LOS ANGELES – Who knew that Tom Selleck was such a softy? At the Emmy consideration screening for "Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise," which is nominated for Outstanding Music Composition, the macho actor wiped tears from his eyes as he took the stage for the Q&A portion of the evening.
It had been a while since Selleck had seen the ninth film in the franchise, and he unabashedly admitted to being so touched by it, he was crying at his own movie -- but laughing, as well, in the humorous parts.
In fact, he said the event at the Director's Guild in Hollywood was such shot a shot in the arm that chances are good that he and his co-screenwriter Michael Brandman will sit down and write the script for the tenth movie.
Movies one through eight were a little easier to create because the films, which are based on the novels by the late Robert B. Parker, were based on a specific book. The ninth movie was a little trickier to do because there were no more books and they had to start from scratch.
"It is hard with me doing 'Blue Bloods,'" Selleck said. "I don't become someone else but I pretend I do. But, basically, I do walk in that character's shoes. [So for Jesse Stone], we start with, 'Well, do we want to do a bank robbery?' And we waste two or three months doing that. Then we say, 'Let's do a character study on where every character in the recurring story is at. That's going to lend itself to something where the arena will come to us.'"
Selleck first became interested in playing Jesse Stone when Brandman brought him a copy of the novel “Stone Cold.” It isn't the first book in the series, but it is the first movie that they made.
"I just read it and said, 'I have to play this guy,'" Selleck said. "Jesse was just so wonderfully flawed. As Robert Parker, who became a friend, put it, the thing that keeps him from self-pity, which is not a color you want to play very often as an actor, is Jesse's sense of irony. And, I think, it was that that really made me want to play him."
A key element in all the movies is Jesse's relationship with his dog Reggie. But Reggie died -- as did Joe the Dog who played him -- and "Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise" opens with the chief of the Paradise Police Department sitting at his grave, which is the reverse of how Jesse found Reggie. Reggie was sitting by the body of his murdered owner.
"Reggie was a major part of his life," Selleck says. "Golden retriever's love affection and this dog had problems. Jesse never petted him until, I think, the last movie. The dog finally got on the bed and Jesse actually petted him and then the dog dies."
But Jesse gets a new roommate, named Steve, once "Lost in Paradise" gets going when Jesse is going through cold cases and sees photos of another dog sitting by the side of his murdered owner, a married prostitute, which inspires Jesse to take the case.
"In a Jesse Stone movie, you will never see a dog doing cute things," Selleck says. "Largely, you will see a dog with a closed mouth staring at a piece of hot dog and if you cut to that dog at the right time, you will read in a human thought. That is not easy for a dog to do. I am not trivializing that. Both dogs we lucked out with. The second dog [Ned] was also new and a little timid and that worked out very well for the story. Both dogs are the best animals I've ever worked with and neither of them were pros."
"Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise," is available on DVD. Then, catch Selleck when "Blue Bloods" returns for its seventh season on Sept. 23 on CBS.