Judging by the spread on the Reagan’s table each week, the Blue Bloods cast eats well while filming their famous family dinner scenes. And apparently, they have prop master Jim Lillis’ mother to thank for that.
As Lillis told The Virginian-Pilot in 2015, he plans the weekly meals based on his mom’s home cooking from his own childhood.
“It’s usually a pot roast, maybe meatloaf, roast chicken with some version of potatoes. Green vegetables. Always dinner rolls,” he shared. “That basically is my mother’s menu, the one I grew up with because I’m also Irish-Catholic.”
Lillis also said that each actor actually eats the food he plans “to varying degrees.” And those who don’t like the food “are good at faking it.”
“They are very good at making it look like they’re really enjoying a hearty dinner,” he admitted.
When cast members aren’t interested in the meal, they hide their distaste by keeping their hands busy. Sometimes, they’ll butter their bread instead of tasting it. Other times, they’ll just move food around their plate while talking. And Bridget Moynahan has admitted that she tends to mash her food together to make her plate look less full.
But some of the Blue Bloods actors take it to a whole other level when they don’t enjoy their dinner scene meals.
Tom Selleck Keeps a ‘Spit Bucket’ Handy While Filming ‘Blue Bloods’ Dinner Scenes
As Jim Lillis further explained, he tries to keep everyone’s preferences in mind when thinking up his weekly menus. That way, they don’t have to pretend to enjoy their meals. For example, he knows that Tom Selleck is “a steak and potatoes kind of guy.” So, Lillis tries to fit those foods in from time to time.
But during an interview with PEOPLE, per the Virginian Pilot, the Frank Regan actor admitted that he’s less than thrilled to shoot those Blue Bloods dinner scenes, even when they make his favorite meals.
“It’s miserable,” he admitted. “You have to eat the same foods over and over again to get all the shots.”
While chatting with Emmy Magazine, Selleck got more candid and confessed that he hates the scenes so much that he “always” has a “spit bucket ready” after pretending to chow down on the food. And he also has to mentally prepare himself for the meals.
“I’ll have a light lunch,” he continued. “But I try not to rationalize it and say, ‘Oh, Frank wouldn’t eat in this scene because he’s so preoccupied.’ I try to be truthful.”
The great pretenders in the cast are the actors who butter their bread but never taste it or cut up their meat and move it around the plate but never take a bite. Bridget Moynahan (Erin Reagan-Boyle) admits to mashing her food without ever tasting it.