The bumps and bruises TV viewers have seen Dean Winters suffer through would have killed a lesser man. Fortunately, his role as “Mayhem” in the ongoing Allstate Insurance campaign has involved more time in the makeup chair than the emergency room.
Those ER trips are reserved for his talented stuntman.
“My poor stunt double, David Shumbris, I think he’s ended up in the hospital four or five times. He’s taken a serious beating on that job,” says Winters of Shumbris, who has credits for his stunt work on blockbuster films like The Dark Knight Rises and The Bourne Ultimatum. Winters and Shumbris have filmed forty different commercials for Allstate under the “Mayehm” persona, some of which will never be seen on television.
“The guys who write these spots, at Leo Burnett in Chicago, they’re just twisted kids in their late 20s and they just try to get away with as much as they can,” says Winters. “We’ve shot forty commercials and six of them can’t air because they’re too violent.”
The Allstate job helped give Winters’ career a boost after some time away from acting, but when he was first approached with the offer, he turned it down. And his answer didn’t change the second and third time they came calling.
“My smart ass remark was, ‘I became an actor so I didn’t have to put on a suit and sell insurance.'” His comments didn’t sit well with the executives, but Winters was eventually convinced to take the job. “I have to be honest with you, it’s probably the best job I’ve ever had.”
Winters steps away from the role of “Mayhem” for his latest project, Vince Gilligan’s Battle Creek. Winters plays the chief detective from the small town of Battle Creek, Michigan whose career needs to get back on track with the help of an officer from the FBI, played by Josh Duhamel, in this buddy-cop drama.
The new CBS drama will get a fair shake when it premieres Sunday night (March 1st) at 10PM, thanks largely to one name attached to the project. Not Duhamel or Winters, but Vince Gilligan, the creator, head writer, and executive producer of arguably the greatest TV drama ever created, Breaking Bad. Today, many shows aren’t given a chance if they struggle out of the gate, lasting maybe four to five episodes. Thanks to Gilligan, CBS has guaranteed all 13 episodes of Battle Creek will air on schedule.
“Back in the day, nobody watched Seinfeld the first year. Nobody watched 30 Rock the first year. It’s different out there now,” say Winters. “But we think we’re going to be given a real shot being that they have to show all 13 [episodes].”
“We’ve been doing a lot of press for it,” adds Winters. “People have been really genuine and when they’ve come up, outside of interviews, they’re like, ‘We really like this show. It’s a different show.'”
You can watch the series premiere of Battle Creek this Sunday at 10PM on CBS and see Winters as “Mayhem” on, well, probably during breaks between Battle Creek and any other television show you watch.
Or on YouTube. Yeah, YouTube is a good place.
Josh Duhamel, Winters’ co-star, called into the Scott Shannon in the Morning show to discuss the premise behind Battle Creek even more. You can listen to the full interview below.
Watch the series premiere preview for Battle Creek below and watch the full series premiere this Sunday, March 1st, at 10PM.