Entertainment Tonight Online ~ June 27, 2001

This Blade is in Witchblade

Blond-haired, blue-eyed, California blade David Chokachi moves from Baywatch to Witchblade when TNT turns its top-rated TV
movie into a primetime series.
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ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT: Where is Witchblade shooting? I know that you have been commuting a lot.
DAVID CHOKACHI: Up in Toronto. Actually it is good up here. We are having fun.
ET: How long do you have to be there
DAVID: We will have been here, by the time that we are done, five-and-a-half months, six months almost. We have been here since February. You know
that the winter is long. It is not L.A., that's for sure -- no beaches and surfing and things like that. Actually it is a cool city. There is a lot to do.
ET: So when you got cast for this did you go back and read the comic books or did you only read the script? What I am getting at is how did you decide to
play your character?
DAVID: As soon as I got cast, even when I was auditioning, I went and bought a whole bunch, as many of the comics that I could. And once we went to
camera, even for the pilot, I tried to bring as much of the comic to the character as possible. I felt that it would be important for fans because there is that
large built-in comic book base. I think that it is important as an actor to bring elements from the comics to it, so that they can see that you have done your
work and that what you are translating to film is true. So I did asmuch as possible, then made my own choices after that fromn the direction the scripts were
going in.
ET: One of the things that I thought was interesting, and I know that Jake in the comic book doesn't know, but how long can all these weird things go on
with Sara and Jake still in the dark about her powers?
DAVID: I know. They have been very careful, because it's a big thing. Once they have crossed that line that Jake actually knows, then the show might have
to go in a little bit of a new direction. In every show something weird does come up with her, and some how she solves this thing that is almost impossible
to solve, or she comes out of these situations that are almost impossible to get out of. I am always questioning her and she is pretty good at kind of
redirecting me into something that is not the truth of what is happening with her.
Then we get away from it for a little because she and I kind of go off into our own storylines half way through the season. We kind of avoid that issue as
long as possible. It starts to come to a head actually in episode 11. I start to figure out what exactly it is. Then all this other stuff starts to happen. It is done
really well.
ET: The one thing that I wanted to know is if Jake is supposed to be from a small town in California, where does he get his contacts? It is a mystery,
because someone from a small town shouldn't be hooked into the Feds or the CIA. Can you talk a little bit about what is up with that?
DAVID: Without giving it away -- there is just a lot more going on with the character than anybody will perceive just watching the show. In the later
episodes you will start to get deeper and like, "Whoa, where is this kid coming up with this stuff?" Then it is kind of revealed in the last two episodes. They
gave me the best possible back-story. The reason I am there is something that makes my character really strong and very smart.
ET: The movie did really well and they are actually re-running it on The WB this summer. Did you know that?
DAVID: Yeah, they did rerun it on The WB once. I haven't heard any more than that. When they did rerun it on The WB the ratings were phenomenal.
ET: This was created for TNT, so why is The WB airing it?
DAVID: Well, they are sister companies, because they are both owned by Time Warner, correct? So it was more of an idea to try and draw in more audience.
They agreed to swap shows to beef up both of their shows for their own audiences, which was a great move. It was even talked about in several industry
magazines, such as The Hollywood Reporter about how it is becoming a great idea for shows to kind of cross-pollinate and grab more audiences if they are
set up like this.
ET: I know that there is a huge fan following for the comic book. What has been the fan reaction to the show?
DAVID: The people that I have talked to that are comic book fans don't necessarily love the show, but everybody that I have seen -- people up here and
the people from home -- are just going bananas over the show. I think that some of the hardcore comic book fans are tough to please. I think that they just
want more than you can deliver, especially on a TV show. I think they are so passionate about what goes on in the comic book that if you don't translate it
to meet their needs then they are pissed off. But I think that a lot of them are really stoked on the fact that it is a series.
ET: Do people recognize you more from this now or still from Baywatch?
DAVID: Still from Baywatch. But this is still unfolding. I am hoping that by the end summer they will be saying Witchblade.
ET: (laughs) Is it easier to act with your clothes on?
DAVID: It is a lot easier. I tell you. You don't have to worry about eating that extra cheeseburger, having that extra beer at night. I can have one, I'm fine. I
can put my shirt on tomorrow.
ET: You did a film called '12 Bucks.' Can you talk a little bit about that?
DAVID: Yeah. Actually my friends wrote it and they got a bunch of really cool young up-and-coming actors to star in it. Alexandra Paul and I played husband
and wife. We were trailer park trash. I was an abusive, drinking, drug dealing kind of guy. We are in the first five minutes, Then they sort of flash back to
both of us throughout it. I got to play this complete psycho. I loved doing it.
ET: Where does the title '12 Bucks' come from?
DAVID: There are two younger brothers -- one gets out of prison and one gets adopted by a foster family that takes really good care of him. Their mother,
who is still alive, who is Alexandra, leaves them a note saying that they have to make it to this grave by a certain date. They have no money and they end
up with 12 bucks trying to make it across the country. It is this little thread of the storyline.
ET: Then there's 'Psycho Beach Party'?
DAVID: In "Psycho Beach Party" I played another cameo. It was hilarious. But in an 'Eddie and the Cruisers'-type way, like a grease ball. In the beginning, I
go in to see my girlfriend. She is always hiding behind this window in the diner. I go to try and get a kiss from her and the diner owner is like, "Get out of
here we don't want any trouble." I knock him out and pull down this display case that is hiding her and she has three heads. Then the camera pulls back and
you see that we are in a drive-in theater watching actors. I was pretty funny.
ET: I heard it was at Sundance, and I didn't know if it had a distribution deal or not.
DAVID: It was at theaters for a while after Sundance. Now it is at Blockbuster.
ET: Great, so your fans can rent that.
DAVID: Yeah. Totally