Interview with 'Person of Interest' star Kevin Chapman

By Sarah Burbank

Kevin Chapman has played a series of characters, from Mystic River’s Val Savage to Freddie Cook on Brotherhood. Now, Chapman is taking over prime-time television as he plays Detective Fusco on Person of Interest, CBS’s futuristic crime show that has fans constantly on the edge of their seat. had the opportunity to speak to the laid back actor and get his take on both Detective Fusco and the show. What can you tell me about Detective Lionel Fusco?

Kevin Chapman: Detective Fusco is a complex character. He is very smart, but kind of corrupt who has a sense of duality to him. On one end he works within the scope of corrupt police officers and on the other hand he is very much a part of this very unorthodox crime fighting team, I guess you could call them, with Reese played by Jim Caviezel and Finch played by Michael Emerson.

TCC: In your own words, can you describe Person of Interest?

KC: It’s a new series on CBS starring Michael Emerson, Kim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson and myself. Screenplay is by Jonathan Nolan, who people know from the Batman movies, The Dark Knight and also he wrote a fabulous movie called Memento, The Prestige, he’s very talented. Also, produced by [J.J.] Abrams who we all know from Lost and movies like Super 8 and Star Trek and the series is built around the idea of preventing crime before it happens. While developing this computer system for post 9-11 or terrorist protection, this billionaire genius Finch discovers that it gives intelligence on all series of crimes.

With the authorities unwilling to respond to a certain level of these crimes, Finch seeks out this former CIA agent, played by Jim Caviezel. They form this kind of vigilante type duo which is rather unique because it’s kind of like the pen and the sword igniting in the name of good! This whole setting is set in New York City and within that city there is a detective by the name of Carter, played by Taraji P. Henson, and her order is to fight crime within the city of New York and these two worlds kind of collide.

I play Lionel Fusco who is this New York city cop who has a very jaded moral compos, he is a conflicted detective working in the scope of the New York Police Department. He is kind of pulled in my Reese to assist them in their fight on crime.

TCC: Do you think that this type of crime seeking/fighting would be received in real life?

KC: I think it’s great. It’s the only show that I can think of, where the sword and the pen work hand-and-hand in the name of justice. I think it’s a unique premise. It’s a futuristic show that’s not so futuristic when you look at the larger scope of things. Look at the activity that’s going on with the alleged phone tapping in the U.K, walk down the street, walk in any major city and look up in the intersection and see if there’s a camera there, or walk by an ATM machine, or walk by a building, there are camera’s everywhere. I think it’s something that’s creeping into our lives on a daily basis. As a society we’ve not really not wrapped our heads around that Big Brother is really watching a little more every day.

TCC: You’ve played various roles in both television and film. Do you have a favorite genre of character that you like to play?

KC: I like to continuously try to switch it up and try to go in different directions. I don’t have one… I like doing comedy, I like playing drama; you know it’s really, as an artist I like to take it in different directions. The only common thread that I have in any role that I play is truth. I try to find truth in anything that I play. I try not to play characters that are so far-fetched that I don’t believe in my heart that somewhere in the world that this character exists. That’s what I look for. I read I think to myself, is there really a Lionel Fusco out there? I think there is. Somewhere in the world, there’s this cop that has this moral compass and he’s rather conflicted and he’s working within the scope of justice.

TCC : You recently produced Lonely Street what can you tell me a little about that?

KC: It’s a great little movie that you can get at your local video store; you can get it on iTunes as well. It’s a very funny movie, it has Jay Mohr, Robert Patrick who everybody knows from The Terminator movies and a string of other movies, Nikki Cox, Lindsay Price, Mike Starr, Ellen Albertini Dow, Joe Mantegna, Ernie Hudson, myself… What happens is Jay plays this filming private eye who gets approached to protect this guy. He comes to find out it's Elvis and he’s still alive. That’s basically the premise of the movie.

It’s a great movie; basically it’s a bunch of friends who got together. [I] called some friends for money, like Steven Tyler and Joey Kramer from Aerosmith and Ernie Boch from “Ernie and the Automatics.” Just a couple people I know. A couple of hockey players from the New York Islanders came up, they read the script and they loved it and they asked, “How can we help?”

TCC: Do you have plans to produce more films in the future?

TCC: Yes, I definitely do.

TCC: Besides Person of Interest are you currently working on any other projects?

KC: No, Person of Interest takes up a lot of your time when you’re doing a series. You’re committed for 10 month period out of 12 months.

TCC: Can you give fans a sneak peek into what we can look forward to in the rest of the season?

KC: There’s really nothing to “sneak-peek.” I’m not the type of guy who likes to get too far in advance of what’s happening as an actor, I like to take the journey with my character. I don’t like to know too much in advance to what’s happening. I like to get the scripts I like to read them pretty much a day before we start shooting so I don’t really have it down. When I respond to things in my performance then I am responding to them truthfully and it doesn’t become canned and predictable. That’s my process.

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