The sixth season of Game of Thrones is back on 24 April and Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger discuss their new show Vinyl
HBO stuck to showcasing new shows during the premium cable networks star-studded panel at the Television Critics Association presentation in Pasadena, California, on Thursday. After quickly announcing that 24 April will see the return of Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley and Veep, the panel placed the focus on new programs airing on the channel in the coming months, including two feature films, one documentary, and one highly touted new series from executive producer Martin Scorsese. Heres what they discussed.
Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper
The premium networks first major documentary release of the year, which premieres at the Sundance film festival before airing in April, is an intimate profile of heiress-designer-artist-writer-socialite Gloria Vanderbilt, who at 91, appears to have lost none of her vitality and sass. Shes accompanied by her CNN anchorman son, Anderson Cooper, in the film as the two look back on her life through a series of candid conversations. Vanderbilt was joined by the films Oscar-nominated director Liz Garbus (What Happened, Miss Simone?) onstage, with Cooper video-conferenced in from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, where he was about to interview President Obama live for CNN about the presidents recent executive actions on gun control.
Vanderbilt and Cooper spoke at length about how the process of making the film brought them closer. I know my mom in a way I didnt know her before we started this process, Cooper said. I realize how much like my mom I am, which I never would have believed.
Vanderbilt said the experience of being documented was very freeing. If one is telling the truth, there is nothing to fear, she added.
To coincide with the release of the film, the pair have penned the joint memoir, The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son Talk About Life, Love and Loss, which will be available for purchase in April. Cooper called the upcoming book an extension of the documentary.
- Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper debuts 9 April on HBO.
All the Way
This film adaptation of the award-winning play of the same name about President Lyndon B Johnsons tumultuous first year in office finds Bryan Cranston reprising his role as Johnson, which won him a Tony for best actor in 2014. The project reunites Cranston with his Trumbo director Jay Roach, who last worked with HBO on the Emmy-award-winning film Game Change.
Cranston said he had no qualms in revisiting the role for HBO, because he was so energized at the chance to reach millions more. Its an important story to tell, he said. Thats how this all started.
Writer Robert Schenkkan, who also penned the play, stressed that the screen adaptation is inherently more cinematic, and that in order to make it work as a film he cut scenes, and added new sequences to go deeper than we were able to get onstage.
Cranston was also able to immerse himself further in the project by donning prosthetics to resemble Johnson more closely than onstage. For the film, Cranston said he and the crew went for total visual accuracy, which in turn, said the actor, boosted his confidence on set.
Id ad-lib and joke around as the character, said Cranston. It helped me stay in character through the logistics of making a movie.
Johnsons first year in office found him balancing opposing interests to launch his landmark Civil Rights Bill, with the support of Martin Luther King Jr in 1964. Anthony Mackie, who plays King in the film, revealed that hes been asked to play the activist before, but that Schenkkans script was the first to portray the Martin Luther King Jr that I knew. Added Mackie: This was the first time I saw Martin Luther King Jr as not being a pushover. That man was not a pushover.
- All the Way debuts in May on HBO.
Kerry Washington leads the cast of the second HBO film showcased at the networks panel. Confirmation, from Dope director Rick Famuyiwa, features the Scandal Emmy nominee as Anita Hill, the former aide to Clarence Thomas (played by Wendell Pierce in the film), who caused his nomination to the supreme court to be called into question when she testified that the judge had sexually harassed her.
Washington, who also served as executive producer on the project, recalled being 14 years old when the case made national headlines. My mother was an academic and had very passionate feelings, she said. So did my father, as a black man. It always stuck with me how passionate they were [about the case], and how differently they looked at the situation.
It was such an important moment in our country, added Washington. These events really transformed the way we consume our news.
Washington said that she met with Hill, who now works as a professor of social policy, law and womens studies at Brandeis University, prior to embarking on the project. I felt that was something we shared, Washington said. The circumstances of life thrusting you in the public eye without it really being your choice.
Washington admitted at being terrified of playing her. Portraying somebody who is real is a different kind of responsibility especially when theyre alive, she explained. That significance was not lost on me.
- Confirmation debuts in April on HBO.
HBO played it wise to leave the most anticipated panel for last for their hugely anticipated new show Vinyl, which reunites the network with Martin Scorsese, who previously executive-produced Boardwalk Empire which ended its run on HBO in 2014. Hes back assuming the same role on Vinyl, a drama about a New York music executive played by Bobby Cannavale in the late 1970s who does all it takes to make a name for himself in the cutthroat business. Vinyl finds the director working alongside Mick Jagger, a producer on the project.
Cannavale was joined by his onscreen wife on the show, Olivia Wilde, at the panel, but it was Scorsese and Jagger who commanded the most attention despite being video-conferenced in via satellite.
Jagger, looking thrilled to be talking about Vinyl, revealed that he and Scorsese had initially tried to develop the material as a feature film. The pair previously collaborated on the Rolling Stones concert documentary Shine a Light in 2008. We wrote scripts, and it was a very sprawling idea, said Jagger. When TV series came online and started to become interesting, respectable and moneymaking, we started to make a TV series of it.
Scorsese, who directed the pilot, said he hopes to find time to direct more episodes in the future, but that he remains involved in all stages of production, including selecting the directors for each episode, and aiding in the selection of the music along with Jagger.
The Rolling Stone frontman credited Scorsese for changing the way directors use music in TV and film. He more or less invented the use of music the way were now used to, and at home with, said Jagger. Of their enduring rapport, the singer said, I dont think we find it very difficult to communicate, even though it appears we come from different worlds. I suppose we do, so we meet somewhere in the middle.
For his part, Scorsese said that music is very much a part of my life, while adding that Jaggers music initially served as the inspiration for a lot of the visualisations in his early work.
- Vinyl premieres on HBO 14 February
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