Monday, June 20, 2011

Ain’t It Strange: Patti Smith on Her ‘Law & Order’ Experience

NY Times, 6.20.11
by Dave Itzkoff

Maybe the most surprising detail about Sunday’s episode of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” – based, don’tcha know, on the real-life circus that is Broadway’s “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” – was the number of times this procedural drama was able to work the word “dramaturg” into its dialogue. Or maybe it was the guest appearance by Patti Smith, the recording artist, poet and memoirist, as a Columbia University professor of mythology, who helps with the investigation of murder at a Broadway musical based on the story of Icarus.

On the road in Europe, Ms. Smith answered a few questions by e-mail about her “Law & Order” experience.
Q.

How were you approached about being part of a “Law & Order” episode? Are you a longtime fan of the franchise? (Do you have a favorite detective or prosecutor?)
A.

Previously I didn’t have a TV, but I found there is nothing better to dispel loneliness on the road than a “Law & Order” episode. I watched all the shows in several languages in my hotel rooms. I was especially drawn to Detective Goren. So I decided to buy a small TV for my room at home, and watch “Criminal Intent” in English. Vincent D’Onofrio invited me to the set and I was so charmed to see him and Kathryn Erbe work together that I visited the set many times. I even got to spend time alone in the sacred interrogation room. When I was offered a small part, I accepted for the great pleasure of interacting with my favorite detective.
Q.

What was it like when you filmed your scenes? Did it live up to any expectations or fantasies you might have had?
A.

Acting is not an easy task, and it requires a subtlety that I did not bring to the set. Vincent D’Onofrio instructed me by example and by sharing the lessons he received from Stanley Kubrick. If I ever attempt it again, I know I will profit from the experience.
Q.

Did you do any background research to get into character? Read up on mythology or sit in on some college classes?
A.

In terms of preparation, the most important thing was to learn my lines. My part was small and only required two things which I happily possessed: I had to have knowledge of the mythology and appear to be Detective Goren’s trusted friend.

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/20/aint-it-strange-patti-smith-on-her-law-order-experience/


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