Jeremy Sisto, Nightmares & Dreamscapes
Jeremy Sisto is on a hunt in each of his two latest TV roles. In the Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King episode "The Fifth Quarter," (premiering tonight at 10 pm/ET on TNT), he's an ex-con laboring to stay clean while on a quest to uncover millions in buried bucks. And this fall he's in Kidnapped, an NBC drama about an abducted kid and the unorthodox, don't-involve-the-Feds tracker (Sisto) enlisted to find him. TVGuide.com chatted up the actor about tackling such nightmare scenarios.

TVGuide.com: In reviewing your résumé, I don't really see much that is inherently uninteresting. A lot of your projects seem to have an edge or twist....
Jeremy Sisto:
Yeah, I guess that's luck. But I don't think you've seen a few of them. [Laughs]

TVGuide.com: What was the first bold choice of role you ever made?
Sisto:
I had moved to L.A. and I couldn't really get a job, but I was still being seen for everything because I had done Grand Canyon. Then [I got] this movie called The Crew, with Viggo Mortensen, and I played a mid-operative transsexual. It was just this great experience and a great character to play. That kind of started me on a course of playing really messed-up characters — and enjoying it.

TVGuide.com: I liked Hideaway as a Dean Koontz book. How was the movie?
Sisto:
I was 19, so I didn't know what the f--- I was doing and I was really neurotic about it all. The movie's cool, but I can't watch it because it brings up this strange time. [Laughs] It was kind of the beginning of CGI, that whole world....

TVGuide.com: The story's villain hides out in an amusement park, right?
Sisto:
Right, and then at the end, like, the bad spirit comes out of me and the good spirit comes out of Jeff Goldblum, and they fight in the air above us. It's like a twisted Hallmark card.

TVGuide.com: Are you a fan of horror-type stuff?
Sisto:
Not really, and my [Nightmares & Dreamscapes] episode wasn't horror.

TVGuide.com: No, it's more psychological terror.
Sisto:
Yeah. I'm a fan of this kind of stuff because it's character-driven action stuff, with a real heart lying within the characters.

TVGuide.com: Samantha Mathis impressed me in this, as your wife. It can be a slippery slope playing trailer trash. So easy to become a cartoon.
Sisto:
Exactly, exactly. Fortunately we didn't have to do Southern accents, which usually helps make it into a caricature.

TVGuide.com: Speaking of Nightmares, ever have any recurring ones?
Sisto:
No, not too many recurring ones. When I was 6 I had a witch who used to come into my dreams and scare me in this park I used to go to. She used to chase me around, and I couldn't run!

TVGuide.com: Let's talk about Kidnapped, one of my favorite new shows of the fall.
Sisto:
It's cool, huh? I'm so excited.

TVGuide.com: Had you been on the lookout for a series [as a]regular TV gig?
Sisto:
I guess so? I wasn't out there looking per se, but they came and offered it to me and it was a really cool show. It's nice to be involved in the TV world right now, which is changing and growing so much. I saw that [Kidnapped] was taking a nod from the shows that are changing things, like 24, so I'm glad to be a part of that movement. But while this is taking a nod from 24, it's got its own voice, its own concept, its own characters.... The continued scripts are so cool, I wish you could read them!

TVGuide.com: After reading the pilot, were you concerned as to how they would keep this up? Would every episode simply be about a near-miss in finding the kid?
Sisto:
I'm not a writer, so in my head I was like, "How are they going to do it?!" And then I read the scripts and went, "Yeah...." That's why I'm not a writer. What these guys came up with makes total sense. There are endless amounts of stuff to cover when you get into the lives of these characters.

TVGuide.com: Will we get a backstory on why your character, Knapp, does what he does for a living?
Sisto:
Oh, yeah, baby. Oh, yeah. That's the other thing I liked about the pilot — it didn't spell it out. A lot of pilots will be like, "His wife died," or whatever. You feel like you're being spoon-fed [exposition].

TVGuide.com: Are you concerned at all about the similarities to Fox's Vanished [another new drama, about a senator's wife who goes missing]?
Sisto:
No. Vanished is very procedural and not very character-oriented.... There's a whole story about how [the two series' dual existence] came about, but I won't divulge it. [Laughs] Theirs is a very different show. It's a bit simpler, where you follow this FBI guy with a backstory....

TVGuide.com: Whereas on Kidnapped, we're almost rooting for an anti-hero.
Sisto:
Right. Kidnapped has real characters that are all a little weird and messed up, but trying really hard. It's got its own voice, whereas Vanished is... sort of typical TV fare.

TVGuide.com: A lot of your upcoming films sound, of course, interesting. Are there any in particular you're hot to see get out there?
Sisto:
I'm looking forward to seeing this one called Waitress, which is an Adrienne Shelly movie with Keri Russell and Andy Griffith and Cheryl Hines.... And I'm very excited about seeing Unknown [a Saw-like thriller about five guys who all awaken with amnesia in a warehouse], and Broken [Sisto stalks ex-girlfriend Heather Graham].... But to be honest, I don't know how they're all turning out; I just see what I see at looping!

Send your comments on this article to online_insider@tvguide.com.