Dennis Quaid: It does up the stakes, because I have played so many real people who were still living at the time, like Gordo Cooper in “The Right Stuff,” and in “The Rookie,” Jim Morris was a real guy, and Bill Clinton. I think I’ve played about 10 of those, and I’ve always sought [the real people] out. If someone was doing my story, I’d want them to get it right. That doesn’t mean they have to sugarcoat the truth, but I want to capture the essence of somebody and tell the story from their point of view.
Zap2it: “Vegas” is set in 1960. Are you having any nostalgic jolts?
Dennis Quaid: Yeah, it’s mainly things like the [rotary] dial phones instead of cellphones and the cars and the way the houses were furnished back then. That brings up memories of my childhood, because I lived through all that. And it’s in the police work as well. It’s not as forensically driven. This is a show about basic, old-fashioned police work.
Zap2it: This is your first TV series role. Is it challenging to do an open-ended story?
Dennis Quaid: It’s changed the way I build the character. You just have to relax and let it unfold slowly. Even before I took the role, I felt good about everyone being on the same page in terms of where we wanted the character and the show to go.