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HBO LUCK - Interview With director Michael Mann

HBO LUCK - Interview With director Michael Mann

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director Michael Mann talks about LUCK
director Michael Mann talks about LUCK

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Published by: Noemi Lardizabal-Dado on Jan 31, 2012
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01/31/2012

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EXECUTIVE PRODUCER MICHAEL MANN TALKS ABOUTHBO’S NEW DRAMA SERIES
LUCK 
, PREMIERING FEBRUARY 20 ON HBO
From acclaimed director Michael Mann and
Deadwood 
creator David Milch, the nine-episode season of 
LUCK 
, starring Oscar 
®
winner Dustin Hoffman and Oscar 
®
nominee Nick Nolte, premieres Sunday,February 20, 2012 at 9pm on HBO HD / 10pm on HBO.
LUCK 
is a behind-the-track look at the world of horse racing and gambling’s denizens
 –
owners, trainers, jockeys and gamblers. The pilot is directed by Mann and written by Milch, both of whom also serve asexecutive producers for the series. It was filmed at Santa Anita Park and other Los Angeles locations.
Q: Why did you decide to get involved in
LUCK 
?
MICHAEL MANN: The attraction for me was David Milch’s wonderful script and then to bring together andwork with Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Dennis Farina, John Ortiz, Jill Hennessy…everybody else in thisoutstanding cast. What was challenging, directorially, about telling these stories was the ambition toimmerse audiences in the interior lives of the degenerate gamblers, trainers, owners, horses and AceBernstein…so they can experience this world with the intimacy of being inside of it. That’s what madeDavid’s material so challenging. That imperative determined all my choices in casting, shooting, editing,music…everything.
Q: Dustin plays the complex lead character, Chester “Ace” Bernstein. Why did you go toHoffman? What does he bring to the role?
MM: Dustin’s one of the great actors in American cinema. We’ve known each other and have wanted towork together for a long time. The excitement about Dustin playing Ace Bernstein is precisely because hehasn’t played this kind of a character before. He’s played characters – Ratso, Raymond – who aresomewhat reactive to circumstances and people. On the other hand, Ace is the bow that breaks thewaves. Ace is the man with the plan and knows more than he reveals about what’s going on. His motivesand moves are designed and precise, calculated. Ace sees the probabilities of the outcome of eventsspatially, as if equations are structures in the sky. He sees luck as preparation colliding with opportunity,and knows the probability of how most people will react. He’s a tough-minded individual, yet there is stillan openness to him. He’s capable of being moved by nature, by a horse, by a woman. He has repressed
Page 1 of 3
Contacts:
Lulu M. Virtusio, President, Virtusio Public Relations, Inc., T: 7257891, lmv@virtusio.comDessa M. Virtusio, VP for Account Management, Virtusio Public Relations, Inc., T: 7275251, dessa@virtusio.com
 
that side of him for much of his life, but the inner radiance of Bernstein isn’t extinguished. And it’s in theplaying out of the stories that the radiant center of Bernstein is illuminated.
Q: What is it about horse racing that appeals to you?
MM: The exquisite nature of the animals. You come to regard them as great athletes with sensitive spirits.The slightest shift in the attitude of the jockey is responded to by the race horse. I have a horse and I ride,but he’s not a thoroughbred race horse. My first impression of being up close to a race horse when westarted was: Imagine going 40 to 43 miles an hour next to a 1,500-pound jackrabbit. In our frames of reference, animals that large aren’t supposed to move that fast.
Q: What were some of the challenges in directing the pilot?
MM: There are so many rich characters and story tracks that we follow, that I thought the way to tell thestory is to try to immerse the audience in the flow of events and people. For example, we go from Nolte’sunexplained wariness about being observed running his horse full-out into the duplicity of an unexplainedEscalante scheme into a group of degenerate gamblers, with Marcus disappointed that Jerry blew hiscash playing poker. We transition rather than juxtapose, and that affects how it’s shot, how the musicworks, how the editing works, and, most importantly, the rhythm and tone I’m asking for from the actors.It’s so that we wheel among these different people and story tracks…starting with Ace, who’s out of prisonon an undisclosed mission. So that’s the rhythm and tone of how the narrative is directed, how the story istelling itself. It affects color palate, performance, stillness, music, editing…everything directorial.
Q: How did you choose the directors for other episodes?
MM: I think we have a lineup of really strong directors. Terry George, Allen Coulter, Phillip Noyce, BrianKirk, Mimi Leder. Their first question – since all are very self-confident and artistically ambitious – was“What’s the language, here? What’s the narrative form? What’s the film form?” Each wanted to maintainthe narrative approach to how we’re making the show, how we’re telling these stories, and then withinthat, challenge themselves to excel.
Page 2 of 3
Contacts:
Lulu M. Virtusio, President, Virtusio Public Relations, Inc., T: 7257891, lmv@virtusio.comDessa M. Virtusio, VP for Account Management, Virtusio Public Relations, Inc., T: 7275251, dessa@virtusio.com

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