Hollywood actor Charley Koontz stars alongside Patricia Arquette and James Van Der Beek in the fourth instalment of the hugely successful “CSI” franchise. Durtti wants to know more about what being an FBI super sleuth in the 21st Century entails.
You gained a degree in Theatre Arts in Los Angeles and appeared in many school plays back in your home town of San Francisco. Did you ever consider another career, or have you always had the acting bug Charley?
Acting was the very first bug I got. Before that I was just a goofy kid doing goofy kid things. I played sports growing up and then transitioning into High School I took an acting class early on and it just stuck. But even then I was just a goofy High School kid so I didn’t think much of it.
It wasn’t until I got to Loyola Marymount University that I found some amazing teachers and mentors that encouraged me to pursue acting as an actual career.
So I guess I hadn’t considered any career up until I found acting but I am sure glad my passion turned into one!
CSI: Cyber, as its name suggests, tackles the thorny issue of cybercrime. What sort of research did you have to do for your role as FBI Agent Daniel Grummitz and what shocked you most about the true horror of this new and largely unchartered underworld?
Before we started filming I met with our technical consultants about the actual work of the job and what exactly the Deep Web or Dark Net is. What I found most interesting is that the nature of the Deep Web doesn’t necessarily make it only a place for lascivious actions but rather an unregulated space altogether.
For example, on CSI:Cyber we investigate our suspects through the same Deep Web and it can be an incredibly useful tool. What I love most about the show is that we bask in amazing advantages technology gives us in our work and daily lives and it’s only when those tools fall into the wrong hands that chaos ensues and crimes are committed.
I was most shocked about how incredibly smart someone has to be to navigate the Deep Web at all and when that intellect matches with an impulse to harm others and commit crimes it can be incredibly destructive and hard to trace.
You are also well known for your role as “Fat/Real Neil” in the NBC hit comedy “Community”. Is there one piece of viewer feedback that you have had about this role that has meant the most to you?
I’ve always had incredibly positive responses from the show and Neil’s journey and that comes from good writing. But one event sticks out in my mind when I was at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood to see Dan Harmon’s live podcast Harmontown.
A young guy came up to me and said he had never seen himself on television before and that made my heart swell up. That the writers wanted to tell that particular story with that character is great because it’s like poking your head out through a television and saying, “hey, we see you.”
Getting to be a part of that in any small way has always been very humbling to me.
Which movie actor most inspired you in your childhood and why?
Philip Seymour Hoffman 100%. I was so sad when he passed away for a lot of reasons. He was always my favorite actor growing up. He was a heavier set guy but also a chameleon and no one put a judgement onto him based on his size. He was always different, funny, dramatic, sweet, scary. I was so sad when he passed because I would never get a chance to meet or work with him, but mostly just because I wanted to see what else he had in store for us! I miss his art most of all.
Have you decided to change any of the security settings on your laptop now that you are a bona fide cyber crime aficionado?!
That was the first thing we all did!
It really is amazing how the tools and gadgets we use every single day can be manipulated to be harmful to us or others. We definitely went through some cyber training. The show has so many interesting twists and turns each week that we were taking notes for our own lives.
How do you think your CSI: Cyber colleagues Patricia and James might describe Charley Koontz sense of humour in just 3 words?!
Wow. Um, I’m gonna give myself the benefit of the doubt and just say “Nonstop Hilarious Genius” but I’m not sure that’s actually true. You might have to ask them that one!
Which vineyard would Charley Koontz most recommend to someone who has yet to venture north over the Golden Gate Bridge and why do you choose this one in particular?
That’s tough. I’m gonna have to say Laetitia Vineyards in Arroyo Grande, Ca. It’s not quite Northern California, it’s about half-way between North and South off the 101. But I love it, I always stop there on my way up north and it is beautiful and unassuming. Just very charming. I like it a lot.
And the wine is pretty delicious!
Photo Credit: CBS