By Mandi Bierly
May 30, 2014 at 07:08 PM EDT
Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images

John Malkovich has done TV movies and miniseries, but the May 30 premiere of NBC’s Crossbones marks his first role as a series regular. As Malkovich, who stars as the pirate Blackbeard in the drama from Luther creator Neil Cross, tells Entertainment Weekly Radio, he’d only ever been approached about starring in one other show: CSI, when William Peterson left the CBS procedural. “I had a conversation with Billy. I had a conversation with Gary Sinise, who’s also an old friend and does the other CSI. Sort of about what that was, what it meant, what the life was, etc.,” he says.

In the end, he couldn’t imagine losing his freedom to do other projects for nine months of the year. “I really had to think about it because I was doing two operas, I still direct plays all the time, doing other little films that interested me — I mean, that, okay, nobody saw and you don’t get paid for and blah, blah, blah, but that interested me. I didn’t know if I could see myself doing that. And both Billy and Gary thought they could not see me doing that, but go ahead if you want,” he adds with a laugh.

What changed? None of the film scripts he was reading were better than Crossbones, which he thought was “hyper-esoteric for network television — not that I know a lot about network television, because I don’t.” What little TV Malkovich does find the time to watch might surprise you: “I like my Project Runway,” he tells News & Notes host Mario Correa. He was addicted to True Detective, which he thought was spectacular on every level. Would he entertain the idea of starring in season 2? “Oh, I would love it. I wouldn’t have thought I’d be asked, but I sure loved the first one,” he says.

Other fun bits: He’s only seen “some” of Game of Thrones. He loved the first season of The Killing and didn’t know he could find the others on Netflix. He likes FX’s The Bridge, and he’s always wanted to watch Boardwalk Empire because he enjoys Steve Buscemi.

Listen to the full interview below. Crossbones premieres May 30 at 10 p.m. on NBC.