Wednesday night’s Chicago Fire is going to prove to be quite the powerful episode, and for a number of different reason. You’ll see a daring rescue, more relationship-based storylines, and then a guest appearance from a legend in David Selby. The actor, best known for his work on Dark Shadows and Falcon Crest, is making a special guest appearance on Wednesday — and all signs point to it being one that is poised to impact a number of people emotionally.
While details are under wraps about certain aspects of Selby’s role. we at least know his name (Tim Larson) and the character is spending time with (Sylvie Brett). We recently had a chance to speak with Selby about his experiences on the show, his career, and what he wants to do next.
CarterMatt – What was it like being in Chicago and around the set?
David Selby – It was terrific. I’ve been in Chicago a lot in my career, off and on. I’ve done a lot of theater. Shooting Chicago Fire … it was quite special. When I read the script, I knew I had to do it. When I read it again, that just reinforced it. That touched me, and it made me feel like it was something I needed to do. There’s a line in the piece about how Chicago people support each other, and that’s what I found. I’m not going to politicize this, but in our time today with all of the things I see in the world with all the divisions, it was so wonderful for this town to say ‘we pull together.’
In this episode, this man [I play] goes through this life-changing event and the community helps him pull through what he’s going through.
In addition to that, several members of the crew came up to me and said ‘David, remember when we did this show together?’ (laughs). They had such a wonderful family. You work a series for so long that you know everybody. I was there a week, but I felt like a member of the family. That’s how nice it was.
At this point in your career, are you mostly looking for things you connect to on a personal level?
I do. Especially when I do theater. I think it’s very special when you connect with something with that. There was a good arc in the story here for this character. He’s not in every scene, but the scenes that he is in are important. They track until he gets to the end when they all pull together. He’s very touched by it and I found myself very touched by it.
I am very blessed, and I still love to do what I do. It’s really wonderful when you see something and, without question, you say ‘that’s something I want to do.’
When you take on a role now, do you tackle it differently than you did ten or twenty years ago? Is there a change there?
You get older, and as you do, you learn how important certain things are to you. You’re like ‘oh my God,’ and that’s what happened with this story. I knew what he was going through. You learn as the years go by, hopefully (laughs). I’m not saying that there isn’t still more to learn, but the things you go through in one’s life add up. You can call upon those things to instruct you.
How do you think people who have been fans of yours for so many years will feel about this character?
We’ll see (laughs). I was talking to a friend the other day and I mentioned Chicago Fire, and he was like ‘oh my God, you’re not going to believe this — they are so important to me.’ He was so excited! It meant a lot to him. That was terrific.
I don’t know how your story ends, but could you see this role being something you’d want to do again?
If they asked me, I would feel blessed. I don’t know what they would have in mind for the character — he’s just moved to Chicago from Montana. I’m not sure where they would go, but that’s not my territory. Of course, if you’re asking if I would do it again, the answer is yes.
You’re someone who has done more than 500 episodes of scripted television, and that’s a lot! I know so many actors would faint at the thought of it. With that said, would you still be interested in taking on a regular role on a show?
If it’s a good role. I’d even do a recurring if I felt it. I did Legion a couple of years ago because of Noah Hawley. I love his work! I enjoyed that. I still do a lot of theater — I’m blessed that way. I did a movie back east a couple of years ago called Back Fort, and it was about the opiate addiction problem. It was a good story — a low-budget film, but those kind of things don’t really matter.
Is love too strong a word? Well, I still love the camaraderie of it. The family of it. How everyone works together, from all members of the crew to in front and behind the camera.
I know a lot of times early on in one’s career, it’s hard to have a sense of perspective or a way to look back — but now, after everything you’ve done, what is the biggest thing you’ve learned? What have you managed to take away from it all?
I said the word a couple of minutes ago — blessed. Even when I think about this question, I get a little bit emotional because of the writing, the blocking, the work, and the people I’ve met along the way. How it informs the person I am and I know it’s made me a better person. Whether or not I live up to that … I try. I want to live up to the confidence that everyone has put into to me through the years. It was no different on this show.
I know how much I have to be thankful for, especially that this episode of Chicago Fire came my way.
Are you excited to see what David Selby brings to Chicago Fire this Wednesday?
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