Dec 2007 - Jonny Lee Miller joins British invasion
After his last experience working on an American television
series -- CBS' "Smith," yanked off the air early
in its freshman season last year -- British actor Jonny Lee
Miller was wary about committing to another one.
"I was like, no way do I want to do serialized television
again right now," said Miller, best known for his roles
in films such as "Trainspotting" and "The Flying
But he couldn't resist when he was offered the lead role
in "Eli Stone," an ABC drama from the producers
of "Brothers & Sisters" that premieres Jan.
31. In it, he plays Stone, a cutthroat lawyer who begins having
hallucinations. He's diagnosed with an inoperable brain aneurysm
but starts thinking that his visions have a larger meaning
-- and perhaps are even prophetic.
"I just thought this part was too good, and it would
have been a ridiculous opportunity not to try to follow up
on," Miller said. "He's quite selfish, and it's
about him trying to be a better person. I like that aspect
of it -- I like the fact that he's not such a great guy, in
my opinion. And the strange things that start happening to
him give the story a lot of scope."
Miller is part of a crop of British actors populating American
television, including "House's" Hugh Laurie, "Law
& Order's" Linus Roache and "The Wire's"
The 35-year-old said he's not sure what's driving the transatlantic
migration, although in his case, he said, quality work "has
been thin on the ground back in Britain for me."
Miller got his start acting in theater as a child and is
a household name in his native country. There, the press dubbed
him "the British Brad Pitt" and has avidly documented
his romantic life (including his 1996 marriage to Angelina
Jolie) and his outings with such friends as Jude Law.
For now, Miller and fiancée Michele Hicks are enjoying
residing in Los Angeles -- "I've planted the garden"
-- and he said he's not too worried that he'll have to contend
with the fishbowl effect of fame in Hollywood.
"I'm kind of lucky; I tend to look completely different
in person than how I look on films or television," he
said. "I just tend to look rough most of the time."
Just before the holidays, "Eli Stone" wrapped production
on all of its 13 episodes (which, if the show is a hit, could
be added to once the writers strike is settled).
Miller planned to spend the rest of the month in Britain
visiting family. Then he's off to Norway, where he's going
to do arctic training for a race to the South Pole he hopes
to squeeze in next year.
As for future acting projects, he's playing it by ear.
"The whole thing about the way I approach work is to
be surprised by an opportunity when it comes up," Miller
said. "So I have no idea what I will be doing next, and
I kind of like that."