I do like Once Upon A Time. There’s a levity in this show. It offers a different version of famous tales and legends, with an additional layer of more or less dangerous adventures. I like this show because it makes me spend great evenings of escapism in more or less hazardous places. There’s humour, love, fantasy… It makes you feel good in the end. Besides, I’m always amazed by the writers’ ability to create stories that are connected each other and keep this pace during many years. Even if you can sometimes get lost in all these stories, you still enjoy them.
Over the course of season 1, I confess I got bored by the Mary Margaret and David love story. I was fascinated by Regina and Rumple. I felt sad for them as well because they went through hard times that made them turn into dark people. The relationship between Belle and Rumple was touching. Then the sexy pirate Hook stepped in. We figured out Peter Pan was a smart and nasty guy. As a matter of fact, I really enjoyed watching the episodes.
However, I started to have mixed feelings when I watched the second half of season 4. I felt empathy for Ingrid. Indeed, she only wanted to be loved and accepted, but she made the wrong choices to make her wishes come true. Besides, she didn’t hesitate to sacrifice herself once she realized she was wrong. I really appreciated this part using Frozen characters and I expected an interesting development with the Author quest and the alternate version of the Book. Unfortunately, the most promising element, to me, ended in the fastest way I could ever imagine…
First, the three female villains, Cruella, Maleficent and Ursula didn’t really unleash their evil plans. They just appeared to make the story go forward until the season finale cliffhanger. Cruella was actually the craziest but honestly, she wasn’t given much time to jeopardize Storybrooke, like other villains did. She did kidnap Henry, but she didn’t get to be as evil as Regina and Rumple, or Peter Pan and Zelena. The shocking truth about Mary Margaret and David made them appear less charming, but that was interesting to see they had their shameful secret, too.
So, what do I think was wrong with the second part of season 4? Well, it’s all about the new version of the Book. The writers got rid of this version after two episodes. I wish this version could be at the center of the first half of season 5. There were so many fun stories to tell. The episodes could have focused on Emma and Henry traveling in the different worlds while they were trying to fix things. They could have met the alternate versions of several characters, been in trouble. We could have seen flashbacks that depicted what Isaac had imagined for the heroes and villains. Isaac and the Light One (with other people?) would have teamed up to stop Emma and Henry. We could have so much fun with Snow and her new hair cut, the sweet Hook, Rumple as the Light One (when I saw him in his new role, I laughed!), Regina Hood… Of course, the season 4 final scene would have been the same: Emma would have saved Regina from becoming the new Dark One. This would have been the main topic for the second half of season 5.
It was difficult not to get confused with all the elements that were showed to us: time traveling, trips in various worlds, and multiple stories characters were dealing with. Some elements weren’t relevant for the season, I felt like they were just there to make an episode reach its 40-minute length. These elements avoided the development of some options. The Dark Ones’ darkness could have been the first possibility to explore. One day, we were in Storybrooke, the other, we were back in Camelot and from there, we were brought many years or centuries ago, and then, we were wandering in Merida’s kingdom. We’d been traveling back and forth for 11 episodes. We crossed paths with Merida, Arthur (didn't recognize sgt. Baxter from "Strike Back"!), Lancelot, Merlin, and Nimue, etc. Because of the information overload, some story arcs ended too fast and some lacked of consistency. Belle’s and Merida’s adventures were a striking example: our heroes, including Belle, were walking in the Camelot woods and Belle was suddenly taken “hostage” by Merida to help her fulfill a mission. It was strange that the other heroes who were with Belle didn’t even care about her disappearance (did they even notice she was gone?). Hum, how nice… And absolutely not credible. And what about Hook who changed his mind faster than his shadow?
Of course, I’m not saying that everything should have been removed. Maybe Merida should have been planned for a future story arc (in the same season or another). Or maybe the beginning of season 5 should have focused on Emma and cie. when they got in Camelot, and only flashbacks related to Camelot before the arrival of the Storybrooke pals should have been showed, instead of flooding the viewers with a mix of Storybrooke scenes and Camelot flashbacks before and after Emma’s arrival.
So now, Emma wants to bring her lover back from the underworld. Well, why not? I hope she will find and save him again. I don’t know why, but this situation reminded me the animated film Aladdin, and in particular the scene where the genie explains the young man he forbids himself to resuscitate people because this action is kind of disgusting to him. So I found it weird that Emma wanted to go to the underworld to search for Hook. Magic offers a lot of possibilities, but there should be a limit, right^^? Besides, well, this is my rational side that is speaking, when a dead person exits the underworld, what happens to his/her physical body that was buried in the real world? Does it just vanish?
Let’s finish with a paragraph about Rumple. I didn’t quite understand why he succeeded in removing Excalibur. I did understand he could do so because he showed bravery when he faced the bear/Merida to save Belle. However, can this one single act of bravery erase all the bad actions he committed over the centuries? I thought Excalibur would choose a person with a purer heart (but maybe I need to watch the episode again…). Despite Rumple happens to be sincere and do things without expecting something in return, there’s always that detail that makes him succumb to temptation. He’s not learning from his mistakes and lives for power indeed. Belle should leave him once and for all (come on, girl!) or accept what he really is. Rumple has become the expert in manipulation, but I don’t know if I could remain interested in this character if I see him misleading people and defeating them again and again. If he becomes invincible, does that mean evil is the only way out? What are the heroes gonna do?
Sarah Drew, who portrays Dr. April Kepner in Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), went to Monaco in June 2015 with her husband and their two kids. The actress spent some time to answer journalists’ questions about season 12, her character, fans’ passion for the show… (I'm not a native English speaker, so my apologies if there are English mistakes in the actress's answers)
— Patrick Dempsey’s character has died, so what’s going to happen in next season? Do you think another character’s going to appear?
Sarah Drew: I just found out today (NB: the collective interview took place on Tuesday 16 June) that Martin Henderson is coming on to the show, which I’m very excited about because he was… I did a pilot with him for Shonda Rhimes that actually didn’t go a couple of years ago, so I’m very excited. But nobody can replace "McDreamy". "McDreamy" is "McDreamy", you know! (laughter)
— What’s next for you in season 12, if you can give us some keys?
Sarah Drew: I do know that my character has gone through a significant change, had this crazy experience on the battle front as surgeon at war. And now, I’m back and I’m a new person who’s coming into conflict with my relationship with Jackson, and we’re gonna see she’s super badass now. She’s a very very different person. I think everybody’s really excited because there’s a new vamp of the show, and we found Debbie Allen (NB: Dr. Catherine Avery in the series) as one of our producers now. We’ll see, it’s gonna be fun.
— Your character is very different from what she was at the beginning: the shy one, and now, she’s tough.
Sarah Drew: Yes. April has evolved quite a bit. I mean, it’s a real gift to get to play this character because I feel like I’ve played four different characters over the course of this one show. She’s changed so much, she’s grown and matured. She really kind of started off like a teenager. She wasn’t a teenager, but that’s sort of how she behaved and now she’s really mature and now I feel like she’s a real grown-up, very deep grown-up stuff, it’s been cool to get to see that happen.
— Why do you think people are attracted so much by the show?
Sarah Drew: I think people relate to these characters. An then you have the heightened experience of life-and-death situations of being in a hospital, trying to save lives and is the patient gonna live? is the patient gonna die? But everything relates back to these relationships, and people see themselves in these relationships, and they fall in love with these relationships, and they hope for love. It’s a very hopeful show, I find, there’s a lot of hope that I think people are drawn to as well. Especially in an era where there are a lot of dark shows out right now. There’s like a levity and a lightness, it’s about people trying to do the right thing and sometimes it’s failing.
— But in the show, there are some dark situations.
Sarah Drew: Absolutely. There are absolutely dark situations on the show, but I think it’s about people inherently trying to overcome it, trying to do the right thing, you know.
— How do you connect with fans who watch the show? Social networks?
Sarah Drew: Twitter, Instagram. I don’t meet fans very often. I mean, I’m kind of a homebody, I stay with my family. I live in a part of LA where celebrities don’t hang out. I don’t ever do my hair, make-up so often, so when I get recognized, it’s because people think they met me at the gym!
— Do you think it’s important to have feedbacks from the people who watch the show?
Sarah Drew: Absolutely!
— How do you have that? Is it social network ?
Sarah Drew: We get feedbacks through Twitter. I live-tweet a lot. And the fans have kept the show going. I mean, it’s… We won a People’s Choice Award for Best Drama in the States this year and, I guess that was everywhere, I don’t know, but for a show to win People’s Choice Awards in its eleventh season, it’s really because the fans have just embraced it and loved it and kept it going, and I… We’re so grateful, grateful to fans.
— Why do you think the public like the hospital TV shows?
Sarah Drew: I think it’s because of the heightened stakes, like we’re dealing with life-and-death situations. So you get invested in the characters on the show, and then you get invested in the patients, and then you see how the patients’ lives are connected to the doctors’. And so, there are a lot of ways to connect. I think it’s all about connection.
— When you’re going to an hospital right now, do you see things differently?
Sarah Drew: Absolutely. Yeah. This season, my character… I was pregnant while my character was pregnant, and we shot my labor and delivery scene, and then I went into labor ten hours later. So I was literally in the labor and delivery scene and then ten hours later, in real labor, real delivery room, dealing with nurses, it was pretty crazy.
— Did you do like a boot camp in a hospital before?
Sarah Drew: I think probably the original cast members in the first few seasons actually went and observed surgeries, and that’s always been available to us, but I have not done it yet. I know I should, it’s ridiculous that I haven’t. I’m going to, I need to do it. I would like to go.
— Is it because you’re afraid?
Sarah Drew: No. No. I think it would be really interesting. I would be fascinated, actually. It’s a matter of finding the time in my life to go.
— April is a very religious person. What is your relationship with religion yourself?
Sarah Drew: My father is a minister. I grew up in a Christian household, so my faith has always been a part of my life, a very, very important part of my life. And it was really interesting because when they decided that my character would become a Christian, Shonda Rhimes invited me into her office and said: "we know that you know a lot about this world, and we want to tell an authentic story, so you pitch us ideas, and any time it doesn’t feel right, come and tell us, we want to tell a true story". It’s been an honor to get to collaborate in that way.
— Could you describe us a typical day on the set?
Sarah Drew: Typical day on set… You show up, you go in the trailer, go to hair and make-up, hang out with your hair maker folks. You go to rehearse the scenes, so you see the crew. And then they settle the lightings, you go back to the trailer, you get dressed and you finish getting ready. And then, you go back and you shoot, and it’s just take after take after take. And you hang out with the actors and between takes, we like to watch YouTube videos, or just read, it’s just silly stuff: cats, babies going though tunnels, that’s my favorite one right now (laughter)
— Did you watch the show?
Sarah Drew: Yes, and I watched it from the beginning. It’s the one show that my husband and I watch since the beginning. So it was really exciting when I got to come and be a part of the show.
— Some of the major characters died. Do you fear that Shonda Rhimes could kill your character?
Sarah Drew: Oh, we could all be killed off. Anybody could go at any time, so I’m just embracing the present for what the present is. I would love to stay on the show, but I know there’s a lot of chances I can go.
— Do you have a plan B, just in case?
Sarah Drew: When this ends, I’ll just move on to the next thing. I’ll just start auditioning again, and be so grateful for what this experience has been.
— You’re doing this for such a long time and might have missed opportunities. Like you said, you’ll have to do it all over again.
Sarah Drew: You can’t spend to much time mourning the missed opportunities when you are in the middle of a greatest opportunity you can ever ask for, you know what I mean? I got the chance, like I got to do a movie two summers ago and then got to promote it last summer and… It’s such a full-time job, we do 24 episodes a year, it’s hard. When you do have that break you kinda want to take that break. I mean, it’s fun to work sometimes, but I think… When I get concerned about "oh to get to do this, I need to go do this"... I think about what Chandra Wilson (NB: Dr. Bailey in the series) actually said to me. She said: "why are you worrying about that right now? You have a job, just enjoy the fact you have a job right now. You’ve got a job. This job will eventually end and you go find the next job". I think it’s a very healthy attitude.
(This article contains SPOILERS)
I was lucky to attend the Vynil premiere that was held in the Palais de Tokyo, in Paris, few days before the official release on HBO, on February 14. The event was organized by two French TV players: OCS (operated by Orange, a telco operator) and Canalsat.
The pitch? The series follows Richie Finestra, a New York music executive who tries to make a career out of the music industry, in the 70s. What will he chose between business priorities and going off the beaten track? The series is quite expected because of the people who are behind it: Mick Jagger, Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter. Hence, it is already labeled a must-see show.
My opinion? The story is interesting, the pilot introduces the panel of characters and the stakes. Even if Richie Finestra was at the center of the pilot (Bobby Cannavale is excellent in the role, nice hair cut^^), it is quite obvious the others are on the verge of going through big changes. I hope we can see them much more in the next episodes because even though Finestra is an attractive character, there were sometimes too many Finestra scenes in the pilot. There can be a lot to do with the other heroes : the young assistant (Juno Temple) who is aiming at climbing the social ladder in Richie's label, the young singer (James Jagger) who will surely stand out, Richie's wife (Olivia Wilde) who, I think, will balance between being a housewife and seeing her husband going on a slippery path, and the former promising blues singer (Atto Essandoh) who had been "betrayed"...
The series offers a neat reconstruction of the 70s, in terms of what New York and the music industry looked like back in the day (my ears suffered from some musical moments that were too loud but I really liked the blues songs). The production paid a particular attention to the details and it turns out viewers could immerse themselves in this atmosphere, especially in the dark side of it (I did not imagine decadence could reach that level...).
Well, this series is truly "sex, drugs and rock'n'roll" with funny quotes and situations, and is worth trying. The downside of it lied in the length: some elements were not necessary, others rang a bell, like the accidental involvement of Finestra in a sudden and violent disappearance (I thought about Lucious Lyon who had to handle some obstacles to his success himself). I'm not a big fan of rock, I don't know if we can call this series a masterpiece, from the sole first episode, but I admit this was a nice experience that makes us remember how music was good in those days.
The project was born in Mick Jagger's mind 15 years ago. He wanted to make a film about a record label and reached out to Martin Scorsese to share his idea. The two came up with a film that would last three hours. It finally became a series years later.
The story begins in 1973. This year has been chosen because it has been a great year for music. Moreover, having the 1970s as historical background allowed the production to create a story arc in which criminal organizations could be involved, indeed, back in the day, New York faced a high criminality rate.
Below one trailer:
Downton Abbey said goodbye to the French viewers on the second day of 2016 with its last Christmas special. The episode gave a nice and happy ending for everyone… well, almost everyone when you think of Carson, I would rather say he was left with a “semi happy” ending.
I will keep sweet memories of this fine series. It presented a perfect reconstruction of the British gentry and servantship at the beginning of the twentieth century, with sophisticated and kind characters. I would mention Lord Grantham as an example: the man showed loyalty to the people who served him (e.g., Carson, Mrs. Padmore, Bates…), had never been mean or rude to anyone. He was a true gentleman. Downton Abbey created an environment in which love was mingled with tragedies (who could forget Matthew’s and Sybil’s death the day they welcomed their newborn?), changes that came alongside historical events and the acceptation of these changes (Tom Branson, the driver who married the Lord’s third daughter, etc.), humour (Denker vs. Spratt, the dowager countess’s lovely quotes…).
Love was at the core of Downton Abbey. In a sense, it has always been a matter of love: Mary/Matthew and eventually Mary/Henry, Edith/Michael, Edith/Bertie, Tom/Sybil, Isobel/Lord Merton, Anna/John Bates, plus the relationships that were not successful, and so on.
I must admit I was bored by some of these love stories and some characters’ evolution. The most disappointing, to me, was Mary. She was like a spoiled child raised in a rich family. Aiming at marrying a wealthy man even if she accepted Henry in the end, her joy to see him turning into a car salesman even seemed a bit odd (it was a bit difficult for me to trust her sincerity). Harsh to her sister Edith, appearing with a new haircut when Edith learns about Michael’s death, and nearly showing exasperation, like “come on, you should have known there was no hope, so why don’t you move on?” (it is true we doubted Michael would come back alive, but seriously, Mary…).
Yet curiously very close to her maid and the butler, in general, benevolent with the lower class. After Matthew passed away (could not bear the everlasting waltz between these folks), I expected Mary to take new challenging directions. What did we get? New pretenders for the Lady, again and again. It seemed that the sole objective for this character was to push her tie the knot, and be cruel to Edith to the end. See the Marigold revelation and Mary claiming she was unaware Edith did not tell Bertie… To me, Mary was certainly the less interesting character. I do not know if the Mary character was supposed to be the one that people would not appreciate or have mixed feelings about, but if it is, the job is well done.
On the contrary, unlucky (for a long time) Edith was one of the most outstanding. When ‘Downton Abbey’ started, she was not really the most appealing hero in terms of temper, but she proved over the years to be mature, modern, and brave. She had several love interests as well, but they brought more compelling hardships/adventures to go through: she was left at the altar, had a baby out of wedlock (remember that was unacceptable back then!), headed a magazine. Edith became stronger. She totally and hopefully deserved a happy ending.
I regret the relationship between the Bates and justice (was it necessary to have both John and Anna accused of murder two seasons in a row?). I regret the fact that lots of servants arcs existed because they were linked to the Crawleys stories. For instance: we see servant Y doing things in city W because he/she is travelling with Crawley family member Z who had business to do in city W. However, that was a great idea to show the servants had their own dreams: Mrs. Padmore and her B&B, Daisy passing exams, Spratt and his column in Edith’s magazine, Molesley being a teacher… Times were changing, and people, too. I regret also that Downton Abbey did not go deeper for some story arcs, going from a curious beginning to a quick and simple development and conclusion, while wasting time on déjà-vu stories, let’s give the example of the Bates involved in criminal investigations.
These are some elements I wanted to point out, among others. Downton Abbey was a good series, it did not tell anything extraordinary, but (almost) ordinary people’s ordinary lives in a world in transition, in a soft and charming way. Even though I wish I could spend more great moments watching it, like intricate Tom Barrow said, “Even good things come to an end”.
You can check out my reviews in French here.
During the festival, I met Alfred Enoch, who portrays Wes Gibbins in How To Get Away With Murder (created by Peter Nowalk and produced by Shonda Rhimes), for a collective interview. He nicely shared with the interviewers his feelings about his character, Viola Davis', Annalise Keating, and the series. Just before starting, he said few words about the party organized for 55th anniversary of the festival he attended the night before.
— Can you tell us what memory you have of the first time you read the script of How To Get Away ?
Alfred Enoch: I remember I was doing a play in London. I got the script on a two-show days. I had the matinee and the evening show, and I was going to have the audition in the next day. As I came through, my first thought was: how am I going to read it? Get prepped? Do also a decent job? And that concern was only heightened as I read it, because I thought: this is exciting, this is good, this should be an exciting, interesting job to do. I remember thinking this is an interesting… twist on something which feels more familiar. The whodunnit element told with two timeframes seemed something novel to me and it seemed like it asked questions differently.
— Do you know at the beginning that Wes killed Sam?
Alfred Enoch: No. I wish I had, but I didn’t. That was one of the interesting things about working on the show. Things would change. You get the script and you think: oh, there’s another piece of the jigsaw puzzle. So it’s very difficult, from that perspective, to reconstruct what happened before in order to foresee what comes after.
— In the series, you’re studying law. Could you have been a lawyer yourself?
Alfred Enoch: I studied literature, so my, probably my relationship with words comes from a different angle, you know. I have friends who finished doing that degree. It was never something that would have appealed to me.
— What do you like the most in your character, and what do you dislike?
Alfred Enoch: I really admire Wes’s ability to cleave to his beliefs, his principles. He asks questions that are difficult, based on moral code. I rather respect that. I think one of the most difficult things about the character is… I mean, it’s hard because they are put in, they are put in such difficult situations and that’s probably part of the reason why people like the show. Obviously, some of his actions become questionable, but often I think people see that in a less sympathetic light than I do. Maybe that’s just because as Wes, I spend a lot of time with my character. I sympathize with him. You know, I think he does something very extreme, but he does it. He does it protectively and lovely… That’s one of the other things that fascinates me about the script and that was even from the pilot. It shows different sides of these characters, and it makes it hard just to pin someone down and say: this is what someone is. You know, we present ourselves differently in different situations, different scenarios and with different people. So I like that, I like it’s not just so simple to say if someone does a bad thing they’re a bad person.
— How is it to work with Viola?
Alfred Enoch: Fantastic!
— Is it the same relation you have on screen?
Alfred Enoch: Thankfully, not! (laughter) I would be… Goodness, it would be a really exhausting experience if that was the case… Annalise Keating is such a formidable and I think, exhausting character! She’s so a difficult woman in so many ways. The way she manipulates people, the way she’s demanding, but Viola is lovely, she’s such a nice, nice person. And it helps make the set to be a very nice place to be. There are nice people. For me, you know, coming from London and living in a city I didn’t really know before, it has made all that much easier to be surrounded by good people. So I’m very grateful for Viola and the rest of the cast.
— Do you see the relationship between Wes and Annalise like a mother or more?
Alfred Enoch: There’s more to it. I think there is, perhaps, a maternal side to it. She does something which I can only think was incredibly generous, in a very extreme moment for both. I think there is a maternal side, there’s so much more. I think that’s one of the interesting things about playing it, but also the fact there are so many different impulses, so many conflicts for them. The way it starts, they’re bound together by a secret. You know, she’s compromised, he knows something, she needs him not to tell people. And I think one of the fun things is the writers always come up with other ways of sort of destabilizing this relationship. There’s a lot push-and-pull, there’s conflict and there’s attraction.
— Your character will be saved because he’s got this special link with Annalise?
Alfred Enoch: I think one of the exciting things about the show is it feels like no one is safe. You know, you don’t want to watch, I think, a TV… I mean… that’s not necessarily true. I think sometimes… I remember I read a book when I was younger and someone spoiled the ending to me, told me who dies, and it didn’t actually compromise my enjoyment of the book at all. How you get there is another thing. That was one of the elements of the show. When it solved the question of who killed Sam, it then asked another question: who else was involved, and to what degree? I like that shifting. There’s always something else to find. But I think something was added to the mix: it doesn’t feel very obviously that people are safe. At least, it didn’t feel that way to me. I felt: Wes could have been killed… No he’s gonna survive in season 1. When the stakes are that high, people actually become very extreme, especially in the context of the show. I think that any character might go. Hopefully he (Wes) survives…
— Yes, in the series everything can happen anytime, so that’s very exciting to watch it. No one is safe at all.
Alfred Enoch: I’m glad that’s not just a paranoia of an actor who might lose his job.
— Obviously, you’re not playing in Game Of Thrones! (laughter)
Alfred Enoch: Right. I think, in a way, that comes to something which is important in any story, it’s just you don’t want things to be spare, or pointless, or irrelevant. You know, someone dies, it’s got to be an event. I mean, whether you miss that character, whether you’re glad that this character’s dead, you want some kind of relationship. So I think there’s something in that, in Game Of Thrones.
— What is the implication of Shonda Rimes on the show?
Alfred Enoch: She’s created a really good atmosphere. You know, she’s made it a permissive working environment where, you know, people feel comfortable. We had a dinner with Shonda and the creative team and all the writers, the actors, the writers, Shonda and a few of producers when we first arrived in L.A before we started the season. And that’s a nice thing to do.
Matthew Gray Gubler, as known as Spencer Reid, represented the CBS hit show Criminal Minds this year at the festival, and this was not his first time. As a big fan of the show, I can say it was one of the series that made me what I am today as a series fan (I even made a fan film, "Devil's Agents"), I couldn’t wait to interview Matthew. With another person, we had a nice conversation with him (sorry if I misunderstood some words, not a native English speaker, so I tried to do my best^^):
— You studied film directing and then, you worked as a model for several brands, and then, you jumped into Criminal Minds. What did you learn from these experiences, and was it intentional to orient your career towards those different experiences?
MGG: You know, I’ve been very lucky and I haven’t really… intentionally… (NB: MGG made a comment about an interviewer’s socks before continuing) I have a very fortunate career and I haven’t intentionally guided it in any way in particular. I’ve just been very lucky. I studied film directing and I thought it would rock me to Hollywood, and that was my goal in life, and it, in a weird way, led me towards a filmmaker named Wes Anderson, who I interned for in film school, and then, he cast me in a film called “The Aquatic Life with Steve Zissou”. And that was my first acting job, which ultimately led me to making a documentary about that movie and getting a directing agent who sent me to the audition for Criminal Minds. I’ve always tried to… I love entertaining people, in any way, whether it is acting or directing, making YouTube clips, and I just try to do that every day.
— Was it difficult for you to be an actor? Because you didn’t have any, many experiences before Criminal Minds.
MGG: Good question. I think it actually made it easier. My favorite type of actors and my favorite type of artists are people that don’t have training, because it forces them to be genuine and sincere. It’s… in anything, whether it’s a painter or you know, a dancer, I think if you’re doing it without form and without technique, you’re forced to do it in an incredibly genuine way. Even if I’m directing episodes or anything, I always look for the people who… they aren’t acting, they’re just sort of existing, and those are my favorite type of performers.
— Does it mean you didn’t have any preparation to play the role?
MGG: Yeah, I did. Because I never studied acting classically, so my process of acting is, I think, different than others, I try to… I study… It’s hard for me to explain… I wanted the character to have Asperger syndrome, it’s a form of autism, so I researched that eventually and I wanted him to be sort of unlike, untypical FBI person, so I went out of my way to know nothing about the FBI. I didn’t want to know how to hold a gun, I wanted to make him just a sort of… a unique character. It’s sort of taking my favorite parts of many of my heroes and people that I’ve known in real life. I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t really have a method. It’s weird, I don’t know, I don’t know, my process is rambling, sorry…
— Why does your character speak so fast?
MGG: Good question… You know, I never thought that he spoke fast!
— Or maybe because I’m French…
MGG: No, he does. No he does speak very fast. It’s just a sort of natural in taking everything that I wanted to create Reid, putting it inside, it just manifested itself as a rapid thought. I think he’s used to people ignoring him and zoning him out, but he has an inability… he knows everything and he must say it at all times, so the best way to do that without being interrupted is to speak very fast, to prevent anyone from cutting him off.
— What are your favorite episodes?
MGG: I’m very proud of the ones I directed, for sure.
— One of my favorites is “Lauren”.
MGG: Uh, thank you!
— Because I loved Paget Brewster’s character (NB: Emily Prentiss) too, so…
MGG: She’s great. Thank you. That was a fun one to direct. My favorite one is probably “The lesson”. It was in season 8, and it was the man turning human beings into puppets, and I love that. And I love “Mosley Lane”.
— Could you tell us few words about the cast?
MGG: Yeah! We all feel like family, and I’m so lucky to get to work with them. I love them all. Shemar is like my brother, Joe is like my Los Angeles father, the girls are like my sisters. It’s a great ensemble. Everyone has the best sense of humor.
— Criminal Minds is about very dark murders. Have you ever thought it could have an influence on some people who watch it, because we always see serial killers and very scary modi operandi?
MGG: It’s funny, I think… I actually see… I think it’s a bit like a horror shark test, where you look at something and you see what you want to see. When I see the show, it seems that people walk to me in the streets often tell me that the show inspired them to go into law enforcement, or made them want to be an FBI agent, or made them want to stop crime. I haven’t met anyone yet that was like “it made me want to kill people”. (laughter) I like to imagine it’s doing more to inspire good in the world, and to me it’s a show not about murder and death, but a show about hope and goodness, but it is just from my perspective. (laughter) So I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy…
MGG: I’m sure I am…
— And what are your projects now?
MGG: I shoot this show eleven months out of the year, but every month off a year, I make a movie. Right now, I’m filming “Alvin And The Chimp Monks part 4”, and I just finished producing and acting in a modern day adaptation of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, which I’m very proud of, that just premiered three days ago in America. And I just filmed a movie called “Suburban Gothic”, which is a comedy, horror movie that’s coming out, I think in Europe, in the next month.
— How could you manage to do everything?
MGG: I know, I know… Good question, I know… I need a stop… This year, I was filming Criminal Minds as well filming “Band of Robbers” and “Life After Beth”, the zombie movie, and it was a lot work.
— So you play and you direct. What do you prefer?
MGG: I love the entertaining people in any way. My favorite things in life are comedy acting and any type of directing.
Synopsis: The everyday life of a group of crazy NYPD detectives.
The synopsis of Brooklyn Nine Nine raised my interest, whereas I’m not particularly fond of comedies. It raised my interest because of its topic. Indeed, I usually see (I may be wrong) comedies as stories that, in general, deal with the same themes: dysfunctional but fun/crazy families, friends or people who evolve together. Brooklyn Nine Nine was offering a journey with atypical detectives. In other words, Brooklyn Nine Nine sounded like the funny version of a police procedural. Since I appreciate cop shows, and since I was curious to see how a serious subject could be introduced in a comedy, I decided to watch this pilot.
So what? Well, the pilot is great! It’s a good surprise. Andy Samberg masters his role of the cop who didn’t really quit childhood but is quite smart. His partners in crime are nice and differentiate from each other with specific personalities. Andre Braugher appears like the tough commander in chief keen on procedures at first sight, before showing his character will totally bring his contribution to this crazy team. The comedy side fits in well with the cases. These cases are solved in a very short time and easily. However, it isn’t a big deal: development isn’t easy when you have only 22 minutes. Besides, you don’t expect a thrilling case anyway. Nevertheless, the show should be careful not to turn the detectives into too silly people or it would lose its taste.
Synopsis : Piper Chapman has to spend one year in a female correctional facility.
I really liked this episode. It’s a blend of freshness, fun characters and situations. It balances comedy and drama. It made me laugh and have a great time. Piper had to enter a brand new world for her. Seeing the candid Piper acting like she was living in a hotel; discovering and adjusting to the harsh reality, the rules of the facility and the wide range of different but not so sweet/sophisticated partners was so delightful. Even if Piper’s character is at the center of the storyline (well, her situation kicks off the story), you feel the other inmates won’t be denied or stuck in the role of “the inmate who happens to walk in the corridor”. Of course, due to the number of prisoners, it is normal that everybody can’t benefit from a deep dive into the personal background, but there’s a lot of possibilities. Finally, there’s another point that makes this series different from the others: women are the main characters and represent the majority of these main characters. Instead of following one strong female character leaving her mark in a male-dominated world, here, we focus on several women. Men are also around, but women are the core subject. And it’s good to see a series relying on women.
Synopsis : The show explores the relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham, a FBI profiler.
This pilot stands out by the quality of the direction and the introduction of the two fascinating personalities of Lecter and Graham. These elements are even more interesting than the story about the serial killings itself. The first scene is quite fascinating, and quickly and efficiently makes the viewer jump in the atmosphere of the show: dark, violent, bloody, and unreal. This atmosphere keeps on surrounding the viewer during the rest of the episode, through the rewinds, the scenes where Graham “relives” the modus operandi. You feel like you’re trapped in a nightmare, trying to run away. However, you always face a dead-end, no matter what you do. Graham and Lecter contribute to this atmosphere, by their loneliness, smartness and complexity. Graham appears to be the guy who acts weird and therefore, attracts people’s attention; whereas Lecter is the guy above all doubts, the handsome, educated and enigmatic gentleman people respect. Mads Mikkelsen was a good choice and plays doctor Lecter perfectly. Graham’s empathy ability is certainly a useful advantage, but can also turn into a curse that can damage him. Hugh Dancy’s acting totally brings to life the different characteristics of his character.
The pilot is very satisfying and opens the door to interesting episodes. That’s great a network like NBC greenlit this project.
I decided to dedicate a section to reviews in English, to discuss about TV series with people who don’t speak French. I apologize in advance for the mistakes.
The reviews may not follow the original airings. The reviews won’t cover the entire list of TV series (this is not the purpose anyway^^).
The reviews will reflect my personal opinion: I’m not trying to give a serious and neutral one. I’m sharing how I felt about the episode. Don’t hesitate to react (but politely, please): it will be nice to talk with other fans.
Of course, you’re invited to read the articles in French!
See you soon,