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Tag: Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes) (14-26 of 31)

Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): Defining 'Deadliest Catch'


Image Credit: Michael Muller/Discovery Channel

Back in April, Discovery's Deadliest Catch returned with a season 8 premiere that also marked the Emmy-winning series' 100th episode. Teasing the season ahead, exec producer Thom Beers reported that we'd see one man go overboard -- at the dock. “The last time that happened it was to Johnathan Hillstrand [in season 4]

,” Beers recalled. “They decided to celebrate Halloween early because they’d be at sea, and Johnathan was pretty hammered. One of the crewmen was dressed as Spider-Man, and Johnathan says, ‘All I remember was Spider-Man reaching down and pulling me out of the ocean.’ Just the insanity of it,” he said, laughing. “When this show is really working, it reminds me of that scene in Apocalypse Now, when the bullets and fireworks are going off and it’s completely insane and Martin Sheen says, ‘Who’s the commanding officer here?’ and the guy looks at him and says, ‘Ain’t it you?’ When this show’s working, you have no idea who’s in charge.” While Season 8 had its share of serious drama — remember this greenhorn medical emergency on the Wizard — we seized the opportunity to have Beers name the five moments that defined the show over the years.

For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage. READ FULL STORY

Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): Filming the all-American family feud 'Hatfields & McCoys' in Romania

The conclusion of History’s miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, starring Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton as the patriarchs at the center of America’s most famous family feud, became the No. 1 entertainment telecast of all time on ad-supported cable and the recipient of 16 Emmy nominations. Here, in an excerpt from a piece originally published as the miniseries hit Blu-ray, Paxton takes us inside filming. For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.

Bill Paxton credits Kevin Costner with convincing him to take the part of Randall McCoy. “I had a little reservation because I was asked to play another patriarchal figure who was very religiously convicted, and I felt like I had been doing that on Big Love, and I remember calling Kevin. I was on vacation visiting my son, who was working at Martha’s Vineyard, and he was on the road somewhere, and we talked for 20 minutes. Now, I feel like I know him like a brother. But I never really spent more than 10 minutes with him before this. He goes, ‘Oh man, it’s old testament. We’re gonna be gettin’ to wear beards. It’s Civil War stuff.’ That really appealed to me. My great great grandfather on my paternal side died in Chancellorsville as a general under Stonewall Jackson. So it was a chance to go back and explore that part of my heritage,” Paxton says.

Though Paxton spent a couple of days in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia soaking up the accent and sights where the real feud took place, the miniseries was actually shot in Romania. “Transylvania was certainly an exotic location to be shooting Hatfields & McCoys in,” Paxton says, reenacting the Romanian film commands. “It’s tough to be away from home, but one great thing about location is it usually does bond the cast and the crew.” They stayed in a ski resort, where the big exteriors were shot. “A funny thing about it was Kevin was completely off book. And every time he’d run into an actor in the hallway or at the bar or something, he’d just go into a scene they were in together. And god, he’d put this person on the spot,” Paxton says, chuckling again. “I knew a few actors who started, like, if they saw him coming, they’d duck out of sight.”

Costner didn’t make Paxton nervous, but the horses did. “The horses were quite spirited. They were all studs, which was kind of unusual. American cowboys mostly don’t ride studs because by their very nature, they can be ornery and feisty and everything else. So I would gird myself up like a gladiator before I got on one of those horses. Under my outfit, I might have knee pads, elbow pads, a back brace. My ankles would be wrapped. I was prepared to go off the horse, and if I did go off, I wanted to be able to stand up again,” he says. “I had some very close calls, and early on, I had myself doubled in the wide shots because I thought, I’m not gonna make it through a 73-day shoot if I get hurt.”

The black powder weapons also made things interesting on set. “I had one of the weapons go off in my face, but it was kinda my own fault,” Paxton says. “I had to hit this guy with my rifle butt, and then pull my pistol out of my waistband and as I’m pulling it out, I’m cocking it back and then firing it in to this guy on the ground. But as I was pulling the pistol up past my face to get the long barrel out of my waistband, my thumb slipped and the weapon discharged, not pointed at my face but near my face. At one pont, the extra on the ground, this Romanian stunt guy, said, ‘Hey, you mind not pointing that at my head when you shoot me even though it’s a blank.’ I was like, ‘Oh god, sorry.'”

With an international cast and crew, there were always laughs. “I remember doing the scene with the little girl, who’s playing my daughter Roseanna, when I give her the button, and then all the sudden out of this girl’s mouth came, ‘It’s purty. Why you buy this for me?’ I looked up at the makeup guy, Mario [Michisanti], and I said I suddenly felt like I was doing a scene from The Exorcist. When the young priest’s mother’s dying, and he keeps seeing her in the subway and different places, and she’s going, ‘Dimmy, why you do this to me? Dimmy.’ That became a running joke. Mario got an Emmy nomination, too. I got a text from him, and I said, ‘”Why you do this to me, Dimmy?'”

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Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): Inside the Battle of the Blackwater

All season long we’d been teased that “War is Coming.” And then, it was finally time for Game of Thrones, the HBO hit that’s redefined fantasy television, to stage its first large-scale war sequence. Here, in an interview originally published in May, before “Blackwater” aired, Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss talk about the making of the eagerly anticipated episode, and how the hour was itself a battle to get produced. For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage. READ FULL STORY

Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): How J.J. Abrams pitched 'Revolution'


It started with two men sword fighting in front of a Starbucks.

Writer-producer Eric Kripke dreamed up that surreal image last summer. His previous series Supernatural was inspired by a similarly random mental snapshot — “a girl on the ceiling on fire.” Now he had this new idea, the coffee shop sword fight. Kripke didn’t know who the fighting men were or why they were using medieval weapons. He only knew he wanted to somehow take modern-day America and roll it back pre-industrial times, to write a quest story like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, only in a land peppered by freeways and fast food restaurants.

“I wanted to take everything I love about Lord of the Rings – swords and swashbuckling and quests and damsels in distress — put all that deep nerd fantasy stuff on the American highway,” Kripke says.

Here, in a piece originally published in November, is the story of what happened next.

For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.

Kripke he took the idea to primetime’s reigning master of big concepts, producer J.J. Abrams (Lost, Person of Interest), who saw the potential, particularly the inherent appeal of a back-to-basics rustic setting. “It’s wish fulfillment,” Abrams says. “We’re constantly being bombarded. It’s a silencing of the din that we live in right now.”

Moreover, Abrams says stripping away technology can help a show creatively, just like with the stranded island castaways on ABC’s Lost. “One of the things that’s difficult and frustrating about all the technology we have is it eliminates a lot of potential for drama,” Abrams says. “[Characters] can communicate instantly, they can research things, they can jump on a plane and be anywhere. Writers contort themselves to eliminate cell phones from scenes. And one of the beautiful byproducts of Kripke’s idea is that there’s no longer that immediate access.”

But Abrams didn’t like Kripke’s apocalyptic device for wiping out modern conveniences. Kripke originally wanted to have the country depopulated by a super virus. But that was deemed too familiar, too much like Stephen King’s The Stand. Instead, Abrams suggested an idea his company had been kicking around: Surviving the fallout of a nationwide blackout.

A few weeks later, the duo had a meeting at NBC’s Burbank offices.

Now if you’ve ever wondered how producers sell a TV show, pay attention to this next part.

NEXT: Inside Revolution’s pitch meeting, finding Miles, changing the title


Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): How Kim Coates prepared for Tig's torment on 'Sons of Anarchy'

Since we know a lot of people are currently marathoning Sons of Anarchy from the beginning because of the buzz surrounding season 5, we’ll issue a SPOILER ALERT. Stop reading now if you haven’t watched SOA‘s season 5 premiere. In an excerpt from an article originally published in September, actor Kim Coates takes us inside Tig’s first run-in with Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau) — which found its way onto our list of the most disturbing TV scenes ever. For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage. READ FULL STORY

Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): A 'Shark Week' cameraman tells all

This year marked the 25th anniversary of Discovery’s Shark Week. In a two-part interview originally published over the summer, Emmy-winning wildlife cameraman and apex predator expert Andy Casagrande, who’s worked on 13 Shark Week specials, told us how he’s able to free-dive with great whites, what we should do if we find ourselves swimming with a curious one (swim toward it?!), why he was once chased to the surface by a 10-footer, and how he managed to capture “The Impossible Shot.” For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’re known for getting outside the cage with great whites so you can capture angles TV audiences haven’t seen a million times before. How do you tell if sharks, in general, aren’t in the mood to be filmed?
ANDY CASAGRANDE: The smaller sharks will arch their back, drop their fins, and swim in weird postures. If you don’t have experience with sharks, you might not read those signs. They’ll get close to you, dart away, and then come back — mock charges where they’re essentially trying to scare you or let you know, hey, I’m pissed off, and if you keep swimming at me with your camera, I’m gonna bite you or whatever I can bite. It’s relatively obvious. Great whites are easy. They’re built like pit bulls on steroids. They can bend their fins here and there, but their way of showing they’re angry is they open and close their mouth. So they just show you the jaws sign. They swim right at you and gape. READ FULL STORY

Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): Inside the 'House' series finale

Dr. Gregory House checked out of Princeton-Plainsboro last May for the very last time after an hour that explored the man fans had come to know over eight seasons. As the good doctor rode into the sunset with Wilson, EW spoke with executive producer and creator David Shore, who broke down all the twists. If you missed the finale, there’s always our recap and Ken Tucker’s reviewFor more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.


Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): Josh Schwartz says goodbye to 'Chuck'

Before the Chuck series finale aired in January, co-creator Josh Schwartz penned an ode to the power of sandwiches for EW, while looking back at the show’s wild, stop-and-start ride. For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.

By: Josh Schwartz

They say every end is a new beginning. In the spring of 2007, I was on set for the last day of shooting The O.C. when I got the call. I needed to immediately watch an audition for the lead of my new pilot Chuck. The actor who had just read? Zachary Levi.

And so began the most quixotic, satisfying, and, at times, surreal journey of my career. In the fall of 2007, I was lucky enough to have not only Chuck premiere but also another series I had co-created, Gossip Girl. What were the chances, given that there are seven days in a week, that both shows would air against each other? They did, and my parents upgraded to a dual DVR. READ FULL STORY

Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): Inside 'The Debate' episode of 'Parks and Recreation'

Back in June, when asked Parks and Recreation EP Michael Schur what episode Emmy voters should revisit before filling out their nomination ballots, he answered “The Debate.” Written and directed by Amy Poehler, it encapsulates the show’s signature combination of humor and heart. Here, in excerpts from that original interview, he takes us inside that half hour. For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverageREAD FULL STORY

Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): Inside the 'Justified' season 3 finale, 'Slaughterhouse'

Throughout season 3 of FX’s Justified, did weekly postmortems with showrunner Graham Yost, who took us inside the writers room and gave us the stories behind the show’s best moments — of which the season finale, “Slaughterhouse,” had many. After Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) chopped off Quarles’ (Neal McDonough) rail-gun toting arm, Quarles told Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) that it was his father, Arlo (Raymond J. Barry), who’d shot and killed “the man in a hat” who’d been pointing a gun at Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). For all Arlo knew, he could have been firing at Raylan. Here, in excerpts from interviews originally posted after the season ender and during Emmy season, we find out how those twists and others came about. For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So Arlo didn’t know who he was shooting at.
Graham Yost: He did not know. That “man in a hat” thing was something that came up while we were working on the break, the writing, and the outlining of the last episode. In the credits, I wrote the story and [exec producer Fred Golan] wrote the script. But Fred being Fred, if he was jammed, he would say, “Why don’t you take a run at this scene?” And I just threw in the “man in a hat” thing. That was something that he loved and Tim picked up on, and it just became the anchor for the final beat of the season.

We’ve talked before about how Tim doesn’t want Raylan to use his gun — like you, he prefers more creative violence — so that double gun scene with Limehouse, and the earlier “Harlan Roulette” scene with Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns), are the best of both worlds: We get to see him wield a weapon but not actually shoot anyone. I loved the return of Harlan Roulette from earlier in the season.
That was a late change. We knew there was gonna be a big Raylan-Wynn Duffy scene, and we knew that it was gonna get weird and violent. I can’t remember the various iterations of it, but when we hit on that, I think maybe Fred had asked [co-executive producer] Dave Andron to take a run at the scene and Dave had written [the episode] “Harlan Roulette.” We just thought that would be a cool way to go. It’s that little dance we try to do, which is to set up a certain expectation in the audience’s mind and then hopefully deliver it in a way that’s unexpected. Like we felt that from the beginning of the season, people would expect Raylan to have a showdown with Quarles where Raylan would shoot him. And then we thought, well maybe there’s a different way to go. Can we accomplish the same end, which is neutralizing Quarles, in a way that’s a little more arresting and interesting and…gruesome, frankly. I’ve told you in weeks past, the first time we saw the slaughterhouse set and the knives and cleavers, we just had a feeling that at some point, those tools had to be used in anger. And it was also a feeling that maybe the final big confrontation needed to happen there. It’s such a scary weird place.

I loved how Quarles reached up for his severed arm, and Raylan pulled it away.
When Fred first wrote that, the arm just got chopped off and fell to the floor. Quarles was on the floor, reaches for it, and Raylan just puts his foot on it. Which is also cool. We went back and forth: Is Raylan gonna chop off the arm? Is Limehouse gonna get shot? Various things were working into the mix, and they just figured it out on set. The biggest bone of contention was when Quarles would tell Raylan that it was his father who shot Bergen. We went back and forth on that, too. Some people were pushing for him to say it before the arm chop, as we called it. My feeling was that it’s such important information, it would get so overshadowed by the arm chop that it would undercut it. I felt that the character moment was more important, so it needed to come late. Finally, when Fred was talking to Neal about it, Neal was like, “You know, I’m gonna be bleeding out on the floor,” and Fred said, “It’s like Messala in Ben-Hur when he’s been trampled to death essentially by horse after horse and chariot after chariot, and Ben-Hur has won the big race and Messala has been vanquished and as he’s dying. He screws with Ben-Hur one last time and says, ‘Your mother and sister are still alive. They’re in a leper colony.’” When Neal heard that, he said, “I got it.” He’s just screwing with Raylan one last time.

I assume from the blood pool, Quarles is dead.
Steven Heth, our post-producer, really rode that one right to the end: What’s the pool of blood gonna look like? How dark? Well, he may not be dead. Our feeling was that you could slap a tourniquet on that and probably stop him from bleeding out. But certainly as a presence in the show [he’s gone]. Although, if he were to kill Winona but frame Raylan, and Raylan had to clear his name and he was after a one-armed man… no, wait a second. That’s season 11, when we get desperate.

An equally cool move: How did the idea for Limehouse keeping his money in a pig carcass come about?
Some of it was just practical. We needed the money to be on site. We didn’t want them to go anywhere else. Someone had heard stories about people storing stuff in frozen meat. At one point, it was gonna be frozen. No, that’s too difficult. We could have had it under the floorboards, but it was a cooler scene to have that. And now I know what you’re gonna ask about, and I don’t know. I don’t know whose idea “piggy bank” was. It wasn’t scripted. It was a set line.

That last scene: Raylan tells Winona that his father Arlo just saw a man in a hat and shot him, not knowing who it was, then puts his hat on and walks out. The look on Tim’s face…
That’s just Tim. You could walk through that whole episode, every scene he does something interesting. And it always feels grounded and real in this weird Elmore Leonard world that we have going. I mentioned the scene with Wynn Duffy, the scene with Limehouse when Raylan’s on a vengeance-fueled drive and pulls his gun and all these other guns are on him and he just gives up. Just scene after scene. The little bits with him and Arlo, with him and Boyd [Walton Goggins]. I never want to take it for granted or just expect it, but I gotta say, working on the show, it’s so much fun to see the cuts. It’s so much fun to see the cuts and go, “Well, that’s as good as you could ask for.” There is an actor who fully understands his part and enjoys it. He gets a kick out of playing Raylan Givens, and it shows.

One of my favorite parts of our weekly postmortems was hearing how much the cast, particularly Tim (who’s also a producer on the show), contributes lines and other ideas.
We’re really lucky because everyone’s pulling in the same direction. We’re not all going, “No, the show should be more this or more that.” Everyone gets the drill: It’s Elmore Leonard, and that’s why we’re here — to do that peculiar dark, funny, exciting thing that Elmore does. In our best weeks we come close, I don’t think we ever surpass. But that’s our great gift, that we’re all going the same way. It just wouldn’t work if it was anything other than that.

Give me two examples of that in the finale.
At one point, we thought of wrapping up Quarles at the end of the second to last episode and having it more of a Raylan vs. Arlo finale, but it was Tim who said, “Once we dispatch Quarles, then the air goes out of the balloon.” He was right. We restructured it. Let’s just make going after Arlo the last act of the last episode. And the thing about Raylan returning the gun used to kill Gary to Quarles: That would surface in a script and then go away, surface and go away. There was actually a point where we thought, Well, we’re just not gonna address it. I’m pretty sure again it was Tim who came up with the idea: What if he has Quarles take both guns off him but only ask for one back? As he says, “You can keep that one.” That was just a nice way to wrap it up.

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Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): How Walton Goggins became Venus Van Dam

Sons of Anarchy fans had no idea that Justified star Walton Goggins had filmed a guest spot for season 5 until he made his entrance as transgender escort Venus Van Dam, hired to help Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and the motorcycle club blackmail a city council member with a memorable photo shoot. Here, in an interview originally published after the October episode aired, Goggins explains how he and SOA creator Kurt Sutter created one of the greatest guest spots ever. For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This was one of the greatest things we’ve seen in a long time, made even better because no one knew it was coming. How did it happen?
WALTON GOGGINS: Kurt, at one point, had done an interview with somebody and said the only two people who I could never have on the show are [Michael] Chiklis and Goggins, because of how closely relatable they are to their characters on The Shield. It would be very hard for our audience to accept them as anybody else. I called and said, “That’s bulls—! Come on!” And we went back and forth, like how would we do it? I wouldn’t want to do it as anything that would be compared to The Shield. And then I just said to him, “I’ll do it if I can be a transgender. I would like to play a transgender.” He said, “No, you wouldn’t.” I said, “Oh yes, absolutely, I would. Let’s do it as a transgender.” This conversation was like a year and a half ago.

He texted me while I was filming [Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained] down in New Orleans, and he said, “Were you serious?” I said, “About what?” He said, “Are you going to play Venus Van Dam?” I said, “Have you written it?” And he said, “Yes.” I said, “Send me the pages.” And I just fell in love with her immediately. It was really important to both of us that we really go there, we make her a three-dimensional person with feelings. Sassy, sweet, smart, and beautiful. Try to make her as beautiful as I can be — it takes a lot of work for me as a straight man much less as a woman to be anything close to beautiful. We had such a good time. He had written her in a way that I would want to hang out with her. It’s a woman who I would want to be around. READ FULL STORY

Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): 'Sons of Anarchy' says goodbye to Opie

Death can make for great drama on a series like FX’s Sons of Anarchy – but it can also break a lot of hearts. Such was the case on Sept. 25 when SAMCRO member Harry “Opie” Winston (Ryan Hurst) was fatally beaten in retaliation for the death of a rival’s daughter. Here, in a piece originally published as Sons of Anarchy scored its first Entertainment Weekly cover, Hurst and Charlie Hunnam (Jax) take us inside filming Opie’s final moments (and how they said goodbye to the beloved character afterward).

For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.

Ryan Hurst first learned about his character’s fate in April, when he received a call from creator/executive producer Kurt Sutter while he was (strangely enough) hosting a wake for a friend.

“I couldn’t stop crying. I tried to talk him out of it,” recalls Hurst, who played Horatio to Jax’s Hamlet since the drama’s pilot. “I went through Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief. He wasn’t sure of the particulars yet, just that it was gonna be bloody and gonna be noble… I didn’t see the way that it served the story. But then again, it’s not necessarily my position to comment on that. It’s Kurt’s show that he created, and whether it’s the right decision or the wrong decision, remains to be seen.”

The table read for Hurst’s final episode titled “Laying Pipe” was particularly upsetting, recalls Charlie Hunnam (Jax). “We finished reading the script and basically sat crying in silence for about 45 minutes afterwards. None of us could go back to work. It was such a profound thing.” So Hurst made sure his last day was memorable. Though only Jax, Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) and Tig (Kim Coates) appeared in the prison death scene, Hurst asked that all of his SAMCRO brothers stand in his sight line when he received the fatal blow to his head from a pipe. “I wanted everybody to stand behind the camera for the last shot so I could look at them. If you look at that last shot of Opie, he is just looking at all my brothers, and saying… thank you.”

What Hurst didn’t expect was how hard it was going to be to let go of Opie. Recalls Hunnam, “This is the first experience he’s ever had where the character will not die. Opie was alive and well inside him and had unfinished business.  And he didn’t know how to kill Opie. In an act of desperation, he found himself online at 4 in the morning. He said there were a thousand books to help actors with character development but not one on how to kill the f—er when you are done. So, I said, ‘Why don’t you come to my house, man, and we’ll do this really right. I’ll get a few of the boys there and we’ll cut your beard off as that’s ultimately going to be the final farewell.'”

Hunnam gave Hurst a parting gift of a samurai sword that he and Boone were going to use to remove Hurst’s scruffy beard. “I started crying, and then Boone started crying,” Hunnam said. “By the end of it, it was the catharsis that we’d all hoped it would be.”


Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): ABC News reporter Martha Raddatz on the art of national debate moderating

No debate moderator comes out of the experience completely unscathed, but ABC News Foreign Affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz’s performance in the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan — watched by 51.4 million viewers — was met with largely positive reviews. In an interview originally published in October, Raddatz talks to EW about what goes into moderating a huge political debate.

For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage. READ FULL STORY


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