It’s another gorgeous November afternoon in Southern California, and actor Chris O’Donnell is phoning in from his trailer at a downtown location shoot for NCIS Los Angeles. As Special Agent “G” Callen on the popular CBS Tuesday night action drama, he’s a tough guy. “I’m walking around this park in downtown L.A. today dressed like an LAPD cop, and nobody’s messing with me right now,” he jokes.
But when it’s time to roll up his sleeve during flu season, he’s a bit squeamish. “I’m the biggest baby when it comes to getting a shot,” O’Donnell says.
Still, the father of five kids ages “almost 5” to 13 makes sure the whole family is vaccinated every year. Parenting presents constant challenges, he explains, but some decisions are just common sense. “Kids are like little Petri dishes,” he jokes. “My age group, you think you’re impervious to that,” but it’s important to prevent the spread of flu to others who are more vulnerable.
Staying healthy also gives the 42-year-old actor – who played Robin in two “Batman” films and has starred on NCIS Los Angeles since 2009 – more time to boogie board and play volley ball at the beach with the family. The Chicago native says he still can’t get used to the constant sunny weather in his adopted home.
He also needs to stay healthy to juggle the demands of work and family. With NCIS-LA in its fourth season, O’Donnell doesn’t have time for movies or other side projects. He missed a recent round of parent-teacher conferences, but was able to take advantage of a surprise afternoon break to run across town to see his son play football.
He also managed to find time to get his annual flu shot, and says it was a bit easier this year because of Fluzone, a vaccine delivered via a needle that is 90 percent smaller than those on traditional syringes. Squeamish though he is, he barely felt the shot, and headed right back out to his tough guy duties on the NCIS set.