We love Michael Weatherly, and when he left NCIS we were lost. After all, he had been on the show for 13 years, and now he was just… gone.
So naturally, we were excited to hear that he’s headlining this new CBS show, Bull, and despite the fact that his character has hair on his head, not under his nose, it’s based on [and exec produced by] Dr. Phil McGraw, who ran a trial-consulting firm before Oprah discovered him.
So before the show kicks off next Tuesday at 9/8c, we chased him down to find out wtf is up with that. He only gave us a few minutes, but that’s more than we had before. Here’s what he had to say about his old role, his new role, and his hair.
“My character is the leader of a team, but he rules with a more inclusive approach and a little bit of a mind fuck along the way.”
You were on NCIS for 13 years. Why did you leave?
NCIS was an extraordinary, unique ride. But it felt like a circle that had gone all the way around and I really felt happy with the resolution of the character and my time on the show. I wasn’t burnt out by NCIS, but I was ready for a new challenge. This came about at the right time. Sometimes a change is as good as a rest, and that’s what this has been for me. What’s hard is that this shoots in New York City and my family [wife Bojana and three kids] is in Los Angeles. We FaceTime three times a day and they come to visit.
What are the biggest differences between playing DiNozzo and Bull?
I solve problems the same way as an actor, but it really requires a lot of different muscles. I wake up every morning and I pinch myself that I have this opportunity, and I’m deeply grateful and humbled by it.
Do you see a similarity between them?
I think there is. The DiNozzo that is in him is that he has a twinkle in his eye. But Bull’s a little bit more expansive in his thinking. DiNozzo needed Gibbs to sort of sit on him and hold him down, and mentor him. He needed that approval and validation and that inclusion. Bull is the leader of a team, but he rules with a more inclusive approach and a little bit of a mind fuck along the way. One of my inspirations was Marcello Mastroianni’s character in 81/2—he’s trying to direct a movie but it hasn’t quite come together so he’s faking it a little bit. Bull does the same until he gets the answer. He’s trying to figure something out and at the same time projecting an air that he already knows it.