Bailey Chase is one of those actors that really leaves an impression: From his early work as Graham Miller on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” to later roles on “Saving Grace,” “Damages” and “Longmire,” Chase is one of those actors that always makes us sit up and take notice when we spot him.
The “24: Legacy” relationship between his character, Thomas Locke, and Dan Bucatinsky’s Andy Shalowitz has added an intriguing new layer to the counter-terrorism drama, and is an example of the show’s newfound dedication to making its fictional world look more like our own — an accomplishment Bailey doesn’t undervalue.
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Many times in Hollywood, actors forget to take a moment and be grateful. For Chase, it feels like now is the perfect time for reflection. A new dad to 10-month-old twins, the actor paused from the hustle of Hollywood to release a personal book about his own spiritual journey. And as he gears up for the premiere of “Twin Peaks” to Showtime, in which he’s featured, we got a chance to speak with him personally about his varied career, the evolution of TV and this new direction as an author.
One of the greatest reveals of ’24: Legacy’ has been that relationship between Thomas Locke and Andy Shalowitz. Can you talk a bit about that dynamic, and the experience working with Dan Bucatinsky?
I sat down with the creators — Evan [Katz] and Manny [Coto] — and they started pitching “24: Legacy” to me. I come in right after the pilot: I’m Thomas Locke, Head of Field Operations — so of course he’s having flashbacks to the war, with all the crazy stuff he did…
And then they were like, By the way, you have an ex-boyfriend on the show named Andy Shalowitz. I wasn’t familiar with Dan [Bucatinsky] at the time, but he’s just hilarious and a great partner to work with. Initially, I was a little surprised that they were going to broach this subject matter. They weren’t making a big deal about it, it was just like, Oh, by the way, you’re going to find out over time that Thomas Locke is gay. For me, that was great! That’s just another layer to the character — something else to play, aside from all the bravado, macho whatever.
Every episode, we’re left wondering if the two will reconcile. You can’t not root for those two!
There’s hope, so that’s good. If you saw [the March 20] episode, you see Andy was wounded and I’m going to be [dealing with] that for a little while, you know… How I didn’t get there soon enough…
But they tied you up!
I suppose we can consider this fodder for Season 2…
And speaking of new seasons… You worked with David Lynch on Showtime’s ‘Twin Peaks’ revival. From just an acting perspective, this has to be way up there on your bucket list, right?
It was a thrill! I did feel like, Is this really happening? It was surreal — and the interesting thing about when people find out… They go, Oh my god! “Twin Peaks!” David Lynch! All of these top directors I’ve worked with have been coming to me asking for anything about David Lynch — what it was like to work with him. Obviously, I can’t give anything away regards to storyline, but it was just a dream!
The only direction that he gave us as an ensemble, all of the actors, was: Talk, listen and take your time. As an actor I was like, Wow! I’ve been waiting 20 years to hear that direction. It was really cool — he’s a very soft-spoken gentleman and… It was just a great experience.
It’s hard not to think of him as the characters he’s played on screen. He feels larger than life in a way.
Yeah! And if you’ve been on sets before, there’s often this manic energy, and everyone’s in a rush: People are yelling, running around, just not paying attention to what’s around them. He couldn’t be further from that! He’s never in a hurry — he just speaks to you. Very conversational. I’ve never heard him yell — I don’t even think he yells! It was just very relaxing — and so different from 99% of what I normally do. It was a real treat.
You’ve had a pretty substantial career in television over the past two decades. How has the evolution of TV affected the way you approach your craft?
It’s been a real evolution. In the beginning, I was just happy to be on TV, getting a paycheck, anything… Once I got there, I started craving something more substantial — something with more meaning that I could dive deeper into.
There were a couple of years I did on a soap opera, which was very different — but that was actually a really good thing! I have much more respect for actors after having done a soap. Working on a soap is actually hard work: You’ve got to learn a lot of material in a short period of time.
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When I was on “Saving Grace” [with Holly Hunter] that was a huge learning experience, as well. Some stars weren’t doing television at the time. When I started, you were either a TV star or an actor in film — and now that’s all been turned on its head. In the beginning, I just wanted to do films. I didn’t even want to do much TV. Now, I want to do TV because of the level: The quality and threshold of TV is just so high right now. Also, I have a family and I want to be home tonight!
As an artist, I just wanted to get into things that would allow me to go deeper — deeper into myself, and really get lost in that world. I was definitely able to do that in “Twin Peaks,” I was able to do that on “24: Legacy” — and that’s what a unique show on a big network allows you to do.
Speaking of evolution: Can you tell me about your new book, ‘Spiritual Gangsta?’ Would you consider this more of a spiritual roadmap than a self-help book? Were you always looking to publish?
Yeah, you can call it a spiritual playbook, if you will… It had been in my mind for a while. To go back, I was a psychology major. As an actor, you’re always paying attention, and watching what’s around you — trying to understand people and their behavior. As a psychologist, it’s the same thing.
So when I first started the book, I was just trying to figure stuff out, you know? From my childhood, to trying to figure out my golf swing, to trying to understand what my two-year-old wants when she throws a tantrum…
A lot of women have responded to this, because I think it helps them to understand men better… Most of these kinds of books are written by men for men. I just came to it from the perspective of: What if I had something like this 20 years ago, when I was just out of college, trying to figure out what to do with my life? Now they can see me, they can hear me and they can learn it’s okay to not know and have some doubt.
You can have some self-defeating emotions, but instead of worrying about where things are going in the next 20 years, like Bailey did — why not start working on the now? It’s a process, and it’s unique for all of us. I had to go through mine — now, I’m just trying to put something positive out there for others, where they can maybe have a leg up. And even for people my age or older, maybe they already know these things… But we forget sometimes. It’s nice to be reminded.
Could this be the beginning of a new career trajectory? Bailey Chase: Self-help guru?
The idea for the book has actually been in my head for maybe 10 years. It wasn’t really until the last three that I knew I had something to say – I had to get it out. Will there be more? It kind of depends on how this one goes. The initial response has been fantastic. It also depends on how life goes with my kids and my acting career. But I definitely have more to say and I think I’ll have even a lot more to say in a few years as this journey continues. But yeah… I think there’ll be more.
“24: Legacy” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX. “Twin Peaks” will premiere on May, 21 on Showtime. Bailey’s first book “Spiritual Gangsta: The Search for Truth” is out now and available on Amazon.
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