Tom Selleck Talks the 'Most Emotional' Jesse Stone Movie Yet
Tom Selleck currently spends his working hours playing NYC police commissioner Frank Reagan on the CBS hit Blue Bloods. But he hasn’t forgotten another cop—Jesse Stone, who kept the law in small-town Paradise, Massachusetts, for eight successful Jesse Stone TV movies (based on Robert B. Parker’s novels). CBS dropped the franchise in 2012, but Hallmark Channel came to the rescue with a new movie (and possibly more to follow). Selleck filled us in on this latest chapter, Lost in Paradise.
Why were you so determined to keep Jesse Stone on TV?
I never understood CBS’s decision since the movies were doing well. I knew the franchise was still viable. We averaged 14 million viewers over the years. I was looking for an offer that would keep the production’s quality and Hallmark stepped up. But when the deal was finalized, I got scared to death. [Laughs] I also cowrite the shows, and I hadn’t written the character in a number of years, let alone played the guy.
Where is Jesse when we see him again?
He’s kind of a mess. How much crime can a guy find in a small town? Jesse has found most of it and he’s alone with nothing to do. It’s not good for a guy with his toxic problems. The two things that Robert Parker told us when we started doing the movies was that Jesse must continue to have a drinking problem and continue to be hung up on his ex-wife. Those are both still true.
What’s the case in Lost in Paradise?
He goes to Boston to consult with Sydney Greenstreet [played by Leslie Hope, who has a recurring role on Blue Bloods], the assistant state homicide commander, which is interesting because Jesse has slept with her. He takes on a case in which a serial killer denies responsibility for a woman murdered in his trademark way. Leslie is friends with Luke Perry and suggested him for the role. I didn’t think he’d do it because we can’t afford most of our cast, but he did. He’s a fine actor.
Any other lovers past or present in Jesse’s life?
There’s Thelma [Gloria Reuben], the jazz singer Jesse had a secret relationship with in a couple of the movies. One of the reasons he’s in Boston is that he hasn’t given up on her. He needs a good woman, a partner, but things aren’t going well for him. I think this is our most emotional movie.
Over the last decade, you’ve become identified with two cops. What do Jesse Stone and Frank Reagan share—besides a taste for Scotch—and how do they differ?
They do like Scotch. Jesse drinks too much of it. Jesse sometimes does the wrong thing for the right reasons. Frank does the right thing for the right reasons. They’re both flawed, though Jesse is damaged. I relate to both guys. The anxiety in this case, since I went right from Jesse Stone back to Blue Bloods, was, “How am I going to switch gears? I don’t want any Frank-isms in Jesse, and I don’t want any Jesse-isms in Frank.”
Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise, Sunday, Oct. 18, 9/8c, Hallmark Channel