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April 12, 2000
By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times

Directing Gary Hobson wasn't difficult for Kyle Chandler. After all, Chandler has played Hobson on the CBS series "Early Edition" for four years.

What did present a challenge for Chandler was shooting scenes that centered on Gary, without being able to view himself in action as it happened.

"That's when you rely on the crew," Chandler said from the set of the show, which is filmed in Chicago at various locations, including the Chicago Sun-Times. "I trusted the cameraman and knew that everyone was doing their job. I had a good script to work with and felt everyone's support, which was fortunate because I was in every scene. That took up a lot of time, but I think we did a good job."

The episode, which will air April 29, reunites Gary with best friend Chuck Fishman (Fisher Stevens). "Early Edition" airs at 7 p.m. Saturday on WBBM-Channel 2.

"There's a lot of physical comedy in that episode, which I truly love," Chandler said. "I think it was a good one for me to start with [as a director]. When I looked at the show, I viewed it in a Capraesque way. There are all these antics going on, which lent itself to a quick pace."

Chandler, 34, says that while he had the desire to direct the show, he wasn't confident at the outset that he was qualified.

"I had many questions going in as to how suitable I'd be as a director," he said. "Since I've been on this show for four years, I've learned quite a bit, but I never put it into function until now. I wasn't sure if I had the power to lead. It was a pretty terrifying prospect, but I'm
pleased with the result and proud of everyone's work.

"I was in Los Angeles for two days in the editing room to help put it all together. I was worried that I hadn't gotten all the shots we needed and that we'd have to go back and shoot more. But I got it all. Everything looked good."

Because Chandler is central to the story lines and couldn't take days off to prep for his directorial debut, he used his Christmas break to scout locations and get things in order for the episode.

"I definitely want to do this again," Chandler said. "But next time, I'd like to direct an episode where the story line isn't centered quite so much around Gary.

"A director's job is very difficult, just as it is for the actor or the director of photography or anyone else on the show. It's really imperative that everyone works together for the benefit of the show."

Well, not every actor cooperated with him.

"[The cat] wouldn't listen to me," Chandler said, referring to the mysterious feline that delivers the next day's news 24 hours early to Gary.

"I tried to sell the cat. I thought it'd be a good idea to have him be a turtle instead. You can Velcro a turtle anywhere."

He's kidding. Sort of.