A: It was amazing. The season just got better and better and more complex. The story keeps building, it keeps broadening and yet we’re still anchored so close to where we started … . You know, each season picks up on the last season, so you tend to stay really connected to what’s going on. Even as the actors, I think sometimes we have to remind ourselves and go back and watch stuff because this just happened, so I find myself kind of doing my own season in review.
Q: Which involves some mental calisthenics for you?
A: Yeah, absolutely, but it’s not very difficult. That’s another advantage of living with these characters for that period of time. I find myself taking less and less time to be able to sync right back into the character and be right back with Tommy because Tommy’s a pretty extreme guy. So you need to compartmentalize a character like that just to (chuckles) keep your marriage healthy and strong and your friendships strong.
Q: Did you create Tommy from other people?
A: I did. There were definitively people in Chicago … guys that I was scared of growing up is a lot of the guys that I modeled Tommy on. And then also some of the great gangsters like Dutch Schultz … who was incredibly volatile but still had a heart of gold and cried at the drop of the hat when Lucky Luciano used to scold him in front of everybody. So there’s a huge thing.
And then I also tried to make sure that I kept the character as true as (series co-creator and co-star) 50 Cent’s experiences. And I found myself going to 50, who’s incredibly present and made himself very available for questions about the life, and I asked him a ton of questions.
George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.