Sunday, 22 August 2010

Michael Mann 2010 Update

Here is a Michael Mann update for those of you (if there are any of you?!) who wondered where I have been (young family, work, bust computer... reality sigh). Since I have been away from blogging on my fond Michael Mann site there is much to show that Mann's appetite for working has not waned one little bit. The most exciting development for me is not necessarily his next movie project, but a new Mann produced TV series! I am suddenly launched back into strong memories of the original Miami Vice series which has since defined the way TV episodes are made. The cinematic Miami Vice is seared into my past and I can still remember and invoke those depth of feelings that totally changed my perception of not just television but motion pictures. As a teenager I recall discovering what I thought "cool" really meant, thinking Crockett and Tubbs were the pinnacle of everything a man could experience, not just in having the clothes and cars, but conveying emotional complexity and physical drama. It was the first program since, erhum, the A-team, Knight Rider and Airwolf (moving into manhood!), that I had to make absolutely sure I scheduled to watch each week - to miss an episode was unthinkable. This was more than a TV program - Miami Vice was an event. It was probably, unconsciously, one of the reasons I went into photography as a career plan.

It is with this background that the prospect of "Luck" is instantly exhilarating in prospect. My hope is that I can relive those same extraordinary TV experiences. Now that I am moving into "middle age" something is needed to lift me from the dusty floors of mediocre TV land where there is nothing but vampires or forensic investigators to take me away from it all - and I like neither. I need a Mann fix on a regular basis. Something that feeds me on more levels than Columbo with a DNA test kit or Buffy on steroids. Flashforward was enormous fun, but was never going to meet me on any deep emotive level. Still, I was sorry it was discontinued. 

What we need is some character driven story instead of merely plot-twist-driven-drivel. The mistake of copycats of Michael Mann is that they can imitate style but not substance. And who out there can write to a level Mann requires? Well, David Milch seems to have something Mann reckons he can work with. If I say Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue, then you will immediately think substance over style. Milch wrote on both projects. Bring Mann into partnership, and we can hopefully have style and substance in the new series of Luck. And that is why I am excited. I do not know the course of events that brought this partnership, but ever since Mann made his Mercedes commercial "Lucky Star", the world of gambling seemed on his mind. Milch not only has award winning writing, but as I understand, he also owns a racing horse. Mann will appreciate Milch's creative symbiosis with his other passion. It brings deeper clarity and a heightened sense of reality that Mann can paint his own world on top of.

HBO executives haven't said much, but said enough: "Michael Mann delivered a pilot from David Milch’s brilliant script that took our breath away," states HBO Programming President Michael Lombardo." We are truly excited that these two artists, and our extraordinary cast headed by Dustin Hoffman, will be bringing 'Luck' to life." Shooting proper is to commence this Fall at the Santa Anita Park and other Los Angeles locations. Dustin Hoffman leads a stella cast, including Nick Nolte, but I anticipate they will have a decent cast of less familiar actors joining the series. The pilot stars Dennis Farina, John Ortiz, Kevin Dunn, Richard Kind, Jason Gedrick, Ritchie Coster, Ian Hart, Tom Payne, Kerry Condon and Gary Stevens. Somehow I always fall into a new TV world more easily if I don't associate actors with any other role. But TV execs like a safe pair of hands to carry a project. Hoffman does however sound perfect for the role and will suit a complex character. Nolte may be used as the rough but lovable rogue we know from his other films, but I suspect and hope he will surprise us. I look forward to seeing the first screen glimpses of the pilot.

I am presuming that between Public Enemies and Luck, there hasn't been huge time available to him to develop a full scale new movie project. But Mann works hard. So what next, for the large screen? Is it Frankie Machine or the biopic about Hungarian war photographer Robert Capa? Maybe neither. Hands up, I don't know. But as soon as I do, I will let you know!