Terry Serpico is an accomplished actor who stars in the television series Army Wives. Viewers may also recognize Terry from his work on Rescue Me, or his role in George Clooney's Michael Clayton, among the many other projects that he has been a part of.
Q: Michael Korda once said "Success has always been easy to measure. It is the distance between one's origins and one's final achievement." While you're far from reaching your final realization as an actor, we here at Wicked Info are indeed curious about your beginnings. May we please have you describe your ascent into fame?
TS: Is it ascent or descent? I was born into a military family in Lawton, OK. I lived on 5 different Army posts before my Dad retired in the Philadelphia area; I was in the 7th grade by then. I started acting as a sophomore in high school. In 1989, I received my BFA in Theatre from SUNY-Purchase and moved to NYC to pursue a career. I did some Soaps and some Theatre and got a job tending bar. I met my wife and considered finding something else to do for a living. Then in 1996, I booked Donnie Brasco. That started a long period of incremental moves up the career ladder (a period that I am still in). Now here I am. I'm on two great shows, I love going to work and I am proud of the work I'm doing. I count myself as extraordinarily fortunate.
Q: Having done stunts in various movies, what has been the most difficult stunt that you've had to perform?
TS: Hanging, 130 ft out of a burning building in Ladder 49. It was the stinky, foul tasting water that was the difficult part
Q: You've said that you channel your father, a retired Army Colonel, for your part in Army Wives. How does he feel about the show, and does he ever call you up to give advice?
TS: He likes the show. He thinks it's important for young soldiers to watch it so that they get a better idea of the difficulties their families endure in their absence. He's also pleased that we are addressing PTSD. Occasionally I'll call him to hear some stories. It's the man and the soldier that informs my work
Q: Where do you see the Denise-Frank storyline going this season?
TS: We will be working very hard to repair our marriage. As it should, this will take some time. Then our son, Jeremy, returns form Iraq suffering under the weight of his experiences there.
Q: Fans of Army Wives seem to have strong views of your character on the show, both positive and negative, how do you feel about the character?
TS: I am very proud of Frank. He is honor bound to his country and duty bound to the Army. He is deeply in love with his wife. I feel that Frank is misunderstood by some. To those who see him as controlling, inflexible even abusive, I say read between the lines. Frank is very clear, black and white, right and wrong, but he is also very emotional and sensitive. A dichotomy that I find very thrilling to play. Doing so has made me a better person.
Q: After working with George Clooney in Michael Clayton, you're credited with a part in another upcoming Clooney film -- The Men Who Stare at Goats. What can you tell us about this project?
TS: Should be out in Dec. Very funny. Catch-22 for our era of persistent warfare.
Q: You've played many different types of characters on TV and the big screen, is there one that you particularly enjoyed more than the others?
TS: I've always played bad guys and have loved doing it. I have to say that Frank Sherwood is my favorite, however. I just love putting on Frank's 'uniform'. And working with Catherine is a joy. She's so kind and talented. We have a very easy trust in each other. All we have to do is look each other in the eye and go to work.
Q: What tricks do you use, or routines do you go through, when preparing to get in character for a new part?
TS: I try to drag the character as written through me and my life experiences and see what sticks. Do the work at home, trust the work on set. Shoot for economy.
Q: I read that you used to bartend, do you have a favorite drink that you can recommend?
TS: Herradura Anejo, fresh squeezed lime juice, Agave nectar and water (50/50). Great margarita with no crap in it, doesn't feel brutal the next day.
Q: We end all interviews with word association, so I say "wombat" and you say...
TS: If someone says wombat, how can you possibly think of anything else?