Monday, July 30, 2012

Showtime Gives TV Critics Glimpse of "Masters of Sex", to Debut in 2013 Emphasizing "Enormous Wit" and Drama Along with the Steamy Stuff

Scene from "Masters of Sex" starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan
    David Nevins, president of entertainment for Showtime, spoke with the Television Critics Association for their network sessions today, premiered the first clips from new series “Masters of Sex.” Here some of what was said by the TV press:
The Oregonian: Perhaps the most interesting-sounding new offering, "Masters of Sex," isn't arriving until 2013. Michael Sheen and Lizzy Kaplan star as William Masters and Virginia Johnson in the series, which is adapted from Thomas Maier's book, "Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, The Couple Who Taught America How to Love."
The preview clips shown were a wow. John Madden ("Shakespeare in Love," "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel") directed the pilot episode. But we have to wait -- the series won't debut until 2013.
From A.V. Club:  That’s a tone that seems to extend to the network’s latest pick-ups. Nevins introduced footage from new dramas Ray Donovan and Masters Of Sex at his executive session at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, and both look to be at the very least intriguing. The more interesting is Sex, which is filled with fairly blatant depictions of sexual activity (as you’d expect in a series about the famous mid-20th century Masters/Johnson study of human sexuality) but also lots and lots of solid laughs. Michael Sheen and Lizzie Caplan are the leads, and if the show lives up to the trailer, it will be the weird sex comedy/period piece America didn’t know it wanted. Donovan was a bit more standard issue, what with its tortured antihero dealing with the sins of the past and his father, but it stars Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight, and any excuse to get those two to snarl at each other is a good one. Its “Hollywood fixer” milieu could also be promising, though the situation set up in the trailer was solved a bit too cutely.
From Crave Online: With new shows, “Masters of Sex” stars Michael Sheen as human sexuality doctor William Masters and Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson, based on the book by Tom Maier. 
Showtime's David Nevins
  “It’s serious stuff and you’ve got serious drama," said Nevins. "Michael Sheen is a great dramatic actor. I wanted the clip to reflect that it’s going to be fun and have wit to it. The script has enormous wit but the fundamentals do come from the book and it will continue to feed. They have 20-plus years together so the stuff of Thomas Maier’s book will continue to feed the series for years to come.” The clip shows liberal nudity and sexual situations, though mostly revealing of the woman. Nevins promised equal opportunity nudity. “Yes, only fair.”In casting Sheen, Caplan and others, nudity was part of the deal. Some actors insisting on “no nudity” clauses could not be considered. “That ruled out some people. A show like that, the subject is human sexuality so you have to be willing, you have to be comfortable to do it.”
New York Daily News: So one of the unspoken goals of Showtime’s “Masters of Sex,” a 12-part series that will debut next year and dramatize the pioneering sex research of Masters and Johnson, is to remind viewers that not so long ago, even clinical discussion of sex in terms of biology, psychology or physiology was considered bad form.Showtime previewed the first clips from the show to TV critics here Monday, and they played like a dramedy, with often-graphic re-creations of the experiments and snappy sitcom-like exchanges. What the series will not be, said Showtime president David Nevins, is a documentary about the researchers. “It will examine their fascinating relationship and follow their pop-culture trajectory from a St. Louis teaching hospital to Johnny Carson’s couch.”
San Francisco Chronicle: Thank heavens Showtime president David Nevins allowed us to be the first to see clips from two new shows coming to the premium outlet in 2013, “Masters of Sex,” about famed sex researchers Masters and Johnson and starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, and “Ray Donovan,” a new series about the ultimate LA fixer, played by Liev Schreiber and with a cast that includes Elliott Gould and Jon VoightOf course, it’s still going to take a while longer to look at Sheen and not think “Tony Blair is researching the female orgasm,” since he nailed the former prime minister, so to speak, in two films."

From the Fien Print on HitFlix. 1:42 p.m. Showtime has two new dramas premiering in 2013. Up first, we get clips from "Masters of Sex." We see lots of clips of modern representations of sex. The pilot, directed by John Madden, has a great look, with its period setting and Michael Sheen seems amusing. This definitely looks much livelier than "Kinsey." Lizzy Caplan also looks terrific and... yes... nudity. Beau Bridges looks interesting and funny and... no nudity. I have no clue what this show is, but it definitely seems potentially smutty and arty and intriguing. And... lots of nudity. I mean... Starz-level nudity. Using "Making Whoopie" for the promo is silly. But whatever.
From Variety:  Showtime is high on upcoming drama series "Masters of Sex," with Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, and Liev Schreiber starrer "Ray Donovan," from "Southland" creator Ann Biderman. Nevins said he's not sure when those series will launch, but that it would likely be announced in the 
first quarter.
Winnipeg FreePress: Showtime sizzles, today and tomorrow: U.S. cable's Showtime network usually takes a back seat to HBO when it comes to press-tour presentations, but this time around, the specialty-net home of Dexter, Weeds, Homeland and The Borgias had the most engaging set of sessions during the cable portion of the TV-press marathon. In addition to intriguing interviews with the likes of Mary-Louise Parker, Claire Danes and Michael C. Hall, Showtime also provided sneak previews of two great-looking projects in its future-schedule plans: the dark, violent Hollywood scandal-fixer drama Ray Donovan (which stars Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight), and the sex-researcher biopic Masters of Sex (which stars Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan).

More from Twitter...

"Masters of Sex," w/Martin Sheen & Lizzy Caplan as Masters & Johnson, looks sharp & funny. 

Very intrigued by 'Masters of Sex' footage -- Star Lizzy Caplan talks about her role on the sex-heavy series here: 

Intrigued by the lengthy cutdown of "Masters of Sex" Showtime just showed. Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan together at last. 

Showtime's "Masters of Sex" looks really good. Definitely not a show you want to accidentally get stuck watching with your dad, you know?
Two-word Jesse Pinkman review of Showtime's "Masters of Sex" trailer: "Yeah! Science!" 
Masters Of Sex, created by Michelle Ashford and directed by John Madden, is coming. We're watching a clip. SEX AT TCAs!! OMG!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Showtime Chief Talks About "Masters of Sex" On Emmy Nomination Day

The Stars

Emmy Nomination Day brings out fond wishes for next year when "Masters of Sex" will make its debut. In a brief interview, Showtime Chief David Nevins talks to The Wrap about his upcoming series. It stars Michael Sheen as Dr. Masters and Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson. The series is adapted from "Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How To Love", Basic Books in hardcover and paperback.

Showtime's David Nevins
We talked briefly with Nevins about the Emmys, why he thinks the network will have more actors in competition next year, and a "revitalized" upcoming season of "Dexter."
TheWrap: Congratulations. Do the nominations today reflect a particular strategy for Showtime paying off?
Nevins: Thank you. The strategy is simple: to make great television that's provocative and not boring. There's no grand strategy beyond that. ... "Homeland" is a show that's very personal to me. It feels like we've really broken through. It's great to be recognized in all the big categories.
Were you surprised by Don Cheadle's nomination?  
I was hoping for Don Cheadle. That was the big one. I wasn't really surprised. I kind of looked at that category and thought he had a real shot.
How much do nominations help you?
It's important for these first year shows. We're in 21 percent of the homes in the country. It's hard to get our younger shows noticed. ... We build from here. "Homeland" and "House of Lies" are going to be mainstays for the foreseeable future for this network.
And we've got two new shows we're really excited about, "Masters of Sex" and "Ray Donovan." We're about great acting and great writing, and creating roles for actors. Maybe you'll see ["Ray Donovan" leads] Liev Schreiber or Jon Voight or ["Masters of Sex" leads] Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan getting nominations.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lizzy Caplan Talks about Showtime's "Masters of Sex" and Her Take From Reading the Book

      Lizzy Caplan gives her first in-depth interview about "Masters of Sex", the upcoming Showtime series, and about her approach to playing Virginia Johnson after reading the biography "Masters of Sex", available now in its original hardcover and paperback editions from Basic Books. Look for the new 13-part dramatic series sometime in 2013.
Michael Sheen as "Dr. William Masters" and Lizzy Caplan as "Virginia Johnson"
on the set of "Masters of Sex" filmed in New York and Long Island. Well either way, you'll be very busy filming Showtime's new series, Masters of Sex. What excites you about that project?
Lizzy: The process of getting that job was so lengthy and complicated. John Madden directed it and he's this very fancy, amazing guy who did Shakespeare in Love. He really saw me in this part way before I actually saw myself in the role. Typically you're typecast in your comfort zone but this is so far outside that for me. This is a true period piece drama, but when I read the book this show is based on, the character [Virginia Johnson] and I are so alike, so I could really see myself in her. Plus, she's such a pioneer and a total badass. If I can raise awareness for what she did at this strange time in America, then sign me up! For those who don't know, who is Virginia Johnson?
Lizzy: A lot of people are familiar with Kinsey – they did questionnaires asking people about their sexual preferences, which was ground-breaking at the time. Masters & Johnson were research scientists – well, he was and she pretended to be. They would wire people to electrodes and heart-monitors to watch them masturbate and have sex [in hopes of figuring] out the science of an orgasm. People were adhering to Freudian ideas, which were so masculine and female sexuality was so far in the background. Masters & Johnson, combined with the sexual revolution, gave women power over their own bodies. What's easier for you -- performing sex scenes or watching other actors perform sex scenes?
Lizzy: I get a weird kick of out shooting sex scenes because they're just so awkward. They're so uncomfortable that the situation makes me laugh. There's something sort of fun about it since you're usually doing it with a good looking co-stars, so, whatever, it's part of the job. I'll take it. So I thought watching other people pretend to have sex would be so easy, but I was so uncomfortable. It was so weird to watch other people because it makes you self-conscious and think about what you look like when you're shooting a sex scene. But I better get used to it because [Masters & Johnson] watched a lot of people do it. I mean, they observed over 10,000 orgasms. Which is why the show clearly had to be on Showtime.
Lizzy: Yea. It's interesting still how male full frontal nudity is still taboo most of the time. I'm going to really push for Michael Sheen [who plays William Masters] to show his parts on this show. As an actor, you just really admire the bravery of other actors to do that because it's weird not only for them to have to perform in front of a small crew, but to do it in front of other actors watching them. It's ridiculous.