Ask 411 Movies for 09.30.13: 7 Years and Counting....
Posted by Chad Webb on 09.30.2013
Why did Deadwood have an actor play two different roles on the series? Who has the Law & Order series brought back after they'd left the show? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Movies!
An "Ask 411 Movies" column would be nothing without questions, so please toss them my way. Why should you ask me instead of using Google? Well, perhaps I'll tell you something you can't find there, or maybe you just like my conversation and soothing words. You can post any questions or thoughts below in the comments section, email me at email@example.com, or send me a tweet using the links below:
Ladies and gentlemen, I have now been a proud member of the 411mania staff for 7 years. My first posting was a review for the Jodie Foster movie Flightplan on September 29th, 2006. To quote the Grateful Dead, "what a long strange trip it's been." I'm glad to have been around for so many years. I have made many friends and have enjoyed being the editor of the Movie-Zone. It's been a blast so far. Thanks for all your support!
As for what I saw this week, it wasn't much as all the premieres on television had me controlling the percentage on my DVR when I had time to relax and watch something. The wifey and I did see Prisoners, which we both loved. Whether or not it makes my end of the year list or not remains to be seen, but I would give ***1/2 stars out of ****. I also went to the New York Film Festival and saw Hayao Miyazaki's final film, The Wind Rises. More on that at a later date. I wish I could see more NYFF screenings, but not this year. I also saw Don Jon, which was hilarious. Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a fine job writing and directing this. The editing is snappy, the music works, and the pace is brisk.
If you liked what you just read and want to know more about my movie tastes, check out my page on Letterboxd by clicking right here. Also, make sure to look at all the great articles and writers at 411, particularly in the Movie-zone because that's where I predominantly am, but all of the zones.
Q: I have a question for you. On the New Girl, Damon Wayans Jr. was a main character in the pilot, but got replaced by a different actor playing a different character for the duration of the series (due to Happy Endings being picked up). However, it was announced that for the upcoming third season, Damon Wayans Jr. and his character Coach will be returning for a multi episode arc playing that original character from the pilot. I'm fascinated by this because as we all know, major characters are often recast or eliminated based on studio and audience testing to pilots. However, I've never seen of or heard of a major character that was part of the pilot, subsequently eliminated from the show, only to actually come back later in the series run. Is this actually a first for television?
A: From what I have researched, no other character has appeared in just the pilot and then returned at a later date to reprise that same character. I did dig up several characters that exited or were forced off a series only to be brought back for various reasons.
*Lecy Goranson was most well-known for portraying Becky Connor on Roseanne. She would leave to pursue her education at Vassar College. To deal with this dilemma, the writers only used her character sparingly. When this became a problem she was replaced by Sarah Chalke. Eventually, Goranson returned in the eighth season and then left again for the ninth and final season.
*Shannon Doherty portrayed Brenda Walsh on the series Beverly Hills, 90210 and was removed during the 4th season. Her absence was supposed to be for only one year, but she never retuned and was written off as having moved to London. But in 2008 she reprised her role as Brenda for The CW spin-off of the original show 90210 for four episodes. She also played Brenda on an episode of The New Normal from what I hear.
*Chris Noth, who depicted Det. Mike Logan in Law & Order departed in season 5 in 1995 only to return 10 years later on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
*Dann Florek, who played Captain Cragen on Law & Order, was reportedly fired because NBC said the cast did not include enough women. He was replaced by S. Epatha Merkerson as Lt. Van Buren. He returned for a guest spot during season 5 and became a series regular on Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit when it premiered in 1999. He also had many crossover appearance on the various Law & Order shows.
Q: What was the reason for Garret Dillahunt playing two different characters on Deadwood seasons 1 & 2? Are there any other actors who have played unrelated dual roles on a series?
A: Actually this has happened often. I can't tell you how many times the various Star Trek shows have actors for a part in one episode and then used the actor again later on during the show's run for a completely different part. You might not notice it on Star Trek because so often the characters have heavy make-up applied.
Deadwood is an American western television series that was created, produced and largely written by David Milch and aired on the premium cable network HBO from March 21, 2004, to August 27, 2006, spanning three 12-episode seasons. The show is set in the 1870s in Deadwood, South Dakota, before and after the area's annexation by the Dakota Territory. The series charts Deadwood's growth from camp to town, incorporating themes ranging from the formation of communities to western capitalism. The show features a large ensemble cast, and many historical figures appear as characters on the show—such as Seth Bullock, Al Swearengen, Wild Bill Hickok, Sol Star, Calamity Jane, Wyatt Earp, George Crook, E. B. Farnum, Charlie Utter, Jack McCall and George Hearst. The plot lines involving these characters include historical truths as well as substantial fictional elements. Milch used actual diaries and newspapers from 1870s Deadwood residents as reference points for characters, events, and the look and feel of the show. Some of the characters are fully fictional, although they may have been based on actual persons.
As for why Garret Dillahunt appeared in two different roles, there is no shocking answer. Deadwood creator David Milch went on to use him for John from Cincinnati so it seems he simply likes the actor's work and wanted to rehire him. Some fans noticed that it was the same actor whereas others did not.
I'm going to give a few examples here:
*Charlotte Ross portrayed two different, unrelated roles on NYDP Blue. Only one of those was a primary character, Det. Connie McDowell. Laurie Richardson was the other part, and she was only in two episodes.
*On Law & Order, Jerry Orbach, Annie Parisse, and S. Epatha Merkerson each played a different character in one episode only to join the cast later as someone else.
Harry Morgan also played two roles on M*A*S*H. He was in a third season episode "The General Flipped At Dawn" as a crazed general who wanted to move the 4077 unit closer to the front line. He then joined the cast in the fourth season as Col. Potter. He apparently looked exactly the same as both, unrelated characters.
*On Hill Street Blues, Dennis Franz depicted Det. Sal Benedetto in the 1983 season, and then Lt. Norman Buntz in the 1985-87 seasons.
*On Once Upon a Time I've read that many characters do double duty. Two names from the series that popped up during my investigating: Keegan Connor Tracy playing both the Blue Fairy & Mother Superior and Raphael Sbarge plays Archie Hopper & Jiminy Crickett. How related or unrelated those roles are to one another I have no idea as I don't watch that show. Assuming this is a case where the characters are connected, this list could skew off into a tangent as there are many other examples, such as John Noble on Fringe, etc.
Q: Lastly, what is the most underrated movie or tv show? A movie in your personal opinion that should be considered a classic. You can say the same about actors or directors.
A: I did list some of the most underrated actors in the very first issue of Ask 411 Movies that I did. Ben Piper asked that particular question. To peruse those picks, click here.
But I will list 2 each for shows and directors (and maybe some honorable mentions). Next week I will list some underrated movies because I can't possibly narrow it down to 2. First we'll go with directors. I should add that when I list these names it's because I never hear enough discussion or read enough articles about their skill/legacy:
Martin Ritt was an American director, actor, and playwright who worked in both film and theater. He was born in New York City. Unfortunately, he was blacklisted by the television industry during the McCarthy era due to alleged Communist ties. But he was a fabulous filmmaker who crafted tales that were not of the norm in Hollywood. He often worked in western, rural settings. The more efforts you see with him as the director, the more you realize just how many outstanding pictures he released. Some of his well-known titles: Hombre, Sounder, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Hud, Norma Rae, The Long Hot Summer, The Molly Maguires.
Michael Curtiz was an Academy award winning Hungarian-American film director. He directed more than fifty films in Europe and more than one hundred in the United States, many of them cinema classics. Is it possible that the man behind Casablanca is underrated?! Yes, it is because no one ever mentions the director that film, they just say it's one of the greatest of all-time. Well, Curtiz has given us a lot, including Elvis Presley's best performance and film, King Creole. Why is he under appreciated? Curtiz was very loyal to the Warner Bros. lavel and was known as a product of the studio system. Others said he was more about style than substance. However you classify him, he was great. Some more Curtiz titles: Yankee Doodle Dandy, Angels with Dirty Faces, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood, Mildred Pierce, White Christmas, The Sea Hawk.
Honorable Mentions: George Roy Hill, Ernst Lubitsch, Ramin Bahrani, Edward Yang, Robert Wise
The Tick: The Animated Series is an American animated television series adaptation of the New England Comics superhero, The Tick. The series debuted September 10, 1994 on the Fox network's Fox Kids block and was responsible for introducing the satirical comic book character to a mainstream audience. Lasting three seasons, the final episode aired on November 24, 1996. Since then, The Tick has been syndicated by various networks, further increasing the show's cult following, and has been released on both VHS and DVD. A live-action series was created in 2001.
I knew of this series, but was not introduced to it until I reviewed the DVDs for 411mania years ago. I quickly became a fan and realized that if it was given the opportunity to flourish in the current environment of animated comedy shows, it would be a hit.
Freaks and Geeks is an American teen comedy-drama television series, created by Paul Feig and with Feig and Judd Apatow as executive producers, that aired on NBC during the 1999–2000 television season. Eighteen episodes were completed, but the series was canceled after only twelve had aired. A fan-led campaign persuaded NBC to broadcast three more episodes in July 2000; the three remaining unaired episodes were not seen until September of that year, when the cable network Fox Family Channel aired them in syndication. The complete series was later released on DVD.
OK, obviously a lot of people are familiar with this show due to the popularity of its cast in mainstream movie roles. However, having heard about a show and knowing how spectacular it is are two different things. It certainly has a large and devoted cult following, but I still say it is highly underrated and should be referred to as one of the best shows about young people despite being cancelled way too early.
Honorable Mentions:Carnivale, Batman Beyond, Spaced, The Prisoner, WKRP in Cincinnati, Hill Street Blues
"The plural of Chad is Chad?"
--From the movie Recount