Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dick Wolf, Alfred Molina, & Alana De La Garza On the Law & Order LA Re-Launch (Interview)

Today, I had the opportunity to participate in a group conference call with some of the key players from Law & Order LA: Executive Producer Dick Wolf, and show stars Alfred Molina and Alana De La Garza. The excitement is building for the 2 hour re-launch of Law & Order LA on April 11, 2011 (starting at 9 PM ET) and it was very clear that Dick, Alfred, and Alana were charged up about where the show is headed. Personally, the more I hear Alfred Molina talk about the show and his character, the more I like him and believe he will be just what the first half of the show needs. I also think that Alana will bring a much needed spark to the second half - I'm thrilled she is back with the brand.

Here are some of the highlights from the questions that were asked:

Regarding the violent nature of these upcoming two episodes for the series re-launch, Dick Wolf commented, “…this was a watershed episode for us. The last time a cop was killed on Law & Order was George Dzundza after the first season. We don’t do it lightly. And this is a really bad guy so the violence seemed completely justified and mirrors exactly what has been happening certainly in just south of the border and at times in the United States.” Dick also added that he is grateful to NBC’s Bob Greenblatt for the chance to retool. Bob had “had some problems with the show and he specifically had some problems in the front half that he just didn’t think it was clicking the way it should.” Dick also added that adding Alana De LA Garza to the show was an “opportunity to put her in [that] we felt was too good to pass up.”

When Dick was asked about the logistics of now having both Terrence Howard and Alfred Molina in each episode rather than alternating episodes, he indicated it was “more work but more’s really a dream to have both these guys on screen every episode."

When Alfred Molina was asked about his move from the courtroom to the streets
he commented that when Dick pitched the idea, part of him was a “little surprised but very excited at the notion” calling it a “very bold, very audacious step and I think it was something that was bound to create a great deal of interest and excitement.” On a personal level, he was thrilled by the idea, adding “I love to work. I’m just one of those actors - I just like working.” He admits that working one episode on and off was “very luxurious for those of us who were able to enjoy it…I happened to blindly say one day, “I’d like more to do” and I think somebody must have reported back to the management!” Molina also seemed very energized by his characters change in jobs, adding that “from a creative point of view, it means that the character goes somewhere that has, I think, a great deal of mileage in terms of how we proceed over the next few years...”

Alana commented on the process of how she got invited back, saying someone gave her a heads up via an email which said "Hey, don't do anything rash and move on to anything. We're trying to resurrect Connie'" and the next day they made an offer. She also said moving to LOLA was “like moving into a brand new home and somebody already put everything away for you…It’s so comfortable.” She describes Connie as “…kind of sassy and smart and quick and will apologize later and will go head to head with anybody and question them… with Joe Dekker she does the exact same thing, behind closed doors will question him and discuss with him in the end,” I should mention that during the call I swear I heard baby noises in the background…cute!

Dick complimented Skeet Ulrich, saying he is “one of the nicest actors I’ve ever worked with, He is a great guy, and it is the unfortunate history of the business that when something is not working it’s my fault, it’s not the actor’s fault. Skeet has an unimpeachable record of having performed very very well in a variety of different shows, movies. He was the first person cast…the show was not performing at the level that anybody was really happy with…At some time somebody has to die so that everyone else can live, and it was a very very painful call, and it’s not something that in the abstract Skeet deserved. That’s just the way it evolved.”

I have very high hopes that the changes made will make this series much stronger and hopefully re-engage the fans and bring in new viewers!

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.


Esaul said...

I'm so so jealous and I envy you for being invited, but that's a great opportunity to be a part of. I'm looking forward to seeing the transcript, and I'm so excited for the show to come back, Monday. I hope it does really well. I like and appreciate Dick's comment about Skeet. It's unfortunate to see him go >.<

Anonymous said...

Since they spoke about Skeet, did they have anything to say about the actresses that played the DDAs?

All Things Law and Order said...

Neither Regina Hall nor Megan Boone were mentioned in this interview, at least not to my recollection.

Esaul said...

I'm not surprised that they may not have mentioned them, compared to Skeet. They were minor actresses (both in name and in character), and the viewers aren't gonna feel that much of a loss compared to losing Skeet, since there are people who probably tuned in to see him, more than they did to see Boone or Hall. Though, I personally liked Megan Boone, but, I was probably part of the minority. At the same time, Wolf managed to make me happy by bringing back Alana de la Garza ^_^'

cbsplaysdirty said...

This was a forced Mea Culpa from Wolf who is trying to appease the Ulrich fans who will NOT be returning to watch the new LOLA once Winters is killed. I am one of those former viewers.

I don't know what is more ridiculous -- Molina taking a huge pay cut to go from DA to cop, or Howard being made sole DA.

Put a fork in this one, then a knife to make sure it is completely dead.

Esaul said...

It wasn't like it was Wolf's choice in the matter. NBC told him that it wasn't working, and that it had to be retooled. Sadly, with great dismay, it was Ulrich who wasn't fitting right with the show. It's nothing personal toward him or anything. You just can't force chemistry or what isn't there. And hey, I find it very believable. If he doesn't believe in the system anymore, why would he be a lawyer? I would take a pay cut from a job that isn't make me happy to do something that made me happy.

Prime example: Sean Robert Leonard from House, he's talking about this being his last season, since his contract is up this year, and it hasn't been renewed yet, nor has the show. He wants to go back to Broadway. HUGE difference in pay, he'd be taking a reduction. Broadway makes him happy. His family makes him happy. Sure, he said that he'd stay on House if he renegotiated his contract and asked for more money, but he still thinks at this point he'll be doing Broadway over House. Lesser hours for work, lesser commute, more time with his family.

cbsplaysdirty said...

In another article, Wolf said that although Greenblatt wanted a change, Dick was the one to make the ultimate call -- so it was his fault. Sounds like passing the buck back and forth.

And yes, it is a ridiculous notion for a DA to switch to being a cop, except in a soap opera. But, considering the writing on this show, these changes are in keeping with the half-assed effort.

And to think that more of Howard and his melodramatic, soap operish, overannunciating 'acting' is going to improve the show, wow, they are delusional. Even viewers who are indifferent to the Winters killing find Dekkar annoying.

cbsplaysdirty said...

As for the House example, he is an actor switching from 'acting' on tv to 'acting' on stage. Not switching a whole career -- and yes, it does happen in real life, but given the circumstances, this will be a forced and contrived storyline just like the majority of the first scripts on this show. The writing jumped the shark when the detectives found a photo 'the neighbor' took of the mom who killed the cult woman holding the murder weapon -- a plant pruner [rollingeyessmiley] THEN, the murder HAPPENS to pass the detectives desk and see a PHOTO of his wife who HAPPENS to be the detective who coerced a confession from her years earlier???? I don't even think soap opera viewers would buy that story even if it had a demonic possession subplot.

MabelT said...

"The last time a cop was killed on Law & Order was George Dzundza after the first season."

I have troubles with this sentence... What about captain Danny Ross? He was killed last year in LOCI and Dick Wolf already forgot him. OK, maybe LOCI is not the mothership, but it's part of the brand as much as LOLA.

saweav65 said...

I will not be watching the show any more. I think the chemistry was starting to work between Winters (Skeet) & his partner. I can't see Molina as a cop. Can't picture him running after the bad guys. They should have gotten rid of Howard. Don't like the way he talks. He sounds too wishy, washy. Mr. Wolfe, you lost a lot of viewers when you let the other actors go, including Skeet Ulrich. Ihope the show Plops!!!!!!!!

cbsplaysdirty said...

It plopped Saweav65 as we had anticipated. There are too many good shows on in that time slot and watching Molina as a cop and having to watch Howard chew his way through the set for a half an hour each week do nothing to draw me in.