A financial prodigy named Nathan Israel. I like to think of him as a baby shark in a sea of great whites.
Have to ask: How was it working with Dustin Hoffman?
Our first scene was his character interviewing me for a job. Of course I’m terrified. All I can think of is how I don’t belong there. On the first take, I just said the lines and got through it. The director comes out and tells me, I want to see that you’re more nervous. Dustin clocks that note. Take 2: I say my first line and Dustin just stares at me. And then he rips into me. All improvised. How worthless I am. How I don’t know the first thing about acting. There are 70 people standing around watching. The cameras are still rolling. I go white hot. I can’t remember who I am. I want to vomit. But it became this dance. I would say a line, and he’d say, “I see you acting. Start over.” It was a miniature master class. He just rode me nonstop. He gave me the gift of saying out loud all the garbage in my head. It was so painful and scary. I went home and thought I was going to be fired. But the phone didn’t ring and the phone didn’t ring. And then it was time to go to set again.
‘America in Prime Time’ review: Culture reflected with David Milch as one of the commentators, starts Sunday on PBS.
“The title of the new PBS documentary “America in Prime Time” may suggest it’s only about the history of television. In fact it is much more than that: By examining the genesis of four distinct character types in TV over the past 60 years, the four-part film tells us as much about the evolution of American culture and values during that time as it does about TV itself.
Premiering Sunday with the hour-long segment “Independent Woman,” “America in Prime Time” continues for the following three Sundays with “Man of the House,” “The Misfit” and “The Crusader.” Don’t mistake this for the kind of once-over-lightly TV nostalgia show PBS programs for pledge weeks: “America in Prime Time” is a thoughtful and thought-provoking keeper.
TV’s role has been to play catch-up with what’s been going on in the real world. As Jerry Seinfeld used to say, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” In fact, this is how television has not only functioned but also thrived. What the medium does best is to raise its finger to test wind direction, and then to explain us to ourselves, in a way. And, with commentators such as Moore, Brooks, Roseanne Barr, Warren Littlefield, David Milch, Diane English, Matt Weiner, Jon Hamm and Mary-Louise Parker, just to name a few, “America in Prime Time” charts exactly how the medium has done that.”
Luck will now bow on Dec. 11, at 10:00 p.m., following the season 2 finale of Boardwalk Empire.
First Horse Out of the Gate: HBO to Sneak-Peek Luck Pilot By James Poniewozik
HBO has announced a premiere date, Jan. 29, for its David Milch / Michael Mann horseracing drama Luck. But should you care to lay odds on it early, the network will run a sneak preview of the pilot episode on Dec. 11, after the season finale of Boardwalk Empire. Then HBO will hold its horses, so to speak, for a month and a half, when it runs the full nine-episode season.
I haven’t seen the series yet, but hopefully HBO will send out review copies to critics before the air date. It’s certainly my most-anticipated series on the horizon right now; Milch and Mann can make remarkable TV separately, but who knows what the combination of their, er, strong artistic temperaments will accomplish together?
Are you champing at the bit? And will I run out of lame horse puns before January?
The article copied from NYT in its entirety, to let our readers get a better understanding or Mr.Milch personality.
The Writing Seminar from Hell, Inspired by David Milch Posted by Michael Schulman
Imagine the scariest writing teacher you’ve ever had—disparaging, unpredictable, merciless—and you’ve got Leonard, the character played by Alan Rickman in the new Broadway play “Seminar,” by Theresa Rebeck. A veteran of stage and television (she is the creator of the upcoming NBC show “Smash”), Rebeck has an ear for writer-on-writer brutality. The play follows a private workshop at an Upper West Side apartment, where Leonard, a disgraced novelist turned literary editor, terrorizes his students. He calls one story “perfect, in a kind of whorish way.” Of another, he says, “I don’t have to go past the first five words because I already know enough and I don’t give a shit.”
“It’s interesting to me how many people are shocked by what Leonard says,” Rebeck told me, “because many of those things have been said to me over the years by one person or another.” One of those people is David Milch, the creator of “Deadwood” and the co-creator of “NYPD Blue,” where Rebeck was on the writing staff for three seasons. “There’s a restlessness and drive that you learn from that guy,” she said. “It was the hard-knock school of learning. But there was a lot of charm in it.” One scene in “Seminar” is lifted from an encounter with Milch. “I had to go and talk to him about one of my scripts,” Rebeck recalled. “I sat in his office and he went off on it. I realized in the middle that he was talking about somebody else’s script. I just sat there, waiting to tell him, ‘That’s David Mills’s script.’ Then he said, ‘What am I doing? This isn’t your script, it’s Mills’s script.’ And then he continued to give me notes on Mills’s script.”
Like the students in “Seminar,” Rebeck occasionally pushed back. One time, Milch was lecturing her in the hallway, with about eight people looking on. “I said, ‘Can we take this into my office or is the public humiliation important to you?’ Everyone was dead silent. And then he said, ‘She’s fantastic, isn’t she?’ ” Despite her bravado, Rebeck said, “He made me cry three times. I’m not a cryer. It took me so long to get his hand out of my brain that I think I erased most of it. It took me two years.”
Reached in Los Angeles, Milch said he hadn’t seen or read “Seminar,” but he remembered Rebeck fondly. “She was an enormous asset to the company of writers working on the show,” he said. He didn’t regard himself as an annihilator—“I would regret to learn that the parts based on me were the ones in which the author gets torn down”—but the David Mills story about struck him as plausible. “I’m capable of that solipsism and worse, on occasion. I hope I was right about the script!”
Asked about his own mentors, Milch spoke of Robert Penn Warren, who taught him at Yale and whom he assisted for seven years on an anthology of American literature. “I guess his most important lesson—I gather I may not have learned it completely—was the lesson of civility,” he said. “It’s absolutely crucial to maintain a level of respect for the materials in question and the author in question.”
But in Mark Singer’s 2005 Profile, Milch recounted a distinctly Leonard-like exchange when he was despairing about his writing and brought a chapter of his novel-in-progress to Warren’s home: “Now, I’ve interrupted his dinner, he’s been very gracious, and I say that, and he looks me in the eye and says, ‘Understand, David. I don’t give a shit who writes and who doesn’t.’ In other words: If you, David, are soliciting from me ‘Oh, you must,’ I ain’t gonna say that, because that’s up to you.” In “Seminar,” Leonard recalls being taught by Warren at Yale: “He was ruthless and religious about sound.” Was that another Milch reference? Rebeck said yes. “It was my little homage to both great men.”
Milch has a renewed contract with HBO, and here’s one more project he’ll be working on. Unfortunately, it also signals the end of hopes for Deadwood movies or a TV conclusion.
David Milch Strikes Deal to Bring Faulkner Works to HBO By DAVE ITZKOFF
David Milch, a television producer who knows a thing or two about sound and fury, has concluded a new production deal with HBO that will allow him to produce television shows and movies from the literary works of William Faulkner, the cable channel announced on Wednesday.
“I’m not, probably, the first person they would have thought of approaching them,” Mr. Milch said in a phone interview, referring to his months-long discussions with the William Faulkner Literary Estate. “But a number of conversations were fruitful and here we are.” William FaulknerAssociated Press William Faulkner
In his television career, Mr. Milch is best known for creating Emmy Award-winning series like “NYPD Blue” (with Steven Bochco) and “Deadwood,” the vulgar and violent (and never properly concluded) western that ran on HBO.
But before he started putting colorful words in the mouths of Andy Sipowicz and Al Swearengen, Mr. Milch made his literary bones as an undergraduate at Yale University and a graduate student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop of the University of Iowa; he worked with Robert Penn Warren (who shared a biographer, Joseph Blotner, with Faulkner), Cleanth Brooks and R. W. B. Lewis on a history of American literature, and contributed fiction and criticism to publications like The Southern Review and The Atlantic Monthly.
More recently, Mr. Milch said, his daughter Olivia had been studying Faulkner’s novel “Light in August” at Yale and “renewed my engagement with the material,” eventually leading to discussions between his company, Red Board Productions, and the William Faulkner Literary Estate.
Under the terms of their agreement, Mr. Milch and the estate’s executor, Lee Caplin, will work together to choose from 19 novels and 125 short stories by Faulkner that could be adapted for film or television. (Olivia Milch will be a coordinating producer on the adaptations.) HBO said in a news release that it would have the first opportunity to finance and produce these projects.
“My hope is to steer the project, as much as to be its source,” Mr. Milch said, adding that “conversations were ongoing” with other writers and artists who would handle the adaptations of specific Faulkner works.
Mr. Milch’s new exclusive deal with HBO will also cover his new drama series “Luck,” which stars Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte.
Just don’t hold out much hope that this pact will lead to a long-awaited ending to “Deadwood,” which broadcast its last episode in 2006.
“Every man’s entitled to hope,” Mr. Milch said with a laugh. “It looked like we were getting close, about six months ago. It’s a complicated transaction, so we’re moving forward in other areas.”
David Milch, pretty much the premiere TV writer of his generation, has an HBO deal to adapt over a hundred novels and short stories of William Faulkner, pretty much the premiere writer of his.
Some deal indeed, and highly unusual – maybe unprecedented. Of course, many Faulkner novels have been adapted for the screen like “The Reivers” but rarely for TV for the simple and obvious reason that they are difficult,dense, complicated and – hence – not exactly commercial TV material. But if anyone can make this work, Milch is certainly the man. Come to think of it, “Deadwood” was kind of like Faulkner – “As I Lay Dying,” for example. Check out the statement below – some of the books could yield movies or miniseries.
Per the HBO release: “Under the terms of the agreement, Milch will partner with Lee Caplin, the executor of the William Faulkner Literary Estate and CEO of Picture Entertainment Corp., to choose which works to develop, package and produce. Both Milch and Caplin will act as executive producers of those projects, with Milch serving as the executive writer in charge of adapting the works. The agreement gives HBO an exclusive first opportunity to finance, produce and distribute the projects as movies, miniseries and series. Olivia Milch will serve as coordinating producer on the projects.”
Milch’s Dustin Hoffman starrer, “Luck” will be previewed in a week or so.
Excerpt from an interview with Mr.Milch regarding Faulkner, Deadwood, etc., printed in LA Times.
“David Milch, the man behind “Deadwood” and “NYPD Blue,” has signed a deal with HBO and William Faulkner’s estate to produce TV series and original movies based on Faulkner’s writing. The agreement, which has been brewing for 18 months, is tremendously broad, encompassing 19 novels and 125 short stories by one of American’s most challenging writers. Faulkner won the Nobel prize for literature, the Pulitzer Prize and was even a screenwriter in Hollywood. Milch, who has won four Emmys and is currently at work on HBO’s “Luck,” a horse racing series featuring Dustin Hoffman, spoke to Carolyn Kellogg by phone.
What was the first William Faulkner work you read?
I think it was [the short story] “The Bear,” when I was in high school. In college I started to get soaked in the materials. Subsequently I worked with R.W.B. Lewis, Robert Penn Warren and Cleanth Brooks on a history of American literature — I did that for seven or eight years. In the course of that work, my interest in Faulkner deepened, and has been sustained ever since.
Do you have a favorite Faulkner novel?
I guess if I had to pick one I’d pick “Absalom, Absalom!” but [laughs] a lot of them are pretty good.
People have said that he’s an unfilmmable writer.
I’ve never understood that. To me he seems enormously cinematic. But I’ve heard that, once or twice.
In “Deadwood,” you were known for coining a unique language, and Faulkner did that as well. What do you think of the texture of Faulkner’s prose, and of his dialogue?
They are superb, and compelling, and absolutely authentic. They’re so contemporary. You know, Faulkner wrote for film, and his ear is just impeccable.
What attracted you to Faulkner in particular?
For me, he is a distinctive voice in American literature in the last century. The variety of the work, and the richness of its perspectives on the great themes. Faulkner speaks to us on the questions of race, the challenges of modernity and modern man’s dilemma in all of its aspects. That he is able to specify among those and bring those themes alive is one of his great gifts. There are so many different kinds of pleasures one gets from encountering those materials. I remember when I was reading “The Bear,” I was reading as a kid. All these years later one returns to that for an entirely different reason. That’s true of so many of his works.
Do you know which of his works you’ll start with?
We haven’t made those decisions as of yet.
Have you visited Oxford, Miss. (where Faulkner lived, and his home is preserved as a museum)?
I haven’t, but my daughter Olivia lives down there, and has generated a friendship with several people connected with the estate. It was through her good offices that I most recently became aware of the possibility of entering into this type of connection.
Faulkner himself, apart from his work, seems like a really interesting character. Biographically, is there anything that could make its way into your upcoming HBO project?
By refraction, that might be the case. It’s important, I feel, to separate the man from his work. He lived a fascinating life, but my teacher Robert Penn Warren was emphatic on the separation of the man and the work. I guess I’ll stick with that.”
“Killer show. Great writing. Wish it was back. David Milch is a genius. Remember when the kid (Grayson) mysteriously hurts himself surfing a contest, then shows up healed, then later that night is skating a ramp as if nothing had happened? They framed it like it was an act of God – an act of God that he healed spontaneously, or that a human being can float in mid air and return to earth on top of a small, almost weightless object? It’s surfing really an act of God? That show was able to capture the mystery of surfing more effectively than any other movie about surfing (not talk about surf flicks) could do… I guess, except for North Shore. “
This picture I’ve found on Tumblr, together with some accolades to JFC. Here is an example: “Remember this show that aired on HBO a few years ago? It contained surfing, Lynchian mind screw nonsense, Ed O’Neill in a virtuoso performance as an ex-cop who talks to birds, and an amazing opening sequence featuring this song by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros”, by kurtispopp The picture was posted by fuckeahaustinnichols (got to give credit to the two gals that run the blog dedicated to Nichols)