Carla Gugino and Dermot Mulroney take TNT Mystery Movie Night to new heights

By Karl J. Paloucek

Sometimes you need to remove yourself from all of the holiday cheer and hullabaloo and escape into something else entirely. And nothing succeeds in that regard like a good murder. The TNT Mystery Movie Night continues this month with several suspense- and star-filled titles, including Lisa Gardner’s Hide (Dec. 6), starring Carla Gugino, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Kevin Alejandro; Silent Witness (Dec. 7) with Dermot Mulroney and Michael Cudlitz, from Richard North Patterson’s bestseller; Good Morning, Killer (Dec. 13), featuring Catherine Bell, and adapted by April Smith from Smith’s own novel; and Deck the Halls (Dec. 20), starring Kathy Najimy and Scottie Thompson, and based on the book by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark. We talked with Gugino and Mulroney about their roles in their respective films and ended up finding out a bit more:

Gugino’s Contact With The Zodiac Killer

In Hide, Gugino plays D.D. Warren, a potent detective whose commitment to and brilliance at her job has cost her a good portion of her personal life. D.D. finds herself assigned to a startling case in which the mummified remains of six long-missing women were found in a secret chamber inside an abandoned mental institution. Evidence points her to a young woman, Annabelle (Bridget Regan), whose twisted, mysterious life seems to hold the keys to the six women’s fates.

Gugino has been in similar shoes before, playing a crime scene investigator opposite Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Righteous Kill. And as much as she enjoyed playing D.D. in this film, the role brought back some disturbing memories for her. “I interviewed a CSI who had worked on the Zodiac case and who was a really interesting man,” she recalls. “It was extremely informative, and also really upsetting, because I ended up seeing crime-scene photos. It’s the only time in my career that I questioned research, because I’ll never get them out of my mind, now. But that also gave me perspective in terms of the kind of personality you have to have, to have a job like that. … I asked this guy — I said, ‘Do you think people are innately good? Because I do. But I don’t see what you see every day.’ And he said, ‘I think 99 percent of the people out there are good. One percent aren’t — and my job is to get them.’ And I think that’s very representative of D.D. She’s on a mission.”

Haunted By Ghosts Of The Past

Dermot Mulroney keyed into one of the strongest attributes of his character and of Richard North Patterson’s novel when he first encountered the character he was to play. The story focuses on a successful defense attorney whose past comes knocking when a high-school friend is charged with murder. “One of the things that I think makes Silent Witness unique is the backstory of the main character, Tony Lord, that I play,” Mulroney explains. “He was accused of murdering his own high-school girlfriend about 25 or 28 years ago. He’s now called back to his hometown to defend his former high-school teammate and friend against similar charges under similar circumstances.”

The friend, Sam, played by Michael Cudlitz, is married to his high-school sweetheart, also a close friend of Tony’s, played by Anne Heche. And of course, things get more complicated. “Usually when Anne Heche is playing a role, things get more complicated,” Mulroney laughs. “Sam, my old friend, he and [Heche’s character] are married. We were all friends in high school. They married and stayed in the hometown. So then Anne’s character and myself were very close in high school and then you wonder how close they’re going to get on this trip, but also you wonder how close she is to the murder itself.”


Photo: © 2011 TNT, A Time Warner Company  Credit: Bruce Macaulay

1 Comment

Comments are closed.