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    Q&A With Chris O'Donnell


    Mother’s Day is coming up. Do you help your kids honor their mom in some special way?

    They do it on their own. It’s more special when [a gift] is generated by the kids. My oldest daughter is the ringleader when it comes to stuff like that. You just have to be careful what her ambitions are. She fancies herself a chef and makes some pretty elaborate concoctions in the kitchen -- some shockingly good -- but usually with a really big mess.

    At the height of your film career, you turned down big Hollywood roles to spend more time with your family. Looking back, at 42, are you content with how everything turned out?

    I’ve always known family was a priority for me, and it’s something I really wanted. So it’s a matter of balance. Had I continued to crank out films, I would not be sitting in my house right now with five kids and living the life I’m living, so it’s not even close. I would never trade the children we have, or the family set-up we have. I’m so fortunate to have a steady job in such a competitive industry. Forget the fame -- success can be very fleeting. To be working on a show at a point where I need to be locked down and stable in one place because this is where the kids go to school … I feel so incredibly fortunate.

    Now you star in a hit TV series, NCIS: Los Angeles, and you even direct episodes. How do you balance the pressures of the set with the demands of family life?

    It’s an amazing schedule for a 1-hour show. We keep it to 12 hours a day. It’s a credit to the production team. I hear so many stories of other weekly shows going 14, 16 hours every day, where Fridays nights usually extend as late as 2 or 3 in the morning, so they call it “Fraturday.” That never happens on our show. I’m either home for dinner, or I drive the kids to school in the morning.

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