Saturday, July 23, 2011

Republic of Doyle, Captain America, Legends Lucille Ball and Liz Taylor

Allan Hawco's Republic of Doyle

Okay so who is Canada’s fastest rising TV mogul?  Triple threat Newfoundlander, director, writer and star of Republic of Doyle, Allan Hawco His show is shooting its third season for viewers across Canada and around the world.  This theatrically trained show runner, the brains behind the outfit and face of the internationally renowned series, Hawco’s down to earth manner continues to charm three years in; the energy, passion and optimism are sky high, as ever.  Hawco took time from a busy shooting day in St. John’s Newfoundland to speak with     about the new season,   a certain Playmate, taming the beast and what giants will continue to be slain.  There are rumors that Russell Crowe may make an appearance, but if there is one thing Hawco’s absolutely brilliant at, it’s staying mum!

Well the show keeps getting better and better.  I think I love the diversity of the stories most of all. 

I’d say when we start breaking stories from the get go we embrace in Seasons Two and Three to take on the world we’re going to live in for the episode, and see where that goes. 

You got Shannon Tweed, a fellow Newfoundlander, to appear in Season Three.  How did that happen?

The minute I met her!   This is how it happened.  The genesis is that Brent Wilson introduced us at the Geminis and within two minutes she was on the show.   The funny thing is we wrote the episode with her in mind after I met her, I had the part ready.  And this is perfect, we got our shooting schedule, and KISS announces they’re going to play Grand Falls and they would be and fall right in our schedule, I love it!  I don’t think the stars are aligning to get Shannon Tweed on the show, but I won’t disrespect them!

You choose your guest stars well  [Victor Garber, Gordon Pinsent, Emily Hampshire,  Kristin Booth, Paul Gross,  Martha Burns], mostly theatrically trained, well known, hardworking actors.

Acting is the first of my loves in this business is theatre actors.  I come from it and I like to work with people who like to tell the truth and like having a good time and who take the work seriously.  The best and most famous ones always have that same approach.  They take their work seriously, not themselves and let their guard down, we'd like you to come to your little place show up

You’re not afraid to get into “girly” stories which I think is crucial.  The Bridesmaids episode comes to mind, that was fun!   We are a big part of your audience.

It’s important for me to women on our show have a strength and their own identify and aren’t just plain wives and girlfriends and mothers.  It’s important to me that the guest stars and the leads have their own voice and specific and drive and action.  And it’s not just for women audiences.   I have a certain responsibility to tell within a certain amount of time and within the crime element.  There has to be a realm of suspension of disbelief and I try to ground characters in truth as much as possible.  The number one objective is to have people tune in and know they're going to have an hour of enjoyment.

You have that naturalism that expresses inner thoughts easily.  There is a look in your eye when you’re trying not to give away a reaction, a muscle twitch.  They tell their own story naturally.  Is that technique?

First of all, I appreciate you saying that.  You try not to be technical; I’m mostly concerned with hitting my marks and keeping things simple.  Past that you just try to listen to the characters.  When we're in the writing room, the backstory is done for me as prep.   It’s the best prep; all you have to do is listen.  Sean McGinley [who plays Jake’s father Malachy Doyle] has a big massive bulls**t meter.  He stands there and tells the truth and searches for truth.  I can tell when he’s not believing.  We had a great time working together and I miss working with him.

You’re so passionate about the series.  Is your life Doyle all day, every day?

Yes, it is, and that’s just fine with me.  Its 24/7 Republic of Doyle.  We do break in January we keep writing and I’m doing post production till March and full scale writing mode until we start shooting.  When I’m off the phone from you, I’ll go and do two more takes, then finish the next script.  We have to submit it this week and one of my writers in the Doyle office is up there to go over changes for the next script.  It’s awesome, we’re executing at an efficient level, and the crew is fantastic.

Do you miss lying in the hammock?

I do miss being on other people’s sets.   I do long for a time between seasons where I can do other gigs, but I haven’t made myself available.   I long for a time to do what other people tell me, when I don’t have to write.  Some people might worry that I will need to do this on every movie, but it’s unequivocally no!  I will be happy to do something I’m passionate about with someone I want to work with.  With Doyle, I’m producing and writing and they think for everything I need to do this. Only for my project, not theirs.  Now that I have my own project, I’ve exorcised that demon.  It’s fully fed for the next several years.  Doyle has given me the chance to do that, to tame the beast.

You’ve always been a pioneer, creating your own theatre troupe, creating this show, not content to stick with status quo.  It’s served you well. 

It’s being tuned in with your heart.   I’m the youngest of four kids,  I have a super strong older sisters who beat common sense – well, not really -  into me and lent a hand in the wisdom category and I had a super supportive family.   I was always allowed to pursue things I believe I had to pursue without judgment.  They always had my back.  It’s important to have older women in your life.  They have experience that they deserve to be listened to.   It’s a common theme but women are better than men, stronger, generic ally, not stupid.  Every time men think they’re tough, I’ve never seen a woman complain about childbirth.

How is the show doing overseas?

Well I don’t monitor in terms of other countries, stresses me out but I do know that in the UK it’s in the top ten shows.  And I know that in terms of fan base it’s popular around the world super encouraging and most importantly, for me as a Canadian to have other Canadians share our identity across the country, that the show is worthy of their attention,   and I feel extremely grateful for that.  This is where it starts and ends for me, at home.

It may be a crime series but its also terrific escapism.

Crime in St John’s is a bit of a stretch and we treat it with tongue in cheek attitude.  We’re doing a crime show in St Johns Newfoundland.   There’s a certain suspension of disbelief.   It’s not your show if you won’t go on the ride with us!

So please tell me more about Season Three!

 I’ll tell you about season three.   I think it’s a great idea to buy the DVD and see what happened in Season Two!

Captain America 3D

Rating 2.5/5

Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers, Marvel Comics’ skinny but brave hearted weakling who turned a lifetime of bullying into a positive.  His acquired strength and fearlessness to an unusual degree, so much that he’s noticed by an army doctor who is developing a serum to create the perfect human solider.   What a perfect guinea pig!   Rogers is injected and it changes him right down to his cell structure – he’s suddenly tall, insanely buff and well oiled.  He is Captain America!  Rogers steps out of the pod a vision of muscular and moral power.  He’s the personification of American might as the country entered l WW II. 

Cpt. America was recreated as a Nazi fighting machine, but it wasn’t a cruel trick.  He’s fully cognisant and happy to take part.  His life’s dream is to whip Hitler’s rear end as an American soldier.   Now, he’s a solider and the ultimate solider with special privileges and built in respect – no more bullying.  But before he can punch out the Nazi’s lights, he must tour the States on a war bond mission as Captain America, backed up by a chorus of comely singers and tap dancers raising funds and his star quotient.  Each night he gets to slug Hitler onstage, but he’d rather be in Europe on the battlefields.  That’s where his boyhood friends are.  For now, it’s the star spangled banner spread thick, to music.

Rogers /Cpt. America’s leading skill is his ability to strategize.  Where no one has been able to shimmy up the pole to capture the flag, he simply pulls the pole down and removes the flag.  A little underwhelming to be sure.   But engaged in battles, Captain America thinks and acts fast, and can use that shield as a weapon and protection.  He may be supercharged, but Rogers is a human being and that never changes.  He is what he always was including sentimental over ladies, but in a bigger package.

Finally Rogers finds himself leading missions over Nazi Germany.  He’s captured and imprisoned by the Hydra, the Nazi’s uglier cousins, led by Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt.  He’s a megalomaniacal zealot overseeing a kind of weird, mystical Wagnerian cult.  He’ attempting to capture energy from a holy relic to annihilate everyone he doesn’t like.  

There’s a telling moment in which a Jewish artist painting Schmidt’s portrait breathes a sigh of relief when it is judged to be good.  It’s not that he’s sensitive about his art; he knows what he’s escaped, so far.

Somewhere along the way the story loses its initial impact.  The ultra-modern underground Hydra lair seems to suck the life out of the story and Weaving’s Red Skull Johann Schmidt, golden boy of the horror extreme Nazi group Hydra is just too much, compared with the humanism of Rogers and his friends.  Red Skull is jarring, not just the look, but the aspect, tone, the bizarre cartoon that he is.  This weird contrast throws the film out of balance.  Maybe it works in a comic book.

Flawless special effects take Rogers from 90-pound weakling into hulking superhero.  The CGI is so seamless you may lose yourself admiring it. You can’t look away, wondering how they did that.  Even if its perfection distracts from the movie, it’s okay.  This must be the longest, sustained use of detailed CGI on a moving human figure and its brill.

At the other end of the effects stick is Red Skull.  Weaving is somewhere under a hideous red mask made of red meat stretched over a broken skull.   It is so revolting you must look away.  It is the stuff of nightmares for sensitive souls and the lingering image said souls have after the movie’s over and they’re trying to sleep.   Nightmares disturb them, nightmares of being gung ho for a movie that peters out.   Please Marvel, repair the damage to comic book heroes for The Avengers!

Two Ladies: An Appreciation - Elizabeth Taylor and Lucille Ball

TCM Greatest Classic Legends – Elizabeth Taylor:  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Butterfield 8, Father of the Bride & The Sandpiper

TCM Greatest Classic Legends – Lucille Ball: Du Barry Was a Lady, Forever Darling, The Long, Long Trailer & Room Service

A pair of TCM Classic Legends releases brings together two leading Hollywood actresses who have more in common than meets the eye.  Fame, influence, tabloid fodder, they shared these by-products of Hollywood success.  Elizabeth Taylor and Lucille Ball were sisters in arms in the battle for box office bucks but they were also much more.

Elizabeth Taylor was considered the most beautiful woman in the world at the height of her fame.  Those cool violet eyes and blue black hair were the stuff of art directors’ dreams.  Taylor seemed slightly dangerous to men, and an anathema to suddenly single women.  Taylor was a man-trap, married eight times and as crazy about love when she died as when she raised eyebrows making out with her married Cleopatra co-star Richard Burton.   She stole Eddie Fisher from America’s Sweetheart Debbie Reynolds, and Richard Burton from his wife Sybill.  Taylor’s personal life was far juicier than any role she played.

Always the romantic, Taylor left nearly a $1M to her last ex-husband, Larry Fortensky, a much younger man – a construction worker – romance always!   Taylor’s appetites were big – men, food, clothes, jewels, and at times, drink.   She doted on her three children, one of whom she adopted on the set of Cleopatra.   But her turbulent relationship with Richard Burton was her romantic legacy, as much as they married twice and vowed eternal love they were apart some years when he died.  In their heyday, they were dynamite, behaving scandalously in various corners of the world, buying up treasures wherever they went including the 33 carat Krupp diamond and the 69 carat “Taylor-Burton” diamond and showing off their chemistry at every opportunity.  The “paparazzi”, the new breed of invasive celebrity photographers of the sixties, tracked their every move.

Lucille Ball was beautiful, not Taylor beautiful but warm, funny, down to earth and wide eyed   beautiful.   Art directors went to great pains to create colour palettes that complemented her marmalade red hair, which was often feature as a bit in her TV series and in her movies, representing her fiery nature and her expensive dye habit.   Lucy wasn’t afraid to get gritty, and physical and look the fool.  In fact, she relished it.  Lucy’s showbiz savvy was her secret weapon; she knew all aspects of Hollywood and had strong business acumen.  But onscreen is the payoff – apparently rather dour off-screen, she was insanely, unforgettably funny on.

Ball too had a long, headline grabbing and turbulent relationship.   Desi Arnaz was her husband and business partner at Desilu Studio, and the pioneering, inventive mind behind the success of their TV shows.  She was timing, acting skill and appeal.   Together they became wealthy, Hollywood moguls whose TV shows and films were seen all around the world.   Through their partnership, he emerged from the far fringes of Hollywood to become one of its biggest power players and Ball found her niche as a comedienne after a long string of ho hum dramatic and romantic films.  Together they were dynamite.  Separate, not so much.

The Taylor DVD collection features a variety of Taylor moods – sexy, hungry and clingy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, enamoured of her husband who can’t bear her.  Taylor is a hooker In Butterflied 8, desperate to change her ways and win her mother’s approval and the love of a married man for keeps.   Taylor is gorgeously young and adorable in Father of the Bride as she embarks on the adventure of first love and marriage; not quite innocent, she’s teetering on the brink of womanhood.  And The Sandpiper reunites Taylor and Burton as a married man in love with Taylor’s Big Sur artist; this time they are lovers in the autumn of their lives, pondering life’s Big Questions.  This is an extremely well chosen set.

Ball is featured in all her Technicolor glory in DuBarry Was a Lady, which pretty much stars her hair and clothes, with Lucy and Red Skelton in second billing.  The film was made to enhance her colouring, or so it seems.  It’s pretty eye-popping.  Forever Darling is one of two “getaway” films Luc and Desi made together as husbands and wives embark on a trip, like fish out of water, and they bicker and fight funny.  Here they go camping to test his bug spray formula.   They play a married couple honeymooning In Rockies in a super big mobile home in The Long, Long, Trailer.  Harrowing scenes navigating narrow mountain trails are hilariously unbearable, and of course her rock collection doesn’t help.  Ball’s long-time friendship with the Marx Brothers began in Room Service, a classic comedy in which she’s the straight girl.  In 1938, she hadn’t quite found her way to comedy but it’s clear she had the greatest teachers available to any young aspiring actress.

Taylor and Ball were Hollywood friends.  Here are Taylor and Burton on Here’s Lucy!  at the peak of their fame. 

No comments:

Post a Comment