7 posts tagged podcast
7 posts tagged podcast
Showrunner Glen Mazzara is merciful — OK, maybe not to the characters on The Walking Dead, but to fans. His belief is that midseason finales should be managed with care, not leaving too much hanging for too long. “Sometimes I worry about cliffhangers, that they can be frustrating to the audience,” he said.
Which isn’t to say that Mazzara won’t put beloved characters in peril — he’s done it plenty this season, the show’s third, and delivered monster ratings in the process (the midseason finale attracted 15.2 million viewers earlier this month).
We talked with Mazzara shortly before news broke that this season, which resumes in February, will be his last as showrunner and executive producer for The Walking Dead. Be warned, spoilers abound in this interview. Don’t listen or read further until you’re caught up.
Some highlights, including Mazzara’s take on finales, humanity in a zombified world, the freedom the setting provides, and how far he’ll push characters:
The idea was born over a series of dinners: Jane Espenson, Hugo-award-winning writer for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, fell in love with her friend Brad Bell’s idea for a show about a fabulous actor (played by Bell), his gal pal (Alessandra Torresani, Caprica) and his boozily accidental wedding.
There’s a twist here, though, and it’s that the groom (aka Cheeks) didn’t marry the gal — he married another groom (Sean Hemeon, As the World Turns), a nervous and newly out ballplayer. The show’s name: Husbands. It’s a classic sitcom setup, opposites in love. But instead of on a network, it’s on the internet — at lovehusbands.com. Espenson and Bell created it together, and Espenson (currently a consulting producer of Once Upon a Time) funded the first season from her own pocket.
In Season 1 (11 episodes of about two minutes each) the grooms wake up married in Vegas and decide to make it work. Season 2, which debuted this week, picks up with the newlyweds living in their new home and dealing with the public fallout of their union. It will unfold over the course of three episodes of about eight minutes each, with behind-the-scenes specials for each one. Fans paid for the second season via Kickstarter, raising $50,000 in a week.
The second season also ups the ante on guest stars, with a virtual who’s who of the Whedonverse – including Joss himself, who appears in all three episodes. You’ll also see Amber Benson and Emma Caulfield (Buffy), and Dichen Lachman (Dollhouse). Plus Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) and Sasha Roiz (Caprica).
Espenson and Bell spoke with Amazon Studios about Husbands, creative freedom and working with Joss Whedon, actor.
On distributing the show online:
Espenson: We thought, oh, we’ll show that there is an audience out there, and then we can take it to the big stage. And then we realized, “There’s no bigger stage than this.”
Bell: What stage is bigger than the internet?
Espenson: You wish you had the big budget, but our fans supported the show … and we don’t have anybody above us saying “Oh, you can’t show that to America.” “We can show it to America, whatever America wants to look at — and beyond America.”
Bell: That’s how you get a hit, you make something that nobody else knew the rest of the country was actually ready for. And they were so ready for it that they loved it and embraced it and that’s how it becomes a hit. We get to do that, we get to push forward … and really have fun with our audience and tell an important story, but first and foremost, we get to entertain.
On working with Joss Whedon, the actor (he plays an agent in all three episodes):
Bell: He liked it so much, we were like “You want to be in it?”
Espenson: We had written a part and we were talking about other people.
Bell: Then we went back and tailored it once we knew it would be Joss. … We were very particular about the agent’s voice because we wanted a character who in classic agent fashion says “look, this is the situation and basically explains how things are dire and horrible” and you suddenly realize how dire and horrible it is and they say, “Whoa, why are things so dire and horrible all of a sudden?” … It was fun to give Joss that sort of voice of contradiction.
Espenson: There are a couple of moments where it takes some real acting finesse to make these turns, and he landed it, every time.
— Stephanie Reid-Simons
Neal Adams knows superheroes. He broke new ground with Batman, X-Men and The Avengers, and recently tackled ZvG: Zombies Vs. Gladiators, a project on the Amazon Studios Movie Development Slate (see the trailer here).
Adams talked with us about the best superhero movies he’s seen, plus Batman, Sherlock Holmes and what Superman needs to be super again.
Some highlights from the interview:
What do you think are the biggest pitfalls for studios looking to make a superhero movie?
Underestimating the audience. … They really have to look for good stuff. People are not thrilled necessarily with superheroes — they’re thrilled with characters with characters, just like literature forever. You need good characters. You can relate superhero movies directly to Shakespeare, or stories of the gods.
Of all the superhero movies that you’ve seen, which ones stand out to you as having done the best job?
Well, oddly enough, the last two Batman movies have done some of the best jobs, and Batman is not even a superhero; he is the antithesis of a superhero if you think about it. Nothing super about him …. Superman is probably the greatest comic book superhero, this god-like creature that’s out there. And Batman, created very shortly after that, is the opposite. He’s a superhero who is not a superhero in any way. He’s like an Olympic champion who is very much like Sherlock Holmes. And if you play him that way, then you’ve got a great character. Is he a superhero? Well, he does put on a weird costume. … Sherlock Holmes is a great character. No, he’s not a comic book character. Well, excuse me, I just saw the last two movies. He looks like a comic book character to me. In fact, I would say that of Raiders of the Lost Ark. That guy is a superhero — of a different sort.
What is Superman’s place in the world, in the 21st century. Some people say he doesn’t work anymore …
Superman is one of the most unrealistic characters. And he’s changed — he used to be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, now he can leap tall planets. I think the future of Superman is to downgrade his powers so that he’s fallible and is someone who can be hurt. … I think you have to go in that direction. There are too many middle-ground characters getting too much traction. … If Superman is not making it people’s minds, but Thor is, something’s wrong and it’s gotta be fixed. And it will.
— Stephanie Reid-Simons
Comic book artist Neal Adams, known for his ground-breaking work with Batman, X-Men and The Avengers, recently tackled ZvG: Zombies Vs. Gladiators, a project on the Amazon Studios Movie Development Slate. He created an animatic of the script (see the trailer here), which shows everything from ancient Rome, inside and outside the arena, to a battle with elephants in the mix and “bodies flying everywhere.”
Adams talked with us about superheroes, ZvG, testing visualizations of stories and why comic books can be “the greatest art in the world.”
Some highlights from the interview:
What do you think being a comic fan does for somebody who is making a movie?
First of all, it gives them that critical sense that it’s not what you think it is if you think it’s pop culture – it’s really adventure. These last two Batman movies, it was like you were going to a movie, not a “comic book movie.” So, the Avengers movie, my God, guess what? I am going to a comic book movie, but it sits in a kind of reality that other movies can only pretend to be in.
What happens is the sensibility is changing. People are going, well, these movies do not just mean guys in tights doing super things because they were bitten by a radioactive spider. They mean everything. They mean the ancient gods, they mean Shakespeare, they mean all the things in literature because there’s nothing that can be done anywhere else that can’t be done in comic books.
What excited you most about working on Zombies vs. Gladiators for Amazon Studios?
This was like doing a movie. … I started to do the boards, and I thought, this is cool. I’ve got gladiators killing zombies, that’s great, zombies leaping on people and biting them in the neck. Maybe not the way it ought to be, but you know, they’re going to keep on working on this and turn it into a movie. … All the things where you go “What can they do here?,” they do it. It’s just a pile of great stuff. …
If you do it right, it’s a great testing device for a movie because you can look at it and say, hey, it’s slow here, it’s fast here, this is wrong, this is right, let’s do this, OK, let’s take this out … why don’t we do a classical soundtrack. You’ve made the movie, but now you have a chance to remake it, and make it better.
I’ve done this kind of work for advertising agencies for 30 years. … You can take animatics and for $100,000 you can do five ideas as fully realized commercials, you can test them and find out what’s going to sell the product better. When I first did it … I’ve watched the process, I might have done the first animatic … it made sense to me.
Yes, this is where she confirmed she’s leaving SNL after this season. But she also talks about making her dramatic aspirations, Bridesmaids (of course), and discovering her sexier side.
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