A. J. Buckley

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at February 22, 2007 - 5:01 PM GMT

Adam Ross first showed up in the second season CSI: New York episode "Bad Beat". Much like another lovably nerdy lab tech did over on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Adam and the man that portrays him, A. J. Buckley immediately captured the attention of the show's fans. Buckley took the time out of a busy day to talk to CSI Files' Kristine Huntley about the evolution of Adam, his take on the character's social awkwardness and his other roles.

CSI Files: How did you land the role of Adam?

A.J. Buckley: It was a random thing. I worked with Pam Veasey on The District years ago. I didn't know they had me in mind over on CSI: NY for the role of the tech guy. I had auditioned for CSI: Miami and booked it but before I actually did it, CSI: NY called and said they wanted me for a possible recurring role on CSI: NY. So I had to tell Miami no, and then I did NY and didn't hear anything, and then I booked another episode and it grew from there.

CSI Files: The writers have delved a little bit into Adam's background with the revelation that his father was a bully in "Some Buried Bones". Do you think we'll see more of that?

Buckley: I actually had this conversation yesterday with the writers and they said [the revelation about Adam's father being a bully] went over really well. They told me, "We just want to slowly get more into your character." He's a fun character to play. I'm used to playing really dark characters; I've done a few comedic bits here and there, but in my career I've usually been the bad guy. So it's fun to play Adam. They give you these really huge words and Antony [Zuiker, CSI: NY showrunner] will say, make it funny.

CSI Files: Is that hard to do with the technical terms?

Buckley: I made the character nervous and stuttering, and when you do that, it makes you kind of nervous too. I put a lot of pressure on myself in the walk and talks, which usually finish with a big scientific term. All you're thinking about is to get the best pronunciation.

And everyone there is awesome. It's like a family over there. It starts from the top, with Gary Sinise (Mac Taylor). I looked up to Gary long before I met him. He's just outstanding and so calm. Carmine [Giovinazzo (Danny Messer)] and I have become close friends. We knew each other prior to the show from another movie we did together a couple of years ago (In Enemy Hands). He and I have a good banter together.

CSI Files: Like when he called you "cupcake" ("Obsession")?

Buckley: That was improv! When he said it I was walking by and I had to try not to laugh. We have a lot of fun--it's just a great group.

CSI Files: Was it your decision to make Adam a bit on the nerdy side?

Buckley: Adam was created on three lines. I remember getting the script and thinking about what I could do that would be interesting. And there was the added pressure of [only having] three lines. The comedy came out of him being socially awkward and the only way I could get through the science jargon was for him to be really enthusiastic about everything he finds and for him to want to be part of the team and to bring the CSIs the clues to help them solve the murders. He wants to be invited to go grab a beer with everyone, but he's not there yet. I think he really looks up to Danny and to Mac a lot. Mac is like a father figure to him and he wishes he had the toughness of Danny's character and that coolness of Mac but he doesn't yet.

CSI Files: He did date a Suicide Girl, though!

Buckley: I was glad they put that in there! I cracked up at that. Girls like the quiet guys.

CSI Files: Can you tell us anything about what's coming up for Adam?

Buckley: It's so vague for me [because I'm playing a recurring character]. I'll get a call that I'm on hold for an episode, but it doesn't necessarily mean I'll end up doing it--just that I'm in the first draft of the script. You never know with recurring characters and I go into each episode thinking it could be my last. I know the writers have really responded. I dig this character; I do have a lot of fun with it and I enjoy seeing what they come up with for me to do. It's cool when they go into Adam's character.

CSI Files: What do you like best about playing Adam?

Buckley: I'm kinda like this in real life, always cracking jokes. I like that he's the character that comes in and puts smiles on people's faces. It's a dark show, so I come in and try to be funny and attempt to bring humor to it. I like that he can try to crack a smile on Mac.

CSI Files: You were in an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, "Crow's Feet", a couple of years ago. Did you watch the shows at all before being cast as Adam?

Buckley: I watched CSI Vegas and I'd seen one episode of CSI: New York, the one with Danny and the gang ("Tanglewood"). I saw that episode and it had a totally different tone, such a different vibe [from the other shows].

When I first got the part in CSI, I was playing the killer [in "Crow's Feet"]. I had actually just gone home to Vancouver to visit my family and when I got off the plane I got the call that I had gotten the role on CSI, so I had to go back [to L.A.]. I was thankful that I got that role because my parents are such huge fans [of CSI]. I've got a geat family--I'm really lucky because they're so supportive and really helped me out.

CSI Files: How did you decide you wanted to pursue an acting career?

Buckley: It's the only thing I ever wanted to do. I saw a play in Dublin of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves." I remember Sneezy and every time he sneezed people would laugh. I remember the sound of people laughing and the feeling of it, and I went home and said I wanted to do that, I wanted to be an actor. This is the greatest business and I'm so lucky to be doing what I love.

CSI Files: What are your interests outside of acting?

Buckley: I'm a partner in a company called FourFront and we're developing several things. I think if you're just an actor, you're one-dimensional. I [recently] co-wrote a one hour drama with [TV director] David Nutter and there are a couple of scripts we're in the process of optioning.

CSI Files: Do you have any plans for the upcoming hiatus?

Buckley: I have a film called The Box coming out soon. I'm in the midst of reading scripts as well, and there are a couple of films I'm up for. Hiatus is when you go do your film. Last year I did a movie called The Last Sin Eater where I played a Scottish mountain man in the 17th century. I showed up to [the CSI: NY] set while I was still filming it, and I had a huge beard and really long hair. I couldn't cut my hair so everybody freaked out. I still had one more day on the film, but luckily everything worked out.

I'd like to go do more films--I just like to work. CSI has helped in a sense to get awareness of me out [in the casting community]. I had no idea [about the large fanbase], but one of the writers showed me TalkCSI a few weeks ago and [pointed me to the Adam thread]. Please put in a big thank you to the fans!

CSI Files: Do you have a favorite role out of the movies and TV shows you've been in?

Buckley: I like to disappear into characters, and in film you can disappear into a roll much more than television. I really enjoyed The Box. In The Last Sin Eater, I played a father for the first time, which was cool. I had so much fun playing the bad guy in Walking Tall 2. My favorite roles are anything that's going to push me to go deep inside myself to delve into a character. I get so excited when I find out who a character is. Even with Adam, I change my voice a little, [make it higher], I'm always tense with sweaty palms around people, but when I'm in the lab I'm in my element.

CSI Files:Are you friendly outside of work with anyone from the CSI: NY cast or crew?

Buckley: Carmine and I hang out a lot; we've become really good friends. Eddie [Cahill, Don Flack], too, and Hill [Harper, Sheldon Hawkes). But Carmine the most--we get along great.

CSI Files: You mentioned you and Carmine were in a movie together a few years ago, In Enemy Hands?

Buckley: It's funny, we were both in traffic one day and happened to be at a stoplight and he waved and said, "I just saw a film you did, Blue Car!" We knew each other from auditions. A couple of weeks later we were in [In Enemy Hands] together. I didn't have a lot of scenes but the ones I did have were with Carmine and Bill Macy. After that I'd see him around and when I got the part [on CSI:NY] I gave him a ring and said, "I'm going to be on your show."

CSI Files: Do you have a favorite episode or moment for Adam?

Buckley: I liked the episode where I got to work on both storylines. I also liked the one where I'm out of the lab--just to get my pasty [face] into the sunshine! To come out of the lab is fun, to be on location--it's just different.

CSI Files: Any funny stories from set?

Buckley: Yesterday on set we had a laugh attack doing a scene with roaches. Anna [Belknap, Lindsay Monroe] had to say a run of words that made Carmine and I laugh. I was off camera but I couldn't look at them or else I'd crack up. And then they'd see me not looking and they'd laugh. She had to say "splatter pattern" and it was just really funny at the moment. Once you get the giggles it's tough to stay serious.

Our director [for "Some Buried Bones"] Rob Bailey is from England and he'll always [call out] "tighter!" in his English accent. In the episode where I was wearng the vest, Carmine stuck a note to my chest that said "tighter" in big black letters so when the camera pulled out you could see it. Then Carmine stuck another thing behind the skeleton [in the lab] that said something about me. We're always joking around!

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Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.