Family and a new training regime keep Michael Weatherly grounded, writes Andrew Fenton
With the 300th episode of NCIS approaching, Michael Weatherly can firmly pinpoint his most memorable moment in 12 years of the series.
“I gave Mark Harmon (Gibbs) mouth to mouth resuscitation,” he says with a grin. “Some things stay with you. ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ circa ’87. I had some of that.”
During an interview in Los Angeles, Weatherly, 46, is charming and entertaining company, often cracking selfdeprecating gags. But after more than a decade playing “Very” Special Agent Tony DiNozzo on the most popular TV drama in the world — watched weekly by 57.6 million people — he’s at pains to point out there are some significant differences between himself and the character. great time. That’s a primary difference between us … Tony makes a lot of really sad choices.
“I feel very bad for him and I hope that he figures some stuff out.”
When Weatherly joined the JAG spin-off, 275 episodes ago, back in 2003, he was best known for James Cameron’s sci-fi series Dark Angel and his engagement to co-star Jessica Alba. Back then, he says, he was terrified of saying the wrong thing about the relationship or the show.
“I was very trepidatious and knew there were a lot of ways to screw that up. Fourteen years on, you’ll find I’m a lot more candid and don’t really give a sh--.”
More than anything, NCIS has given Weatherly the security to put down roots. Before the show came along, he says he couldn’t even get a dog because he was always uprooting himself to travel for work to Vancouver ( Dark Angel) or Australia ( The Mystery of Natalie Wood).
“(I) have really cemented aspects of myself that were not always attached to the ground,” he says. “It’s the sure footedness ess and the confidence that comes with knowing there’s a job to go to the next day.”
With Janckovic’s punishing schedule and Weatherly’s long hours on the NCIS set, as well as his burgeoning production company, their marriage cann sometimes seem like a longdistance relationship. So the couple have implemented a regular date night.
“We go once a month and have a little night out byy ourselves and stay somewhere great,” Weatherly says. “She had our two children during residency and for anyone’s who watched Grey’s Anatomy, residency is a very challenging time for the burgeoning doctor.
“You’re doing 30 hour shifts, being on your feet the whole time, being exposed to extreme drama — real drama, not, ‘Is Ziva going to come back?’ sort of drama.”
Weatherly’s more relaxed approach to interviews is mirrored in his approach to parenting. He’s a very different dad than he was to his 18-yearold son August, born to his first wife, Amelia Heinle.
“I was very nervous the first time around,” he admits. “Babies are such a huge responsibility and you can get inside your head really quick about it. Now, as long as they don’t just fall down the stairs or something, you get a little bit more relaxed.”
Viewers will have noticed Weatherly looking a lot trimmer in season 12 (currently screening on Ten) than he did last season. He says although he’s always had “weight fluctuations” he began to pile it on during season 11, partly as a result of the stress of two children at home, but also because of his anxiety over the departure of Cote de Pablo, who played Ziva, which left him floundering.
“It’s not like I sort of fell into some deep despair,” he says. “But I got to the end of the season and I had had it, I was exhausted and tired. So I gave myself the whole summer and the goal of this triathlon.”
He hired a trainer, cut down on carbs and “anything out of a pa packet”, started boxing and be began swimming every Su Sunday, including shortly be before our interview.
“That 35 pounds (16kg) was ara real shift and I felt years yo younger and a lot happier, and wa was determined as much as po possible to control any slide ba back towards the middle.”
Given de Pablo’s exit seems to have made as much of an im impact on Weatherly as the fan fans, can he see her ever re returning to the show?
“I do give it some thought from time to time,” he says. “I’m not sure how she would come back now, given that Bishop (Emily Wickersham) is fairly entrenched at that desk. That would be awkwardness not of the best kind, not of the most dramatic kind, just a weird day at work. Like in a, ‘Oh, we’re going to have my ex-wife over for dinner’, kind of a way.
“By the way,” he laughs, “that does not happen in my house.”
“We go once a month and have a little night out
NCIS, CHANNEL 10, TUES, 8.30PM
hit show and getting his American accent in place.
“I didn’t start doing this,” he says, referring to the American accent he uses for this interview. “When I first met everyone I was talking in my ‘old’ voice (his English one). but I was sort of naturally worried about it because I had to get it right – people are going to know.”
Wes is a poor law student drawn into a murder plot, but Enoch had a different university experience to draw on – he went to Oxford.
“I recognised the intensity of some of those sort of people (that are the students of the cutthroat Ivy League law school featured in HTGAWM).”
ON HIS MARRIAGE
ALFRED ENOCH ON SPEAKING AMERICAN
HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER, CHANNEL 7, TUESDAY, 9PM
Michael Weatherly with the cast of NCIS.