episode I directed.
Is there anything you got to do as a director you haven’t yet with that episode?
Here’s the interesting thing. It’s a network television show, which means that we have certain aesthetic parameters that we tend to stick to and the place where most directors are going to have a lot of fun with tends to be the cold open because it typically is different than the stuff we do throughout the episode. It’s usually not in the OPS Center, it’s usually not in the boat shed. It’s a new location. It’s might be at night. You can get super creative. And so every time it’s time to shoot the cold open of an episode, I think that’s where I have a lot of fun because it’s just a little bit more open-ended aesthetically on what you’re allowed to do.
A couple of seasons ago, when we had the sailor who was on an LSD trip — he took too much LSD, he was supposed to be micro-dosing — and it was written by Indira Wilson and the whole opening was him on a trip. And so he’s in the ship and he’s coming down and we have smoke and then we filmed it in a way where the camera sort of goes over him and ends upside down as he’s running away from camera. Little details like that from a directing standpoint are really fun to do. There’s probably not much of a reason in a regular episode or while we’re doing a case for the camera to be flipped upside down. So things that may not seem a very big deal to an audience member, to me as a director it’s like, oh, I got to play with the camera. I got to play with its direction. I got to play with what it’s looking at.
Will we see Sabatino (Erik Palladino) again this season?
We will see him this season, yes. We have not shot it yet, but I believe we will see him, so I’ve been told.
I like the way that his relationship with the team has gone over the years. It’s crazy the paths it’s taken.
I agree. And the fact that we met him working with Kensi in Afghanistan in Season 5 and that relationship developing, that banter. Erik Palladino, the actor who plays him, has chemistry with everybody. Put him in a scene with Callan and Sam [LL Cool J], put him in a scene with Kensi and Deeks, he’s gonna be funny and he’s gonna be good at action and he’s just a really good, fun actor to watch, and I love him as a human.
What else can you preview about the season for Kensi?
We’re only on Episode 8. I think it’s just so far struggling with the parenting aspect of it, having to deal with a mother-in-law [Pamela Reed’s Roberta] who she does love, but watching the dynamic between Deeks and Mama Deeks is very funny. They go a little bit into Deeks’ past, his father being an aggressive person towards his mom and him when they were little. We explore that a little bit in Episode 5.
So are we getting the “Deeks, M.” episode this season?
He’s the one person we’re missing. I don’t know when that’s happening, but it should happen, for sure.
Source: TV Fanatic.
Daniela Ruah has enjoyed playing Kensi Blye, the most enduring female agent in the popular NCIS franchise.
NCIS: Los Angeles returns for its 14th season at 10 p.m. Sunday on CBS, and Ruah has been there from the beginning, as have LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell as partners Sam Hanna and G Callen.
In this exclusive interview with TV Fanatic, when she calls from her home base of, not surprisingly, Los Angeles, Ruah admits she feels a kinship to Kensi.
“That’s like asking what is your favorite part about playing yourself because that’s how close I am to Kensi at this point,” she says. “She is me, except I don’t catch bad guys for a living.”
Try harder, Daniela.
The floodgates open: “I love her spontaneity. I love her sense of humor. I love her relationships with all the other characters, especially her relationship with her husband, Deeks. I love how much of a well-rounded human being Kensi is. I love how she’s matured and undergone life experiences in front of an audience.”
The NCIS: Los Angeles writers have taken Kensi on quite a journey, Ruah explains.
“She started off being kind of a loner,” she says. “I can do it myself. I’m independent. I lived on the streets, and I can fend for myself. Then she found someone she could truly share her fears and concerns, and worries with, someone who makes her laugh and brings her joy.
“At first, she didn’t want to be a parent because all she knows is this job, and she’s fearful of not being in this job because of being a parent. Then she runs into infertility when she decides she does want to be a mom, a struggle that is so true and so difficult for many would-be parents. Then she found a solution to that.
“I figure she’s about the same age as me. So she started around age 25 and is now turning 39. A lot can happen in that period of time.”
In the new season, Kensi faces perhaps her biggest challenge, as she and Deeks serve as foster parents to Rosa, who she rescued from Guatemala on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 13 Episode 8.
Ruah explains that Kensi has no blueprint for being a parent, as her beloved father died young, and her mother wasn’t present for her. As a result, Kensi puts too much pressure on herself.
“I love how insecure she is as a brand-new foster mom,” she says. “She loves so much and cares so much that she just wants to get it right and sort of ends up overthinking and being nervous about everything. She tries to be the perfect foster parent. One, nobody’s perfect, and two, you’re more likely to fail if you try to be perfect.”
Some would argue that Kensi has always had to be the responsible one in her relationship with Deeks. But Ruah refused to see Deeks as childish.
“I don’t agree with that,” she rebutted. “In spite of Deeks being a total goofball and he’s funny, at the end of the day when you watch Deeks turn on his mature, intelligent self, he can hold the room. When he wants to put on his lawyer hat for the suspect, or he wants to dive deep emotionally with something, we’ve seen him do that.
“He is no child, even though he makes some silly moves and says some silly things,” she added. “At the end of the day, he knows exactly what he’s doing. Also, I don’t think Kensi would fall in love with a man-child.”
One of the series’ many hanging storylines is David Kessler, who began stalking Kensi on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 5. He’s been mentioned once in passing since then. Ruah is game to tie up that storyline.
“I’d love to see Kensi stepping out of character and making more erratic decisions,” she says. “She’s become more logical through the years. Earlier, she was more likely to be a loose cannon and go off and do what she needed to do. I’d love to see her being driven by instinct rather than being driven by logic.”
Other teammates also have lingering storylines from NCIS: Los Angeles Season 13.
Sam is caring for his curmudgeonly father, Raymond, who is slowly developing dementia.
Callen is preparing to marry Anna. Hetty’s absence will weigh heavily on him, and that will cause tension between them.
Roundtree is still dealing with the fallout of mistakenly being stopped by racist police on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 13 Episode 15.
After years with motherly Hetty, Ruah says the squad has adjusted to Kilbride’s management style, even if some viewers haven’t. Pointing to an episode she directed, “Live Free or Die Standing” (NCIS: Los Angeles Season 13 Episode 19), she says that Kilbride will do what needs to be done.
“Even though Kilbride is his brusque self, he’s still coming from the Hetty generations-of-experience way of doing things,” she added. “He’s by the book until he can’t be because he’s also the guy who’s going to do the right thing. He’s a good guy.”
Ruah has been working more as a director. She has directed her show for three seasons, directing two episodes this season. She also has directed in her home company of Portugal.
Much of the core group of lead actors have been together for the entire run of NCIS: Los Angeles.
“We’ve become a family that’s been cemented throughout the years,” Ruah says. “Us being together for so long as a cast has brought people comfort. Being in people’s homes every week for 14 years is a big deal.
“A lot of people have said, ‘This is a show we sit down as a family to watch every Sunday.’ That brings me so much joy.”