‘NCIS’: Why Alum Michael Weatherly Felt ‘Insecure’ When First Taking on Role of DiNozzo

by Matthew Wilson
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Tony DiNozzo became a fan favorite on “NCIS” during his tenure on the show. But actor Michael Weatherly felt insecure about taking the part.

Back in 2016, Weatherly discussed his new TV show “Bull” and his character Dr. Jason Bull with Global News. He compared his experience with the drama to his first time on the “NCIS” set. And the experiences were night and day. When he was starting out, Weatherly said he felt insecure joining the crime procedural. And he felt that showed in his character.

“More than anything, I’ve learned that I’m not very good at that. [Laughs] I think the most important thing I’ve learned on my Bull adventure was that moment, the first day on set. I wasn’t seeking validation or approval. The character didn’t need that, I realized that I didn’t need that,” Weatherly told the outlet.

But when he appeared on “Bull,” he was much more confident in his approach and that caused Jason Bull to be vastly different than DiNozzo.

“When I started on ‘NCIS,’ I was 34 years old, coming out of a relationship that was coming apart at the seams, and I was a little insecure about my place in the world. I didn’t feel whole. That [‘NCIS’] insecure character came out of that place, so the revelation to me has been: Bull is going to teach me a lot, but the first lesson is you don’t need anybody’s approval. Know what you know, and own that,” he continued.

Michael Weatherly Was Reluctant to Join ‘NCIS’

Of course, Michael Weatherly almost didn’t join “NCIS” at all. He felt reluctant to join the show because of a bad word of mouth going around the industry. Weatherly discussed his reluctance in a 2007 interview with Futon Critic.

“I was a little reluctant initially. The notion of a ‘JAG’ spin-off. Which if you remove the word ‘spin’ is how I believe it was referred to by certain people. So there was like stigma attached to it already,” Weatherly told the outlet.

So why did Weatherly decide to join “NCIS” ultimately? It had a lot to do with“JAG” and “NCIS” creator Don Bellisario. Bellisario was a well-known commodity within the television industry. All it took was one dinner with the creator for Weatherly to sign up as DiNozzo. And it ended up being one of his defining roles.

“But I went and had this dinner with Don Bellisario in Australia. And his personality, his storytelling and his presence and everything kind of won me over. I mean any questions I had. I mean I just wanted to meet him as a fan of like ‘Magnum, P.I.’ And then getting into with him, I was like this could work,” Weatherly said.

Outsider.com