PERRY MASON: Interview mit John Lithgow & Juliet Rylance

Ein gebrochener Strafverteidiger, der als Privatdetektiv arbeitet, und ein dubioser Entführungsfall im Los Angeles der 30er-Jahre: Die HBO-Serie PERRY MASON, produziert unter anderem von Hollywood-Star Robert Downey Jr. kommt am 31. Juli zu Sky. Die achtteilige Miniserie ist immer freitags um 20.15 Uhr in Doppelfolgen (wahlweise auf Deutsch oder im Original) auf Sky Atlantic HD zu sehen und auf Sky Ticket, Sky Go und über Sky Q auf Abruf verfügbar. In der Hauptrolle ist Matthew Rhys zu sehen.

Hier könnt Ihr einen Blick auf den Trailer werfen

Interview mit John Lithgow & Juliet Rylance

In den Nebenrollen sind unter anderem auch John Lithgow und Juliet Rylance zu sehen. SKY hat uns ein exklusives Interview mit den Beiden organisiert, das Ihr hier in aller Ausführlichkeit lesen könnt:

Q: Your characters are both wonderful in the show. What was the appeal of both the characters for you?

John: Okay. Well, Julian Rylance was going to be in it (laughs). No, I read the script and knew all the elements. And though I was inclined to like it, but I loved it. The writing is so unusual and so surprising. I think everybody’s experience of this project is that it is nothing like what they expected, mainly because you hear the name Perry Mason, and you think of black and white television from the 1950s.

Well, it’s hard knuckle black and white nor crime film from the early 1930s in Los Angeles. And it has that snap to it, that wit and that danger. It’s a combination of a real throwback genre, but with a very modern sensibility. And they created these wonderful characters Della for just as an example, Juliet will talk about it. I mean, everybody thinks of Della as this fairly two dimensional 1950s female character and it’s so much beyond that. And E.B is a total creation. My character, these two writers, we’ll be saying their names over and over again all day. Ron Fitzgerald and Rolin Jones. They’re just so inventive and creative. And they took this pretty familiar sounding idea and turned it into something brand new.

Juliette: I second, everything John said. It’s always very exciting when you get a script and you open the first page and you can’t put it down and you realize that there’s a whole sort of world that you didn’t know about an hour before, and suddenly can’t stop thinking about it. I had that feeling about the whole story. The 1931 Los Angeles is a city that’s full of corruption, the Great Depression, you know, the backdrop to the story, which feels very relevant in some way to the day. Just everything feels sort of upside down. And people are kind of fighting their way through and trying to figure out what`s next and what to be and how to get where they want to go. And I love the fact that that piece was so character driven. Obviously the original series was sort of … it was the first one hour TV series in America, I think.

And, um, I love the fact that obviously they dealt with a different murder mystery, sort of, or situation, legal situation every week and this story, the whole arc of this one story gives us such an opportunity to look at all these characters in such detail. There are so many sort of fascinating things that we discover about them and Della. I love the fact that there’s so much, especially the relationship with E.B., with John, in the show. There’s a sort of so much of the kind of touches on his girl Friday and all those kind of wonderful 1930s genre.

But there was such a depth to Della at the beginning, she was so enigmatic to me and I didn’t really know who she was or who she’d become, but I felt there was something hidden or a secret that hadn’t been shared. That really excited me. And actually, as the series went on, I feel that became more and more the part of who she is as a woman and that period of having to really mask a great deal what she is and unhide a lot of her capabilities that sort of emerge as the story progresses. That was really exciting.

Q: Juliette, What did you take from the old Della. And John, did you search about you know the legal work in Los Angeles for your part?

Juliette: Actually, it was interesting because Barbara Hale who played Della passed away two months before we began filming. And I was a huge fan of the original Perry Mason, my father and I used to watch it a lot and loved it. It was the thing that we do on Sunday mornings we’d put EastEnders on and watch The Omnibus and then we’d watch Perry Mason. So I had quite an affinity with the original show. I remember reading about Barbara Hale passing. I’d gone back and we watched a few of the episodes and I felt a huge responsibility actually. To Barbara, playing Della of the fact that I didn’t want to get in the way of that character that she created so beautifully.

And I think one of the things I love about the original Della is, there’s a quiet confidence about her but you don’t really notice at the beginning and then as things go along, you realize she really has the ability to kind of see ahead or see the course in a very lovely simple sort of two dimensional way. It’s this lovely kind of strength that she has. I hope some of that is eventually emerging in my performance.

John: I couldn’t research E.B. as he didn’t exist. A name that the writers ran across in one of the non-Perry Mason novels, I believe, they just love the name E.B. Jonathan. They sort of had to create a character whom Perry could learn from work for, but ultimately replace, so they created E.B. and in their way they just made him into this fascinating character. You will find – if you haven’t already – everybody who is in this series, every character has secrets that they can’t talk about to the press. Must be very frustrating for you. But Juliet and I have characters who reveal secrets about themselves, like in every episode, that are major and are so surprising, such marvelous U-turns.

The great thing about them, they seemed to really enjoy writing E.B.’s character because they invented all sorts of layers. Some of them are very foolish and funny, and some of them are quite tragic. And you don’t know about any of it when you first meet him. The first scene he has with Perry, where you basically learn about their working relationship and a little bit about their history. He’s nothing more than a tired and wise old lawyer who knows exactly what he’s doing. Well, things change every scene. so you learn more about him, and he becomes much more complicated than that. It’s the kind of thing that a character actor just loves to work on.

Q: You both are amazing in the show, just as usual. You told earlier about the script maybe to get more about the technical aspect of your character. And I guess the shooting was quite long. How did you do as an actor to reflect what was on the script? Did you watch TV movies at night? Did you listen to some music on the set? How did you get into the difficult characters from a long time ago?

John: It was pretty easy more than most jobs, it just involves going to all your costume fittings, having them trim your mustache just so and learning your lines and show up. So much of the work was done for us. And I tell you about costume and makeup advisedly you know big, big choice, little choices turned out to be big like exactly the right spectacles. This extraordinary costume designer Emma Potter, who fitted us, she just sort of delivered our characters to us on things like that you just simply inhabited the role and the writing was so great.

And the the long list of actors in the series, they’re also wonderful to work with. You work with people like that and it makes your character come alive. I think Stephen Root, who plays my sort of opposite number, Steven is an actor crazy about old time movies and old time movie acting and you can just tell the way he relishes the role of District Attorney Barnes.

Juliette: Uh, yeah, I think obviously, period pieces are quite helpful for a way into a character, obviously because the clothing is so different. Emma was extraordinary. She’s sourced original underwear, and original stockings from the 1930s. So everything that we were wearing felt different, and maybe set differently and walk differently and move differently. And that’s always really helpful to immediately start feeling like this other person. I think for me, I had this dark wig. So we spent ages trying to figure out what that would be, I think the process of coming in and picking with Emma and Kathy wardrobe for the character, and then creating this look is a large part of it. I remember on day one thinking, you know, all happened very quickly.

We’ve sort of been in the process of kind of pre-production, suddenly, we’re day one and I thought, I don’t know if I’ve done enough, but I don’t know who he is. I have no idea what’s gonna happen. And then Matthew, wonderful Matthew, was deciding that cracking jokes and going well, we better just do it and see what happens. I remember we had a scene where we walked a very long corridor. We just did it again and again and again and played with different people coming in and out. We weren’t looking at each other. We were just sort of looking ahead. I remember suddenly feeling my walk and shoes and thinking, Oh, and it was such a wonderful feeling. And then through telling to Matthew, he went, well, I love these boots that I’m wearing, you know, and it was kind of like, Oh, we were in we’re in the shoes, literally.

So obviously there’s all the other stuff that you do. I mean, I always break down or my script. I write out 1,000,001 different actions for each line and so that there’ll be something ready if it’s needed or and then kind of at some point, you throw it all away and you think maybe none of that works and try and turn off inner play, which I have to say JOHN and Matthew, I mean really working with John, that is such a master, you’re such a master at just keeping everything light and playful and delightful. And I think that’s such a large part of being able to come into work and stand up as someone with such a tedious and such extraordinary comic timing and someone who’s able to just drop into something very profound in a second that actually being able to try and get out of your own drama, and just sort of watch and be present be this extraordinary part of you. I think that’s a big part of creating something that is alive.

John: Oh, Juliet, I should not be hearing any of this. That is terribly sweet of you!

John: I mean, the E.B.-Daella relationship is so fantastic in the show and it really was a gift to the two of us. These are characters who so rely on each other, so love each other and if they don’t say anything, but they’re constantly at loggerheads and barking and snarling at each other, just wonderful stuff.

Q: I was wondering, this is kind of a broad question, but I was wondering if you guys could elaborate a little about the most scenes themes that are explored on the show like racism or war trauma.

John: Well, it’s quite extraordinary how they were able to modernize Perry Mason by putting it in the early 1930s. Hmm. That was a depression and we got here who knew we’re in a depression too. There are serious issues of race in our present day and they turned Paul Drake into an African American cop in a very, very white Los Angeles police force. It’s a thread like that wonderful character of the Chicana that the Mexican Aviatrix played by this great actress Veronica Falcon. It just modernizes it’s like, Wow, I didn’t expect to Perry Mason be so contemporary and immediate to all of our lives. And, you know, that happened with, well, with our characters, too.

We participated in that. I’m not sure whether you said scenes or themes, but the themes I mean, he’s got they went back to Los Angeles history. And so many of the characters, including the ABA tricks, fatty Arbuckle and his scandal is it plays in that in that amazing character, the case that Perry is worth working on, in his first scenes as a shabby investigator, and the scenes with Paul Drake. And Tatianas role is based on radio evangelists from that era. It just all of it is from back then, but it’s very much of right now, too.

Juliette: I think, following on from what John said, taking those themes, I think, what I’ve always loved most about the idea of Perry Mason is a show on a very basic level, it’s a show about a man who’s searching for the truth, you know, in every week or every case, he’s searching for the truth. I remember early on Matthews character, Matthew saying: “You know what, someone who does believe in the truth is someone who does believe that there is sort of right and wrong, and that kind of hooks him into this case.”.

And for me, I feel like the big themes are I mean, for Della, this glass ceiling, not that she’s this incredibly capable woman. She works like a like a dog. And she’s still just a secretary even though she knows more about the law, perhaps more than even E:b:. And yet she can’t hit through the glass ceiling, she can’t break through to anything more than the menial secretary who goes and picks her boss up and take some home and probably make some lunch and answers the phones.

There’s a tremendous frustration about just the female aspect of being female in that period, which I think obviously we’re still kind of dealing with in a large way in the last couple of years and now and then the theme of corruption, the corruption of the city, the corruption of the police forcemthat everything is obviously, coming out of Corona, we’re now going into this period, which is where we’re questioning everything. I think Perry and E.B. and Della at the beginning of this of questioning everything in search of the truth. I think that that’s something that’s very prevalent today.

Q: I was wondering, guys, if you could talk, we have a sense, obviously, because of the history of Perry Mason. This is all gardeners world, in a way. But I wonder if you can talk about how much Roland and Ron make it their world how much authorship we can kind of assign to them and how complete you think a vision for this reinvention.

John: It’s hard to know for sure, but I know that both of them are playwrights. They were so close to the process. They were around all the time. And so much of what you see is invented. It’s not just borrowed from Earl Stanley Gardener, nor from the 1950s TV series. It’s their creation. It’s almost as if reimagining and borrowing from something that happened so long ago liberated them tremendously because they were allowed to be extremely creative. I mean, they’re the ones who invented this incredibly complicated story.

They invented the entire character of E.B.. And every single character from the old Perry Mason is a very different character from what you see in this show. Most notably Matthew as Perry Mason, a damaged soul with PTSD and a terrible scandal dogging him from his military days. All things make him like an extraordinary antihero. Nothing like Raymond Burr’s Perry Mason. That’s just what I’m crazy about this project. you know, our job is to praise whatever we’ve done for the press, but in a case like this, this is one of the best things I’ve ever been in

Juliette: And also a big shout out needs to go out to Tim Van Patten in terms of sculpting and creating this show. When Tim came in, a certain amount of episodes were already written. He came in and started saying, this is a character piece, it needs to be. Tim worked closely with Ron and Rolin and Howard, the coordinator, who also came into the writing room, and it was kind of amazing hearing in those early kind of weeks of them just really kind of sitting down and going over each script again and again and again and, and becoming much more specific about each characters kind of revealed. And are through the story.

So I think Tim is a huge element in the creation of this sort of very dark and interesting world that we that we have.

Thanks for the interview!

Darum geht’s in PERRY MASON

Los Angeles, 1932: Die „Stadt der Engel“ boomt während sich der Rest der USA langsam von „The Great Depression“ – der großen Wirtschaftskrise – erholt. Der berühmte Verteidiger Perry Mason (Matthews Rhys) hat immer noch unter seinen Kriegserfahrungen in Frankreich und an den Folgen seiner zerrütteten Ehe zu leiden. Mehr schlecht als recht verdingt er sich als Privatdetektiv. Ein missglückter Entführungsfall, den Mason lösen möchte, offenbart ihm, wie zerrissen Los Angeles trotz des Booms ist, und führt ihn zur Pfingstkirche und zu der mysteriösen Predigerin Schwester Alice (Tatiana Maslany).

Die Romane von Erle Stanley Gardner – ganze 82 an der Zahl – wurden bereits von 1955 bis 1967 als US-Fernsehserie verfilmt, damals mit dem kanadischen Schauspieler Raymond Burr in der Titelrolle. Die Neuauflage mit Matthew Rhys als Perry Mason hat mit der damaligen Serie aber kaum etwas gemein. Neben Hollywood-Star Robert Downey Jr. fungierten auch dessen Ehefrau Susan Downey, sowie Amanda Burrell, Ron Fitzgerald, Joe Horacek, Rolin Jones, und Timothy Van Patten als ausführende Produzenten. Van Patten, der unter anderem bei „Boardwalk Empire“, „Deadwood“ und „Die Sopranos“ Regie führte, ist auch diesmal für die authentische und düstere Inszenierung von „Perry Mason“ verantwortlich.

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