Morris Chestnut and Todd Harthan Talk Winter Premiere of “Rosewood”


ROSEWOOD: Morris Chestnut as Beaumont Rosewood, Jr. and Jaina Lee Ortiz as Detective Villa in the "Pilot" series premiere episode of ROSEWOOD airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jeff Daly/FOX.

Actor Morris Chestnut is best known for his work on Boyz n the Hood, The Ernest Green Stroy, G.I. Jane, Half Past Dead, The Best Man, The Brothers, Two Can Play That Game, Breakin’ All the Rules, The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Ladder 49, Not Easily Broken, Love in the Nick of Tyme, American Horror Story, V, Think Like a Man, Identity Theif, Kick-Ass 2, Nurse Jackie, and Legends. He’s currently portraying Dr. Beaumont Rosewood on Fox’s Rosewood.

Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, Jr. is the best private pathologist in Miami. He has a rare heart condition that could kill him at any moment. This fuels his lust for life and helps him give second opinions when friends or family of the deceased are not satisfied with the official police findings. His state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, Sherlock Holmes-like powers of deduction and quick wit are his main tools.

Talk Nerdy With Us recently participated in a conference call with Chestnut and creator, writer, and producer Todd Harthan to discuss the winter premiere of Rosewood.

We’re seeing unique pairings like cons working with the FBI, taxi drivers working with the police, dead fathers coming back alive to work with their son. What is your unique pairing that makes it stand out among those kinds of procedurals?

Todd: Alright. You know, it’s interesting because they conceded this isn’t necessarily any reinvention of the wheel, it doesn’t skew way on the other side of the spectrum where in, you know, it’s an immortal cop, or it’s a pairing you’ve never seen before.

I think my approach to these two characters were, while it may feel traditional on the surface, myself and this writing staff were trying to create a partnership and relationship that felt unique in who these characters were. What I mean by that is, while Rosewood is, yes, a doctor, a pathologist, but what ails him makes him special and unique. That’s what separates his character from your regular doctor. It’s these things that plague him, and the guy that is, sort of, fighting against his own mortality.

Then you pair him up with a detective that, on the surface, seems traditional, but her fear is the opposite of his. Her fear is she’s already met the love of her life, so she’s sort of shut off to the possibility of that ever happening again. So, it isn’t in really like this crazy hook of the show. For us it is was like, and for me it was, I hope the audience can gravitate towards and find something special in the relationship between these two people. I think that’s what makes it unique.

This isn’t the first time you played a doctor, but has previous experiences helped you with this role, and what preparation do you go through to play it?

Morris: Yes, I’ve played a doctor before. However, I was okay with medical terms, but I believe with this particular job, it’s just the complete volume of words and jargon and workload that I have that makes it much, much more difficult. The last doctor I played was on ‘Nurse Jackie’ to where I was in a guest starring role, maybe working two days a week, maybe three days a week, and the brunt of the dialogue and medical terms weren’t upon myself.

With this, it just makes it really difficult, just the complete volume of everything that I have to deal with and dialogue. The preparation, unfortunately, after I got the job, I didn’t have time to go get my Ph.D., so we have a lot of consultants on set each time, each time we have to do some type of medical procedure.

So, the fall finale left us with a lot of questions that still need to be answered. What can we expect from the winter premiere of ‘Rosewood’?

Todd: You can expect a great deal of personal things happening with not just Rosewood and Villa, but also with the other characters: TMI; Pippy; Hornstock, the matriarch of the family; Donna Rosewood. So, there’s some cool personal things coming and surprises, be it with Villa’s relationship with Taye Diggs, who has a role in our premiere, and how that further complicates Villa’s relationship with Rosewood. That’s coming for sure.

I think that we’ve pulled off a pretty surprising, satisfying conclusion to this case that we’ve teed up and who is committing these crimes and how Rosewood and Villa catch them in a surprising and satisfying way. So, I think it’s a combination of explosive personal stories coming, and also a really cool way in which we’re solving the case.

You’ve had such a longstanding career in TV and in movies. What do you attribute that to? Some actors, you know, have a hard time sustaining their careers, but you’ve had such a long career. Why do you think that is?

Morris: Wow, I think there are a number of different factors. I believe, for myself, a) I try to be a nice person. I come to work on time. I try to be prepared. But I think first and foremost, is I always try to get better. I still see acting coaches. I still go to acting classes. Even if I’m not in them, I go to watch them, because, I think as an actor, the more experiences we have, the more we need to be able to incorporate them in our work and use them for our work.

I know a lot of actors, once they get a movie or once they get a show, they think that, that’s it. They’ve made it, they don’t need a coach, they don’t need an acting class, they’re good, but I feel that every actor can always continue to get better. I mean, Tiger Woods, the best golfer in the world, he had a golfing swing coach. Michael Jordan had a coach. So, you know, I would say first and foremost, you’re just continuing to try to get better each day.

I know that sometimes shooting of one single camera show, or something like that, can create long days. How do you maintain your energy, and just keep your health, actually, while you’re doing the series?

Morris: That’s definitely a challenge. I’m normally a pretty disciplined person, so when I put my mind to something, I just believe anything is possible. I just do what I have to do in terms of coming to work each day and trying to be prepared as much as I can, in addition to eating right the majority of the time. There a lot of times that I binge eat on certain things, but for the majority of the time, I think I eat okay, and working out at least, five times a week. I have a pretty good regimen. And that’s how I know me, with my discipline, I think I just try to make it work.

Fans enjoyed a lot of guest appearances in the first half of season 1. Can you tell us who will be the will make guest appearances this half?

Todd: Yes. Well, we have one more episode, I think it’s one more with Taye Diggs, so we’re kicking it off with him. And then, we know we’re bringing back a couple of our favorites from earlier in the season. There’s going to be another Joo Joo appearance.

And then we’ve added a member of the cast, an actor named Sam Huntington, who is on Being Human, and he’s a great young actor. We’ve just added him to the fold and he’s shooting his second episode now and I think the audience is going to be excited about the dynamic he brings to the show.

And we have Sherri Shepherd, she’s doing an arc as medical examiner. That’s exciting and she’s been hilarious and a blast to work with. And you never know, everybody you met in those first ten episodes we aired, we had a lot of great guest stars, and I think a lot of those people might be coming back in and having some surprising appearances in future episodes.


Watch “Rosewood” on FOX every Wednesday at 8 pm EST.

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