How’s it feel to be part of the streaming wars?
There’s more material, more opportunities for actors, for producers, writers and directors. It’s a big, broad playing field, and the quality of work we’re seeing out there is better. There’s also a higher degree of patience in the streaming format. So often in network television — which always kind of made me sad — a show comes out and you watch two episodes, and you go, “I really like this show,” but the numbers aren’t there. The network would can a show before it got an opportunity to find its legs. I remember Steven Bochco saying to me years ago that when they started Hill Street Blues, it wasn't even in the top 25. And then, suddenly, it found its audience. As we know [now], that show was a game changer.
Our favorite TV binge is Bosch ... and now Bosch: Legacy. What’s yours?
I’ve just started watching a show called From, starring my friend Harold Perrineau and produced and directed by another friend, Jack Bender, with whom I worked on Lost and The Last Ship. I find the show quite scary but really well directed, acted and written. I am waiting with bated breath for Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series to come out because that looks to me like it’s going to be an enormous game changer. Because of my relationship with Amazon and the executives there, I know they really have taken their time and they’ve delegated a lot of stuff to really top people in our business to realize this thing. And I’m very, very excited.
Superfans may already know that your kids have appeared on Bosch. Fill the rest of us in on the family connection.
All three of my kids have been on Bosch. My middle son, Quinn, played Harry at the age of 12, then he played him again at age 15. My eldest son, Eamonn, is appearing this season in Bosch: Legacy as young Bosch, when he was a cop. And my daughter, Cora, plays Bosch’s dog walker, Samantha. They’ve really got the bug. My stepdaughter, who is 21 and presently studying at the Stella Adler Conservatory, is also an actress. It looks like we’re forming an acting troupe, but that’s OK — it’s good to keep the circus in the family. Both of my sons are musicians as well. They’re all kinds of creative characters.
What about your parents? Were they creative types?
Both of my parents were artists. [Welliver’s father, Neil Welliver, was a well-known American landscape painter who was a professor of fine art at Yale University before becoming dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Fine Art. Welliver’s mother, Norma Cripps, was a fashion illustrator.] Once again, it’s sort of in your environment. I went to art school. I studied with my father, then I decided after a year of art school that it wasn’t my passion. [Acting came after] a very direct question from my father: “What is that when you wake up and before you go to sleep. What do you think about?” And I said, “Acting.” [He said:] “Then that’s what you have to do.”
But you didn’t leave painting completely, did you?
I returned to painting after almost 23 years of not painting. I’ve been showing my work and selling it for more than 16 years. I have prints in the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. So I continue to show. That fulfills another part of my brain — which is good.
Tell us something that will surprise us.
I'm a card-carrying comic book nerd and toy collector, mostly science fiction and film-related [toys] ... things like Star Wars and Alien. I don’t sell them. For me, it’s pure nostalgia. It’s my youth elixir. I’m basically a 60-year-old 9-year-old. Mimi will testify to that. At times my maturity is reflected by that.
Gayle Jo Carter, the former entertainment editor at USA WEEKEND magazine, has interviewed newsmakers for AARP, USA WEEKEND, USA Today, Parade, Aspire and Washington Jewish Week.