By Meredith Jacobs
Read the full interview HERE.
The NCIS: Los Angeles team is dealing with quite a bit of change in Season 12, both professionally and personally.
Kensi (Daniela Ruah) and Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) are looking to the future, trying to have kids while he’s also figuring out his career (his liaison position has been terminated permanently, and becoming an NCIS agent at his age isn’t possible for the LAPD detective). Analyst Nell (Renée Felice Smith), who wasn’t even sure if she wanted to keep working at the agency, is filling in for the MIA operations manager Hetty (Linda Hunt). Eric (Barrett Foa) is off doing his own thing. And the younger generation of agents has come in: Fatima (Medalion Rahimi) and Rountree (Caleb Castille).
Here, Ruah discusses those changes and making her directorial debut (Episode 11) later this season.
Both Hetty and Eric are off doing things that we’ve only heard about vaguely. Who’s going to return first, and whose work will we learn more about first?
Daniela Ruah: Those are pretty elusive characters this season. Hetty is doing Hetty stuff, still pulling strings at a distance. And then Mr. Eric Beale, last season, he was up in San Francisco developing some technology [and] all of that went bust, but the technology he developed did not. So he’s now a multi-million-dollar major tech developer, our little ol’ Eric Beale, and shows up with a mustache! We’re just like, “Who is this guy who’s been transformed?” He’ll be present but working on his own stuff.
And you’re directing this season. What made now the right time?
Even though this is when it’s happening, this has actually been in the making for a year and a half, [from] the time that I realized this is something I really wanted to do. It is a passion that has grown from opportunity versus, “oh, I always wanted to direct.” It wasn’t that. I realized that I was wasting a wonderful opportunity by not directing.
Because essentially being in a production like this, that works so efficiently and has such a tight-knit family, if I’m ever going to try this for the first time, it has to be here because I know the characters, I know everybody’s names, I know what everybody does. All those things that you have to learn in a classroom and then try to apply it to real life, I’ve been living in a classroom, in film school for 12 years. All I had to do was start listening and start watching and paying attention to things that were outside of my job description. And all of a sudden I realized how organic everything felt to me.
Obviously it’s not uncommon. I’m not unique. There are a lot of actors that jump into directing, editors, script supervisors, DPs, first ADs, camera operators. Chris O’Donnell has directed before on our show. A couple of our producers have directed. This is a very safe space and I’m not dealing with potential egos because I’m dealing with family and we’re all super open, and if I have a terrible idea, someone’s going to be honest with me about it. And if somebody starts to introduce an idea that is not something I’m too happy with, I’m perfectly comfortable telling them that. If I’m going to do this for the first time, it has to be here. I met my husband, got married, have two kids, bought my first house, and dammit, I’m going to direct my first episode.
Are you interested in also writing? Eric Christian Olsen has.
No, no, no. Zero passion, zero interest, zero skill, zero talent for it. I think we need to be realistic about limitations. I think I have the capability to learn and become a great director, and this is not ego talking. Obviously I’m going to make a lot of mistakes. But I think that I’m capable of eventually becoming a good director. But I can tell you right now that I do not have potential of becoming any eventual anything when it comes to writing. I’m going to leave that to Eric because he is in fact one of the most talented people in words in general. All you gotta do is read his captions on Instagram. Oh, that’s Nobel Prize-winning writing right there.
NCIS: Los Angeles, Sundays, 9/8c, CBS
Read the full interview HERE.