Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have made a habit out of going big in the season premieres of Key & Peele—last season’s Les Miserables sketch being no exception. This year, it seems the comedy duo has decided to take on an alien apocalypse in the first episode.
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When Agent Peggy Carter makes the transition to television this winter on both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, a few Howling Commandos and Strategic Scientific Reserve agents will join her. And with the latest addition to Agent Carter‘s cast, an important figure has been added that should tether the series even more firmly into the Marvel cinematic universe.
The lights are about to dim on the HBO’s The Newsroom. The drama, created by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) and focusing on fictional cable news channel ACN, begins its final season on Nov. 9, and will wrap up its story in a tight six episodes. “It was because of my schedule,” Sorkin says of the shortened season. “But, as it turned out, six was the right number. I don’t know what we would have done with a seventh episode.”
So what’s in these final hours? EW talked to Sorkin about weddings, power plays, and Twitter scandals.
EW: Will there be a time jump when the show premieres?
AARON SORKIN: We’re ahead about five months. However, once the season starts each episode begins right after the last one ended so there are no time jumps during the season. It’s a very compressed season. Once again, we’re telling one story throughout the whole season, there are stories that come off like branches, but there’s one story that we begin in the first episode and goes to the end.
Can you tease the main story?
Well, without giving too much away, it’s something that we’ve been talking about for the last 2 years: government and journalism. A lot of people feel like the current administration has been really tough on reporters and whistleblowers. I realize I’m not making it sound exciting but it involves one of our characters in a lot of jeopardy. Our people have a story that was given to them by a government whistleblower and the Justice Department wants the name of their source and they won’t give it up. So we see how far they’re willing to go for that.
Will the fallout from Jerry (Hamish Linklater) and Genoa play in?
It does a little bit. But the bigger thing that comes along is that we meet Reese’s father’s children by his next wife so we meet his half-brother and his half-sister is Kat Dennings. And they own a 45-percent share of the controlling stock in the company and that begins a story rolling of a hostile takeover of AWN.
Will (Jeff Daniels) proposed to Mac (Emily Mortimer) in the finale. Are they still engaged?
Again without giving too much away, I knew going into this season that they’re gonna have to get married. There’s gonna have to be a wedding. How do you do a wedding that we haven’t seen before on TV? And I think we came up with a way.
Is Maggie back on stable ground?
When we meet Maggie at the beginning of the season, she sort of has the eye of the tiger. She is trying to shed every rotten thing that’s happened to her in the last few years and toughen up and breathe new life into herself. She really completes that part of her character arc this season.
Is Jim (John Gallagher Jr.) still dating Hallie (Grace Gummer)?
Yeah Jim is still dating Hallie, but there’s tension in that relationship. Hallie is actually now working for ACN Digital at the beginning of the season. And mirroring something that happened at MSNBC a while back when someone tweeted a quip that was offensive to Republicans. It was a big deal—MSNBC had to apologize. They had to fire the producer who sent the tweet and everything. So something very similar happens to Hallie. She in the middle of the night, really tired, tweets something from ACN’s account, sort of immediately realizes what she’s done, deletes it but it’s too late. That begins a story that lasts the whole season, too.
How do you feel about this last season? Excited? Sad?
I’m really excited. I do feel it’s a really solid season. I think we’re wrapping up a lot of stories in a nice way. I miss everybody already but I’m in the editing room every day with the show so for me I don’t have postpartum depression yet. But that will come, I promise. On the other side of the wall from the editing room is our stage, so I can hear them pulling apart our set and throwing it in dumpsters, so that’s hard.
Did the show end how you thought it would? Did things evolve?
For most of the time, I didn’t know how the show was going to end. I would have small images of what I wanted to see. But the closer I got to the end of the season in terms of writing, the more I was able to see the end of the season finale. Once we got there, it happened more easily than I thought it was going to.
Casting announcements for Marvel’s first foray into Netflix, next year’s Daredevil, continue to roll out one by one. While many of the major players in Hell’s Kitchen have been cast, Marvel today announced who will play an piece of Matt Murdock’s story: his mentor.
By now, avid TV watchers know that each season of American Horror Story is an entirely new plot but with much of the same group of actors. Each installment also most importantly stems from the brilliant and imaginative minds of co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. For EW‘s Fall TV Preview, on stands now, Murphy offered up some details from the New Orleans set of AHS‘s latest installment, Freak Show—about the titular group of entertainers in 1952 in Jupiter, Florida—which premieres Oct. 8 at 10pm on FX.
EW: Where did this come from? I know it’s something you and Jessica talked about it right?
RYAN MURPHY: It’s something that Jessica she had always talked about it. Jessica’s a photographer so she had always been interested in that carny world. If you look at her photography, she’s always interested in the lost and the forgotten and the beautiful survivor of it all. We talked about it like every couple of weeks. She sent me a book actually. I once I started investigating it I really loved the idea of it because I felt it was such a ripe world. The carny world, the freak show really ended for the most part when television began. So one freak show replaced another so that was always the idea.
I always was very interested in Tod Browning’s Freaks. I loved that movie and Carnival of Lost Souls so there’s a lot of horror tropes to pull from and admire. It’s also our biggest year so I think it took a while and it took success for us to earn the money to do what we had to do. We had to build an entire city. We built an entire huge compound and then we had to build the interior of all those buildings on set. It’s all period. And it’s all based on [production designer] Mark Worthington’s immaculate research. Jessica went she first walked in said she was brought to tears. She kept saying, “It’s like a poem. It’s like a poem.” It’s a very romantic, sad place. READ FULL STORY
Over 25 years after Married… With Children helped launch Fox into a major player in the network television arena, the Bundy family may finally see a return to TV.
Sons of Anarchy‘s season 7 premiere will be remembered for the brutality of the final scene, but as is so often the case with this show, there was also beauty in it. Exec producer Paris Barclay, who directed the episode, called into “News & Notes” on EW Radio (SiriusXM 105) and shared how the idea for a rainy night in Charming—a rare occurrence—came about. He always reads Kurt Sutter’s scripts slowly, so he can try to visualize what he’s created.
“Even though it wasn’t in the script, I just imagined it was raining for some unknown reason. I just imagined it had that low-barometric-pressure, the-sky-has-gotten-dark-earlier, rainy feeling. It hardly ever rains in Charming, if you’ve noticed over seven seasons, so I thought this would be something unique to do. But as I thought about it, I said, ‘Well, that means it’s gonna have to rain in every other scene in this montage,'” Barclay said. “And then it ended up raining when they buried the bodies at Chigger Woods, which was fantastically beautiful. So just by backing into that, thinking about the killing scene first just having the rain, it ended up giving us a lot of benefits for all the other scenes: The rain on Gemma’s face when she’s talking to Tara. And then I go to Paul Maibaum, who’s been our director of photography from the beginning, and I say, ‘Paul, if it rains, what does that mean for you?’ He said, ‘It means beauty.'”
As Barclay told EW previously, it was Charlie Hunnam’s idea for Jax to draw out the torture, slowly removing his clothing so he’s shirtless when Jax takes his revenge on the man Gemma’s blamed for Tara’s murder. Hunnam was inspired by a lengthy kill scene in the Paul Bettany movie Gangster No. 1. “To see that spectacular torso just cluttered and clumsily splashed with blood of this innocent man I thought was super, super compelling,” Barclay said. During a meeting with Sutter to discuss the tone of the script, page-by-page, Sutter weighed in on what he liked and didn’t like. “So by the time we came to shooting it, we had something that was pretty well worked out—a ballet of death, as I call it.” READ FULL STORY
The Legend of Korra wrapped its third season only a few weeks ago, but the wait for the next season (or “book,” rather) is probably shorter than you expected.
If you haven’t watched Sons of Anarchy‘s season 7 premiere, stop reading now. If you have, you’ve probably found yourself wondering about the actor who played Chris Dun, the Lin Triad member Gemma framed for Tara’s murder. It’s the first and only appearance for 32-year-old Tim Park on the show, but it sets the final season in motion. Not that he knew that when he landed the part.
He was just finishing up a recurring, non-speaking role as a member of the Yakuza on HBO’s True Blood when his agent sent him an email about auditioning for Sons. He knew the FX drama was huge, but he had to marathon episodes to catch up and learn its tone. He had his doubts going in: “They initially wanted a guy who was taller than what I am, and they wanted a character who had a shaved head,” he says. The audition piece was the bar scene with Gemma (Katey Sagal), but the draft he read made it sound like Chris Dun was flirting with her. “I was just trippin’ out because I grew up watching Katey on Married…With Children, and I thought, ‘If I book this, I’m gonna be doing this with Peggy Bundy,'” he says. He knows this will sound weird, but he tried to channel True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard when he was in the room: “I was on that show for like five weeks, observing how he operates and performs, and I learned so much. I was trying to mimic the way he talks, the intensity in his eyes,” Park says, laughing. “I wish I could tell Alex that, because I never got a chance to thank him. He probably won’t even remember who I am, but that’s the truth. I tried to copy that and make it my own.”
It was only after he won the role that he was told the character would be bound, gagged, brutally tortured, and murdered. “Part of me was thinking, ‘Man, they’re really taking a risk on a no-name.’ I actually went to law school. That’s what brought me to LA,” he says, laughing again. Moving there after graduating from Seattle University School of Law in 2011, he worked at a law firm for four months, decided it wasn’t for him and planned to go into the fitness field until he randomly met his agent at a park in Hollywood. He started his acting career last year. “For them to take a chance on such a dramatic scene, the pressure was on for me,” he says.
He credits the show’s head of makeup, Tracey Anderson, with helping him relax during his makeup test. “She was like, ‘Where did you study acting?’ And I told her, ‘I really didn’t.’ She’s like, ‘Listen, if you can’t really cry, don’t worry, I have fake tears for you. We can make it happen. If worst comes to worst, I can squirt something in your eye that will force you to cry,'” he says. “Ironically, having that comfort knowing there’s a backup plan, it frees you up to go for it. I just went for it.” READ FULL STORY
This season of American Horror Story: Freak Show is shaping up to be one of the most memorable so far, in part due to one majorly terrifying clown, conjoined twins, and a gal with three boobs. But now EW can exclusively confirm a rumor that fans have been buzzing about for months: AHS: Asylum fan favorite Pepper, a Briarcliff patient played by Naomi Grossman, will indeed appear on Freak Show. READ FULL STORY
FX’s murderous biker club is going out on top: Sons of Anarchy returned for its seventh and final season Tuesday night and posted the biggest audience delivery in the show’s history.
The 90-minute opener debuted to 6.2 million viewers at 10 p.m. and a whopping 3.2 rating among adults 18-49. That’s up 5 percent from last year’s premiere. Moreover, Sons beats every show on cable and broadcast (especially Fox’s Utopia).
If Sons continues to pull these kind of numbers — and you know they’ll climb even higher for the series finale — the drama will likely win this slot throughout the fall, and even give broadcast’s Tuesday lineup some very steep competition once that gets underway in the next few weeks.
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