[transcribed from x and excluding the parts transcribed already]
Dr. Lawson, meet Dr. Rush and Dr. Ellis. USA Network has given a 10-episode series order to Rush, a drama pilot from Jonathan Levine and Fox 21, which like USA veteran Royal Pains, is about a concierge doctor. Also picked up to series with a 10-episode order is drama pilot Complications, from Burn Notice creator Matt Nix and Fox TV Studios.The project, starring Jason O’Mara as an ER doctor, appears to be part of a two-project deal between USA and FtvS that also includes the renewal of White Collar for a six-episode sixth season, which we scooped last night. As usual, USA does not acknowledge whether this is White Collar’s final season as it is expected to make the announcement closer to the show’s airing as it most recently did with Psych.
USA’s original portfolio has been going through a generational shift, with veterans Burn Notice, Psych and White Collar departing and four new drama series picked up within the past couple of months, Dig, untitled Sean Jablonski, Rush and Complications.
“We are excited to usher in the next generation of USA dramas, alongside our signature returning originals that continue to attract a large and loyal fan base,” said Chris McCumber, president of USA Network. “This year USA will be showcasing more hours of original programming than ever before, including an unprecedented 6 new series and 6 returning shows.”
Rush centers on Dr. William Rush (Tom Ellis) who is not your average on-call doctor — he’s not attached to any hospital, he’s highly discreet no matter what the ailment as long as the client can pay his cash-only premium and the doctor can party with the best of them. Fox 21 is producing. This marks the second drama pilot from USA’s current slate to get a series pickup, joining the untitled Sean Jablonski project. Fox 21 produces with Little Engine’s Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo.
Complications centers around John Ellis (O’Mara (“Vegas,” “Terra Nova”), a disillusioned suburban ER doctor who finds his existence transformed when he intervenes in a drive-by shooting, saving a young boy’s life and killing one of his attackers. When Ellis learns the boy is still marked for death, he finds himself compelled to save him at any cost, and discovers that his own life – and his outlook on medicine – may never be the same.
White Collar ended its fifth season with a cliffhanger. The series, which generates an average of four million viewers each season, stars Matt Bomer (“Magic Mike”), Tim DeKay (“Tell Me You Love Me”), Tiffani Thiessen (“What About Brian”), Willie Garson (“Sex and the City”), Sharif Atkins (“ER”) and Marsha Thomason (“Lost”). The series centers on the unlikely partnership between charming con artist Neal Caffrey (Bomer) and straightforward FBI agent Peter Burke (DeKay), who partner to catch other elusive white collar criminals. Created and executive produced by Jeff Eastin, the series comes from Fox Television Studios. Nick Thiel and Jeff King also serve as executive producers. [x]
One of USA Network’s signature series, dramaWhite Collar, is poised to wrap its run with a six-episode sixth and final season. There is no official word yet, but I hear the network and series producer Fox TV Studios are finalizing the deal. The size of the order looks like a compromise between a movie/mini-series conclusion USA had been considering and a full-length season, sought by producer FfvS. Season 5 ended with a cliffhanger involving the abduction of Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer). All of USA’s other established series –Monk, Burn Notice (also produced by FtvS), Psych and In Plain Sight — also had received a proper send-off. Moved to fall for the first time since its first season,White Collar got dinged up against in-season competition but rebounded in January when the conclusion of Season 5 averaged 2.8 million viewers in Live+Same Day, up 22% from fall, and 955,000 adults 18-49, up 32%.
With ratings still solid, the renewal negotiations zeroed in on the show’s economics. At this point in the run of a series, a network is responsible for the full production cost. With a well-known cast and extensive location shoots in New York, White Collar is an expensive show. What’s more, it is not owned by USA. USA parent NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment has made owning content a priority with the appointments of Jeff Wachtel and Dawn Olmstead to spearhead in-house production efforts. The network has a lot of projects in the pipeline with a slew of pilot orders, and has been going through a portfolio changeover, replacing its older shows with new ones. From a business perspective, continuingWhite Collar at the current price tag may not have made a lot of sense for USA. But from a legacy standpoint, the show, which boasts one of the network’s most recognizable stars in Bomer and is one of few USA shows to receive critical praise, deserved a proper conclusion. (FtvS also had been willing to shoulder the cost of a final season and was open to a lower license fee.) [deadline]
CraveOnline: I know you’ve directed a little bit before. Was directing always your plan when you got into acting?
Jack Plotnick: I doubt I had a lot of plans. I just knew I loved acting. I started out as a young person thinking I was going to do this in theater for my life. Then I discovered sketch comedy. Seth Rudetsky, my comedy partner, and I performed for years together. We had an act we did at Caroline’s for a year and a half. That led me to Hollywood and it kind of just started to grow. Your dreams change based on what you love. I was always directing but did I think I was going to direct feature films? I don’t think it was on my radar but I fell in love with it, so I’m really happy it’s happened.
Was it important for the comedy that you all take the world of Space Station 76 seriously?
Jack Plotnick: Well, it was incredibly important for the movie that we take the world seriously because in the end, it’s a drama. I felt everybody got that to approach it totally real and to take their problems that they’re all struggling with totally seriously. But then the situations are just so uncomfortable and so real that I think the comedy came from that. When you set a bunch of people on a spaceship in the ‘70s, you kind of have to treat it like it’s really happening or else it just becomes a parody or a wacky comedy and that’s never what our goal was.
Was it important for both of you as actors to play it like straight sci-fi?
Matt Bomer: I just approached the scenes with the given circumstances being what they were. Obviously you try to familiarize yourself with whatever set you’re working on and have a certain level of comfortability with whatever the level of technology is, but other than that I think we just approached it like you would almost any scene. I sort of left the tone to the nuance of Jack’s direction.
Jack Plotnick: But I will say, all these actors are so brilliant and they understand how to find the comedy in something that’s very real. So absolutely you see everybody has moments that tickle me.
It seems like Glenn has been alone in that cockpit for so long.
Patrick Wilson: Yes, he has.
How lonely do you think he’s been?
Patrick Wilson: Extremely. You don’t do something like this and just play “he’s kinda lonely.” You have to go “suicide.” That’s sort of what he’s talking about with the tone and the comedy side of it. You have to trust those circumstances and the comedy does come out of the desperation. That’s not to get too actor-y, but otherwise you’re just sort of playing a gag.
Matt Bomer: It was in the script.
Patrick Wilson: It really was and Jack was very conscious of that. Any other set piece, any other genre, any other costume and you’re playing a very troubled man. That’s the fun of bringing out the comedic elements but really it was all in the script. Yes, that’s a long way of answering. You have to play it to 10. You don’t just play kind of upset. That’s not dramatic or funny.
Ted is a really good father, isn’t he?
Matt Bomer: He’s one of those guys who’s really trying to do the right thing and is just in a situation where no good deed goes unpunished. He really believes that if he does all the right things for his family, everything’s going to be okay. He’s the mechanic. He wants to fix things.
Jack Plotnick: It just all blows up in his face
Matt Bomer: He does have the best intentions.
Is Space Station 76 more of a tragedy than a comedy?
Matt Bomer: What did you think?
Jack Plotnick: What’s the difference, really?
Well, it’s why I ask. I thought it was more melancholy.
Matt Bomer: One has a little bit of time added to it, right?
Patrick Wilson: That’s always the thing that’s most interesting to me, is people’s reactions. What they expect and what you get in return. I’m fascinated by a movie that you have some people laughing at the tears or finding these very real and emotional situations where you may feel “Oh my God, I feel so bad for this guy” and the guy next to you is going, “This is ridiculously funny.” That’s cool to me.
That’s, to me, then we’re all in the same movie because then it becomes very personal, your relationship with the suburbs, relationships, sexuality, all that stuff. That to me is where we don’t give you a lot of answers. We just hand you a situation and go, “There, how do you feel?” That’s fun when you can do that in a film.
What were your impressions when you first saw the set?
Jack Plotnick: For me, I was a kid in a candy store. I’d been obsessed with the 1970s vision of the future since I was a little boy and first visited Walt Disney World and went to the Contemporary Hotel and rode a monorail. People told me, “What is with your apartment?” because it was literally a ‘70s spaceship. For me, especially when we built that long, white, circular hallway that is the heart of the set, I never wanted to leave it and it broke my heart when we took it down.
Our effects supervisor, Billy Brooks, actually took home a piece of it and his bedroom is our set. It’s very evocative for people, especially kids of the ‘70s who grew up loving that and thinking that was going to be our future. I was thrilled and our set designer Seth Reed blew it out of the water. He’s a genius.
Matt Bomer: I’m the same way. Ever since I saw Alien I used to pretend like my house was a 1970s version of the future. I would pretend like I would push the button to open the door so I guess it was sort of the realization of some childhood dreams as well.
Patrick Wilson: Mine was Buck Rogers.
Matt Bomer: Nice.
Patrick Wilson: Buck Rogers for me. That’s vision of the future and then getting to meet Erin Gray was really thrilling. She’s an agent for the Con circuit.
Is that why you met her?
Patrick Wilson: Total side note, I met her because one of her clients is on “Doctor Who.” So my son is obsessed with “Doctor Who” even though he’s American and seven. So I went there and we were meeting, talking to John Barrowman. There were a couple people that I knew and she was like, “Hi, I’m Erin.” I was like, “I know.” “I represent these people.” I was like, “That’s awesome!”
You cited Alien. Wasn’t Alien already the gritty, run down future?
Jack Plotnick: No, some of the rooms in Alien were not run down, but I agree with you. A lot of them were, but that room that they’re in when they wake up.
Matt Bomer: The Nostromo didn’t seem run down to me.
Jack Plotnick: The room where they wake up, the room where they eat lunch, all white. I agree with you, they did invent a run-down future but the whole ship wasn’t. We have a part of our ship that is very run down where Ted works in the belly of the ship.
That’s the part of Alien I’m thinking about, when the acid drips through all the floors.
Jack Plotnick: Totally inspired, that set was totally inspired by that scene.
Patrick, what stage of preparation for Ant-Man are you in right now?
Patrick Wilson: Early. Yeah, early. Early stages.
Is it coming together more like a comedy or a superhero movie?
Patrick Wilson: Oh, I can’t. Look, Edgar Wright is Edgar Wright. I can’t obviously talk about it but the same reason I love Edgar Wright and want to work with him is probably the same reason you do. There’s a reason that this is the movie he’s been shepherding for several years to get it right. I feel like he has.
How close is The Conjuring 2?
Patrick Wilson: I have not read the script. Now it’s just about schedules and Vera’s show, working around everybody else to be ready. I guess we already have a date but that can change. It’s a year from Halloween.
According to the end of the first film, isn’t the Warrens’ next cast Amityville?
Patrick Wilson: Nooo, no. I didn’t walk away with that. I think that was just more of a little nod. I don’t think they would go [there]. I mean, they’re not. You know they’re not. It’s out there. It’s dealing with The Enfield Poltergeist.
Obviously we love James Wan’s horror movies, but isn’t it okay if he wants to take a break from it and some other hungry director can come do their take on it?
Patrick Wilson: 100%. The thing about James is you look at the difference of his horror movies, he pushes the envelope in every single direction. Matt was just saying, that’s the same director fromInsidious to Two to Conjuring to Saw. To me that’s somebody pushing the boundaries. He can do anything. I can’t wait to see his Fast 7.
Matt, what do you hear about Magic Mike 2?
Matt Bomer: There’s a script in the works right now. Tentatively it will begin in the fall. It’s not a finished script, I haven’t seen it.
Have you met with Channing Tatum as a director as opposed to a costar?
Matt Bomer: No, I haven’t. There’s not a director set yet. Channing does a dynamite job of pretty much anything he does, so I think he’ll be amazing as a director if he so chooses.
Jack, is there more directing or more acting up next for you?
Jack Plotnick: Hopefully some of both. I have a show called Disaster that I cowrote and directed that’s running Off-Broadway now. So actually the hope is that I’ll direct it on Broadway before the end of the year. Go to Disastermusical.com!
I love the weird films of Quentin Dupieux. What did you learn from working with him that applied to Space Station 76?
Jack Plotnick: You know what, I did learn a lot from Quentin. Most of all, don’t worry about the system and just do it. Just pick up a camera, raise the money and make the movie yourself. I learned that from him and from Richard Day who made the Girls Will Be Girls movie. I adore Quentin and he is a genius. Also, brilliant framing. Excellent, very thoughtful framing and I wanted to do the same.