‘The Shield’ star Michael Chiklis co-stars with Jason Statham in ‘Parker’

"Parker" hits theaters on January 25th.

Before Michael Chiklis could get down to the business of double-crossing Jason Statham in director Taylor Hackford’s “Parker,” he first had to tackle one of the more peculiar challenges of his career: donning clown makeup and a fat suit for the film’s opening heist. At least he kept a sense of humor about it.

How much say did you have in the clown disguise you wear?
None. Well… I didn’t really say anything. I think Taylor and I were of a mind that we wanted it to be a classic clown look that could turn quite menacing on a dime. I was keenly aware that the first time you’d see me in the movie would be as a clown in a big fat suit.

Was that a clown policewoman? It looked like they gave you boobs.

(laughs) It was just a fat suit. So yeah, it was a clown cop. You know, a little bit of irony with the clown cop.

Given all the tough guy roles you’ve become known for, are people generally nervous when they meet you in person?
(laughs) A lot of people, yeah. Some people I just want to hug them. Because I’ve had grown people shake, you know? And you’re just like, “No, no…” I guess the impact of certain things, particularly “The Shield,” I think that really rattled a lot of people. It’s a hard-hitting show. I even stopped watching it at night too late because it kept me up.

Still, that has got to be a great compliment to you as an actor.
Yeah, sure. Absolutely. Clearly the work had an effect, but at the same time I’m not the characters that I portray.

And you’ve played nicer guys before.
That’s the way I started. The whole first part of my career was playing the sort of lovely, affable guys, and I couldn’t get a job playing someone like a Vic Mackey. I couldn’t get seen for something like that. I was very fortunate that it was at FX and it was an unknown writer. A lot of sort of ironic twists in the road. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You guys were out in front of the trend as far as what viewers can expect from a cable series.

We were the first in basic cable, for sure. Basic cable was the purview of reruns at the time. But when we did “The Shield,” that first year was an explosion. It really was a tectonic shift in the television industry. A lot of people have followed suit and now it’s really bred this rash of excellent television, frankly. It was great to be a part of that, to be sort of a figurehead, if you will, of a shift in the industry. But you know, there’s cause and effect in everything, actually, where you see more and more movie stars moving into television because the smarter, hard-hitting, great drama roles are now being found in basic cable and cable.

You get so much more time to…
To really delve into a character and create somebody, yeah. But you know, we’re all lovers of film. We’re all lovers of cinema and we all grew up with it. We all want to make movies. There’s been this sort of change in that, too. Like, I don’t know if “Taxi Driver” would get made today. I kind of doubt it.



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