‘NCIS’: The Surprising Way Michael Weatherly Got the Role of Tony DiNozzo

Although former NCIS star Michael Weatherly is now starring in his show Bull, fans will always know and love him as Special Agent Tony DiNozzo. Fans are hoping he will eventually return and join Ziva as she tries to save Gibbs from danger. Here’s the surprising story of how Weatherly got the part of Tony DiNozzo.

How Michael Weatherly described Tony DiNozzo

Michael Weatherly as Tony DiNozzo | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
Michael Weatherly as Tony DiNozzo | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

During an interview with CBS, Weatherly discussed what he thought about Tony. “Tony DiNozzo is that guy at work who is a repellent on almost every level. But somehow, he keeps his job. And in the end, he kind of has something hopefully winning about that exuberance,” said Weatherly. The actor also said Tony’s behavior can sometimes get out of hand. “My character is deeply inappropriate sometimes, and I think we all work with somebody like that,” he said during a 2012 interview for Australian television show The Project.

How Michael Weatherly got the role of Tony DiNozzo on ‘NCIS’

Michael Weatherly, Mark Harmon, and Cote de Pablo | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images
Michael Weatherly, Mark Harmon, and Cote de Pablo | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

During that same CBS interview, NCIS creator Don Bellisario spoke about how Weatherly snagged the role of Tony DiNozzo. One thing is for sure: Weatherly was persistent. Here’s what Bellisario said about meeting the actor:

I was in Australia, I was working on a show, and I got a call from an agent who said, ‘You gotta see this guy Michael Weatherly. He’s playing R.J. in [The Mystery of Natalie Wood], and he’s filming in Australia. And I said, ‘I’m leaving. I’m coming back to the states, I’ll meet him when we get back.’ That night, I got a phone call from Michael Weatherly, saying, ‘Could I get together and see you?’ I said, ‘I’m leaving in two days.’ And he said, ‘Could we get together, just to have a drink or something?’ And I said to Michael, ‘I’ll tell you what, I’m having dinner with my family, with two sons and my wife at the pier. Come down and join us.’ Well, what that turned into was about a four-hour dinner.

Michael Weatherly then told his side of the story. He said things went so well with Bellisario that he didn’t have to go through the typical steps to get the role of Tony. “By the end of it, he was smoking a cigar, and the chairs were up on the table. He’s telling me a story about Magnum P.I.’s second season finale or whatever. And I’m a huge fan. And so, it sort of just happened. I never had to really audition for Tony DiNozzo,” said Weatherly. “It was more like sit down with Don, tell stories and listen to stories, and laugh a lot. And here we are.”

Don Bellisario liked Michael Weatherly right away

Weatherly didn’t have to do much to secure his place among the NCIS cast. Apparently, his personality was enough to win over the series creator. Bellisario said he knew Weatherly was right for the part after their first meeting. “I just thought he was terrific; and he was the character Tony that I had written. It just came across to me. So, I hired him,” said Bellisario in his CBS interview.

Read more: ‘NCIS’: Cast Members Reveal Their First Acting Jobs

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