‘Chicago Fire’ Star Eamonn Walker: ‘Not Since ‘Oz’ Have I Felt This Way About a Show’ (Q&A)

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“I think itʼs going to be a huge hit,” enthuses British actor Eamonn Walker about his new show, Chicago Fire, which premieres Wednesday on NBC. “And not because Iʼm in it, but because of the great team that we have. The team of actors, the work that weʼre doing, itʼs pretty spectacular. Not since I did Oz have I felt this way about a show.”

The show produced by Dick Wolf (Law & Order) about a group of firefighters in Chicago also stars Jesse Spencer, who is swapping his white coat from House for a firefighter’s outfit. Walker plays Chief Wallace Boden, a paternal figure who “gets things done without shouting and screaming.”

What has Eamonn learned on the job?

Celebuzz: Has doing this show changed you?
Eamonn Walker: Itʼs changed my perspective. When I drive now and I hear a siren my reaction is very different. I stop, I pull over. I let them get to what it is they’re going to do. There is a drama at the end of that siren. People don’t take that on board, they’re so busy with their own lives that sometimes they even get in the way of the fire truck or they’ll get annoyed.

CB: Does your tongue feel sore at the end of the day from doing an American accent?
EW:I’ve been working in America for a long time. Now when I act in the U.K. and I bring back my English voice, that’s strange to me.

CB: Do you slide down a lot of fire poles?
EW: I’ve slid down a fire pole many a time. The thing that excited me the most was driving down the streets of Chicago at 100 miles per hour with the siren going. I felt like I was on a roller coaster.

CB: Did you do a lot of training?
EW:They would get old freights from ships, set them alight, give us the equipment and say, ʻGo in there and find the bodies that we’ve put in there.ʼ Thatʼs when you start to realize what a fireman does, which is basically working blindly. They work by feel and shouting, because they canʼt see. When I took that on board, all the romanticism about firemen went out the window. What was left is what they do. Once you get rid of the romanticism you just become very grateful that they’re there.

Chicago Fire premieres Wednesday at 10 PM on NBC.

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