“Blue Bloods” star Tom Selleck eventually took complete creative control of his Jesse Stone movies, which are based on the novels by Robert B. Parker. More recently, that even began to include writing the movies himself.
Here’s how Selleck got creative control: brutal honesty.
In an interview with the BUILD Series in 2017, Selleck recounted how he told the network that was carrying the Jesse Stone franchise what he thought of their original television movies. But the network didn’t take offense. They wanted Selleck to keep doing movies for them. So gradually, he took over the creative process.
“I was given complete control of the Jesse Stone series,” Selleck said. “We’ve done nine movies.”
“And you have another one coming down the pike, right?” his interviewer prompted.
“Yeah, number ten,” the “Blue Bloods” star replied. “They’re on Hallmark Movie Mystery Channel now. But I [got] complete creative control, and I would tell the writers – you know, they want to be on the network’s list. But if the network – and I’ve got nothing against networks, they give me jobs, but – if they executive produce every project, then all the projects are gonna have a sameness.”
What the ‘Blue Bloods’ Star Told Network Executives
During the interview, Selleck explained how he came to be not only the star but also the writer and executive producer of the Jesse Stone movies.
“They said, ‘Will you do a movie for us?’” Selleck recalled. “And I said, ‘You know, to be honest, please don’t be offended, but I don’t like your television movies. You have every right to make them, and God bless you, they’re succeeding, but to give you an idea, the first Jesse Stone aired in between other movies of the week. And we aired in-between ‘Spring Break Shark Attack’ and ‘Category 7 End of the World.’’”
“That’s not Jesse Stone, for those of you who’ve seen it,” the “Blue Bloods” star added. “So gradually, we were rewriting… the writers we hired from page one. And then we took the big leap.”
At a certain point, Selleck and his writing partner Michael Brandman began simply writing the movies themselves. And Selleck said he’s happy with how they’ve turned out.
“I don’t know how many I’ve written now, with Michael,” Selleck mused. “But four, five, something like that. And I’m very proud of it.”
Watch Selleck discuss his creative philosophy (at 14:30) here: