Salsa singer nabs cop role on ‘HawthoRNe’

The Daily Herald - TV Week - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAC­QUE­LINE CUT­LER

For a kid from the projects of El Bar­rio who was in bilin­gual classes and who stut­tered, Marc An­thony has done all right.

He is the most pop­u­lar salsa singer in the world.

Mar­ried to Jen­nifer Lopez, An­thony also be­comes a se­ries reg­u­lar on TNT’s “HawthoRNe” when it re­turns for its third sea­son Tues­day, June 14.

“I have been re­ally lucky this year,” he says. “I thought there was a cap as to how great things can be.”

At 42, An­thony is in a won­der­ful place. He has achieved his goals but knows there’s still work to do.

“There comes a time where you pretty much have scratched ev­ery itch, for lack of an­other phrase,” he says. “I have pretty much done ev­ery­thing that I thought I would or could. But what ends up hap­pen­ing is I want to do great work now.

“If I am go­ing to do it, it’s not about just do­ing it any­more,” he con­tin­ues. “I want to en­joy it. And so you look for chal­lenges within what you do, and you look for­ward to en­joy­ing the process and it be­ing good work. The only thing left is bungee jump­ing, which I am not look­ing for­ward to.”

He’s sold more than 11 mil­lion records, been in Martin Scors­ese’s “Bring­ing Out the Dead,” among other films, and acted on Broad­way in “The Cape­man,” and he con- tin­ues to sell out are­nas. It all be­gan with that sul­try voice.

“I used to stut­ter,” he says. “And when I sang, I didn’t stut­ter, and singing be­came my safe haven. Some­one asked me, ‘When did you de­cide to be­come a singer?’ I didn’t for­mally de­cide. It was just some­thing I was just born to do. It was where I lived.”

Where he phys­i­cally lived was East Har­lem, in the projects.

“It was a re­ally col­or­ful time,” he says. “I miss the noise, the bus­tle.”

Con­stantly work­ing and with 3-year-old twins, he’s not lack­ing in noise and bus­tle, but tak­ing a steady gig was at­trac­tive.

“I have al­ways wanted to do episodic TV, and I had been talk­ing about it for the last year and half with Jen­nifer be­cause I could be in one place,” he says.

The show, star­ring Jada Pin­kett Smith as strong-willed nurse Christina Hawthorne, has An­thony play­ing De­tec­tive Nick Re­nata.

In the char­ac­ter’s in­tro­duc­tion last sea­son, Re­nata was ready to ar­rest Hawthorne for in­ter­fer­ing in a fos­ter care sit­u­a­tion. By the end of that episode, they went out for a pan­cake din­ner. There was great chem­istry be­tween them, and a scene on a park bench showed two char­ac­ters sitting closer than col­leagues would, at ease with each other.

As Re­nata, An­thony has just the right swag­ger.

“He’s ex­tremely com­plex, pow­er­ful, weak,” An­thony says of his char­ac­ter. “He’s pow­er­fully vul­ner­a­ble. It’s all about lay­ers with Re­nata.”

“To play Re­nata on a daily ba­sis has to be one of the coolest jobs I ever had in my life, es­pe­cially with the arc of the sea­son,” he says. “What ac­tor on the planet would not want to play Re­nata?”

Ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and writer John Tinker says the only prob­lem is they wish An­thony’s sched­ule al­lowed for more.

“Both char­ac­ter and ac­tor have a world­view un­like any­one on the show, and it not only al­lows us to ex­plore a quite dif­fer­ent point of view but forces the char­ac­ters to con­front things they other­wise wouldn’t con­front in the con­fines of James River Hos­pi­tal.”

Marc An­thony on “HawthoRNe.”

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