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James Hibberd

Taking 'The Nine' to the Bank

July 19, 2006 1:15 PM

Actor John Billingsley had the pleasure of working with his wife in the pilot for ABC’s bank hostage drama “The Nine,” he said at the show’s press tour session Tuesday afternoon.

Most appropriately, the pair played husband and wife. In the series, Billingsley plays a somewhat beaten-down man who finds a moment of glory at the very end of the show’s 52-hour bank robbery hostage situation. That moment is juxtaposed in the pilot with a tense scene with the character’s wife, who is a bit of a browbeater.

The scene went off flawlessly, Billingsley said, after noting his wife was sitting in the Ritz ballroom for the session. “She’s been practicing ball-busting for eight years,” he said to laughs. “Good luck tonight,” warned his co-star Chi McBride.  

“We have two cars driving home tonight,” Billingsley shot back.“And one couch,” McBride riffed. One critic asked Tim Daly if his character on the HBO drama “The Sopranos” would return to the mob series.

Daly didn’t want to talk too much about another show at “The Nine” session, but said he thought the character, a struggling TV writer, was “Sopranos” creator David Chase’s alter ego. He also said he hoped the character would be “killed in a unique and interesting way.”

Co-creator and executive producer Hank Steinberg said he considered setting “The Nine” in New York “for a minute,” but Los Angeles seemed like the perfect locale for the story of nine strangers who are thrown together and suffer through a life-changing ordeal.

“People drive around in their cars” and are “very disconnected,” he said, noting that he was also glad he was no longer shooting L.A. for NYC, like he did on his last gig, “Without a Trace.”“It’s so fun to explore all the nooks and crannies,” he said of shooting L.A. for -- of all places -- L.A.     



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