PASADENA, Calif. — Jesse Spencer, known to “Chicago Fire” fans as Lt. Matt Casey, left behind chilly Chicago over the weekend to come to California and talk about his NBC drama at the TV critics’ press tour.
When the show’s panel ended, he sat down with me to answer some of the questions “Fire” fans sent my way on Twitter.
I also chatted with “Fire’s” Taylor Kinney, as well as Sophia Bush and Jesse Lee Soffer from “Chicago P.D.” I’m scheduled to interview showrunner Matt Olmstead on Tuesday, too. I’ll be writing up those posts in the near future, so stay tuned.
But first, on to Spencer, whose weekend plans included visiting his close friend and former co-star Lauren German — R.I.P. Shay — while he was in town.
The actor was sporting a neck brace in a few photos that surfaced on social media, prompting several folks to wonder what’s up?
“Let’s just say it’s a very physical job,” Spencer said about his fireman “wear and tear.” His neck started hurting about six months ago. “Even jumping out of the truck with 60 pounds of gear — you don’t just do it once. You do it 30 times. Over the years, it’s kind of built up so I’ve had some issues. It really kicked in right before the end of last year. I’m getting treatment, trying to look after it. I just have to get the stunt guys in there a lot more to do as much as they can because there’s stuff I just can’t do until I get better. I’m hoping I’m going to heal.”
And why doesn’t he tweet more often?
“Less is more,” Spencer said. Posting your every move and thought on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. can be an unhealthy habit, he added. “There’s this spewing of consciousness which ends up at a narcissistic level of ‘What I am’ and ‘What I’m doing.’ I like tweeting and connecting with fans but on a normal sort of basis. It can take up a lot of time.”
“He’s moving on from her now,” Spencer said about his ex-fiancee. “They’re going to have to get used to working together because she’s still going to be on truck. I’ve really loved her being the candidate during the relationship because you’re walking a fine line. Sometimes he’s been too hard on her. Sometimes he’s probably been a little soft on her. Now they have to negotiate a friendship.”
“She was ambitious and more or less put her career in front of the relationship,” he added. “Casey has to swallow that pill and find his way on his own.”
Spencer has been hearing from plenty of Dawsey fans heartbroken over the break up.
“They’re pretty upset about it,” he said. “They love us together. The two characters have a nice thing going. They’re both ambitious, good people but things keep getting in the way. The more we can play with that the better.”
And then there’s the other contingent who don’t mind that Dawsey is done …
“Casey gets to go out and spread his wings a bit,” Spencer said with a mischievous grin. “Look out Severide, there’s a bit of role reversal going on.” Viewers who’ve been clamoring for more Casey and Severide “broments” are in for a fun ride. Dawson has moved out of the apartment she shared with Casey. Severide has moved in. The two firemen are single and ready to mingle. Technically Severide is still married but that only lasted a hot minute.
“It’s me and Severide, hitting it,” Spencer said, adding that the Rescue Squad lieutenant makes a great wingman. “Have you seen him? He’s like Adonis.”
“I hope they’ll revisit that at some point with a crossover,” said Spencer, who hasn’t seen a Voight-Casey meet-up in the scripts he’s read so far. “I haven’t really done any crossover stuff so I think my number’s up.” “Maybe we’ll be friends,” he added about the “Chicago P.D.” lieutenant who once wanted him dead. “That would be kind of cool.”
“It was colder in Chicago than it was on Mars last week,” the native Australian said. “I use hand warmers, double foot warmers: the long one on the bottom, the short one on the toes. I tried two pairs of socks but I’d sweat. Then the sweat would get cold. After a while it doesn’t matter. You just get cold.”
Do you feel like you know your way around Chicago now?
“Having only been there for three years, we’re still getting to learn it,” he said. “There’s so many new places that we go. We’re all over the city. There’s certainly some not very safe areas of Chicago. We shoot in them quite frequently. We shoot in a lot of abandoned buildings. It’s not a very glamorous job, really. We’re sort of sitting in gutters for a lot of the day. But they’re part and parcel of the show. We could never do the show anywhere else.”
Does the “Fire” cast get together on Tuesday nights to watch the show?
“Yes, normally at David Eigenberg’s house. We’ll go over there and have dinner. It’s nice. That’s one of the good things about our show: The energy between the cast really translates on screen. That’s what the show needs. Without that, we’re dead in the water.”