Modern Day Sherlock

Interview: Gerald McCullouch

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Modern Day Sherlock’s Shane Saunders interviewed Gerald McCullouch, also known as Bobby Dawson on CSI. In the interview, he told me the atmosphere on the set of a hit show, a car wreck he got in and details on his new movie.

MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: Do you have a favorite Bobby Dawson moment?

McCULLOUCH: Well, some of my favorite Bobby Dawson moments have probably been ones that have been cut from episodes that aired. Marg Helgenberger and I had uh, probably in the third or fourth season, had a fun little joke that ended up getting cut about some guns. [laughs] I don’t know how specific I can be, but most of my favorite moments have ended up being cut from episodes that have aired.

MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: In the CSI episode “No Humans Involved,” you had a little action sequence with a gun in which it misfired in the lab. Can you tell me how that played out and did it require a stunt double?

McCULLOUCH: No stunt doubles. And there’s actually, each time they write an episode, the episode probably runs on an average of about five or ten minutes -- five minutes long, so they have to cut little shots of it. And in that episode there’s actually a flashback of exactly what happened with the misfire which was cut from the episode that aired. It was a little bit more detailed in the script than what was aired. We do have technical specialists who are there with me that walk me through everything so no one does get hurt. We do use real guns, just not real bullets. We use blanks. And there’s always a technical assistant there close to me walking me through everything so that I do everything correctly and do everything safely as possible.

MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: When did you become a model? Did this happen before your acting career?

McCULLOUCH: It all kind of happened at the same time. I have been doing this professionally, supporting myself pretty much since -- I got in a really bad car wreck when I was a sophomore in college. And after that car wreck I had to go through a lot of physical and mental rehabilitation in Atlanta, Georgia. And after that process I got hooked up with a fairly well-known agent in Atlanta who represented me both as an actor and a model. So both aspects of my career kind of took off at the same time. And I continued to work in both aspects of my career pretty much ever since.

MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: And your also a singer?

McCULLOUCH: I am a singer, yes. Actually way back when, I started out as a singer. My very first professional job, which is kind of funny when you look back on it -- in high school, I sang and danced in one of the musical reviews at Six Flags over Georgia. [laughs] Which cracks me up when I think about it. But that kind of got me started on the path I am. And when I moved to New York after Atlanta, I did a lot of musical theater including playing Jesus. And that was kind of the touchtone in my career that moved me to L.A. and kind of began me on the path that I’m on now.

MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: You have a new movie coming out this year called Locked. Can you describe your character and the premise of the movie?

McCULLOUCH: Yeah, I just finished filming Locked. I think we wrapped late September and it is a movie set in Locke, California -- and it is kind of a coming-of-age story of two sisters, one of them getting married. During the weekend of the celebration of the engagement announcement, two sisters invite their best friend [who I play the best friend’s husband] , and we kind of celebrate a weekend together at their old family house. In that weekend there’s a lot of drama and history that comes up. I play Rhys O’Connor and it was great because I get to be Irish, so I spoke with Irish dialect the whole time, which I kind of like because on CSI I play a southern guy and I get to speak in a southern dialect. The girl [Eugenia Yuan] that plays my wife was actually in Memoirs of a Geisha.


McCULLOUCH: Yeah, her and I had a great time together. All of our scenes are pretty much together -- so it was a really nice experience. Northern California is a really a beautiful country and I had a great time shooting that movie. Plus getting to pretend to be Irish for three weeks on the shoot and during that process I pretty much spoke in the dialect whenever I was on set working. Most of the crew thought I was Irish and I was doing a southern dialect on CSI. So it was kind of funny that I got to be this anonymous entity that no one really knew much about me for a while. It was fun.

MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: I will definitely have to go see the movie.

McCULLOUCH: Yeah. Hopefully it will be making it to the festivals fairly shortly. I don’t know what the process is and how far they are in post-production.

MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: What’s it like working on CSI and what is it like with the cast?

McCULLOUCH: It’s been a really great experience. This is my sixth season now and I have never been with a show this long and that in itself is an incredible experience. Not to mention the statue of the show its received in its six years. I did not do the “Pilot” episode which I have been mis-quoted, but I did do the very first episode [“Cool Change”]. And I actually got to work on the very first day of the first episode. It was kind of when the “CSI” family began and I remember that Marg and I worked together on one of the first scenes of the first episode ever and people were calling her Marg and me Gerald (soft G). And because she has a hard ‘G’ and because I have a hard ‘G’ we kind of bonded at that moment and its been really amazing the show has had the life that it has had and that I have been with it for such a long time.

MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: At what age did you start acting?

McCULLOUCH: The original motivation for me to try to get to any type of career or artistic expression -- I started out as a painter. I got a scholarship to Savannah School of Art and Design and during my senior year at high school when I was thinking I was going to be a visual artist, that’s when I got the job at Six Flags over Georgia. When that happened, my focus kind of started wanting to become a singer. Then via Six Flags, I was referred to audition for the BFA Musical Theater Program at Florida state, still with my main focus being singing. But through my education at Florida state I cultivated a gigantic infinity for acting.

MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: Do you have time for hobbies?

McCULLOUCH: My hobbies have changed dramatically throughout the years. I tend to really get as much out of life as I can. And I think one can do that by continually learning. I try to always find a new way to educate myself and that kind of is my hobby in a nut shell. By that I [learn by] going to museums. I love taking up sports I’ve never done before. I’ve gotten to boxing over the last two years and as a kid, I never really understood boxing. And now that I do box, it’s an amazing sport. It requires a lot of mental and physical focus and I am very fortunate enough to for my birthday last year, I bought a really cool car. And one of my all time favorite things to do is go for a drive with the top down and my dog and my car is now in New York, because I split my time between New York and California.

MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: What is the atmosphere like on CSI?

McCULLOUCH: Each day is a different day, it really depends. When you’ve been with a group of people for that long, as any work environment, depending on what’s going on in world news, depending on if the Emmys are coming up, depending on if an episode is very climatic with a person’s character. It always depends.

MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: And finally, what has been your favorite episode of CSI?

McCULLOUCH: I don’t think I can answer that question. I’ve done the show for six years and it’s so hard to isolate, especially by name. Although, I think it would be Part two of “A Bullet Runs Through It.” Richard Catalani, who wrote the episode with Carol Mendelsohn -- Richard Catalani they brought on about three seasons ago as a technical advisor and a ballistics specialist. So Richard and I, from the beginning kind of had a cool relationship. And I think now he’s moved to producer and writer and I think “A Bullet Runs Through It” was one of his big scripts. Plus, the episode had a lot to do with bullets, so not only did I get involved, I learned a lot as well.


This interview took place on Sunday, January 22, 2006 over the phone with Gerald McCullouch and Shane Saunders, the owner and webmaster of Modern Day Sherlock.