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The Cast of 'The Nine' Bank on Holding Viewers Hostage

Serialized dramas are all the rage these days; Witness the success of 'Lost,' 'Prison Break' and '24.' The producers of these hot shows hook viewers week after week with daring plot twists and deep characterization.

The producers of the new drama 'The Nine' are hoping to capitalize on this phenomenon and bring something fresh to the plate. The show follows the lives of nine people who were held hostage in a bank for 52 terrifying hours. Each new episode will reveal, via flashbacks, what happened in the bank and how it has affected the lives of each of the characters. The hostages include familiar faces Kim Raver, Tim Daly, Scott Wolf, and Chi McBride and a few fresh faces like Camille Guaty, Dana Davis and Jessica Collins.

In exclusive interviews with AOL Television editor Sean Doorly, the cast and crew of 'The Nine' chatted about the scariest moments in their lives, why people should tune in and what drew them to their roles.



Bank robberies are scary stuff. What's the scariest thing that's happened to you?
Tim Daly (Nick Cavanaugh): I was arrested for murder once -- that I did not commit, obviously. I was 16, and I was doing summer stock. I was driving a truck in Providence, R.I. and I was pulled over by a police officer who put a gun to my head and handcuffed me. The guy said, "What's in the truck?" I said, "Costumes, make-up and scenery" and the cop said, "Yeah, buddy." Meanwhile, I was practically soiling myself. I must have looked exactly like the guy driving a similar vehicle. Anyway, all these other cop cars showed up and a cooler head prevailed and took the younger guy, who pointed the gun at me, aside and chewed him out, then apologized to me.

Scott Wolf (Jeremy Kates): I got into an accident with my wife. It was a rafting accident and she got trapped under the raft and it was Arctic water, freezing water, and she needed saving. We came out of that river and we had only been dating for about six weeks, but it catapulted us forward because when I came up from the water my first thought was, "Where is Kelly?" We were dating for six weeks and a year later we were married. I know that had I failed that experience, then we would not be together. Those kinds of things happen, on big and small levels, throughout our lives.

Chi McBride (Malcolm Jones): I think the scariest thing I've ever done was getting into show business because you've got a better chance hitting a Coke bottle with a rock from 300 yards. It's a tough business. It is a tricky because you never know when it's going to start or when it's going to end. It is a constant testing of your will and a constant testing of your commitment.

John Billingsley (Egan Foote): This is a silly story. I was at a train station on the southbound platform and on the northbound platform there was a big, thuggish looking guy. He had a woman pressed against the wall and he was speaking in a very ferocious manner. I thought he was assaulting her. There were not many people on the platform and nobody else seemed to be doing anything. I thought, "What am I going to do?" This guy can beat the crap out of me, so I thought I'd act like a lunatic and distract him. I started yelling "Whoo, whoo, whoo!" I was acting like a train. They stopped, looked at me and burst out laughing. So clearly, I misread the situation. So it was both scary and mortifying at the same time.

Dana Davis (Felicia Jones): I think moving out here to Los Angeles. I'm from Iowa. We have one highway in the city I live in.

Camille Guaty (Franny Rios): When I was about five years old, my brother and I played this game to see who could go back the furthest in the ocean. We would go back until we were on our tippy toes and all of a sudden, I did not see my brother anymore. He nearly drowned and we had to call 911. I remember him going through CPR. It was scary, but he was OK.

Owain Yeoman (Lucas Dalton): Banks are traumatic places for me. I was a teller. And it's so funny because people go, "Oh so many of this cast have had awful things happen to them. I was robbed at gunpoint and I wrestled seven gunmen to the floor." I've got none of those stories. I got fired by the bank for being terribly late to work every day. The girl came up to me and said, "You don't need to come in today," and I went, "Ah, thanks very much." And she said, "Oh no, you don't need to ever come in again." I said, "Oh I was confused, but now I get it. You're firing me."

Michael O'Neill (Pete Burton): Having children was pretty scary, getting married was pretty scary, becoming an actor was pretty scary. I was also a bicycle messenger for a period of time in New York. I'm still trying to figure out what I was thinking, but it wasn't my brightest move.

Jessica Collins (Lizzie Miller): I'm not a big risk-taker, but going down the 405 at 105 mph. That's pretty scary to me.

Why nine? Why not 'The Seven' or 'The Eight'?
K.J. Steinberg (Co-executive Producer): The phrase "nine lives" came to mind when we were thinking about the theme of second chances of lives, so we went from there. Nine people gives you nine more human beings to explore and many different permutations of relationships.

How far do you have the show planned out?
K.J. Steinberg: We know a lot. We know the year. We have ideas for the coming years. I cannot say much more than that.

Why should people tune in?
Scott Wolf: Because I am trying to make a living and I'm a nice guy. (Laughs) No, seriously, it's special. The bar has been raised by some amazing shows like 'Lost' and 'Grey's Anatomy.' It is a unique story that I find immediately compelling because it could happen to any of us tomorrow. It is storytelling at its most intense, most exciting and most resonant on an identifiable human level.

Chi McBride Chi McBride: There are at least nine reasons -- the characters themselves. I think all the characters are well drawn and the action and the pilot from start to finish is white-knuckle suspense and it is enough to keep you in front of the TV and you will even be scared to move during the commercials.

K.J. Steinberg: It's a deep, fun and juicy character drama. Nine strangers go into a bank, experience something together and are inextricably linked for life. They are holding onto each other figuratively and literally and get to go through their second chances of life with these new and profound relationships.

Alex Graves (Executive Producer): The first five minutes of every episode are the next five minutes of the bank robbery. The first five minutes are like a movie adventure and very intense. You get to follow the impact that has had on nine people's lives. People falling in love, out of love, and having their lives turned upside down.

Camille Guaty: We are truly invested in these characters. It is not only the characters, but also the way this show is being edited and shot. You would expect this in a blockbuster movie, not from television at all.

Owain Yeoman: We seem to be now a huge fan of serialized dramas and I think if an audience has patience with a project, it will reward them. We do not tease things out too long. '24' and 'Lost' have been enormously successful, but I know there is a backlash of frustration where you feel like, "When are we going to find out about this?" The bottom line is this show is rooted in reality. It does not ask you to leap into anything else except you could have been in this bank with these ordinary people. I think it is about fundamentally normal human relationships. So many shows these days feel they have to put a twist on things. We have to set it on the moon with a dog and a flying giraffe. Who is going to relate to that? The bottom line I think is that you cannot beat quality scripts done by quality actors directed by quality directors. We have been spoiled. Knock on wood, now all we need is an audience.

Michael O'Neill: It is smart and I think it asks its audience to lean in instead of just sitting back and being fed. Sometimes a camera will tell you exactly where you should look. I don't think we do that. I think it asks many questions and every time it asks one, it creates more than it answers. But I think that's good for an audience, to be challenged by its media.

Tell me about your character and what drew you to this role?
Tim Daly: I play Nick Cavanaugh. He's a cop and he's very interesting because he's the sort of man who creates all his own obstacles. He has a problem with authority, yet he is in the police force, which demands obedience to this hierarchy. And he's got a gambling problem. He is a complex character, but he is a human being and he is capable of great heroism. But he's also flawed. That's what drew me to the character, but what drew me to the project is the concept itself. Not only is there the underlying mystery of what happened, but also I think everybody on the planet wonders what their lives would have been they had taken a different path. As we go through life, the things that throw us off our intended path are what define our character. Does it hurt us? Does it ruin us? I think people really identify with that.

Scott Wolf: I think that the idea that any event hits a human being and renders them completely helpless is a fascinating idea. But to hit a guy who really has had perfect control over his life up until that point with that same event, to me was really compelling and I love the idea of playing a character who has to start from scratch in a way. And especially someone who is evolved and accomplished and has been living enough life that it's odd for them to have to start from scratch emotionally or psychologically. From an acting standpoint, there is nothing more exhilarating having to work from those basics. Who am I? What am I doing? How do I keep going? As opposed to what should I have for lunch and whom should I date?

Chi McBride: I play Malcolm Jones, who is the branch manager of the bank, and he is just an average guy trying to get home for the long weekend and ends up in the throes of this horrible situation. It is a great opportunity to play a role that is different from many of the roles that I have played in the past.

Owain Yeoman Owain Yeoman: I play Lucas Dalton. I had a very roundabout route for this role. I tested against Scott Wolf for the role of Jeremy. Playing a hotshot surgeon, I could fancy that. And they brought me in to read for Tim Daly's character. Toward the end, short of putting me in a skirt and making me one of the tellers, they decided the best bet was Lucas and I feel very proud of it. It was an amazingly fortuitous pilot season for me. It was the first script I read. I knew by far it was the best read of the season and it has come out to brilliantly. I really hope the audience backs that up because we feel proud and it is a big challenge for me playing an American as a British person. It's fun being the bad guy, even if he's the reluctant bad guy.

Camille Guaty: Franny Rios is just a wild child, but what I loved about her is she is a survivor. She has been dealt these cards and knows how to handle it. She has actually survived without having any parents and being brought up by her sister. You would think that she would be the one not to have a job, but she is the one who has a job. She is the one that got her sister a job; she is the one that had her sister move in with her. It is great to see the wild card as the one able to support her family, which leads her to a lot of regret later.

Jeffrey Pierce: I play Randal Reese, who is a Robin Hood character, but without giving money to the poor. He is flawed but hopefully in a way that people will find absolutely adorable. I spent a lot of time playing cops, lawyers and detectives and those were all fun things to do, but when I saw this, I knew I could come in and tear the roof off. I did a show where I played the lead good guy and even though he was kind of dark, the guy that was playing the villain got to do anything in the world he wanted and he couldn't go wrong. I wanted the chance to do something in the same vein. Bad guys get the best lines.

Jessica Collins: Her name is Lizzie Miller and she is a social worker and selfless to a fault. She is a do-gooder. Maybe she will take some evil twists, but for now, she is very sweet. I like the diversity of the cast, the uniqueness of the script and how well it was written. In particular, I was really drawn to this character. I think for someone in my age range there is not that many substantial roles out there. There was something very meaningful about playing this character for the world that I felt very redeeming.

Dana Davis: I play Felicia, the bank manager's daughter. What drew me to the role was that is was just so eerie. I remember getting the script at 2:45, the audition was at 3:00 and I did not care. I didn't to need to rehearse because I felt connected to the character. I think it is interesting that Felicia becomes the voice of a new kind of youth, a youth that is not worried about going to the mall and what color shoes to wear. Kids today are dealing with lot of deep things, and I like that about Felicia.