Wilmer Valderrama shares behind the scenes of NCIS
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While Abby (played by Pauley Perrette) remains to this day a pivotal and much-missed part of the NCIS machine, the CBS crime franchise has a number of other stars across its shows who have endeared themselves to viewers. When NCIS Los Angeles arrived in 2009, leading stars Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J were just two stars who quickly cemented the drama as a success in its own right.
However, Perrette revealed on the podcast Kirsten’s Agenda with Kirsten Vangsness back in October 2020, that Sam Hanna star LL Cool J had a similar complaint to her when it came to memorising the franchise’s lengthy and detailed scripts.
After all, NCIS LA was LL Cool J’s first stint in a crime procedural drama having enjoyed a successful career in music and on the big screen prior to the role.
The revelation came when host Vangsness asked Perrette: “Did you know you were gonna retire? Did you decide after Broke? You did keep saying you came out of retirement to do it.”
Perrette replied: “I had absolutely retired and that was a stranger period because I had been doing the same job for 15 years, 16 seasons, I started on JAG playing Abby – a forgotten fact!
“So that was weird just to like… Even when we were on hiatus when we weren’t working, people who… we were on hour-long dramas and then you work this many years and you get two and a half months in the middle which is our little hiatus thing…
“Even when I was on hiatus after my last day of work, it took a minute to realise that counting the days like, ‘Oh we have to go back on this day’, because I didn’t have to go back.”
Perrette then turned her attention to the fact earlier in the podcast she’d mentioned how no longer acting has allowed her more time to read.
As an avid book lover, Perrette outlined how starring for so long on NCIS had taken the love out of her favourite hobby due to her instinctively memorising any text in front of her.
She divulged: “Also, my book-reading thing… It’s interesting, I had a conversation with LL Cool J when he first started NCIS LA because he was used to a completely different schedule and doing a different thing.
“It was literally I think maybe the first or second episode and I went to visit them down on set.
“He said to me because I’m such an avid book reader, I love books, but when I’m on a show all the time, especially for over a decade, I got this thing with me where I was doing two pages of scientific dialogue with 12-letter words and I had to make it funny so it was a lot of work.
“We both had a lot of homework to do. My brain changed to if I read anything I would memorise it, even just a book, so reading became really a challenge for me.
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“And I remember I was in LL Cool J’s trailer with him, and he said that (to me), he went, ‘I’m having a lot of trouble reading books now like usual’.
“And I was like, ‘Yeah this is what’s happening, like our brains get trained to memorise everything’.
“And good lord, I could memorise a whole book,” Perrette continued.
However, since leaving NCIS, Perrette went on: “I had to work my way back into that [enjoying reading]. I had to.”
Perrette may have left the world of acting behind her but it seems for LL Cool J the struggle of differentiating between reading and memorising lines hasn’t stood in his way.
Now in its 14th season on CBS, NCIS LA continues to draw in millions of viewers week after week with LL Cool J still at the helm alongside fellow stalwarts O’Donnell, Eric Christian Olsen, and Kensi Blye.
He’ll also be part of a historic event heading to the CBS franchise in January as all three shows will crossover for the first – NCIS, NCIS LA and NCIS Hawaii.
NCIS season 20 returns on CBS on January 2, 2020. A UK release date is yet to be announced.
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