CadillacSee TIFF on JAM!


September 30, 2007
Jam
Music
Movies
      Actors A-Z
      Movie Reviews
      US Box Office
      Movie Listings
      Watch Classic Films
      Oscars
      TIFF
      Movies Blog

Television
Video
Theatre
Books
Country
Celebrities




Video Gallery
RSS Feed

SJP


Jimmy Smits joins the 'Club'
By -- Sun Media


Jimmy Smits (right) and Amy Brenneman grin and bear married life in The Jane Austen Book Club.


You can see why Jimmy Smits would be cast as the President of the United States. In person, The West Wing actor lives up to his reputation as soft-spoken and reserved, and at 6-foot-3 -- a giant, by Hollywood standards -- Smits has the presence and the gravitas of a leader.

Not that there have been any of those in Washington for some years, but that's another story.

Smits, 52, plays a wandering husband in The Jane Austen Book Club, leaving his wife of many years (Amy Brenneman) for another woman. The Brooklyn-born Smits has done plenty of other movies -- including those two Star Wars films for George Lucas -- but he's best known for his television career. Back in 1984 he got to be Sonny Crockett's original partner in Miami Vice, a role that lasted about 15 minutes and involved a flashy death scene.

A few years after that, Smits became famous through such TV series as L.A. Law, NYPD Blue and The West Wing. This past week marked the debut of his newest TV drama, Cane, a lavish production about corruption and power in a Cuban-American family with a sugar empire in Florida. Smits, who co-founded The National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA) a decade ago with fellow actors Esai Morales and Sonia Braga and Washington lawyer Felix Sanchez, was the first actor to sign on for Cane. He was quickly joined by Hector Elizondo, Nestor Carbonell, Rita Moreno, Paola Turbay and Eddie Matos.

Despite being highly visible, very famous and hugely successful (he has 11 Emmy Award nominations and four Golden Globe nominations), Smits says he can get around without too much fuss.

"I can manoeuvre," is the way he puts it. "I spend most of my time in Los Angeles. Of course, the fact that you're in people's living rooms, bedrooms," he says, referring to his TV career, "There is a sense of comfort, like they feel they know you, when you first meet people. That's a little different," he says, smiling.

"Sometimes you hear, 'Did we go to high school together?' And sometimes, like when I'm at the post office by myself or something, a person will say, 'Don't you have someone to do that for you?' "

Smits admits that at the moment, cellphone cameras make him nervous, especially now that YouTube is on the scene. He keeps a low profile as best he can, but says, "Whatever path you decide to take with regard to the celebrity thing, this technology makes me hypersensitive. I was talking to somebody and he had his phone, and he asked me a political question. And an hour later my answer was on his blog." He shakes his head in dismay. "All these gadgets, man."

Smits' partner is actress Wanda De Jesus, with whom he has lived for 20 years. He has two children from an early marriage; he was a father before he was 20 and his mom helped out. Smits says he's the only person in his family remotely connected to the entertainment industry, and it was confusing at first for his parents. (They assumed he'd be a drama teacher when he got an MFA from Cornell.)

"There was more trepidation, there was the whole thing about a first generation immigrant to the country. They want their child to go to school to be a proper lawyer, doctor, whatever. So their frame of reference as to what the arts entail was vastly different from what I was doing. They would go and support me, see me doing plays, and say, 'We like seeing you up there, but why does everyone talk the way they do in those Shakespearean plays?" He smiles, adding, "They've come around."

More Artists




HOT MUSIC HEADLINES
Watch new 'Trek' sequel trailer
Baldwin arrested for tax evasion
Jolie stylist picks up rings: report
Movies to get you in Xmas spirit
On-screen items who should date
'Deadfall' soaked in creepy
KStew on most inspiring stars list
Are 3D movies here to stay?
Jackson sleepless over Freeman
Rock slams today's comedians
More Headlines
'Reacher' to debut in Pittsburgh
Damon reunites with Clooney
Channing Tatum takes acting hiatus
Murphy tops overpaid actors list
Jackman gave Seyfried a lap dance
Our film flop remake wishlist
Travolta 'heals' man with Scientology
NY critics pick 'Zero Dark'
Our video game to movie dream list
Lohan's bank accounts seized: report


Who's coming and when
Want to know when your favourite band is coming to town? Check out Clive, JAM Music's extensive Canadian concert listings.

TV Listings
Wondering what's on tonight? Check out our TV listings for the complete schedule in your area.
Movie Listings
Find out what's playing at a theatre near you.






Do you think Kanye West should have the book thrown at him for fighting with a photographer?
Yes
No


Results | Story