Thorne is hot stuff on FX

`Rescue Me' turns `Homicide' vet into foul-mouthed sexpot

August 15, 2005|By Richard Huff | Richard Huff,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

Even Callie Thorne is occasionally shocked by some of the things she says and does on FX's red-hot firehouse drama Rescue Me.

"I have kind of a truck-driver mouth," she said. "But some of the things it's hard to say without laughing because I'm embarrassed."

Indeed, a lot of the stuff that comes from Thorne's mouth on Rescue Me (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.) can't be repeated here, yet it fits perfectly with her character, Sheila, whose firefighter-husband died on 9/11 and who is now sleeping with -- and for a while was apparently pregnant by -- her husband's best friend, Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary).

It's a part that mixes sizzling sex appeal, emotional trauma and humor.

"This is literally my favorite role," Thorne said. "The role of Sheila is like nothing else. There's no holds barred with her."

Thorne's character smokes, drinks, has a potty mouth, undergoes wild mood swings, yet can be playful, emotional and sexy. Paired with Leary's equally emotionally broken firefighter Gavin, the couple can be combustible. Peter Tolan, who, along with Leary, produces and writes Rescue Me, told Thorne in the beginning that they weren't sure where Sheila was going storywise.

"She's really someone who inspired Denis and me early on ..." Tolan said. "I said to her, `I don't know where we're going to go with you, but you're our Lady Macbeth.'"

That sits just fine with Thorne, who previously spent a few seasons on Homicide: Life on the Street and has appeared in The Wire, Law & Order and several movies.

Tolan called Thorne "wildly capable" and said she "can really do anything."

As an example of her versatility, he recounted a recent emotionally charged story line where Gavin finds out Sheila isn't pregnant and starts pushing her around.

"The really interesting people we meet in our lives are mixed with comedy and tragedy," Thorne said. "What they've created with Sheila, the audience and I have no idea what's going to happen, what she's going to do or what she's going to say."

She says and does a lot, and often Sheila and Tommy end up getting intimate in the [fire]house, in a hotel, in the kitchen, just about anywhere.

"It's a big part of her lifestyle -- her sexuality and seeking that sexual life with Tommy," Thorne said of the scenes that often require her to be nude or wear a skimpy negligee. "I look forward to it. ... I've never played a sexpot before. It's kind of fun to engage in that kind of story line. Literally, all Denis and I do during those sex scenes is laugh our [behinds] off."

Since the show has taken off, Thorne has been getting more attention in the likeliest places.

"The firemen often wave to me in my neighborhood," she said. "They recognize me and wave."

No wonder.

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