PRODUCTION BLOG







MR. MONK AND THE ACTOR


by Hy Conrad

During Season Four, while we were working on "Mr. Monk and the Astronaut," the writers became intrigued by the idea of Monk becoming famous -- for example, would our fictional detective ever become famous enough to inspire a made-for-TV movie?

For a while we toyed with the idea of creating two episodes, to be shown back-to-back, one in which he solved the astronaut case, followed by one in which they're making a TV movie about that same case.

We could even use the same sets and maybe a few of the same actors. That idea fizzled, but the notion of a TV movie stayed with us and fermented for about a year.

Stanley Tucci was always our first choice for the actor role, dating back to "Big Night," an independent movie in which Stanley and Tony Shalhoub played brothers.

Tony and Stanley were excited by the prospect and rehearsed for days, improvising and playing off of each other's character. The result of all this enthusiasm was that "Mr. Monk and the Actor" was coming in long -- about six minutes long. So something had to be cut.

The main thing to go was a comedy scene in which an adorable six-year-old finds a discarded gun and thinks that it's a toy. Natalie begins playing "shootout" with the young cowboy, until Monk deduces that this is the murder weapon and that it has one bullet left in the chamber.

What followed was a suspenseful hide-and-seek game, culminating with a bang. A six-year-old actor was picked for the role, but the scene was never filmed.

One last-minute casting decision was the role of the TV-movie Captain Stottlemeyer. Peter Weller (from "RoboCop" and last season's "24") was around the set, preparing to direct another Monk episode ("Mr. Monk, Private Eye"). He graciously volunteered to step in, putting on a fake mustache and impersonating our captain. He was great, and the show looked even better thanks to his cameo.

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