Friday, December 07, 2007

Life Behind His Eyes

My brother Mark has reminded me that being cynical is distracting me from Life.

And by that, I mean LIFE, the NBC show on Wednesday nights, and one of the best premieres of the season. The show has procedural action; it has great character depth and interesting character conflicts; it has a mystery per show AND a great mystery arcing over the season.
But most of all it has an incredibly well-written and well-acted lead.

I realize that I am speaking to a generation that isn’t familiar with Steve McQueen, folks that never experienced his brand of slow cool. Well, here’s your chance.

When you watch Steve in character, you know he is always thinking – maybe about what he is saying, maybe about something completely different – but there is a vivid life going on behind his eyes.

And Steve was always so cool, that he wouldn’t rush that thinking – slow, steady, and dangerously provocative.
Whether MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, TOWERING INFERNO or THE GREAT ESCAPE, whether a bright character or a dimmer bulb (face it, for all his exciting action, Cooler King Hiltz wasn’t the quickest on the uptake), his characters were always coolly thinking.

Damian Lewis’ Charlie in LIFE is channeling Steve McQueen.

A few weeks back, I watched a clip from THE GREAT ESCAPE in prep for a spiritual retreat (hey, you spiritual retreat your way, I’ll spiritual retreat mine); shortly after that I watched an episode of LIFE – and I got shivers, the acting style was so uncannily close to McQueen.

And this isn’t just a theory.
Recently I had the opportunity to sit next to an AD from LIFE (at a WGA informational event, but let’s not think about that). I shared with him my feelings about Steve McQueen, he smiled, said he would pass that on because…

It ain’t a coincidence. Apparently Damian read the part of the revenge seeking Zen detective, and it so reminded him of McQueen that he intentionally approaches the role that way.

Check out the design as well -- from the cars he drives to the camera angles to hints in the fashion…

The King of Cool is back.

Just my thoughts,


1 comment:

Linds said...

So glad to hear you love the show! Nate and I adore it. We both have a deep affection for Damian Lewis that has lingered since Band of Brothers but really grown watching him play Charlie on Life.