Steve Buscemi is teaming with AOL for unscripted original Park Bench. Set in New York City, the web series is part of the AOL Originals platform which will carry the first season online in the U.S. Production starts this month in NY where Buscemi will interact with everyday denizens of the Big Apple along with his celebrity pals, discussing everything from pop culture to current events. The show is produced by Olive Productions and RadicalMedia, and is intended to convey Buscemi’s relationship with the city of New York and its array of one-of-a-kind characters. “Having lived and worked in New York my whole life, I’m ready to take advantage of all it has to offer,” said Buscemi. “I just need to lay down for five minutes.” FremantleMedia International will shop Park Bench at next week’s Mip-TV. Wren Arthur and Buscemi are executive producing for Olive; Justin Wilkes, Joe Killian and Jon Doran are exec producing for RadicalMedia. Buscemi and Olive are represented by WME, The Gotham Group and attorney George Sheanshang.
Anthony D’Alessandro is Managing Editor of AwardsLine
Rusty-voiced, sweet-natured, a tin mask covering up his facial World War I wound, Richard Harrow, as played flawlessly by Jack Huston, is the type of vigilante one might find in a DC Comic book, warts and all. But in HBO’s 1920s epic Boardwalk Empire, he’s a supporting character that creator Terence Winter and his writers transformed from late gangster Jimmy Darmody’s trusted sharpshooter into a human being. For the bulk of this season, Harrow refrained from killing off any bad guys as he wooed a war veteran’s daughter and acted as the surrogate father to Darmody’s orphaned son, Tommy. “Richard knows how to kill. He doesn’t do it well; he does it great,” says Huston about Harrow, who even puts fear in lead Atlantic City kingpin Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) “I reminded Terry that I was getting an itchy finger, and he said, ‘Just wait.’ ”
Sundance Channel Developing Dramas Produced By Robert Redford, Sarah Condon, Steve Buscemi, Ira Glass & Bob Cooper
Sundance Channel has unveiled its 2013-2014 original scripted development slate, which includes five drama projects: Valentines from producer Robert Redford and writer Olaf Olafsson, Behind The Sun from producers Steve Buscemi and Stanley Tucci and writer Dylan Gary, The Descendants (no relation to the 2011 movie) from producer Sarah Condon and writer Aaron Guzikowski, T from producer Ira Glass and writers Dan Futterman and Anya Epstein, and Death In The Modern Age from producers Bob Cooper, JJ Jamieson and Michael Fuchs and writers Josh Shaffer & Eli Kooris.
Sundance Channel’s first wholly owned scripted drama, Rectify, is slated to premiere next year. The channel’s scripted efforts to date have been in the limited series/mini-series area through co-productions and acquisitions. They include miniseries Carlos, Appropriate Adult and the upcoming Restless. Here are details about the projects on Sundance’s drama development slate:
Anthony D’Alessandro is managing editor/contributor to AwardsLine.
For anyone who found the first season of Boardwalk Empire pedestrian with its decadent sets and deliberate pacing, well then, watch season 2: HBO’s Prohibition gangster saga is more breathtaking than a moonshine explosion, triggered in large part by its tin god Nucky Thompson, the crooked Atlantic City political boss played with pungent deftness by Steve Buscemi. In season 2, the beachside Camelot of bootleggers and politicians that Nucky propped up in season 1 emasculate him of his power with an election rigging scandal, leaving the fashion-plaid suited kingpin no choice but to off his rebellious protégé Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt) in a shocking finale. While some critics scratched their heads in season 1 over the idea of a character actor playing the lead, it couldn’t be more clear that Buscemi’s steely acting was meant for the part. Look no further than the accolades Buscemi has racked up: a best actor drama Emmy nod last year and a best actor SAG win in January. His coarse stares, machine-gun diction and cocksure swagger are Nucky’s underpinnings as the pivot in this gangland’s Ferris wheel. Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather taught that such unhinged behavior leads a man to his inevitable doom, i.e. Sonny Corleone. But in Boardwalk, such manners are prerequisite for survival.
AWARDSLINE: Did you realize early on in the season that Nucky’s murder of Jimmy Darmody was inevitable?
Steve Buscemi: No, it wasn’t obvious to me or anybody. When I talked to Terry (Winter) about why Nucky was taking this course of action,
Fans of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire will be keen to know that Season 3 will pick up “15 months in the future from the end of season two,” as executive producer and series creator Terence Winter confided to a nearly packed house at the Leonard Goldenson Theatre tonight at the TV Academy in North Hollywood. “It’s New Year’s Eve 1922, going into 1923,” Winter teased the crowd. “The world has changed quite a bit,” Winter noted of the ongoing Prohibition era. “Things have gotten quite a bit more violent as Prohibition has gone on and people are running out of liquor. Hence Nucky’s world’s going to change.” Winter added that the upcoming season slated to begin in September will see a rise of gangsters like Al Capone and lots of “consequences and ramifications from what went on at the end of Season 2.” The young, now-orphaned son of the dead Jimmy Darmody who was played by Michael Pitt, will continue to be a part of the series, Winter added.
Is there a trumpet player in Boardwalk‘s future? Alluding to an earlier possible slip of tongue by actor Michael Shannon, Winter also jokingly promised that they’ve “got the band going.” Shannon, who plays disgraced Prohibition agent Nelson Van Alden, elicited sharp looks from Winter and star Steve Buscemi during the Evening With Boardwalk Empire event when he interjected, “Time to be someone else.” He quickly added, “Luckily I can play the trumpet,” to which Winter mockingly observed, “Oh. Thanks for giving it away.”
The liquor may not have been flowing speakeasy style, but the Atlantic City gang was all there. In addition to Buscemi, Shannon and Winter, the acclaimed Prohibition era series’ Kelly Macdonald, Vincent Piazza, Gretchen Mol, Michael Stuhlbarg and Michael Kenneth Williams took the stage at the Television Academy’s Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre to discuss the past and, many hoped, the future of Boardwalk Empire. While recently announced Season three regular Bobby Cannavale was not there, former series star Pitt was very much in evidence.
SAG Awards Live Blog, SAG Awards Winners List
In the TV series categories, SAG members largely stuck to their choices from last year, repeating 5 of the 6 series winners from 2011. Alec Baldwin and Betty White appear primed to “own” the lead comedy actor and actress titles for as long as they’re on TV, which, given the fact that Baldwin is signed for another season of 30 Rock and that White shows no signs of slowing down at 90, could be awhile. Baldwin extended his record to 6 consecutive wins, one for every season of 30 Rock to date. White is also at a perfect batting average, scoring 2 consecutive trophies for 2 years on Hot In Cleveland. In total, this is White’s third consecutive SAG Award as she made the unusual transition from a lifetime achievement award in 2010 to regular SAG trophies in 2011 and 2012. Baldwin and White’s enormous popularity among fellow actors means that ABC’s Modern Family, which repeated as best comedy series ensemble, is yet to nab an individual acting prize for its cast.
Also frozen in time were the best drama series ensemble and the best actor in a drama …
Miley Cyrus is sinking her teeth into Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania as the voice of Mavis, the teenage daughter of Dracula, Deadline has confirmed. The father of all vampires, played by Adam Sandler, runs the resort of the title for a very specialized clientele — monsters and their families. Tucked away from the world of humans, it’s also convenient for shielding Mavis from the terrors of teen-hood. Additionally David Koechner has taken the role of Quasimodo and David Spade is Griffin the Invisible Man. Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, creator of Cartoon Network’s Dexter’s Laboratory, Hotel Transylvania also has Andy Samberg voicing the human who complicates matters when he stumbles upon the resort, Kevin James as Frank (-enstein), Fran Drescher as Eunice (Frank’s bride), Cee Lo Green (Murray the Mummy) and Steve Buscemi and Molly Shannon as werewolves Wayne and Wanda. Mark Mothersbough is the composer. It’s slated for release September 21, 2012.
UPDATE: A trade report had Olivia Wilde in negotiations to play the female lead, but I’m told that while this may happen, it hasn’t yet. Judy Greer and Sarah Silverman also made strong impressions, and the filmmakers are waiting to see if Jessica Biel ends up reading for the role. New Line is smartly making the comedy for $30 million, and after Carell and Carrey, that doesn’t leave a fortune for supporting roles. Deadline reported that a short list of actresses were in the mix for the role.
EARLIER, 12:22 PM: New Line wants Steve Buscemi to star opposite Steve Carell and Jim Carrey in the Don Scardino-directed comedy Burt Wonderstone. Buscemi has been offered the role of Anton, the longtime Las Vegas magic act partner of Wonderstone (Carell). Their split sends Wonderstone into a crisis and a collision with a rival magician (Carrey) out to steal his thunder. Buscemi hopes to fit Burt Wonderstone into his hiatus from Boardwalk Empire. If the talks work out, he would make the movie and move right into the third season of the superb HBO drama. He’s repped by WME and The Gotham Group.
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Why He Was Nominated: The question was never whether Hamm would be nominated. That’s a given. It’s his fourth in a row for his iconic Mad Men role of Don Draper but his first without three-time winner Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad in the race due to that AMC show’s lack of eligible episodes. Many assume that Hamm has already won a couple of these things. The mystifying truth is that no performer from Mad Men has yet taken home an Emmy.
Why He Has To Win: Mad Men creator/showrunner/control freak Matthew Weiner is said to have specifically penned the episode “The Suitcase” as a performance piece for Hamm and co-star Elisabeth Moss (also nominated). It featured the two of them exclusively and powerfully. With Cranston out of the picture, there should be no keeping Hamm from his rightful cruise down victory lane. As a fellow actor and TV academy voters noted to me, “Everyone I talk to thinks the Emmy belongs to Jon this time. It’s well deserved and frankly overdue.”
Why He Can’t Possibly Win: Hamm hasn’t earned one of these things yet, and he’s been nominated for Emmys six times in all (also twice as a guest on 30 Rock). Plus, he’s up against two guys (Hugh Laurie and Michael C. Hall) who also have been nominated multiple times without winning. Either could well pull an upset.
Part of a series that takes an analytical look at the current broadcast pilot season and some of its trends and heroes.
Maybe it’s the Tom Selleck/Kathy Bates effect, but the broadcast networks seem more open than ever to shows fronted by older leads this pilot season. Until recently, actors in their 60s and late 50s were relegated to supporting parts as parents or grandparents of TV shows’ main characters. Now they’re the main attraction. Michael Patrick King’s NBC drama pilot A Mann’s World stars 62-year-old Don Johnson. CBS’ pilot The Doctor is toplined by 61-year-old Christine Lahti. ABC has an untitled comedy pilot written for and starring 57-year-old Tim Allen. And ABC’s drama pilot Grace is headlined by 55-year-old Eric Roberts.
The trend started last year with several pilots going older with their leads than the characters had been originally written. Blue Bloods (then Reagan’s Law) whose lead was supposed to be 50-59 year-old, cast 66-year-old Tom Selleck. David E. Kelley’s Harry’s Law (then Kindreds) was written for a male lead aged 53-57. It ended up casting 62-year-old Oscar winner Kathy Bates and tweaking the character. The most dramatic “aging up” in the casting process happened on the ABC procedural Body of Proof (then Body of Evidence) whose lead Megan was conceived as 35-40 years-old. The producers met several actresses in that age range before they thought of Dana Delany (55) who was eventually cast in the role. Additionally, CBS last summer …
After HBO screened the Martin Scorsese-directed pilot episode of Boardwalk Empire in NYC ahead of this Sunday’s opening show, the pay channel threw a full frills bash that evoked another era. It was the first showbiz party I’ve attended in a long while where somebody spent real money in a time when many premieres seem one step away from a cash bar. Not the case at HBO. Guests marveled how the Rockefeller Center skating rink was transformed into a Prohibition era New Jersey boardwalk. Everyone was breaking the law by drinking at a replica bar that must have been 40 feet long. And I counted three endless steam-table serving stations heaped with lobster tails, king crab legs, steak and other posh nosh. I overhead one guest ask an HBO executive how the pay channel could make such a pricey series and host such a lavish affair to launch it. “28 million subscribers at $10 a month.”
Lionsgate TV is making a return to broadcast TV ‘s primetime this fall with the new Fox comedy series Running Wilde, which it took over at the pilot stage. Now the company is staying active in network development with another broadcast project, 87th Precinct, which has received a script order at NBC. The drama, a character-based cop show, hails from Steve Buscemi and Stanley Tucci’s Lionsgate TV-based Olive Prods. State of Mind creator Amy Bloom is writing the script and is executive producing with Buscemi and Tucci.
HBO’s Martin Scorsese-Terence Winter Prohibition drama series will debut Sunday, Sept. 19 at 9PM. The cast of the Atlantic City-set series is led by Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt and Kelly Macdonald.