January 13, 2012 1:46pm PT by Michael O'Connell
TCA: The 5 Most Awkward and Amusing Moments from HBO's 'Luck' Panel
Reporters got a look at the on and off screen worlds of HBO's Luck on Friday morning. The network presented its slick, horse-racing drama at the Television Critics Association winter press tour -- and when the highlight reel concluded, things seemed to get a little less polished.
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Writer David Milch, director Michael Mann and stars Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte appeared on stage to take questions. The outcome, while wholly entertaining, reignited suspicions about the working relationship between Milch and Mann, Hoffman's interest in the medium and the stability of Nolte.
Here are five exceptionally awkward and amusing moments that went down during the brief session:
1. The Seating Chart
In line with reports of tension between Milch and Mann on the set of Luck, the duo were pictured at opposite ends of the stage on the seating chart handed out before the panel. They strayed from the course, however, taking seats next to each other and almost immediately addressing their reluctance of sharing responsibilities. "There can only be one captain of the ship," Mann said, while Milch sat quietly. "And the writing must be David's."
Nick Nolte arrived, his face almost completely obscured by a hat, and didn't speak until one reporter asked him what made him make the move to television. "70," he replied, with a scratchy voice. Presumably, he was referring to his age, but Hoffman jumped in to clarify. "Do you understand all of the answers to your questions?" he asked the reporter, before noting the network drew them both to the series. "There's no reason for me to butter up HBO, the contract is already signed... We are given the shot to do our best work, and I'm very thankful for that."
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3. Creative Differences
Not content with Mann's politically correct response earlier, another reporter asked about the story that he, at one point, had banned Milch from the set. "It's ridiculous," he said. "There [are] times when a director is on the set, and he just wants the set for himself and the actors to work on the scene. Somehow that got contorted into something else." Milch, again, didn't address the matter.
4. The P-Word
When asked to comment on his reputation for being a "prick" on set (Hoffman's word, not the reporter's), the Luck star revisited his previous comments about wanting to do his best work, while Nolte interrupted with a story about covering his face with spaghetti during an argument with Cannery Row director David Ward. Hoffman, then pressed about his commitment to possibly playing the same character for as much as five years, simply noted that he and his wife never fought while he filmed Tootsie: "She loved having a girlfriend."
5. 3D Television
The most off-topic turn during the panel came when Nolte chimed in about television -- which he likes, as long as the dimensions are limited. "3D disconnects the eyeball, the lenses form the brain," said Nolte. "It's like the brain itself is creating the hallucination of 3D... They're going to find out six hours of 3D TV will cause psychotic breaks. Australia is doing the research. I can just tell you that."