Minggu, 11 Agustus 2013

AMCs Low Winter Sun looks deep into Detroit

By Jeff Karoub The Associated Press

This image released by AMC shows Mark Strong on the set of Low Winter Sun. The series premiering Sunday Aug. 11 revives a two part U.K. miniseries from 2006. It also marks Hollywood s return to the Motor City as a place to explore crime following ABC s Detroit 1 8 7. It aired during the 2010 11 season. (AP Photo/AMC Alicia Gbur)

DETROIT (AP) Low Winter Sun isn't a reality show about police in Detroit the city in which it's set and filmed. Nor is it a ripped from the headlines crime solving drama like others that have come before.

Yet it aims to be truer at least on a human level to the place that in real life is struggling through some of its darkest times and recently became the largest city in the U.S. to file for bankruptcy after decades of decline.

(Preview the first five minutes)

Everyone is looking for a second chance and it's sort of this idea 'What are you willing to do in order to get that in some way ' said Chris Mundy executive producer showrunner and writer for the drama that debuts Sunday on AMC. I wanted to set it in a city that reflected that in some way. Detroit made a lot of sense to me.

Low Winter Sun revives a two part U.K. miniseries from 2006 and returns actor Mark Strong to the lead role as homicide detective Frank Agnew. It also marks Hollywood's return to the Motor City as a place to explore crime following the short lived ABC drama Detroit 1 8 7 from the 2010 11 season.

The principal actors and creators of Low Winter Sun say after the original version it owes a greater debt to HBO's The Wire and its AMC lead in Breaking Bad since Low Winter Sun focuses its lens on one unraveling story that takes its detectives into the city's criminal underworld.

The show which has been confirmed for an initial run of 10 episodes begins with Strong's Agnew and Lennie James' Detective Joe Geddes killing a fellow cop in what appears to be an act of retribution. The story unspools from there peeling back the consequences from that act.

This is not a cop show the police element is the framework but what you're actually dealing with are people trying to cope against all odds said Strong a British actor whose film credits include Zero Dark Thirty ''Sherlock Holmes ''Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and John Carter.

He spoke recently from the desk of his character on the Detroit set in a secure warehouse near the massive deteriorating Packard automobile plant built more than a century ago that's increasingly become the target of thieves metal scrappers urban explorers and graffiti artists. One scene shot that day features Strong and James another veteran British actor who plays Geddes interviewing a witness to their crime. The dialogue is peppered with references to jobs being outsourced and Detroit's distant fur trading past.

Setting and filming the show in Detroit which at once tries to live up to its promise and live down its problems makes all the difference Strong said.

What it has is a fantastic backdrop because you have a cityscape that is as need as repair as all of the characters are in this show ... but we're not suggesting for a second that everything that goes on in Detroit is dark and down and dirty he said. What we found here is this amazing place to be able to play out all the psychology of all the characters that have been created. ... It wouldn't work in New York or L.A. or anywhere else to be honest other than here.

James said Low Winter Sun was by far the best script that came my way last year.

It's the kind of part I like to play. I like people who have got a kind of internal monologue going on and what they're putting on the outside isn't necessarily what's going on in the inside said James who has appeared in AMC's The Walking Dead HBO's Hung and the film Colombiana. ''It's a really brilliant simple premise that's easy to tell and can take you in a million different directions.

To ensure authenticity even within the fictional realm of Low Winter Sun the producers hired Ira Todd a Detroit police detective and consultant who also worked on Detroit 1 8 7. Todd said the creators of the earlier show wanted to approach it more like Low Winter Sun but ABC executives had a different vision.

Todd said his discussions with Mundy the actors and others have helped develop plotlines and deepen characters. Still he knows that depicting realism particularly instances of police and government corruption could be difficult for some of the city's staunchest defenders.

There's an underground economy that's crazy drugs sex the whole nine yards Todd said. I think you're going to hear 'That crap don't go on ' but it does go on and we need to do something about it. I think the show will actually bring that to the forefront.

For Mundy a former Rolling Stone journalist who became a screenwriter and producer being freed from the whodunit angle allows the show to illuminate the humanity of the characters. That clearly puts it in the universe of The Wire though he's careful to keep the former series as a source of inspiration and not imitation.

I don't mean to presume that we're doing things as well as them Mundy said. You can draw parallels between Detroit and Baltimore and Baltimore was a character in that in such a good way. Let's try to be that good but let's make sure we're not doing something simply because it's familiar and somebody ... already did it.

He said AMC is the only network he's worked with that has told him to slow down and take more time with the characters.

It's kind of the beauty You're allowed to be on your own thing he said. They're pushing us to fulfill everything we told them we thought it could be.


Follow Jeff Karoub on Twitter http //twitter.com/jeffkaroub

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