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NCIS LA star Daniela Ruah admits she finds directing ‘exhausting’

NCIS: Los Angeles: Season 14 Episode 5 Promo

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Daniela Ruah has not only starred in all 14 seasons of the hit NCIS spin-off, but she has also now directed an impressive five episodes for the hit CBS drama over the last two years. In her latest interview, the NCIS: Los Angeles regular admitted it took some time for her confidence behind the camera to match that in front.

Long-time NCIS star Daniela has revealed some of the biggest hurdles she has had to overcome as a director for the popular CBS franchise.

The actress made her directorial debut for the series in 2021 and has since become one of the successful actor-turned-directors for the franchise.

She has also directed five episodes for NCIS: LA, most recently the Kensi and Marty Deeks (played by Eric Christian Olsen) centric episode Flesh and Blood.

However, getting started behind the camera didn’t come naturally to Daniela when she stepped up to her new role last year.

“First and foremost on this particular show, my primary job is being a character,” she explained.

“Fortunately, I don’t have to think about getting into a character I’ve been playing for 14 years, right? They call ‘action’ and I’m Kensi, they call ‘cut’ and I’m back to being Dani.

“That’s a good thing, that’s an advantage. But the directing part of it isn’t as second nature to me as playing Kensi is at this point.”

As Daniela’s most high-profile role for over a decade, the actress has become adept at slipping in and out of character to portray Kensi.

However, she only began directing for the series after already starring in 12 seasons of the NCIS spin-off.

Having just started working behind the camera over the last year or so, Daniela admitted the extra work she puts into the new role can become quite tiring.

So, a lot more energy and focus and much more of my mental bandwidth goes into directing,” she said on the Wayne Ayers Podcast.

“And I care immensely, you know? If I do a scene that, in my opinion, didn’t go as well as I’d like it to go, it’s one scene in an ocean of scenes that we see this character in.”

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“If I don’t do a good job, in my opinion, as a director, that’s an entire episode and a lot of other people’s jobs that may be compromised, so to speak.

“If you’re directing an episode, even though there’s plenty of people above you in the chain of command, you’re still signing off on something… you’re the driver of the train when you’re on set.

“And so, yeah, I find directing a lot more exhausting,” she went on to admit.

Thankfully, Daniela has still found the transition from actor to director rewarding and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down any time soon.

“But, at this point in time, it’s a lot more creatively fulfilling because it’s new and I’m learning new skills,” she went on.

“And it’s informing how I behave as an actor as well, you know?”

Fans have loved Daniela’s episodes so far, especially her collaboration with Eric, who wrote the season 13 episode Live Free or Die Standing, so hopefully, there’s plenty more from the pair to come.

NCIS: Los Angeles season 14 continues Sundays on CBS in the USA. A UK release date is yet to be announced.

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