In 2012, British pop songwriter Eliot Kennedy got a call from his longtime collaborator, Gary Barlow, saying producer Harvey Weinstein wanted them to pen a few numbers for a musicalization of his Oscar-nominated movie Finding Neverland.
When performer and playwright Lisa Kron read Alison Bechdel’s 2006 autobiographical graphic novel, “Fun Home,” about coming out and the suicide of her gay father, she knew she wanted to turn it into a musical — even though she’d never worked on one before.
Although she’s best known for her work as a judge and choreographer on the hit reality TV competition “So You Think You Can Dance,” Mia Michaels began her career on stage. Bringing her unique style to Broadway has been a long-held dream, and now she’s doing just that as choreographer for the soon-to-open “Finding Neverland.”
THE RED ROAD’s executive producer, Sarah Condon, discusses casting Jason Momoa, dividing her time between THE RED ROAD and Looking, and exploring unique subcultures.
Orphan Black co-creator and director John Fawcett discusses writing retreats, his multiple collaborations with Tatiana Maslany and glue guns.
“Orphan Black” creator and head writer Graeme Manson talks channeling his mother to write a favorite character, his personal sci-fi fandom, and the right way to kill off a character.
“Orphan Black” make-up artist Stephen Lynch discusses signature cosmetics, the challenge of differentiating the series’ male clones, and behind-the-scenes hijinks on “Queer As Folk.”
Alison Bechdel, winner of the 2014 MacArthur Genius Grant, is loved by comic fans for her provocative, queer-friendly works like her long-running strip “Dykes to Watch Out For” and her graphic memoirs, including “Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama” and “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.” We talked to Bechdel about brining “Fun Home” to Broadway.
James Nesbitt (Richard Miller), Nicola Walker (Sharon Franklin), Paterson Joseph (Charles Inglis), Bertie Carvel (Finn) discuss what they think the chief strengths of the Babylon writers, Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, are.
James Nesbitt (Richard Miller): Clearly, I knew their work before. They have natural quite dark humour, and they’re constantly evolving. They created a very rounded, complex character in Richard Miller. I think their observation of how policing is changing…
James Nesbitt (Richard Miller), Paterson Joseph (Charles Inglis), Nicola Walker (Sharon Franklin), Jonny Sweet (Tom Oliver), Adam Deacon (Robbie) and Jill Halfpenny (Davina) discuss the extensive research they did before taking on their roles and how their involvement in the series has affected their opinion of the police.
James Nesbitt: I think publications beforehand, particularly on the right of the political spectrum, might have thought that this was going to be…
James Nesbitt, who plays BABYLON’s Commissioner Richard Miller, talks about what kind of cop he’d be in real life, working with Danny Boyle again and his future as an actor.
Sundance darling and BABYLON star Brit Marling (The East, Another Earth) talks about technology and the public’s involvement in law enforcement, working with the series’ acclaimed executive producer Danny Boyle, and her passion for London’s pub culture.
Q: How did you become involved in Babylon?
A: I read the script and was really moved by the character of Liz – she’s tough but not without vulnerability. Danny and I spoke on the phone and I loved how he saw the story developing, and the questions he wanted to ask about how technology and the transparency it creates is changing all of our lives. How does law enforcement change when a criminal is using Twitter or Instagram? What’s the future of the public’s involvement in law enforcement as a result? And how do you create a career girl that isn’t a typical ball-buster but is multi-faceted? All awesome things to explore. So I got on a plane and 24 hours later we were doing a table reading that was so funny people were choking on their beverages with laughter. Sam and Jesse are such great writers it’s borderline dangerous.
Q: You mention liking the way she’s a nuanced and layered character – was it a surprise to you that two forty-something British male comedy writers were able to create a female character like that?
A: The truth is, I find it surprising when either of the genders…
Writing duo Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, two of TV’s most original voices, discuss developing their unique approach to a police comedy-drama, working with series producer Danny Boyle and Jesse’s involvement with the writing of Veep.
Q: What originally inspired the show’s focus on the police force’s PR department?
Sam Bain: We wanted to take a fresh angle on UK police that hadn’t been seen before and we felt that PR and media relations were an aspect of police work that’s hugely significant and ripe for drama and comedy but relatively unexplored. The challenges facing a huge, established organization in the modern media age felt like an exciting theme for us.
Q: What’s Danny Boyle like as a producer?
Sam Bain: He’s great, he was involved a lot more than we dared hope…
RECTIFY creator Ray McKinnon discusses fascinating characters, the South and the silver lining of life on death row.
Q: A lot of characters persecute Daniel, but the show always seems to give us a chance to see things their way. What’s the key to finding that balance?
A: I certainly think a lot of characters have made judgments and have prejudices and preconceptions about Daniel… persecution’s a little too strong of a word. But the other words that I used feel appropriate to the characters, when I think of Teddy, or even Bobby Dean in a way. And I don’t know about balance, but as far as seeing things their way, I think if you’re trying to create three dimensional characters, each character like human beings have a subjective viewpoint of the world, and that’s what we tried to understand better. Teddy’s a great example of that, trying to understand what motivates Teddy, how he sees the world. He sees the world differently than Daniel. I think Teddy believes in law and order, or he did certainly in the first season. I think that has changed over time. But if they say Daniel did it and Daniel went to a jury and the jury found that he was guilty then that’s what Teddy believes is the truth, and so Teddy goes about his life verifying things he already believes in, affirming that, and when those things get challenged it’s very difficult for Teddy to deal with that. So I think the balance maybe you’re talking about is trying to make the characters not two-dimensional but three dimensional, where they have a point of view and oftentimes–even with Teddy–that point of view could be valid. Because Daniel could have killed Hannah Dean. We don’t know that answer yet.
Q: Do you sympathize with all the characters that much, or are there exceptions? Senator Foulkes… or Trey?
A: I don’t know if I sympathize with Trey, but …
Think you know what it takes to be a writer in the entertainment biz? We’ve been stockpiling interviews ranging from comedy influencers to comic book adapters to the writers of the twisted plots of our own SundanceTV dramas. Browse our collection below, and take notes!
Horror movies and TV shows have a long, dark, and symbiotic relationship with underground rock music. Scottish instrumental rockers Mogwai, in particular, have an eerie and cinematic sound perfect for frightful viewing, as is the case with their hauntingly gorgeous score for the hit French horror show “Les Revenants” (THE RETURNED). Here, Mogwai guitarist Stuart Braithwaite reveals his favorite horror movie soundtracks and how he’d survive the zombie apocalypse.
THE HONORABLE WOMAN’s costume designer Edward K. Gordon talks about the challenges in dressing a character as complex as Nessa Stein, which designers she wore and the secret to “getting the Stein style.”
Q: Some of your past credits include Skins and Secret Diary of a Call Girl – projects that have very different feel from THE HONORABLE WOMAN. What have been some of the best practices you’ve carried over from project to project? What are some of your initial steps when embarking on a new project?
A: For me, the work always starts with the script. If I am lucky enough to be presented with a great script, with characters that I believe/relate to my job, it is easy and all I have to do is honor the writing. Although I have done a varied body of work through my career, I bring the same aesthetic dogma with me to all my work. My ambition is always to present characters on screen in a way that might not be quite what people were expecting. I really believe in the power of clothes to help tell a story, and I am fortunate to work in a visual medium. With each great new character I try to create a look that is distinctive and unique to that person—although grounded in reality and truth there is always a slightly aspirational look to the way I dress people. Just to mix things up even more, the next job I’m doing is War and Peace for the BBC and Harvey Weinstein!
Q: Looking to the pilot episode, that initial green-cheetah print dress is definitely a statement piece—especially when you consider the juxtaposition Nessa’s character has against the rest of the cast. What motivated that style choice? The dress also seemed to linger though the episode, as Nessa simply didn’t change her clothes—can you speak to that?
THE HONORABLE WOMAN star Katherine Parkinson (Rachel Stein) reflects on maternal archetypes, the poignancy of the political thriller and the unexpected levity director Hugo Blick brings to the series.
THE HONORABLE WOMAN star Stephen Rea reflects on the humanity and poignancy of the political thriller and what it was like working with Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Screenwriter Cliff Dorfman (Warrior, Entourage) returns in the premiere for season two of DREAM SCHOOL as the NYC students’ English teacher. Dorfman talked to us about what made him come back, his own bad school behavior, and which celebrity he’d want as his own mentor.
THE HONORABLE WOMAN star Maggie Gyllenhaal talks the challenges of playing powerful, deeply flawed Nessa Stein and how she’s perfected the English accent.
Bestselling author of The Official Preppy Handbook Lisa Birnbach discusses her disdain for Pinterest wedding extravagance, her respect for brilliant
Author and journalist Hannah Seligson talks about Facebook narcissism, The Real Housewives of New York City’s downhill spiral, and Kim Kardashian’s branding genius. Don’t miss Seligson as a featured panelist in THE APPROVAL MATRIX: “#WorstPeopleEver”.
Deputy editor of xoJane Mandy Stadtmiller admits her Breaking Bad secret, her love for old Steve Martin jokes, and talks about Lana Del Rey’s lowbrow brilliance. Don’t miss Stadtmiller as a featured panelist in THE APPROVAL MATRIX: “#WorstPeopleEver”.
CollegeHumor writer and comedian Streeter Seidell talks how Tinder makes everyone a dirtbag, the worst scene in “Friday Night Lights” and the president’s edited opinions. Don’t miss Seidell as a featured panelist in THE APPROVAL MATRIX: “Who Died and Made You Cool?”.