Saturday, January 5, 2013

Winter TCA 2013: Rectify on Sundance Channel

Many people do not realize that Sundance Channel has original programming (like HBO, a hundred years ago), but they presented two features at TCA today. In March they will have a seven-part miniseries focusing on “the disappearance of a five-months pregnancy 12-year-old named Tui who was last seen standing chest-deep in a frozen lake,” called Top of the Lake.  But, on April 22nd, Rectify will premiere, which is taglined as “Sentenced to die. Condemned to Live.” Thirty-seven-year-old Daniel Holden is released from Death Row after nineteen years in prison and must re-acclimate to small-town Georgia life with a family he no longer knows. To make matters worse, some people believe that he needs to be back behind bars. This dueling plot of a guy learning to live as an average citizen while others are actively trying to stop that really fascinates me. Panelists included Executive Producer Mark Johnson, Creator/Writer/Director Ray McKinnon, and actors Abigail Spencer and Aden Young. Highlights from the Q&A:
James Minchin III, Sundance Channel
The first season only depicts the­ first seven days of Daniel’s release, which forces the the surrealism of the “what are you going to do now?” question, after you do the obligatory things like hug your mom and have a beer.

McKinnon knows people like closure and framing, but he’s not sure he wants to abide by those “conventions.” He also wanted the music to be more classical than regional so it wasn’t perceived as trite.

In regards to how she came to this project, Spencer talked about wanting a role in something that had a tremendous amount of irony but not a large number of episodes, plus several other requirements, and after five pages of this script, she knew she had to play Amantha. She explains that you can see the character start to break down in just the first six days, leading to some interesting character exploration, like questioning “who are we all outside of this case and are we separate from it?”

Young said that "so much of the role was embedded in the script itself... you began to see the character come alive on the page," making it easier to portray. He also noted that you have to approach a character like this “with absolute rawness.” He had the idea to cut his hair just before filming began, deciding that long hair wouldn’t be believable for contraband reasons. Spencer added that the family then saw him with short hair for the first time as they filmed the meeting scene, which added more reality to it.
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