“I’m always trying to be as conscious as I can, from trying not to waste water to not littering. I always want to leave every place better than I found it,” says Daniel Sunjata, who stars in the new USA series “Graceland,” premiering June 6. Although the name makes one think of Elvis’ home, it’s actually set in a California beach house where federal undercover agents live, but is shot in Florida. Sunjata, who’s best known as Franco from “Rescue Me,” plays an FBI narc and avid surfer who may or may not be corrupt.
“He’s got secrets, he’s got psychological complexity and emotional depth. It’s a character with so much texture. That drew me to him as soon as I read the pilot script. His dimensions are revealed over time. But he's certainly not what he seems in the beginning. He’s intriguing,” says Sunjata, adding that Briggs’ “spiritual questing” has made him more Zen-like about the show’s prospects. “I’ve realized there are some things over which you have no control. So much of it is completely subjective. I’ve seen great shows fail and poor shows succeed. But I’ve had a great time doing it and whether the show succeeds or not I’ve had a great time.”
While the cast became close working location, and “genuinely like each other,” there’s some tension in the house on the show. “If you get a bunch of type-A personalities in the same room, especially living in the same house, that's going to create conflict, and conflict is excellent television, “ Sunjata points out.
Sunjata, whose credits include TV (“Smash,” “Grey’s Anatomy”), stage (he was nominated for a Tony Award for “Take Me Out”) and film (“The Devil Wears Prada,” “The Dark Knight Rises”), has a small role as a police officer in “Lullaby” with Richard Jenkins and Amy Adams, due out later this year. An Illlinois native who went to college in Tallahassee, Sunjata enjoyed living in Florida again close to the beach, though he doesn’t surf like Briggs. “That’s a stunt guy,” he reveals. Hopefully, he makes me look sexy.”