Morris Chestnut Interview: ‘Legends’

Morris Chestnut Legends Interview
Morris Chestnut stars in ‘Legends’ (Photo by Marco Grob/TNT)

Morris Chestnut was among the cast of TNT’s Legends who made it to the San Diego Comic Con to talk about season one of the new dramatic series premiering on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT. Chestnut signed on to the show a little later than his co-stars, and at the Comic Con he talked about what it was that drew him to Legends and what we can expect from his character, Tony, over the course of the first season.

The Plot:

Sean Bean plays Martin Odum, an undercover agent working for the FBI’s Deep Cover Operations (DCO) division. Martin has the uncanny ability to transform himself into a completely different person for each job. But he begins to question his own identity when a mysterious stranger suggests that Martin isn’t the man he believes himself to be. Legends also stars Ali Larter as Crystal Quest, a fellow operative who has a history with Martin; Morris Chestnut as Tony Cimarro, a smart, quick-witted and charming DCO agent; Tina Majorino as Maggie Harris, the newest member of the DCO team; Steve Harris as Nelson Gates, the director of the DCO Task Force; and Amber Valletta as Sonya Odum, Martin’s ex-wife; and Mason Cook as Martin’s pre-teen son, Aiden.

Morris Chestnut Legends Interview

What was the original appeal of taking on the project?

Morris Chestnut: “Two things: working for TNT and working for Howard Gordon. I came on after the pilot so I met with the studio and they told me they had a great show that Howard Gordon was involved with. They showed me the pilot and I said, ‘I want to be a part of it.’ So I come in on the second episode.”

How does he interact with everyone else?

Morris Chestnut: “Well, basically, I start off in pursuit of Sean Bean’s character. Sean’s character is involved in a lot of sensitive activities, so I start off investigating him and eventually I become a part of the company.

Sean Bean is the legend of the show because he assumes…a legend is basically an assumed identity. So I am in pursuit of Sean because I work in a different branch of the FBI. He comes to me for some information about a murder. And when he comes to me for this information about this murder, I investigate and I realize that he was actually at the scene of the murder but he never told me that. So then I start investigating him.”

What does being part of a Howard Gordon series mean to you?

Morris Chestnut: “I’m a huge fan of many of his shows. I’m a huge fan of Homeland. I’m a huge fan of 24. He’s one of the hottest show runners in town right now, so just the opportunity to work with him… He’s doing something right and I just wanted to be involved and a part of something right. I think this is it. The pilot’s really good. It’s really good.

I can say one of the things when I met with TNT and they said, ‘We’re thinking about you for this show. We already shot the pilot.’ I watched the pilot and I was like, ‘Wow.’ It’s a ride. Sean Bean and the whole cast are great, so you’ll see when you see the show. It’s a Howard Gordon feeling to the show.”

What makes Tony a really interesting agent? What are his strengths?

Morris Chestnut: “Tony, his strengths are he’s really not a team player. He beats to his own drum. He’s quick-witted, beats to his own drum and he just does whatever he has to do to solve a case. He feels like he is the best, and even his boss, his supervisors can’t even really tell him what to do.”

Is he a fun character to play?

Morris Chestnut: “Yeah, he’s a very fun character to play because what happens […]is he pursues information. His supervisor actually tells him not to pursue something and let it go, and he does it anyway. I love that.”

How would you describe the journey he’s going to go on?

Morris Chestnut: “The journey that he goes on this season, it’s a fun journey. It starts off in pursuit of Sean, but then at a certain point, I’m realizing things may not be what they appear to be. So I start to change my mind and start taking a different course in pursuit of different things.”

Did you have to take on a different identity like Sean Bean’s character does?

Morris Chestnut: “This season I really didn’t have many different characters. Mainly that burden’s on Sean. I had one assumed identity but it was pretty basic and it was really quick. Sean is really the one that’s changing his identity and playing different characters.”

-By Rebecca Murray

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