Bill Camp Interview: ‘The Looming Tower’
In playing the composite character, Robert Chesney, on “The Looming Tower,” Bill Camp found a very enriching role. “There was a liberty of having a larger landscape to work with. It was a great source to be able to combine all of these things rather than trying to depict just one character,” reveals the actor in our recent interview (watch the exclusive video above). Regarding the challenges in portraying a character that was based on several real life people, he focuses on the positives of what that portrayal was to him: “Maybe in the beginning stages it was challenging to find who Bob Chesney was, but ultimately that challenge faded and the experience became exhilarating!”
The Hulu limited series starring Jeff Daniels and Peter Sarsgaard examines not only the factions within the FBI and the CIA that were dedicated to gathering intelligence on Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, but also shows the dysfunction and lack of communication between the two agencies that culminated in the September 11th terrorist attacks. The real life account about people who worked in the New York field office of the FBI is based on Lawrence Wright’s book about Mark Rossini, Dan Coleman, John Anticev and Mike Anticev.
Due to the nature of the story being told, there were several scenes that were very challenging physically and emotionally for Camp ,including one showing him in the immediate aftermath of the World Trade Center collapsing. But the most challenging scene for him was a scene that took place in episode three, “Mistakes Were Made.” Chesney is interrogating Mohamad al-Owhali (Youssef Berouain), who had fled the truck that exploded outside the American embassy in Kenya in 1998. Regarding the scene he says, “It’s a long and taxing sequence but there are also very exciting and ecstatic parts as well. It’s also delicate emotionally, especially when they move in and out and I wanted to make sure people saw Bob Chesney’s experience in that scene too.” For as challenging as that scene was, Camp gives a great amount of credit to the episode’s writer (Bash Doran), director (John Dahl) and his scene partner (Berouain) in making the shooting of it an easier experience.
Camp also talks about being nominated for an Emmy last year for “The Night Of” in the Movie/Mini Supporting Actor category. “It was the best. It was wicked man!” He views that nomination as just a small part of a journey that continues to go forward. “It’s a long, strange trip but it’s still going and that was a great gift and a great event that happened along the way.” He adds that he views the nomination as an acknowledgement of the long career he has had (including briefly leaving the profession in the early 2000’s) and also of the great artists and collaborators that he’s worked with over the years.