One of the very first celebrities I ever interviewed years ago was Will Estes, who at the time was starring in Fox's mystery drama series Reunion. Having grown up in the acting world, Will has already accomplished what many aspiring actors spend their entire careers trying to do -- and he's only just getting started!
At 11, Will's career took off when he beat out hundreds of kids for the coveted role as Lassie's young companion in The New Lassie. He spent the next several years expanding his resume and ultimately landed the role of JJ Pryor on the popular series American Dreams. His latest role on the CBS crime drama Blue Bloods pairs him up with the legendary Tom Selleck, as well as stars such as Donnie Wahlberg, Len Cariou and Bridget Moynahan.
Five years and dozens of interviews later, I had the pleasure of speaking with the incredibly sweet and charming Will Estes about being a child actor, his new role on Blue Bloods, and his talented co-stars...
Q: You've been acting since you were very young, why do you think so many child actors get in so much trouble?
Will: "I think Los Angeles can be a tough place, the industry can be tough. I think it's a place where values aren't always clear, there's a weird value set put on an actor based on whether or not you're working. A lot of kids come out here after high school or college and they don't have a home base. I grew up here, so I had my friends and my family. It (acting) was something I did, not who I was."
Q: The last time we spoke, you were on Reunion, did TPTB ever fill you in on who the killer was?
Will: "No. I think there was some inherent challenges in the structure of the writing that got us in a little bit of trouble. There were ideas, but I couldn't even tell you what they all were."
Q: Tell us about Blue Bloods...
Will: "I'm very excited about Blue Bloods. It's a show about a cop family, a New York police department family. It's got a lot of action, a lot of excitement and the police battle between right and wrong. It's all set around this wonderful family drama with Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan and Len Cariou. Donnie is my older brother and Bridget is my older sister. Donnie is a little rough around the edges detective and Bridget is a brilliant assistant D.A. In the pilot, she winds up having to bail Donnie out of some hot water he gets himself into. Tom Selleck plays the chief of police and Len Cariou is the grandfather who was the chief of police."
Q: And your character...
Will: "I play Jamie Reagan and I'm the youngest sibling in the family. My character Jamie is a little different in that he went to Harvard Law and graduated, but much to the chagrin of his fiancé, he ends up joining the police force. His brother dying in the line of duty a couple years ago may have something to do with it. Jamie wants to be a cop like his dad and granddad, so that's what he does."
Q: What an amazingly talented cast, it must be thrilling to work with these actors.
Will: "Absolutely! What's equally as thrilling is that Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green, who were writers for The Sopranos, wrote the pilot. I was more excited when I read this than anything I've read in a really long time and that was before I knew who was attached to it. Of course, working with Bridget, Donnie, Len and Tom is equally as exciting."
Q: Did you do anything special to prepare for this role?
Will: "We have a technical adviser from the NYPD. I've played military before, I played a marine, so that action kind of transfers over. I know the police force likes the marines. You have to have 60 college credits in order to join the New York police force or have been in the military. People keep asking me what I'm going to do to study to be a cop, but I think it might be easier for me to play a cop than a Harvard graduate. The technical adviser gave me a huge packet on the NYPD. Hopefully I'll get to do a ride-along and go into the precinct and spend some time with the guys."
Q: Do you use Twitter and/or Facebook to keep in touch with your fans?
Will: "I really don't. I haven't crossed that bridge."
Q: Any other projects in the works?
Will: "I did a little movie with some great actors called Not Since You. It's not out yet as far as I know. After that, I did another film that's not finished yet called Magic Valley."
Q: Anything to say to the fans?
Will: "Blue Bloods will be on 10pm on Friday nights -- be there."