'Legends': Sean Bean, Howard Gordon Spill Secrets About TNT's New FBI Show
8:57 AM PDT 8/11/2014 by THR Staff
The series centers on an undercover agent who works for the FBI's Deep Cover Operations division. Ahead of its debut at 9 p.m. Aug. 13, THR sat down with stars Bean, Ali Larter and Morris Chestnut as well as executive producer Howard Gordon and showrunner David Wilcox to get the backstory on the 13-episode drama.
Says Bean: "We have such a wonderful cast, you know, but these two guys [Gordon and Wilcox] around. We had a good time. They’re great people. You know, genuine people on the screen and off. … It makes a hell of a difference."
What appealed to Bean about the show? "Howard [Gordon] and his track record and his excellent material that he produces. His passion was kind of infectious and his enthusiasm. And it just seemed like a fantastic idea. … The idea of playing kind of multiple characters and taking on different identities and creating kind of these legends or characters was very exciting."
David Wilcox and Howard Gordon
Says Gordon: "There are so many moving parts in, in a show like this, and any show, and it only takes one of those parts to go wrong for everything to go wrong. … It has to be the secretion of really and hopefully good judgment. Being at the right place at the right time. I think we’re the beneficiary. I think we have, you know, the wind at our backs now with a network that really is embracing us."
David Wilcox and Howard Gordon
"This is a show that’s driven by character, not case," says Wilcox. "The cases are what keep the momentum going. … Ultimately, what the show is about is strong themes of identity, of trust and duplicity. And these were the sorts of themes that exist strongly in kind of the character stories that we’re telling you. As far as procedurals and procedure goes, we’re all so familiar with kind of what those stories are and how those stories work that you can actually I think sort of shortcut a lot of it. We don’t need to see four scenes to get from A to B."
Ali Larter and Morris Chestnut
Asked about her research for her role, Larter says: "I worked with an agent and his partner was a female. And that was for me really interesting about how she was in a power position and how she dealt with men in different situations especially when you have to lead men because it’s a very fine line of being able to be in control and take the lead and not coming across as bitchy or unlikable."
"I wanted to do a show on TNT," Chestnut says. "I’m a big fan of their shows. And so I slept there for three days in the lobby. I protested. I wasn’t eating and everything. So they finally they gave me a meeting. And then they said, you know, we have this show might want to consider. The pilot’s already done and it’s on the air. And they said Howard Gordon. I was like “Howard Gordon? He’s on the show?” So I went into a room, top secret. Had to sign away my life and everything to watch it. And I loved it. ... It was great concept, great characters. And I’m paying them about, I’m paying them about $300 a week to be on the show."
Bean affects a wide variety of accents on the show: "I had a voice coach and I can do accents, but I can’t kind of simply just kind of slip into it and do them very quickly and easily. I’m kind of all that. I have to kind of work at it for a bit and do my homework and listen to it. Listen and then read it back and listen again. And it’s harder actually than people think. To get it right and to get it, you know, so that people believe you and especially coming from England and working in a, with Americans, an American set and a crew. You're kind of a bit self‑conscious at first, but you gotta just throw caution to the wind and you go for it."
Says Larter: "I think one of the things that really attracted me from the original call that we had was that the kernel on the show, what they were always coming back to was, 'Who am I?' And thinking about people’s shadow sides and all the different faces that we have to wear everyday and starting to explore that. In my own life, I’m a mom. I’m home. I’m cooking. I have all that. But it’s one side of me. And when I get to come in and play Crystal McGuire, she’s someone who’s chosen not to have children. She’s not married. She sacrificed really having emotional commitments in her life. And so, for me that’s something that I love being able to go to work and explore that because it’s so different from my everyday life."
What "legend" would Larter like to be for a day if she could? "I was thinking like Jane Goodall. I like the idea of going off the grid too and just like being able to live a less complicated life that’s just more instinctual."
"When you do a film, you’re on set for 16 hours or whatever," the actor says. "You’ll shoot a shot and then just to do the turnaround, you’re waiting three hours. ... I love the pace of television because you have to get in and get the shot and turn around and then move on."
"[The] thing that we always talk about, is how can we find … the grounded element of the show," says Wilcox. "You're talking about sort of a group within the FBI that’s very much sort of tip of the spear and so secret, in fact, that they’re technically not even supposed to really exist. For me the details in finding the authenticity of that really was in characters themselves as opposed to the procedure and things like that, which I don’t think is all that interesting anyway."
"I’m much more interested in the emotional integrity of the characters and … the details," Gordon says. "You know, we do some pretty absurd things. But if the characters are doing what they would do and saying what they would say, then I think the rest sort of follows."