Interview: Zach Gilford willing to work in 'Mob Doctor's' shadow

Luis: Are you someone who has a hard time watching yourself?

Zach: I usually watch once and I’m done with it, just to see what it was. I don’t necessarily like it. I haven’t seen the first episode of “Mob Doctor.” The first scene I saw was a few days ago: “Oh God, I suck. What am I doing? Why did I say it like that? What the [expletive] are you doing, Zach? You’re so lame and boring.” I have a big complex about being vain. I don’t tell anyone what I’m doing. Even family will say “I heard you did this. Why wouldn’t you tell us?” “I feel like I’m bragging.” They’re like “We’re your parents. We want to know.” “Yeah, but you have Google alert on me. You’ll figure it out.”

Luis: What made you want to do “The Mob Doctor”?

Zach: I thought it was a cool idea. I knew Michael Dinner directed it and I’d just started watching “Justified” and liked it. He’s such a cool director. I was like “Alright, I need to see who they’re casting as the girl.” I found out it was Jordana [Spiro] and looked at her stuff a little. And it shot in Chicago. Kiele tells me she doesn’t want my agent to tell me when something shoots in Chicago because I’ll automatically say “This is the greatest script I’ve ever read.”

[Zach met Kiele on an elevator in Chicago’s City Hall when they filmed the pilot for “The Matadors.” The show was never picked up, but Zach began dating Kiele months later and proposed to her in front of those same elevators in November. Gilford claimed a City Hall security guard saw the proposal and asked them to take it elsewhere, but did say congratulations.]

Zach: Honestly, the aspect of not being the main guy in every scene, every day was very appealing. You see Christopher Meloni on “[Law & Order: SVU].” Great show, tons of people watch it, he’s amazing on it, but at some point, he’s doing the same thing every single day for years and years. I’m engaged and am getting married soon. I’ll probably start a family soon. I want to be able to see them, as opposed to being at work all day.

[The food arrives.]

Luis: Do you run into a lot of people you went to school with now that you’re home?

Zach: Definitely. I’ll see someone and know their face, but it’s been like 12 years: “I totally know you, but I don’t know what your name is.” I felt awful after I misintroduced someone to Keile weeks ago. I said his name was Sam. His name is Shawn. I realized this afterward. I felt like a [jerk].

Luis: What nationality is Kiele?

Zach: Her Mom’s side of the family is French. Her dad is Puerto Rican. He’s one of 13 kids.

Luis: I have 19 aunts and uncles total. My parents are Colombian.

Zach: I visited Kiele when she was filming in Bogota. It’s a cool country.

Luis: I’ve gone three times. I was supposed to visit in high school but my Dad didn’t let me go because I got my ear pierced behind my parents’ back.

Zach: Yeah, I did the same thing but I didn’t get punished like that. I wore a stocking hat to cover it up for like two days. My Mom was like “Why are you wearing a hat in the summer?” “This is the style, Mom. Leave me alone, gosh.” I did the same thing when my friend and I tattooed each other when I was 13. I tattooed my leg. I wore a sweat band around it for a few weeks whenever I was with family. “Why are you wearing that?” “It’s the style.”

Luis: Can I see it?

[Zach stands up and raises his leg up onto the booth. The tattoo says “Pip 33” in honor of the Bulls’ Scottie Pippen and looks like, well, a 13-year-old did it.]

Zach: I’d just seen “Fear” where he tattoos [“Nicole 4 Eva”] on his chest. “Oh, it’s that easy to give yourself a tattoo?” We were just dumb. I gave my friend a Nike swoosh on his arm. His went away after a few months. Mine has been here 17 years. No more tattoos for me. ... I’ve learned not to jump into fads. I think another one of my complexes is that I think some people know what they want to be and try to be that. I think I know what I don’t want to be and fight so hard not to be that. Really, I just don’t know who I am.

Luis: Are you not going to eat the tortillas on your tacos?

Zach: I ate most of them. There are like three tortillas for each taco.

[The waitress clears the table.]

Luis: Where have you been eating in Chicago?

Zach: Girl and the Goat, Blackbird, De Cero, Maude’s. I keep trying to get tickets to Next. I go on their Facebook page and when they say “Who wants a ticket?” I’m like “I’d like one.” Maybe I should be a [jerk] and have my publicist call.

Twitter @aboutluisgomez