‘Blue Bloods’: Donnie Wahlberg Revealed His Thought Process Behind His ‘Danny Reagan’ Character in a 2017 Interview

by Matthew Wilson

Veteran actor Tom Selleck may be the biggest name on the series “Blue Bloods.” But arguably, Donnie Wahlberg is the series lead and focal point.

It’s a role that to some it feels like Wahlberg was born to play. But the actor confessed in a 2017 interview, that his whole career was leading to Danny Reagan. It’s not a role that Wahlberg felt he could have played early in his acting trajectory. But the role found him at the right time.

“I believe with acting, you play a role when you’re ready to play it,” Wahlberg said during the video. “With actors, we think we’re right for every part we audition for. I can play this part of this 80-year-old guy, I know I can. I don’t have any hair, I know it can work. But you’re not ready until you get the part that you’re ready to be.”

It’s true that Wahlberg found plenty of practice playing a cop before Reagan. Starting off as the frontman for New Kids on the Block, Wahlberg transitioned into acting in the 1990s. Much of his early roles involved playing characters on the other end of the law. But throughout his career, Wahlberg started playing a number of cops and detectives such as Eric Matthews in “Saw II.”

Donnie Wahlberg on ‘Blue Bloods’

“I think all of my years of acting prepared me for Danny. If I’m ever fortunate enough to do a second run like Tom’s doing of a magnum series (no pun intended), I hope I would be ready for that,” Wahlberg continued. Who wouldn’t want a career like Selleck? All of the different parts whether its ‘Band of Brothers’ or whatever, prepared me to be this guy. I’m playing him and I’m playing a police officer who’s in a tough situation, who’s life is on the line every day, who sometimes walks a very delicate line to get justice.”

Wahlberg learned to put his vanity behind him for the “Blue Bloods” role. He realized he didn’t need the audience to like him. But ironically by embracing the character, Wahlberg ended up becoming one of the fan favorites on the show.

“I wouldn’t have been able to play that role 10 years ago, I played a cop on a cop show before, I always wanted to be right and the audience to like me,” Wahlberg said. “I think I’ve been around long enough to really trust the character and what’s on the page.”