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### Michael Weatherly’s Journey to Finding Tony DiNozzo

Before NCIS, Michael Weatherly navigated through various television roles, searching for stability and a character he could truly connect with. Inspired by actors like Cary Grant and Tom Hanks, Weatherly initially struggled to find roles that resonated with him.

“I saw every Tom Hanks movie on opening day — which is how I came to Joe Versus the Volcano. That was the catalyst [to become an actor],” Weatherly shared with TV Guide. However, his early career was marked by roles that didn’t align with his aspirations. “I started out doing soaps and by the time I got to Dark Angel and some other jobs, I was kind of in a box,” he reflected in an interview with Venice Mag. “When I first became excited about acting, Tom Hanks and Cary Grant really appealed to me, but those kinds of roles weren’t available.”

Everything changed when Weatherly landed the role of Tony DiNozzo on NCIS. “Part of the energy of the character originally did come from me because I wanted DiNozzo to be fun, just so I could jumpstart myself out of the rut I was in as an actor at the time,” Weatherly explained.

Playing DiNozzo was a transformative experience for Weatherly, allowing him to infuse humor and depth into a character he could be proud of. However, he acknowledged the challenges of maintaining DiNozzo’s persona year-round. “It is absolutely exhausting to hold onto that character for ten months at a time,” he admitted. “And I’m really just not that guy, politically or emotionally or in any other way.”

Despite the exhaustion, Weatherly’s portrayal of DiNozzo led many to assume he was similar to his character off-screen. “People do assume that I’m just playing myself, that I’m just being myself when the cameras roll,” Weatherly remarked. “But I know that people get very confused when I get serious because they think I am kidding!”

For Weatherly, NCIS provided the platform to showcase his talent and redefine his career trajectory. While he may not be Tony DiNozzo in real life, his portrayal left a lasting impression on viewers and allowed him to explore different facets of his acting abilities.

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