NECESSARY ROUGHNESS -- Season:1 -- Pictured: Callie Thorne as Danielle Santino -- Photo by: Justin Stephens/USA Network


During her 16 years in Hollywood, Callie Thorne has gained a strong foothold in television and film.

And she has had some decent pickings when it has come to TV roles. Working her way from her big break with Homicide: Life on the Street in 1997, she has gone on to bag roles in ‘Rescue Me’, ‘Burn Notice’, ‘Californication’, ‘Royal Pains’, ‘White Collar’, ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’, ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent’ and ‘The Wire’.

Thorne says she was blown away by the script of Necessary Roughness and was drawn to the character of Dr Danielle Santino, who, after her divorce, becomes the therapist for a professional football team and realises there is more to life after the emotional turbulence she’s been through.

“I think initially, really, the fact that it was a true story and was based on a real woman, a really extraordinary woman, is why I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the script and read it. To me, that automatically means the story’s going to be that much richer and much more layered if Dr Donna [Dannenfelser, on whose life the story is based] is there, especially in the writing room. It just means everything’s going to be that much more true, that much more grounded. And I was right. I flew through the script – there’s a spirit in her that fills up the entire page, which then makes it that much easier to go ahead and get in front of the camera and try to tell her story.”

Given that football forms the backdrop of the series, Thorne was asked about her favourite team.

She laughs: “I don’t know a lot about football. I guess I’m a Patriots fan because I’m from Boston… Dr Dani doesn’t know anything about football either as she’s sort of thrust into this life. So I’m getting to know a lot more and I find it fascinating.”

Interestingly, Thorne got to meet the woman she is depicting and, in so doing, gleaned a clearer picture of her inspirational life journey.

Thorne shares: “Before we shot the pilot, she and I met in New York City and I was very nervous. But she had such an amazing journey. She was with us in Atlanta every day that we were shooting. It wasn’t so much about research and researching her actual history. You know, we did a lot of talking about that and the sort of steps she took through her career, but what was important to me was I just wanted to soak up her spirit because I think that’s partly what makes her and her story so extraordinary.”

After her popularity in ‘Rescue Me’, how was the switch?

Thorne says: “Yeah, it was a really big transition, I’m not going to lie. I was very nervous about that because, you know, starting in television for me, that was in 1997 when I joined ‘Homicide’ as an ensemble cast.

“Since then I have been sort of thriving in that arena, so I was very nervous of being number one on the call sheet change.”

On her relationship with the actors playing her kids, she said: “Patrick (Johnson) and Hannah (Marks) are two of the most extraordinary young people I’ve met in my life. They’re unbelievably excited to be on this show, which makes a difference in everything. For whatever reason, my scene work with them flies by. We’re always like: ‘Oh, are we’re done? You got that already?’ I definitely feel very motherly towards them.”

Given that ‘Necessary Roughness’ has been renewed for a second season, it must be because Thorne brought her A-game to the series, which captures her character’s personal and professional worlds amid much drama, conflict and triumphs and an array of absorbing characters.

‘Necessary Roughness’ airs on M-Net Series (DStv channel 110) on Tuesday at 9.30pm.