×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mackey made Chiklis a star

Career-defining role a long way from 'Daddio'

If you’d never seen Michael Chiklis other than in his Emmy-winning role as ferocious, corrupt cop Vic Mackey on FX’s “The Shield,” or as the lovable Thing in the Fantastic Four films, you might never recognize him in his previous, portlier incarnations as the lead on “The Commish” and in the short-lived sitcom “Daddio.”

Overnight, “The Shield” put FX and the newly pumped-up Chiklis on the map just as dramatically as “The Sopranos” had done for HBO and James Gandolfini. But this wasn’t HBO. Chiklis became the first actor to win an Emmy for a basic-cable series.

“It’s really hard to describe,” Chiklis says of the impact his win had at the time. “Huge bombs went off. It represented a tectonic shift in the business, and we knew it. My formerly small network, FX, knew right then and there it had all changed. It was thrilling to be the face of that, to represent that in so many ways.”

Now, as “The Shield” draws to a close after seven riotous seasons, Chiklis says, “It has been the singularly greatest experience of my working career, professionally, artistically, personally,” adding that it’s “hard to quantify” just what the role of Vic Mackey has meant to his career. “As an actor, in terms of the respect it’s brought and the notoriety, it’s just been a tremendous boon for me.”

Chiklis says he’s getting his share of offers that are just variations on Mackey.

“That’s inevitable,” he says, “but you need to be discerning. Not everyone has choices available to them, but I think that it’s important to stick to your guns and hold out as long as you can” in trying to reinvent himself post-“Shield.”

He’s not overly concerned about being typecast, however. “It’s interesting the way it goes. If ‘The Shield’ had been on any of the major networks, I never would have been seen for it,” he says. “I was typecast as the roly-poly, affable guy. Now, ironically, it’s the opposite (side) of the coin, where people only see me as a maniacal tough guy. I’ve been able to reinvent myself before, so I know I can do it.”

While Chiklis is prepping a project for his own feature directorial debut, he’s hoping for another juicy role. He has his eyes set on feature films, but he says if a great television role came along, he wouldn’t hesitate to do it.

The actor also admits he’s gone into a bit of a post-show depression since the series wrapped.

“I just want to take my time. I’m not looking to outdo myself,” he explains. “I’ve been spoiled. It was everything you’d want to sink your teeth into as an actor, just a tremendous role.”

More TV

  • Imelda Staunton'Downton Abbey' photocall, Rome Film

    'The Crown' Has Not Cast Imelda Staunton for Seasons 5 and 6, Netflix Says

    Netflix is shooting down reports that Imelda Staunton is joining “The Crown.” “We are currently filming season 4 of ‘The Crown’ but have not commissioned any further seasons as yet, therefore any news on casting remains pure speculation,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. Staunton, known to many as the despicable Dolores Umbridge in [...]

  • Baby Yoda The Mandalorian

    Baby Yoda Merchandise to Debut Ahead of Holiday Shopping Season

    Purchase Baby Yoda toys, you will. Fans of the breakout character from the Disney Plus series “The Mandalorian” have been surprised that there was no merchandise pegged to the character available upon the launch of the show, given that the Christmas shopping season is rapidly approaching. But according to an individual with knowledge of the [...]

  • Sean "Diddy" Combs Revolt TV

    Sean Combs Slams 'Illusion of Economic Inclusion' at Comcast Amid Byron Allen Fight

    Sean Combs has come out swinging against Comcast in a lengthy statement prompted by the cable giant’s legal battle with Entertainment Studios chief Byron Allen. Combs accused Comcast of maintaining “the illusion of economic inclusion” in its handling of a carriage agreement with Combs’ Revolt TV channel. Combs was critical of Comcast for failing to [...]

  • Oprah Winfrey during a tribute to

    TV News Roundup: OWN Orders Celebrity Relationship Series '#LoveGoals'

    In today’s TV news roundup, OWN orders a new unscripted relationship series and Disney Channel orders new seasons of “The Owl House” and “Sydney to the Max.”  DATES ABC will live broadcast the “2020 NCAA Gymnastics Championship Final” on April 18. The semi finals will air the day before at 1 and 6 p.m. ET. [...]

  • Sissy book cover

    Showtime to Develop Series Based on Jacob Tobia Memoir 'Sissy' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Showtime is developing a half-hour dramedy based on Jacob Tobia’s memoir, Variety has learned exclusively. Tobia is a non-binary LGBTQ rights activist, actor, producer, and author. Their memoir, “Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story,” was published earlier this year by Putnam Books at Penguin Random House. The series, currently titled “Sissy,” would follow Tobi Gibran, a non-binary college [...]

  • Invisible Stories from HBO Asia

    Singapore Festival: HBO Asia Tells ‘Invisible Stories’

    HBO Asia has expanded its burgeoning production slate with six-episode half-hour series “Invisible Stories.” The first two episodes of the show, “Lian” and “Chuan,” play at the Singapore International Film Festival on Nov. 28. The series is by writer and director Ler Jiyuan, who previously directed part of HBO Asia Original series “Grisse.” “Like 80% [...]

  • Jane Galloway Heitz

    'Glee' Actress Jane Galloway Heitz Dies at 78

    Jane Galloway Heitz, known for playing the character of Lillian Adler on “Glee,” has died, according to an obituary posted in the Chicago Tribune. She was 78. The actress only appeared in person twice on the Fox show, once in the pilot and on another occasion in 2015, as her character’s image appeared in a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content