From The Bronx to Hollywood: Robert GossetMay 29, 2007 at 4:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
As any veteran in the acting realm will assumingly attest, it takes a whole lot more history and strength to become truly established as a talent who knows their craft. Robert Gosset, who plays Commander Taylor opposite of Kyra Sedgwick on TNT’s The Closer, is no exception. He has paid his dues severely with the willingness of a professional bent on greatness and not just “stardom”. Truly an inspiring individual with an inspirational voice that is ready to offer up his story to help youngsters to become part of the acting world as well. Read below to see how he addresses the show’s success and his hopes for the future.
Robert Gosset: I’ m from the Bronx, Washington Ave.My old man was a cop. I went to Performing Arts High School. I was a Music Major.
Max: How did that background in music transcend into your desire to become an actor?
Robert Gosset: Music was a creative outlet for me. It brought me to LaGuardia where there I was able to see kids my age who were considering acting as a serious profession. Then there was my cousin Louis Gosset Jr., whose star at that time was beginning to rise. So couple that with the fact that there were also anti-poverty programs for kids to keep from burning down the city in the 70’s. Neighborhood youth core jobs that paid 45 dollars a week. You could clean the subway, baby-sit at summer camps, or you could do street theatre. That was actually my first paying job. It was a good way to hone your craft. At that time there were so many black theatre groups–The Everyman Theatre Company–and each borough had one, and all the companies culminated with a performance at Lincoln Center at the end of the summer. Then we had all of these older black professionals working with us. All these wonderful black men and women who were just trying to pull us up. I had Arthur Wilson as a director. It gave us a great opportunity, kind of like the idea with Dance Theatre of Harlem and Arthur Mitchell–same type of idea–it was a really great experience for kids from the inner city to perform. I was able to from there go to the Afro American Studio for Acting and Speech founded by Ernie Mcklentok, Hazel Bryans’ Afro American Total Theatre, The East River Players, whose artistic director was Michael Whittaker who is now a professor at Georgia Southern; also there was the Negro Ensemble Company founded by Douglas Turner Ward–and all these people helped to train me.
Max: Amazing—this was all history in the making and you were a part of it.
Robert Gosset: So many of us came through those people’s hands, Denzel and so forth. Kids always ask me how do you get into acting? I tell them that you just start—you find a theatre company, build a set, make the costumes, sell the tickets, and you go out and perform. When the performance is over you clean up the theatre and put everything away, go home sleep and come back the next day and do it all over again. And you do it for no money.
Max: At first right?
Robert Gosset: (Chuckle) Yeah at first. Hopefully!
Max: So is that your advice to the youth–if you want to get into acting just do it?
Robert Gosset: Yeah just find a theatre company. You’ll know if it’s for you cause if you’re not willing to put that kind of work into it then you don’t love it enough. You might want to be a star or something else but you don’t want to be an actor. Cause I used to have friends that were styling and they would say,” man come on and hang out…why you want to this for?” The performances at the theatre were Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Those are the party nights…I wasn’t doing a lot of partying at that time.
Max: Yeah but I’m sure it kept you out of trouble too.
Robert Gosset: It also kept me among highly minded people who were well studied and well motivated–people who just want to be creative. Being creative is a wonderful thing. I think creativity is the reason why were all here. It transcends our planet, our humanity. Everything we see, touch, and feel was created. Everything was an idea in someone’s mind at some point and they sought to create it. Electricity was an idea—someone sought how to create it and bring it to the masses. Creativity is the lifeblood and essence of our humanity. So anything where people would sit around and be creative is a wonderful thing.
Max: The second season finale of the closer captured 7.6 million viewers alone, how do you feel about that?
Robert Gosset: I’m honored–its great to see our work being accepted and validated by the public at large….but when you have that kind of writing and that kind of talents it’s only fitting and proper that people come in droves to see it. I’m thankful they do. It would be a shame if they didn’t. There are many great shows on television that just did not get the viewership they were supposed to get with those kinds of numbers. The talent and writing is just that good. We are your veteran actors who know our craft. You put good actors with compelling stories and vibrant characters then people are supposed to come in watch, and thank god that they have.
Max: What can fans expect from the third season?
Robert Gosset: More of the same; more great writing and good acting. The squad is coming together in more of a family way. They are starting to accept one another, as any good family must do, no matter your personal feelings you begin to accept people for who they are and deal with that. That’s going to be one of the arches of the season. And viewers will decide who Taylor is whether he is the uncle you hate to invite that shows up every Christmas dinner but he’s still part of the family.
Max: Will he ever get along with Deputy Chief Brenda Jackson (Kyra Sedgwick)?
Robert Gosset: Well, will she ever get along with him? Why is it always Commander Taylor’s fault? He is who he is…he came up in a way where he is not accustomed to woman being there. He didn’t make the world like that; it was given to him. He loves being a police officer, he has gone the political route but in his heart he is still a police officer that respects good police work. Certainly she has done really exemplary police work. He’s never wanted to be anything else but a cop his whole life. He came up in a working class community where you either became a cop or a criminal. He grew up with these people. He attends church with the mothers of these criminals. It’s a really weird thing when working class people become cops. They don’t have that many choices. A lot of the choices left to them are crime. At a certain point he puts all the chauvinism and misogyny aside because it comes second to the work that he loves to do.
Max: So how are you reflected in Commander Taylor’s character?
Robert Gosset: I’m a quiet guy. Commander Taylor is not shy but he’s quiet. He’s a watcher. I like to understand what motivates people and try to gage people…I think we cross there, I have a strong sense in write and wrong and I believe in hard work and perseverance and I think he does too. Integrity…we should all have moral compasses that push us to acts of integrity and decency. But then on the other side of that I am on some levels overly judge-mental and unyielding. I have to be corrected, as my wife could attest, there is room for me to grow and learn and I think that Commander Taylor in the heat of battle might contend that two wrongs do make a right. He might bend a rule to get a bad guy. He might do something criminal to take that criminal out; so that is part of him.
Max: What do you think will be the overall reaction to this 3rd season?
Robert Gosset: I hope that viewer-ship doubles. I hope the reaction multiplies itself. People really respect the show and I’m proud to be part of a show that people respect. It isn’t a silly show. People genuinely get something from The Closer; they look forward to it and escape. Our fans take the time to invite us into their homes and watch us–I think it is an honor and a privilege and I hope that more people do that.