Posted: Wed., Nov. 24, 2004, 12:49pm PT

D'Onofrio returns to 'Law & Order'

HOLLYWOOD -- "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," which was shut down for six shooting days due to Vincent D'Onofrio's hospitalization for exhaustion, was back onstage Tuesday with D'Onofrio (Detective Robert Goren) on hand.

I spoke to him in his dressing room via phone. He sounded fine and assured me that he was indeed OK. He insisted the cause of his absence was strictly "exhaustion."

"I guess I'm a perfectionist," he noted. "And the only thing that would stop me (from working) was falling down -- and that's what happened."

I asked if his doctors had recommended any changes. "We went over my lifestyle," he admitted, "and we all decided -- I shouldn't smoke. My daughter Leila is most influential in trying to get me to stop smoking."

He added, "I have to get more rest. I have been working on a short movie, 'Five Minutes, Mr. Welles,' a fictitious event that happened during the filming of 'The Third Man.' I got interested in it when I was playing (Welles) in 'Ed Wood.' "

D'Onofrio hopes to take the film to Cannes. He wrote it with Will Conroy, with whom he's also writing a Western, "Mac Dog Williams." "Thumbsucker," in which he stars, is also headed to Cannes, he says.

I asked if he had any plans to depart the series after the fifth season. "I'm here as long as Dick (Wolf) thinks I should be. But I can't get myself that exhausted again. I can't let that happen again."

He's in 30-35 scenes of every show and, despite the long hours, he allowed, "It's not digging ditches."


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