Jeremy Merton Sisto is an American actor. Sisto has had recurring roles as Billy Chenowith on the HBO series Six Feet Under and Detective Cyrus Lupo on Law & Order on television, and he also starred in the films Jesus, Clueless, Thirteen, and Wrong Turn. He starred as George Altman in the ABC sitcom Suburgatory.
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I play Detective Jack Roth, a seasoned detective with a dark past. Well known for bringing down the Hillside Stranglers. I'm excited to talk about my new show "Wicked City" which airs airs Tuesdays on ABC at 10/9c.
OK Reddit, I'm here and ready for you at 3PM EST to ask me anything.
I just re-watched Six Feet Under, and at the end of the series finale I noticed they didn’t show Billy’s death (though your part in Brenda’s death was perfect). Was there a Billy death scene that was scrapped? If not, how do you think Billy should have met his end?
Hm. Another good one. I think he followed Brenda into the dark pretty soon after. She was his life blood afterall. And no it was never shot.
What kind of seasoning do you use? How long do you marinate for before feeling adequately seasoned? For a side, would you recommend serving fava beans and a nice Chianti?
I dont really cook
Can you tell us a story from working on the set of Six Feet Under? What inspiration or methods did you use to play a character with such serious psychiatric problems? Your role as Billy was one of the most memorable aspects of that show – thank you for that.
Hey there. Good question. 6 feet under was a great experience and also my first experience on a TV show so i didn't have much to compare it too. At the end of season 1 we shot in Vegas and on one day i was waiting to shoot in my trailer and i had been waiting for some time. For some reason i wandered away and found myself at a black jack table. I was winning quite a lot when the AD ran up to me and said they had been looking for me everywhere, the entire crew was waiting on me to finish the season. That was very out of character for me and i chalked it up to two things; one was just being pretty far out of it playing that character for months and the second is i just didnt want it to end. Either way i was reallt embarrassed. But i guess playing Billy Chenowith did take it's toll.
I'm seriously watching Wicked City just because of how well you fit the seasoned detective role when you were on L&O. But let's ask the real questions: how often do random strangers ask if they can touch your hands?
That's a May reference, right? Hahaha
Any truth to the "Law & Order" returning rumor? Would you do it if available?
Not that i know of
Hi Jeremy. Of all the roles you have played which was the most challenging and which was your favorite ?
Billy Chenowith, and Jimmy in Break Point are pretty high on the list.
billy was challenging for sure. Jimmy was my favorite to play.
How do you feel being in one of most iconic teenage movies of all time: Clueless ? Do you still talk to anyone from the cast?
I see Paul every now and again. Alicia i reconnected with on Suburgatory and i play basket ball with her husband. I run into all of the time and again. I guess honestly i don't really feel what you might imagine about being in such iconic movie. I wish i did but it's just not as simple as that. I never experienced the movie from that magical perspective of childhood simplicity. Mine was Breakfast Club.
What is the best compliment you've ever received?
During 6 feet under, i had a lot of people with mental illnesses tell me they felt better understood watching that role. So that was pretty cool.
In Hideaway, you seemed very natural in your role as Vesago (Jeremy) listening to goth/industrial music and looking the part. This is something often attempted but it always comes across as quite hammed lacking authenticity. My friends and I would often say that in reality you must be into the goth scene to some degree because no one could fake it that well. 20 years later can you settle this once and for all--were you??
Ha that's interesting. I was pretty depressed during that experience. The director asked me to take Acutain for mt acne and a big side effect is depression. On top of that i was reading a bunch of books about killers. And i felt a lot of pressure to do well and didnt have the skills to cope with that yet. I wasn't necessarily into goth at the time but i was listening to that music for the part. And my roommate at the time was kind of a goth/psychic/witch kinda dude.
You've had roles in some pretty iconic shows and movies. What do you most get recognized for on the street, and does anyone confuse you with any other actor when they do say hi?
Not really confused for other actors. It depends on the person who is recognizing me. I can usually tell as the approach. 6 feet under, Clueless, Law and Order, May, Suburgatory, Suicide Kings, Jesus, thirteen, and the some randoms that i forgot i did.
How did you prepare for your role in Julius Caesar?
I prepared too much, i think. I think it would have been better if it was looser.
On Six Feet Under, did you and Rachel Griffiths do anything in particular in rehearsal to prepare for acting such an intense and strange relationship?
No, not really. We just both come with our own stuff and that's
Sorry. Yeah, so no we just had interesting chemistry from the start.
Powerhoused through Six Feet Under last winter. It was great. Got some questions:
1.) What's your favorite season of that show?
2.) What was the hardest episode for you to shoot?
3.) Who in the cast did you get along with the most off-screen?
4.) Do you have any other talents or skills that might surprise people?
5.) What are your thoughts on death? Do you think it's just the end or do you believe in some kind of afterlife situation?
6.) What are you favorite television shows that you have not been a part of?
7.) Favorite book?
8.) Favorite color?
9.) Most embarrassing moment?
10.) Do you get paid to do this AMA, like as some sort of publicity for your new show? I'm assuming you were asked to do this to hype up your new show.
1) have to watch the series again to know favorite season but the 1st felt the most meaningful when doing it. And the finale episode.
2) there were quite a bit of difficult ones, not one particular one comes to mind, there were a few I felt i didnt do as well as i wanted but when i watched them years later i liked them. Just shows it's best not to judge yourself when youre doing something because you kight be too far in it to see it how it is.
3) Peter got along really well. He actually helped me through some tough times. He's a great guy.
4) i play guitar, i can juggle a bit, can't think of anything else, i gotta work on that.
5) death, oy, my daughter asks me that and i clam up, um, im trying to believe in something beautiful, but I can't believ in anything I can't prove myself, i just feel it is too dangerous to do that, i guess.
6) Loved Bloodline this year. So much good stuff out there right now.
7) for books see previous response.
8) donmt have a favorite color. I guess I should. Hmm.
9) see above for most embarrassing moment on six feet under
The Vegas story. I've also had some pretty embarrassing drunken moments in my life.
10) no pay, just hype
What is your opinion on Don's Plum?
I wasn't really involved in that thing, i was away shooting White Squall. I returned and everything was a mess. Friendships burned. Careers ruined. I found myself in one camp unintentionally. I really had no stake in it but i feel bad for those guys in how it went down. Seemed unnecessary. From what i understand everyone has put in the past.
Has voice-over work changed significantly between your early Klasky/Csupo gigs and your more recent "American Dad" or "Batman vs Robin" work?
Not that i can tell. Pretty quick work for the voices. The art and writing is what takes the time and investment
As Wicked City season progresses are we going to find out why Jack is driven to be unfaithful to his wife?
Interesting question. I think like life the explenation is unclear. The roots of his demons are revealed; why he is drawn to living on the edge, the darkness. But like someone who is deeply inbedded in their own paychology, he is only able to grasp so much. To live it feels like deciding between two very different sodes of himself. Ill be interested to hear what you think.
What piece of music breaks your heart?
Been listening to Sun Kil Moon. Not for everybody, but the rawness of the lyrics and vocal quality really moves me.
What book inspires you in your life?
I'm a huge fan of Wally Lamb, Phillip Roth, Barbara Kingsolver, and Milan Kundera to name a few. Suggestions for each respectively, "I've Come Undone." "The Human Stain" "Poisonwood Bible" "the book of Laughter and forgetting"
Do you prefer working on the east coast or west coast??
Im apprehensive about raising my kids in LA which is where i am now so I would probably prefer to work on the East Coast but gotta follow the work.
At what place in the world would you most like to visit?
Never been to Venice, Italy. Was saving it for my wife but by the time i made her my wife we were already knee deep in diapers and swaddle blankets. Haha. Someday. Hopefully before it's underwater.
How much prep is involved on your side for the iconic Law and Order "guy who knew the victim is questioned while continuing to do his job" scenes?
Haha that's a funny question. Not much really. Just took some getting used to it. But believe me, by the end I was very used to it.
What do you like better, acting or writing or producing or directing? Maybe rate them each from 1 to 10? Do you think you are transitioning from one to another?
Acting is what Im most drawn to but it can be frustrating not being involved in the editing process and the rest of it. Producing is nice because you're involved in all of it but you don't have one specific focus which can be annoying, directing I've always wanted to do and i think i will be good at it and enjoy it, but won't know until I try. I am currently developing and looking for directorial stuff.
I know "Wicked City" takes place in the 1980s. Do you find it challenging to work in a period piece?
No. ABC wanted to make sure the period didnt get in the way of the story, so while it is there with the technology being so far behind where we are now and the dress and aesthetic, i wanted to just ground my character and make him as relateable as possible.
What type of music do you listen to?
Been listening to more jazz lately. The structure of rock and folk have felt tedious lately.
What are your thoughts on the "Illuminati-run Hollywood" conspiracy theories floating around on the net?
Never heard them. In general I shy away from conspiracy theories.
awesome man. thanks for answering my q's. you're my mother's favorite person ever i'm pretty sure her head's going to explode when i tell her
Maybe don't tell her if her head is going to explode. Haha. Take care.
Are the words to the songs on your Escape Tailor album published somewhere? I really enjoy your music.
Hm. No i dont think so. They are on the DVD. Ill tweet them later.
Any new music in the works?
Not sure. Something might be brewing in my head but hard to say for sure.
You made your film debut in 1991 as Kevin Kline's son in Lawrence Kasdan's Grand Canyon. Your girlfriend in that movie was played by Marley Shelton, also making her big-screen debut. What was it like working with her?
That was awesome. My first day i was just told to make out with her while they filmed us for an hour. I was like, acting is rad. We went on a date but i felt really unconfortable because so many guys looked at me with anger, like, "what's this little dork doing with that hottie", so we never went out again.
Why was The Returned cancelled? So many cliff hangers!
I guess not enough people tuned in.
What was your favourite bit on 'Subergatory'? Would you be part of Con Man if Alan Tudyk asked you?
Conman is awesome, i would definitely do whatever Alan wanted but iv never really had a comicon project so probably not needed.
A year after Grand Canyon, you played the boyfriend of a then-unknown Reese Witherspoon in the TV-movie Desperate Choices: To Save My Child. Again, what was it like working with her?
Great. She was my first actress girlfriend. We had a long distance relationship for a long time. I was so into her. Then she went to Africa to do a movie and i guess i thought she had broken up with me because she didnt call that much so i moved on and met my ex-wife Marisa. When she returned i found out that wasnt her intention but i had already gotten involved. Felt badly. She's a great person.
I loved your seasons on "Law & Order" and thought they were some of the best the show ever did. Part of it was that the cast seemed to really gel as an ensemble. Did you guys hang out after work?
To some degree. We would have dinnera now and again but i was beginning my relationship with my wifw and a lot of that off camera time was spent falling in love/figuring out how to be in a relationship again. But the entire cast were great people that i still keep in touch with. Love them.
What was it like working on Clueless and Suburgatory ?
Great! Very different times in my life though. Much more balanced person during Sunurgatory. Was still trying to figure out how to gt through the day on Clueless.
I heard you've doing some charity work recently. That's awesome! What sort of stuff have you been doing?
I work with an amazing orginization calle LA family housing which helps homeless familys and singles get off the streets. The homeless situation is not good in LA right now but these people are doing great work.
I saw that you have a wikipedia page and were on Law and Order. What type of detective did you play on Law and Order?
They are all pretty similar
They don't show any personal life stuff so we are all just focussed on the case. Some people have remarked that i came off kind brooding.