Over the past 8 years, Monk has been a front runner for the USA network, earning handfuls of accolades and awards from the Emmys to the Golden Globes. We recently got a chance to sit down with the man behind the neurotic protagonist, Tony Shalhoub, about the finale, his life after Monk, and his eclectic film career.
The Flickcast: What can you tell me about the upcoming series finale?
Tony Shalhoub: Well, I can’t tell you much, because I wouldn’t want to give it away. What I can tell you is that unlike many of our other episodes, this two-parter goes to a really dark place for this character. The show turns into much more of a Drama than a Dramedy.
We know that Monk is sick, and he just goes right to the edge. He realizes he’s going to die, so he becomes fearless in a way. The end is near for him anyway, so he becomes hellbent on his revenge.
TFC: Would you say you were satisfied with how the show ended as a whole?
TS: Absolutely. The finale exceeded my expectations. It really fell like everybody was firing on all cylinders here. The writers really came through for us. Randy Zisk, who’s our director, show-runner, and co-executive producer, directed the episodes, and it’s really his best work. We all loved the script on the page, and it really helps when bringing those words to life.
TFC: 125 episodes of Monk under your belt. Where do you go from here?
TS: I’m going to give TV a rest for a while as an actor. I’d like to be more involved with series as a producer. Other than that, I think I’m going to concentrate more on film. In the near term, I’m going to be doing a play on Broadway in the spring. They are doing a revival of “Lend Me A Tenor.”
Stanley Tucci is directing, and I’ll be doing it with my wife (Brooke Adams), Anthony LaPaglia, Justin Bartha, and a great ensemble. So I’m really looking forward getting back to the stage, and then hopefully some films.
TFC: You’ve done some interesting genre films in your work on the screen. From Thirteen Ghosts, to Men in Black, to Galaxy Quest. Is sci-fi something they interests you?
TS: It’s not that I’m interested in that stuff in particular. I try to do a wide variety of things. I did Thirteen Ghosts because I had never done anything in the horror genre before, and I liked the director and role. It was an experiment, really, to see if I liked working in that genre, and to be seen by my audience that had seen me in other genres.
Galaxy Quest and MIB were just no-brainers because the material was so good. Both of those films gave me the opportunity to create my own character from what was basically a sketch in the script. It allowed me to build off of a foundation, and I always look for those opportunities.
TFC: Back to Monk, playing the main character for eight years, do you think you’ve picked up any of his neurosis?
TS: Over the years, I think that Monk picked up more of mine. That may be a better way to phrase it. We’ve had a good partnership over the years, and a large overlap. I took on some of his characteristics and he took on a few of mine.
TFC: Given where the finale leaves off, would you ever be interested in returning to play Monk years from now?
TS: Who would play Monk? [laughs]. In five or ten years, I think I may be too old to play the part. I may play Monk’s father though. You can never say never, I suppose. It’s not really up to me, in the long run. It’s about the writers and the network, if they would have interest in revisiting the character.
Be sure to catch the series finale of Monk on USA, Friday December 4th, at 9PM EST/Central.