Tulsa native to guest star on 'NCIS: Los Angeles' on Tuesday
BY RITA SHERROW World Television Writer
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
4/10/12 at 6:23 AM
Click here for a preview of Tuesday’s “NCIS: Los Angeles” episode
Tulsa actor Zach Lewis has a lot on his mind these days.
First up, the Holland Hall graduate is guest-starring in Tuesday's "Patriot Acts" episode of "NCIS: Los Angeles" on CBS. He stopped long enough Friday to do an email interview with the Tulsa World.
In the episode, airing at 8 p.m. on channel 6, a former Marine is suspected of creating a chemical bomb, and the NCIS: LA team joins the FBI's domestic terrorist task force in the investigation. The episode marks the return of Operational Psychologist Nate Getz (Peter Cambor) to the show and the first appearance of a young FBI agent played by Lewis - a role that could possibly become recurring on the series.
"I play FBI agent Special Agent Marcus Hinty," said Lewis, who graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College and earned his juris doctorate magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School. "I'm fresh out of the FBI academy, and I have a big ego even though I don't know squat. This episode involves a jurisdictional fight between the FBI and NCIS over a terrorist suspect. One of my main scenes involves LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell basically manipulating me to let them search a crime scene."
Playing opposite O'Donnell and LL Cool J was a great experience, said Lewis, who is the son of Tulsans Mary and Budge Lewis.
"LL Cool J (who goes by 'Todd') and Chris O'Donnell were great to work with. They were very friendly, and you could tell they really like their jobs. Everyone on that set likes their job - as they should, given the popularity of the show.
"That made it even harder to leave. It was like the party was still going but the host was telling you you couldn't stay. It's always like that doing guest spots. You get a taste of the good life, and then you have to leave and go back to looking for the next one."
Lewis should look familiar to viewers. He has appeared in episodes of "House," "All of Us," "Saints & Sinners," "Busgirl, "North Mission Road" and "Passions" plus "Eleventh Hour," "Criminal Minds," "Cold Case," "Work It" and "Hot in Cleveland," the latter starring Betty White.
"LL and Chris are consummate professionals," Lewis said. "They were always completely off book and ready to go. So was Betty White on 'Hot in Cleveland.' My scenes on that show were all on an elevator, and it took us about three hours to shoot.
"Betty and Carl Reiner (both 90 years old) never once sat down between takes. I totally wanted to sit down, but I was like, 'Jeez, if the 90-year old legends aren't gonna sit, I'm definitely not going to sit.' "
Lewis said White was "as nice as you could imagine.' It was her 90th birthday on the day of shooting, and the cast and crew sang happy birthday to the iconic actress, he said.
"It was surreal given that I had only booked the job the day before. That's the funny thing about Hollywood. You'll be sitting on your couch one day wondering what to do, and 24 hours later you're on set with some of your childhood heroes."
The young actor has been told his character might re-appear (or recur as it is known in the industry) in later episodes, but Lewis will just have to wait and see.
In the meantime, he is continuing to work on the web series "The Etiquette Ninjas" ( tulsaworld.com/etiquetteninjas) with co-creator/writer/producer Jim Mahoney and producer Jeff Sharpe, who is also the site's cinematographer and editor. The series has received more than 80,000 hits on funnyordie.com and more than 10,000 each for the nine episodes on YouTube, he said. Parental discretion is advised.
The one-to-two-minute episodes highlight "different jerks in society running afoul of good manners/etiquette who are punished by a couple of ninjas." Actors Armie Hammer ("Mirror, Mirror" and "Lone Ranger") and Eric Ladin ("The Killing") have starred in episodes along with Lewis and Tulsa native actress Stephanie Jackson.
Oh, and there's that one other little thing keeping him occupied. He and Jackson are getting married this month.
Also a Holland Hall graduate, Jackson last appeared on TV in NBC's "Chuck" and "Up All Night." She is the daughter of Tulsans Shelley and Steve Jackson, and she earned her degree in public relations from Syracuse University. She also trained at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and was a member of the school's prestigious repertory company. She also studied with the improvisational comedy group the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York, performed at Scotland's Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has appeared in several indie films, including the Telly Award-winning and official Los Angeles Comedy Festival selection "The Actor Diaries."
"Network TV is finished shooting until July, so it's otherwise quiet in LA right now," Lewis said. "But that's good though because Stephanie and I are getting married April 28 in Las Vegas."
‘NCIS: LOS ANGELES’
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Where: CBS, channel 6
Original Print Headline: NCIS: Tulsa
Rita Sherrow 918-581-8360
Tulsa actor Zach Lewis (second from left), is pictured with "NCIS: Los Angeles" stars LL Cool J (far left) and Chris O'Connell and guest-star David Furr on the set of the CBS series. Lewis guest-stars in the "Patriot Acts" episode of the series at 8 p.m. Tuesday on channel 6. Courtesy photo
Tulsan Zach Lewis has been told his guest-starring role as a cocky FBI agent may recur on "NCIS: Los Angeles." Courtesy photo