This week’s question: Who is the best TV director? Why? (For old, current or upcoming shows.)
Marisa Roffman (@marisaroffman), TV Guide Magazine
The recent Emmy Awards was a good reminder of just how great television directors are right now. It was the best overall crop we’ve had in years, and one of the few categories where it felt like it could have gone any way.
But in terms of best television director, I’m partial to David Nutter. His 30-plus year resume is impressive (“The Sopranos,” “ER,” “The X-Files,” plus an Emmy win for “Game of Thrones”) and wildly varied (he’s done procedurals like “Without a Trace,
What unfolds is a funny and sensitive exploration of repressed sexuality, their earnest
Year after year we’re disappointed by “Game of Thrones,” an addictive and entertaining series that clearly prides itself on its depictions of powerful female characters yet doesn’t hire women to helm episodes. Happily a new show on HBO boasts a much more female-friendly directing roster. The first season of “Room 104” premieres on the premium cable network today, and women directed or co-directed eight of its 12 episodes, amounting to about 67 percent of the season. Helmers include So Yong Kim (“Transparent”), Megan Griffiths (“The Night Stalker”), and Anna Boden (“The Affair”) — the latter having co-directed with frequent collaborator Ryan Fleck. (The pair have signed on to direct Brie Larson-starrer “Captain Marvel.”)
Created by Mark and Jay Duplass, the anthology series is set in room 104 of a low-budget U.S. hotel and follows all of the drama that occurs therein. As great as it is to see so many women directors employed in a season of television, it’s especially noteworthy — and heartening — because “Room 104” is created by men.
Series that have made headlines for employing high numbers of women directors like “Call the Midwife,” “Transparent,” “Queen Sugar,” “Jessica Jones,” “Harlots,” and “Gypsy” all have something in common: they were created by women. “Regardless of platform, programs with at least one women creator and/or executive producer featured higher percentages of women in other key behind-the-scenes roles,” Dr. Martha Lauzen concluded in her study of the 2015–16 TV season. That same report found that women directors accounted for just eight percent of directors on cable and streaming shows.
So kudos to the Duplass brothers, who presumably made a conscious effort to ensure that “Room 104” wasn’t directed solely — or mostly — by men. And maybe they didn’t intentionally seek out women and just chose the best people for the job — that’s cool too. It shows that they don’t have narrow-minded views about what a director looks like.
See below for a list of “Room 104's” women directors.
Sarah Adina Smith (two episodes)
So Yong Kim
Megan Griffiths (two episodes)
Anna Boden (with Ryan Fleck)
The First Season of HBO’s “Room 104” is Over 50 Percent Women-Directed was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
“Room 104” isn’t like anything else you’ll see on television this year. The new half-hour, genre-bending HBO series features a number of unique facets, but they all relate back, in one way or another, to the creative minds of Mark and Jay Duplass.
The writers, producers, directors, and actors known for breakout independent films like “The Puffy Chair” and “Cyrus” as well as award-winning television like “Togetherness” and “Transparent” have come together to create the latest exciting original series on the Home Box Office network.
Set in a single room in your typical American motel chain, each week tells a different story and all 12 episodes of Season 1 were produced by the Duplass Brothers. The tone, characters, and era can all change week-to-week, and viewers should be ready for drama, comedy, horror, and at the start of each new entry. What unites each story is the common search for
Episode #1: “Ralphie”
Debut: Friday, July 28 (11:30 p.m.-midnight Et/Pt)
Things go horribly awry when a babysitter (Melonie Diaz) arrives at Room 104 to watch an unusual boy named Ralph (Ethan Kent). Ross Partridge also stars.
Written by Mark Duplass; directed by Sarah Adina Smith.
Episode #2: “Pizza Boy”
Debut: Friday, Aug. 4 (11:30 p.m.-midnight)
A pizza delivery boy gets caught up in a couple’s twisted games. James Van Der Beek and Davie-Blue star.
Written by Mark Duplass; directed by Patrick Brice.
Episode #3: “The Knockadoo”
Debut: Friday, Aug. 11 (11:30 p.m.-midnight)
A woman (Sameerah Luqmaan-Harris) seeking salvation is visited by a cult priest (Orlando Jones
“Room 104,” the new HBO anthology series from the Duplass brothers, tells individual, episodic stories in each of its 12 half-hour installments, and all 12 are set within the same cheap, dingy hotel room. The first episode, which premiered at the Atx TV Festival Saturday evening, is a lot closer to Mark Duplass’ work in indie films “Creep” and “The One I Love” than the brothers’ former HBO comedy.
During a panel discussion following the episode, Duplass said he felt inspired by the constraints of the premise.
“I have something like 218 ideas in a Word document on my computer,” Duplass said.
Noting how it felt like he was back making low-budget indie films, Duplass said he wrote seven of the 12 episodes
In a perfect world, such a thought would never cross Melanie Lynskey’s mind, for the talented actress would literally never be in danger of getting canned. She could throw fits next to crafty, punch a grip in the face, or burn down the sets, and we’d still forgive her because… Well, because Melanie Lynskey would never do any of that. She’s Melanie Lynskey.
But the actor you fell in love with during “Beautiful Creatures,” “Togetherness,” or the 2017 Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning film “I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” did have the thought cross her mind for the strangest of reasons: Tom McCarthy found out she was a recurring cast member on “Two and a Half Men.”
Read More: The 2017 IndieWire SXSW Bible: Every Review, Interview and News Item Posted During the Festival
Lynskey, speaking during a SAG-sponsored conversation at SXSW,
Megan Griffiths directed “Sadie” from her own script. Producer Lacey Leavitt (“The Off Hours”) developed the movie at the Sundance Creative Producing Lab, as well as the Ifp No Borders Conference and Rotterdam Co-Production Lab. Jennessa West (“Lane 1974”) joined the project as a producer in 2016. Eliza Flug-Shelden exec produced.
Schloss stars as a 13-year-old girl who lives at home with her mother while her father serves repeated tours in the military. She’s extremely attached to her father despite his prolonged absence, and when her mother begins dating a new man, she takes extreme measures to end the relationship and safeguard her family through war tactics.
Tribeca: Netflix Buys ‘Little Boxes’ Starring Melanie Lynskey (Exclusive)
Griffiths’ directing credits include “The Off Hours,
The 54-year-old actor may still be best known for his breakthrough role as Ritchie Valens in La Bamba (1987), but since playing the part of Henry Standing Bear in Longmire, his stock has risen dramatically. Although he’s unlikely to win an Emmy Award in 2016, there are plenty of reasons why he should be among the “best supporting actor” talks.
The Many Faces of Phillips
Since taking up the role of Bear back in 2012, Phillips has starred in 44 episodes of Longmire and his versatility has impressed TV executives, movie producers and audiences alike. In fact, so impressive has Phillips been that he was cast as serial killer Richard Ramirez in the much anticipated thriller The Night Stalker (not to be confused with Edgar Wright’s The Night Stalker about an investigative reporter).
One of the main reasons behind director Megan Griffiths’ decision to cast Phillips as the terrifying Ramirez (who ran riot with a spate of murders in La during the eighties) is his ability to switch characters in an instant. In real life, Phillips is a naturally jovial guy and this shines through when he’s playing Bear. However, there’s a dark side to his character that’s he able to call upon when needed and it’s this movement from likeable to frightening that Griffiths wanted for Ramirez.
Of course, you only have to look to Phillips’ life outside acting to see why he’s able to switch things up and assume a variety of roles. One of the actor’s favorite pastimes is poker – a game that requires players to change their style and demeanor constantly in order to bluff their opponents – and, over the years, he’s taken part in a host of celebrity poker events and even appeared on the professional stage at the World Series of Poker.
Phillips Shows his Poker Face
According to his poker stats, Phillips has won just over $50,000 in live poker tournaments, and almost every summer he can be found at the prestigious Wsop in Las Vegas. The festival welcomes thousands of players from around the world each year, from pros like Daniel Negreanu to celebrities such as Phillips and Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul.
The proverbial jewel in the Wsop’s crown is the $10,000 Main Event, which regularly attracts a mix of seasoned players and plucky novices. For those with enough money, like Phillips, it’s possible to buy-in for $10,000. However, to help push the field beyond the 6,000 player mark (which is common), online operators often host “satellites.” By paying a small fee to enter as an online qualifier, players can earn a seat in the Wsop tournament and try to emulate the likes of 2013 champion Ryan Riess who won $8,361,570.
The Art of Deception
One of the key skills in poker is being able to deceive your opponent but since every player is different, it means you always have to switch your style. This is something Phillips has become extremely proficient at since he claimed his first tournament cash ($8,900) back in 2003. Moreover, Phillips knows well how takes advantage of his poker face in his professional capacity as an actor. Both Bear and Ramirez have split personalities and that’s what makes them intriguing characters to play.
However, portraying someone who initially appears affable and charming before turning into a stone-cold killer like Richard Ramirez isn’t easy. Fortunately, Phillips is a man of many faces and, thanks to his time at the poker table, he’s able to switch from one guise to another within the blink of any eye. Indeed, like all skilled poker players, Phillips has mastered the art of deception and that’s one of the reasons he’s become a the talk of Hollywood in recent months.
So, does this mean Phillips has done enough to win an award in 2016? Well, the jury is still out on that one. While he’s certainly too late to pick up an Emmy ahead of the current favorites, he could still attract plenty of plaudits once The Night Stalker is seen around the world (it was released on June 12, 2016). While he isn’t on the recent list of MTV Movie Award nominations, there’s could still be hope for the poker-playing actor later in the year.
Does Phillips deserve an Emmy? There are plenty of arguments to say that he does. One thing’s for sure, he’s certainly come a long way since his hip-gyrating days as Ritchie Valens.
The post Lou Diamond Phillips Won’t Win An Emmy – But He Should appeared first on The Hollywood News.
The network will premiere the film on June 12. The movie will also compete at the New American Cinema competition at the Seattle International Film Festival on June 4.
“The Night Stalker” was the name given to Richard Ramirez, who murdered 14 people and terrorized Los Angeles in the summer of 1985. The movie centers on an attorney, played by Young, who travels to San Quentin on a seemingly impossible mission to clear the name of a death row inmate in Texas whom she believes has been wrongly accused of additional murders that may have been perpetrated by Ramirez.
“The Night Stalker” is produced by Laboratory Productions and Mrb Productions with Alisa Tager and Matthew R. Brady producing. The film was written and directed by Megan Griffiths.
Ramirez, an avowed Satanist, was convicted of 13 murders and never expressed any remorse.
This year’s event will screen 421 films from 85 countries, of which 181 are fictional features including four secret films, 75 are documentaries, and eight are archival films.
There are 29 world premieres of feature-length selections, 42 North American premieres and 15 Us premieres.
Woody Allen’s Café Society starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart and Kate Winslet in Australian hit The Dressmaker (pictured) bookend the festival.
Documentary Gleason, one of the hits of Sundance at the start of the year and centring on Spokane-born NFL star Steve Gleason’s battle with Als, will screen at the festival’s Centerpiece Gala on June 4.
The roster includes Matt Ross’s Captain Fantastic, which filmed in Washington state and will screen as part of a tribute to Viggo Mortensen on June 11, when the actor will receive the festival’s Outstanding Achievement in Acting
He can currently be seen on small screens in the series “Longmire,” which moved from A&E to Netflix for its fourth season, and has recently been reupped for a fifth.
Did you follow the story of the Chilean miners when it first happened?
Most definitely. It took place over several days, so I remember watching it on CNN and following the story and the rescue. When my agent called me and said, “There’s
Shelton would direct the film about the "Charlie's Angels"-esque agency, staffed by hot soccer moms and run by a charismatic ex-cop turned P.I. with dreams of mounting his own Lifetime reality series about the agency.
The media loved the agency which looked into insurance scams and cheating husbands, but it actually turned out to be a front - the ex cop was in league with a local drug enforcement official to sell drugs that had been confiscated by the police. The soccer moms were said to be oblivious to the drug conspiracy.
The original story was revealed in an hourlong report for "This American Life" by Joshua Bearman,
Asked about the criticism that studios are offering untested male directors huge opportunities with big budget blockbusters but not female filmmakers, Trevorrow responded that:
“Obviously it’s very lopsided, and hopefully it’s going to change as time goes on. But it hurts my feelings when I’m used as an example of white, male privilege. I know many of the female filmmakers who are being referred to in these articles. These women are being offered these kinds of movies, but they’re choosing not to make them. I think it makes [female directors] seem like victims to suggest that they’re not getting the opportunities and not artists who
Young, who portrays first lady of the United States Mellie Grant in ABC’s “Scandal,” will take on the role of a defense attorney in the movie. Her character was 15 years old and living in Los Angeles during the 1985 killing spree by Richard Ramirez, dubbed “the Night Stalker” by the Los Angeles press.
The film incorporates Ramirez’s history of violence into a fictional narrative, which centers on a prison interview between the aging killer and a lawyer attempting to elicit a confession from Ramirez that will save another man from death row.
Variety reported on June 10 that Phillips had been cast as Ramirez, an avowed Satanist who was convicted of 13 murders and never expressed any remorse. He died while on death row in 2013.
Megan Griffiths is directing from her own script.
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