Monica Raymund – Chicago Fire
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) What are the recent projects that you are working on?
A) [laughs] I guess right now I’m kind of working on developing a couple projects for film as shorts. I’m working right now, hopefully, on the first feature film that I will direct in a couple years. I’m developing that with a writer. Hopefully, I’ll be shooting a short within the next six months.
Q) Is there anything else you want to try your hand at in the entertainment industry?
A) Probably music! I’m very interested in that. I’ve been dabbling in some of my own writing for the past year and a half. I would like to maybe work on releasing a single maybe sometime in the future. I’m still in the prelim phase of that.
Q) How was Gabriela Dawson originally described to you?
A) She was originally described basically as we see her now – a tough badass independent female firefighter paramedic who works on the street of Chicago.
Q) Was there anything you added to that description that may not have been in the breakdown?
A) I think that any time I work on a character I have to remember my thoughts are the character’s thoughts. That’s something very important to me, especially in the TV room. So, I think I brought Monica’s point-of-view to Gabby’s world. My approach and her approach found a symbiotic balance to telling the story. For example, I think Monica is a lot dorkier than Gabby. But I can’t help but be a dork so I get to bring a little of that quirkiness to the role.
Q) Did you and Jon Seda (Antonio) spend much time together to develop that onscreen sibling bond?
A) Yeah! Originally, he was starring on our show as series reoccurring and then they created “Chicago PD.” Now, he’s a series regular on that. So, whenever he does a crossover it is really cool because we do spend a lot of time together. We did spend a lot more time together a couple years ago, but now that he’s leading on “Chicago PD” it’s a little more limited. When we have crossovers with “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Fire,” we get to show this family that exists on two shows – almost dimensions. So, people that tune in for one get to see a little bit of Gabby or Antonio. And it’s really nice to be able to have a fully fleshed out family – a rounded narrative or our characters even though we’re not on the same show.
Q) Fans always love the One Chicago Is there anyone from the other series that you haven’t worked with that you’d like to share a scene with?
A) I’d love to have a scene with LaRoyce [Hawkins] on “Chicago PD.” I’d love to work with a couple of the ladies from Med. I’ve been able to work with one or two characters from “Chicago Med,” but I haven’t worked a lot with them. I think there would be exciting options to explore more narratives between “Chicago Med” and “Chicago Fire” because we do have such a prevalent paramedic story being told on our show. So, I think there is a lot more room for interaction between “Chicago Med” and “Chicago Fire.”
Q) What have been some of your favorite behind the scenes moments from filming this season?
A) Good question. I think it is just hanging out with the cast, to be honest with you. We’re a very close group of people. It feels like we’re almost a fraternity or something. They’ve become my family here and we’re hanging out a lot, all day together. So, I think basically it’s just hanging out with them, telling jokes, showing pictures of our families and including each other in our other lives outside of work. Behind the scenes is usually like a love fest.
Q) What can you tease is to come for Dawson this season?
A) In the next few episodes we have a pretty long A-storyline between Gabby and Severide (Taylor Kinney). They go on an investigative hunt because they come in contact with this teenage girl who they save from a fire. It looks like she might be a drug addict, but we learn that she is actually trying to save her father from dying from a disease. She’s a minor and comes to me for help. I tell her that I have to alert social services and she begs me not to. I agree and I make her promise that she’ll seek the help she needs to take care of her dad, but along the way (because I’m way too stubborn and way too curious) investigate her situation further. And I bring Severide along for the ride.
Q) In what ways do you think the show inspires viewers to get more active socially and politically?
A) I would say the show is not politically or socially active. I think it is really important to stress that the show is really loyal to the narrative of first responders. That’s the world the show is telling. That’s the world that I’m telling. It’s more about that. I think any political or social issues that arise are really what is going on in “Chicago Fire.” I think “Chicago Fire” is really about honoring the heroes that serve our communities day to day. Hopefully, if there is any inspiration for activism, I would highly encourage our viewers to recognize what their first responders are doing for their communities and maybe honoring them in their own way – what works for them.
Q) You are a part of social media. Do you enjoy the fan feedback you receive to episodes?
A) Absolutely! It’s really cool to be in touch with the fans and hear what they respond to and don’t. It’s really nice to have a direct line of communication and interaction with the people who are essentially keeping me employed. I only have one social media platform (Twitter). I think my castmates have many more. So, they are a little bit more available, but I try to be as active as I can on there.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) I’d like to say thank you! Thank you for supporting me as I try to do my best to translate the stories of real first responders and fire fighters that work thankless jobs every day in this country. I didn’t have any experience with first responders and that community. I didn’t grow up with a first responder in the household so I’ve learned a lot these past six years. So, I’d say thank you to having their support for first responders.