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With its premiere just a few weeks away, Low Winter Sun stars Mark Strong and Lennie James and creator Chris Mundy attended Friday’s Television Critics Association panel to plug their new AMC cop drama. The series, an adaption of a U.K. miniseries, filmed its entire 10-episode order in Detroit — and in light of the city’s recent bankruptcy filing, the location dominated much of the panel.
“Everybody said, ‘Don’t go there. It’s an awful place, and there’s nothing there for you,’ said Strong. “Of course, the opposite is true. You have the mansions of Grosse Pointe and the apocalyptic wasteland in parts of downtown, but you have everything in between.”
James, also a veteran of AMC’s The Walking Dead and The Prisoner, was more whimsical in his assessment.
“It’s the most dangerous, most exciting, most diverse Western city I’ve ever been to,” he added. “They have a law in Detroit that you can be arrested if you drive without a seat belt, but they’ve just re-enacted a law that you don’t need to have a crash helmet to drive a motorbike. That’s my kind of city.”
James previously worked in Detroit filming the comedy Hung. And while history has shown that Hung did little in the way of building goodwill for the city — another HBO series came up as a reference point for morale boosting.
The panel shied away from comparisons to The Wire, David Simon‘s ode to Baltimore that many feel has had a lasting positive effect on the Maryland metropolis’ reputation, but they did admit that was a lofty goal. “We’ve had an amazing time there … working, filming and getting to know the locals, added Strong. “They would love for that to happen and so would we.”
Originally a two-part British project, Strong also addressed the rather unusual circumstances of reprising his role in a different scenario.
“The idea that you can resurrect a character eight years later, move him from Edinburgh to Detroit, was too good of an opportunity to let go by,” said Strong, noting that seeds of the original story of a murdered cop are there but time forced them to quickly move in new directions. “There’s a whole group of people that’s new and invented by Chris and the writers. There’s a joining of the two worlds in the first tree episodes, but then we’re off into new territory.”
Low Winter Sun premieres Aug. 11 on AMC.
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