Thursday, May 3, 2012

Somewhere Between "House" and "Mad Men" Is 'Masters of Sex"

   Here's an article from USA Today's Susan Wloszczyna based on an interview with the charming and wonderfully talented director John Madden. I agree with John that while 'Masters' begins in the 1950s, it's really an eternal story about what makes men and women tick. Stay tuned...

Imagine Mad Men but with even more hanky panky.
Michael Sheen is ready to go!
That is what might be heading to Showtime soon if the cable channel picks up the pilot to Masters of Sex, starring Michael Sheen (Twilight, Frost/Nixon) and Lizzy Caplan (127 Hours, TV's New Girl) as '60s human sexuality researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson.
John Madden, the British director behind Shakespeare in Love and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (which opens Friday), shot the show in and around New York City.
"You couldn't do this on regular TV," he says. "It is somewhere between House and Mad Men. It has the period feel, but mainly the pair have such an extraordinary journey and it's their exciting relationship that is the heart of the story. "
He says of his cast, "Michael is amazing and Lizzy is in a very different role than what she has played before. Caitlin Fitzgerald is Masters' wife. And Beau Bridges plays the chancellor of the university where they started doing their work. "
So what Mad Men is to advertising, Masters of Sex is to, well, sex? "It absolutely is," Madden assures. "It is very interesting when you are setting up a world and you don't obviously know yet whether it will get picked up. But I think it will."

"Masters of Sex" Series Would Include John Madden on Continuing Basis if Get Green Light. "I also admire American television, particularly cable television. They seem to be able to do things that movies can’t do."

John Madden, with his new hit film, also talked about the making of "Masters of Sex" and indicates that he'll have a continuing role with the production if Showtime greenlights the series:
What attracted you to directing the pilot for the Showtime drama series Masters of Sex?
masters-of-sex-book-cover-01Madden:  Well, the answer is that it came to me as a script, and the script was really terrific.  I thought it was very, very interesting. [William] Masters and [Virginia] Johnson were part of my past.  It took me 30 pages to realize that’s what it was about.  I kept seeing the word “Masters,” and then seeing the word “Johnson,” and I thought, “Oh, hang on!”  I think I was a prurient schoolboy whenHuman Sexual Response was published in the mid-60′s, and we all rushed to get it, thinking it was going to be erotically interesting, but it wasn’t at all.  It was all maps and graphs and data.  But, it’s a very interesting story because the personalities and the relationship between those two characters is very interesting, nevermind the whole idea of demystifying sex, which is essentially what they did.
[Alfred] Kinsey began that journey, but his studies were all based on documentary interviews.  They witnessed it quite literally because their studies were clinical and aimed to understand the physiology of sex, but some of the processes that were involved in doing that were outrageous and extraordinary, from a modern perspective.  They were funny and interesting and, obviously, erotic.  It just seemed like a very interesting project.  I also admire American television, particularly cable television.  They seem to be able to do things that movies can’t do.  Masters is a complex character, who is not always sympathetic and not always doing things that you would ever allow a character to do in a movie because you can’t let people fall out of love with the people they’re watching.  The longer form allows you to investigate things in really interesting ways.
Will you continue to be involved with the show, past the pilot?
Madden:  I’ll have an ongoing relationship with the project, if it gets taken up.  I think it’s looking promising.  It’s really good.
And, it’s got a really great cast of actors.
Madden:  Yes, Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan are great [as Masters and Johnson].