Blog: News & Views

Chris Messina on challenges of playing vet turned whistleblower in 'Damages' [Video]

By Daniel Montgomery
Jun 04 2012 15:10 pm
0
Comments

"In 'Six Feet Under' I was cast as a Republican lawyer, and then Woody Allen cast me as a Republican [in 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'] … so when I went to meet with those guys I was very adamant about not being a lawyer on their show or a Republican," says Chris Messina referring to his first casting call for "Damages." He got his wish. Instead of a Republican lawyer, he plays Chris Sanchez, a traumatized soldier who becomes a whistle-blower against a powerful private defense contractor. He's a contender for Best Drama Guest Actor at the Emmys.

Messina's character suffers from post-traumatic stress following an assignment in Afghanistan. To prepare for his scenes, he says, he would "stay awake and not sleep, and then I'd go to work and right before action … I would drink two Red Bulls … I didn't have to act jittery – I was jittery and tired and kind of confused and emotional." Despite his treacherous storyline, which also saw his character kidnapped and tortured, he lives on and will appear in the fifth and final season of "Damages" this summer.

"I was really happy to go out with the show and that team of people," says Messina of appearing on the series through its last year. Though he was nervous to join a show in the middle of its run, he was welcomed by the cast. He explains, "At that point they had been on for three years, so they're a family … I remember when I first met [Rose Byrne], her just being so kind and inviting and really opened her arms to me joining this family."

MAKE YOUR EMMY PREDICTIONS:
Will Chris Messina win Best Drama Guest Actor?

Log your predictions in all top Emmy races. Compete against experts!


Messina joins a very different television family in the fall. He is a regular on Mindy Kaling's upcoming sitcom "The Mindy Project." "I don't find myself very funny," the actor admits. "She wrote that part for me, and I was very grateful that she did … and I think I was afraid of it and turned it down a couple of times." But eventually he relented, and the show begins production this summer. Of the challenges of comedy versus drama he says, "You know what, acting, the whole thing is really challenging. There are often many days where I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing or why I'm doing it, and it's just a matter of time until the people I'm working for find out that they hired the wrong person … I just feel lucky, to be honest with you, to be working."

"The Mindy Project" is a far cry from his "Damages" role, to which Messina suggests, "Maybe I'll grow a beard on the show and she can torture me or something."

Don’t miss important Emmy news and predictions – Get free Gold Derby updates

RELATED NEWS:

See Emmy predix of Matt Roush (TV Guide)

Vicious villains win Emmys

Videos: Our exclusive chats with Emmy contenders

Join the fierce discussion in our forums

Should the Emmys abandon at-home voting and return to viewing panels?

Anthony Geary ('General Hospital') predicted to win record seventh Daytime Emmy

 
Related News

Advertisement

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Reality TV Predix

See top scores among Derbyites predicting this week's episodes and the whole seasons so far. See full leaderboards here -- did you make the lists? Prizes include $100 Amazon gift certificates plus your own personal chats with hosts Jeff Probst and Phil Keoghan.

CLICK HERE to log your predictions for lots of reality TV series, including "American Idol," "Dancing with the Stars" and "The Voice" plus Emmys and MTV Movie Awards. Learn more HERE. And see latest odds HERE.

Subscribe to our free news service
Photo Galleries: Emmys & More

Advertisement