by Rock ‘n Roll Ghost
STARZ series Magic City (airing Fridays at 10 PM ET/9 PM CT) is set in the late 1950s Miami and stars the modern-era equivalent of Humphrey Bogart, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen, The Losers). Created by Mitch Glazer (Passion Play, The Recruiter), Morgan stars as Ike Evans, the owner/operator of the Miramar Playa. Evans is shoulder deep in steadily rising water – he’s dealing with the mob, the unions, the Feds, his children, his young wife and the day to day issues of running a high end hotel.
If you have On Demand you can easily catch up on the first three episodes of the season thus far before the fourth episode’s premiere Friday, April 27th. On May 25th, STARZ will be running a marathon of Magic City‘s first seven episodes ahead of the June 01st season finale. Magic City has already been renewed for a second season.
Below is a conversation Rock ‘n Roll Ghost had with Magic City creator Glazer and the show’s star Morgan.
Rock ‘n Roll Ghost: Hi, guys. How are you doing?
Mitch Glazer: Hey.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Good. How are you?
Good. Well, Mitch, first question for you. You said that you had had this idea and you took it to TV, did you ever envision it as a film project or was it always a TV show?
Mitch Glazer: I did. You know, interesting, because that was my orientation, I hadn’t really ever thought about TV. And, yes, initially it was always going to be a feature in my head and it really was function of doing research and starting to kind of look at all the stories laying them out that I realized it was absolutely impossible to tell the tale that I wanted to tell in, you know, 90 minutes or whatever and it was just bigger and it kept growing.
And one of the reasons I’d hesitated about doing television wasn’t a question of TV versus movies, it was just – I was trying to think, as Jeff said, of something that would actually hold my interest. You know, so the last thing you want to do is commit to something and then kind of start looking around going, “You know, God, I should be writing this thing or whatever,” and this one was a story engine. I mean as I started to look into it I realized, God, you know, these are subject matter and a world that I can keep writing about. And so, yes, it just kind of exploded on me.
And then also with the birth of premium cable, truthfully it happened around the same time. I started looking at – the first season of The Sopranos was my favorite work of the year of anything. And I started going, you know, there’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Chris Albrecht. And you know, so the opportunity to do it with him in that form is the best of all worlds.
I mean I don’t think there’s an accident that Gus Van Sant and until recently Michael Mann and Martin Scorsese and all the writers and directors that are being attracted to premium cable, it’s a great place to tell stories.
And compared to the last film you put out, Passion Play, how does working in TV compare to that last project?
Mitch Glazer: As far as the actual process it’s pretty much identical except my DP (director of photography) isn’t insane and, you know – I mean the actual – as Jeff said, because it’s where we come…
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: And I’m a lot like Mickey Rourke too, so it’s like hand in hand.
Mitch Glazer: It was either Jeff or Mickey. It was a tossup. But, no, I did grow up with Mickey and went to high school with him in Miami and we were friends going in and still are but as far as the process I mean we are shooting – it feels like we are shooting feature films. Our DP (Gabriel Beristain) who I think is brilliant comes out of features and for no other reason – there wasn’t any prejudice, it just turned out that way. So because it’s what I know, it kind of felt very similar. I’m trying to think of the differences. I mean it’s…
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Well the pace. I think the pace is a little different.
Mitch Glazer: Yes. I mean we…
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: I think on this show we were shooting between seven and nine pages a day just depending on locations and we’d be – you know, we moved quite a bit so we could shoot two or three locations a day and that is not an easy day’s worth of work. Films you don’t do that. You shoot maybe two or three pages a day, you know, some independent films you shoot up to five to six pages but that’s rare.
TV that’s the thing is the pace and when you’re working with all these people behind the camera, you know, (Gabby) and his crew they all came from the world of film and so you’re putting a lot of pressure on your crew for one to make this look like a film every shot. And so it’s a learning process for all of us. You know, it’s just the pacing of it.
You want to shoot like Mitch said, a movie in nine days and we saw the first couple episodes on the big screen. This plays on the big screen better than it plays on the television. It’s shot like a movie. It looks like a film and the fact that our crew and our (tasks) well they got to keep up with this brutal kind of pace that we are putting is a testament to every single one of them and, you know, Mitch’s scripts were huge. They were huge in terms of what is done on television. And we were able to somehow miraculously pull that off.
Mitch Glazer: Well I…
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: …is the first time that I can remember in a long time where in reading the script you have this vision of what it’s going to be. And when I read this script it read as cinema and you can see the scenes playing in your head and, you know, there’s visions of Casino and The Godfather racing through there and, you know, the reality of that is that doesn’t normally happen. You know, the blowback is the results are never what you want to see and with this that’s not the case. This is exactly, maybe even better than, what my little brain was able to imagine in first reading these scripts. So it was awesome.
Jeffrey, one quick thing. You know, I really loved you in Watchmen and The Losers and so it’s cool to get to talk to you. I had one odd kind of question. I really like when you appear with Craig Ferguson. How much fun is his show to do?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Oh, I love it. I have kind of a really special relationship with him. You know, it’s impossible to actually talk about a project on that show for him and I because we just go off on crazy tangents and I adore him.
Whenever I am doing press for anything or even just on a Tuesday, you know, he’ll call and say, “Hey, you want to go do the show,” and I’ll say, “Absolutely.” As a matter of fact, I leave in like two days to go do a show so I’ll see him on the 5th and I’ll make sure that he knows that people are enjoying it other than just us.
He’s got a lot of great regulars but you’re among my favorites that appear on there regularly.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Thank you. No, it’s – we have a little bit of a love affair not much different from my love affair from Mitch, maybe a little bit crazier. But I love going and talking to him and, you know, usually something embarrassing comes out of it for both of us but we seem to have a good time.