Denis Leary On Michael J. Fox's ‘Rescue Me' Role (Dish Of Salt)

It’s not easy getting Michael J. Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991, to say “yes” to many acting gigs. His good friend Denis Leary, however, was able to lure him back to television for a five episode stint on F/X’s “Rescue Me” beginning in April.

According to Leary, Fox has always been a big fan of the show ever since Leary sent him the pilot, “He called back and he said, this is really good television. So, I’ve asked him other questions about casting and stuff over the years.”

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Leary says he had also been asking Michael for years to come on the show but Fox always told him he was to busy with work and his kids.

“We wrote this role without thinking of Michael and we got done with it and we said, Peter Tolan [“Rescue Me’s” Executive Producer] said, ‘Let’s call Michael.’ So, it started as a lark. I think he liked it because it wasn’t just funny, it was also dramatic.”

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Fox plays a paralyzed boyfriend of Leary’s character (Tommy Gavin’s) ex-wife, Janet.

“I think it was a challenge for him because he was playing a guy who was very still and he got to do these really heavy dramatic seasons.”

Leary realizes having Fox on might get him a few more eyeballs to his critically acclaimed show, “How much do you want to bet that the posters for and advertisements for ‘Rescue Me’ say Michael J. Fox in ‘Rescue Me’! So, people are like ‘I hate that show but now I’m gonna watch it!’”

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One actor who will never been seen on the show - Sean Penn. Leary says he asked Penn, who is a pal, to come on the show and got a “no.” His dream “get” right now he says would be recent Golden Globe winner, Mickey Rourke.

“I’ve heard that there was a producer one time that didn’t like the fact that Mickey wanted to have his dog in the movie. I’ll tell Mickey he can carry his dog in his fire helmet. He could have his Chihuahua attached to his fire element just so I could have Mickey on the show!”

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