‘NCIS’ Star Cote de Pablo Thought Michael Weatherly Was Trying to Sabotage Her

In the world of TV auditions, it’s not unusual for actors to face unexpected challenges. For Cote de Pablo, vying for a role on NCIS presented an unanticipated obstacle: co-star Michael Weatherly.

As an established figure on the show, Weatherly’s unpredictable behavior caught de Pablo off guard during their screen test. His antics were so antagonistic that it led her to believe he might be undermining her chances to get on the show.

‘NCIS’ star Cote de Pablo thought Michael Weatherly was sabotaging her screen test

When de Pablo auditioned for NCIS, she did so alongside Michael Weatherly, an original cast member.

In a 2009 chat with Entertainment Weekly, de Pablo shared that their first impressions of each other were polarizing. She perceived Weatherly as lacking professionalism, while he saw her as complex and challenging.

Despite his established role in NCIS, Weatherly took an unpredictable approach with the newcomer during the tryout. For de Pablo, Weatherly’s antics made it seem like he was sabotaging her audition.

“During the audition, he grabbed my hair,” de Pablo shared. “He would not follow the lines. He totally went off script and started improvising, and this was my final audition with the heads of CBS. I thought, ‘This guy is sabotaging my audition.’”

De Pablo also mentioned Weatherly’s attempt at playful banter, comparing her to Salma Hayek and even making unsolicited physical contact. Reacting instinctively, she defended herself, pushing back against his advances.

Outright rejecting Weatherly, who was clearly in character, ultimately separated de Pablo from the pack. NCIS producers loved what they saw and cast her to play Weatherly’s romantic interest in the show.

A closer look at the relationship between these ‘NCIS’ fan favorites

In NCIS, fans will surely recall the sizzling tension between Ziva and her colleague, Agent Anthony DiNozzo.

Throughout their time on the show, Tony and Ziva generated quite the buzz, with enthusiasts rooting for a romantic twist. Their wishes materialized when, by Season 13, it came to light that the duo had a child, Tali (Emelia Golfieri).

Though de Pablo occasionally reappears on NCIS, Weatherly has yet to return to the role.

Given their palpable on-screen bond, one might assume an immediate off-screen camaraderie between Weatherly and de Pablo. However, de Pablo’s reflections suggest they naturally settled into their on-screen dynamics.

Their initial real-life friction and underlying mutual intrigue possibly set the stage for de Pablo’s perception of Weatherly’s disruptive audition antics. Their interactions off-screen ironically fortified their partnership on the show.


‘NCIS’ Star Michael Weatherly Admits Mark Harmon ‘Was Confused by My Presence Right From the Get-Go’

Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly find success with their unique dynamic

In reflecting on her NCIS audition experience, de Pablo noted how it set the tone for her character’s chemistry with Weatherly. Strangely, de Pablo felt they were distinct yet similar, creating a certain level of gravity.

“It was just all the things that I think later on translated to the relationship that Ziva and Tony had and still have,” she stated. “That’s what makes that particular dynamic interesting. We realized we’re so drastically different and so much alike that there was an immediate attraction.”

Even though Weatherly portrayed a rather audacious character on the show, his approach during auditions was somewhat unsettling for other actors trying out for the part.

De Pablo observed that other actors played along with Weatherly’s advances. But her reaction was completely different, which helped her land the part of Ziva.

Since their mutual departure from NCIS, fans have been hoping for a Ziva and Tony reunion. It hasn’t happened yet, but now that Weatherly is done with his series, Bull, the timing couldn’t be better.

The next season of NCIS is expected to premiere next year.

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