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David Eigenberg of 'Chicago Fire' on the struggles of character actors

Actor David Eigenberg of TV series "Chicago" poses for photographers during the 2013 Monte Carlo Television Festival in Monaco on June 11, 2013. With his key role as firefighter Christopher Herrmann on "Chicago Fire" and his long-running part as Miranda's spouse Steve Brady on "Sex and the City," one might think David Eigenberg would feel financially secure. Not so, says the candid and comical New York native, in an interview about Tuesday's season 5 premiere of "Chicago Fire" on Global. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Lionel Cironneau
October 09, 2016 - 6:00 AM

TORONTO - With his key role as firefighter Christopher Herrmann on "Chicago Fire" and his long-running part as Miranda's spouse Steve Brady on "Sex and the City," one might think David Eigenberg would feel financially secure.

Not so, says the candid and comical New York native, in an interview about Tuesday's season 5 premiere of "Chicago Fire" on Global.

"I was broke when I got this job," says the 52-year-old actor. "I had taken out all of the money I could on our house.

"We (since) paid back our second mortgage, so at least we didn't have two mortgages."

Yes, even Eigenberg's "Sex and the City" stint didn't set him up for the long-term.

"No, no. That was back in the day when we used to say, 'It's HBO, not television,'" he says.

"We got paid money and we got paid pretty well but not the kind of money that could sustain you indefinitely or for a long period of time."

Eigenberg notes he's primarily a character actor, which can sometimes mean financial instability.

"On our show we kill a lot of people," he says of "Chicago Fire," which follows a group of firefighters and paramedics.

"When your storyline gets smaller, especially with a character actor, you start going, 'Well maybe they hated what I did in the last two episodes' ... you know, just neurotic actor crap when you've been in the game too long.

"I've been in it 33 years and ... unemployed for a really long time. And actors get fired and they just kill people."

Still, he feels "a little bit better" with his chances on the show than he did last year, he adds. And he feels no competition with his co-stars, who include Taylor Jinney, Jesse Spencer and Monica Raymund.

"There's no jealousy and I mean that sincerely," he says. "It's amazing. Usually one of the actors is like, 'They're getting more screen time, they're getting a better story' or whatever.

"We get what we get and we're happy."

Eigenberg also loves the hard-working approach taken by executive producer Dick Wolf.

"He's about as honest and straightforward as they come and that is a rare commodity in Hollywood," he says.

"He just told all of us, 'Work hard.' He doesn't tell you, 'We're going to be the greatest show ever.' He doesn't do all that hype stuff. He just says, 'We've got some great writers, we've got some wonderful actors, let's do our best,' and at the end of it he'll usually say, 'Now don't screw it up.' He uses stronger expletives than that.

"Because it's on all of us: Take responsibility for it and don't let all of the other crap get in the way."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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