‘NCIS: Los Angeles’: Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J Never Coordinated on Callen and Sam’s ‘Backstory’

by Jacklyn Krol
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NCIS: Los Angeles stars Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J never planned their characters’ backstories.

In an interview with the Daily Actor, O’Donnell spoke about how Callen’s backstory came naturally. Surprisingly, he never coordinated with LL Cool J to sync Sam and Callen’s lives. The two characters are so in sync it comes as somewhat of a surprise.

“We just kind of launched into this thing,” he told the outlet. “I think that the writers know how we get along on the set and how we needle each other and I’m sure they observe that.”

O’Donnell explained that when shows go on for numerous seasons, the creators have an advantage. They’re able to tell the stories with such precision thanks to their working relationship and knowledge of the stars.

“The writers, they get very familiar with what we’re going on for in the characters, they get more familiar with us and they are able to incorporate things.  It just becomes, you know, it fits like a nice warming glove or something,” he said.

‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Stars on Their Relationship

The NCIS: Los Angeles pair revealed to Parade that “sarcasm is the key to our bonding.”

LL Cool J “really couldn’t explain” their instant connection. They met on the set while training for their physically and informative demanding roles.

“Then we went to the gun range for weapons training, and we just clicked. You have one guy, Chris, who’s from the Midwest and this other guy, me, who’s from the inner city of New York. But we share a common sensibility. I think that me plus him equals a little more than two, you know?” the rapper said.

O’Donnell believes that their lack of ego also helps them remain close while in the limelight. At the end of the day, they will always do what’s best for NCIS: Los Angeles.

“We give each other a hard time, sometimes jokingly and sometimes seriously, but nobody gets offended. He and I are both pretty wide open. We have good communication, which is important in any relationship,” he added.

They also have somewhat normal lives for being famous. They’ve both been described by friends and crew as down to earth.

“We didn’t have time to have any preconceived notions about each other,” LL Cool J continued. “There just wasn’t space to wonder ‘What’s Chris gonna think of my rap background? Is he gonna be square? Is he gonna get me?’”

Like their characters, they also had numerous things in common despite having different backgrounds. LL Cool J has four kids while O’Donnell has five. Ironically, their two children were at opposing schools and their basketball teams competed against one another. It’s a family affair!

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