Don’t expectÂ the Patrick Stewart that played the sexy, stoic Captain Picard on seven seasons of the iconic series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. On Starz’s Blunt Talk, the thespianÂ gets to bringÂ to lifeÂ a massively differentÂ character. Walter Blunt’s a sexy cable news anchor who’s way more of a mess than Picard ever was. And he’s way more external about his issues, too. In the series premiere,Â Blunt steps (or drives)Â into a world of trouble. Despite a gaggle of flaws and vices, he attempts to extricate himself from this sudden scandal…preferably with his job, his soul and his freedom in tact.
Blunt Talk, a 10-episode half-hour series, set in Los Angeles, follows Walter Blunt, played by Patrick Stewart, a British import intent on conquering the world of American cable news. Through the platform of his nightly news show, Blunt is on a mission to impart his wisdom and guidance on how Americans should live, think and behave.
Besieged by network bosses, a dysfunctional news staff, numerous ex-wives, children of all ages, and his own well-intentioned, but sometimes misguided decisions, Blunt’s only support is in the form of the heavy-drinking, devoted manservant he transplanted from the U.K.
The cast is led by Patrick Stewart in the role of Walter Blunt,Â Jacki Weaver as Rosalie, Blunt’s tough and motherly producer-manager and Adrian Scarborough as Harry, Blunt’s manservant. Dolly Wells who plays Celia, Blunt’s senior producer and head writer and Timm Sharp who plays Jim, Blunt’s head writer, round out the cast.
The series from MRC is executive produced by Seth MacFarlane, Jonathan Ames (Creator and Showrunner), Stephanie Davis and Tristram Shapeero.
Patrick Stewart is absolutely amazingÂ as Walter Blunt, a guy who often lets his wild behavior get in the way of his good intentions. Sometimes he takes shady shortcuts in order to fulfill his vow of being honest with the masses. It shouldn’t be so surprising that this show is able to give this character a lot of heart, but it kind of is. One minute the guy’s snorting coke or having issues going to the bathroom. The next he’s acting compassionate with the crew of his news program; his sidekick of sorts, Harry; or someone he just met on the streets of L.A. He’s endearing even though he continually mentions his time serving in the Falklands war. We defy anyone to find anybody who mentions the Falklands as much as Blunt does. Or can breakout his best Hamlet monologue in 2.3 seconds.
Character Analysis: Walter Blunt
At the recent Television Critics Association’s Summer Press Tour, Stewart andÂ Blunt TalkÂ creator — Jonathan Ames — described the enigma that is Walter Blunt.
Jonathan Ames: Walter has a very steady moral compass. His heart is always in the right place. He wants to do the right thing. In some ways he’s like a king, which is why, throughout the series, he’s reading the book The Once and Future King. But every now and then, like all of us, there might be a lapse in judgment or an impulsive moment or a vulnerable moment. So within reason, he’s capable of most anything under the wide spectrum of human misbehavior. But I will reiterate and I’m sure Patrick will concur, and all of us will concurÂ that ultimately his heart is in the right place, and he never wants to hurt anyone else.
Patrick Stewart: Although there is chaos in his life, he sees that, I think, as a metaphor for the world in general. And this is the world that he is committed to improving, especially the United States, which is where he wants to begin, you know. Start at the top, and then work your way down from there.
Character Bios (courtesy of Starz)
Walter Blunt (Patrick Stewart)
Walter is a British ex-pat and Falklands War veteran, who currently finds himself riding the tumultuous waves of American cable news. Through his show â€œBlunt Talk,â€ he delivers hard-hitting truths to his American audience, while often struggling with his life behind the scenes.
Rosalie Winter (Jacki Weaver)
Rosalie is Walter’s executive producer. She oversees Walter and his eccentric staff with a mix of ferocity and tenderness. On the surface she is a bastion of strength, but underneath sheâ€™s a vulnerable romantic who is becoming increasingly alarmed by the rapid changes in her home life.
Harry ChandlerÂ (Adrian Scarborough)
Harry is Walter’s manservant, confidant, brother-in-arms, and best friend. He loves drinking and gambling, but neither of these match his unflinching loyalty to Walter.
Celia Havemeyer (Dolly Wells)
Celia is a senior producer of â€œBlunt Talkâ€ keen on impressing Walter, whom she has admired for many years. However, to the detriment of her career, her impulsive spirit comes a chaotic personal life.
Jim Stone (Timm Sharp)
Jim is a senior producer of â€œBlunt Talk.â€ He is an intellectual who does great work behind the camera, while hoping one day to be in front of it. As his dreams and desires emerge, so do a laundry list of neuroses that he must struggle to overcome.
Shelly Forbes (Mary Holland)
Despite only being a segment producer, Shelly is an eager firecracker, hell-bent on making her mark in the news world. She is aggressive in her professional life, constantly angling for an opportunity to move up the ladder, and equally aggressive in her sexually adventurous private life.
The world we’re introduced to in Blunt Talk is often hilarious, but according to Stewart, it’s not all about that.
Patrick: They say comedy is a serious business. Â I have never had successive days of acting deeply seriously as I have on this show. I mean, forget about all the other stuff. We are in an absurdist and comical world, which at times seems difficult to understand how it holds together. But it does. And it holds together because every single one of the principal charactersÂ â€“- they are passionate and deeply serious about what they do. So there’s nothing funny about the show. It’s just one serious situation after anotherÂ that somehow has to be resolved. That’s how it feels to me in a way, guys. (turns to Ames)Â Why are you smiling like that?
Jonathan: Â I can see the headline: ‘Patrick Stewart: Â There’s nothing funny about this show.’
Patrick: Â Oh, I screwed up.
Not at all. The show manages to blend its comedy and its drama seamlessly. Blunt Talk premieres Saturday night at 9/8c on Starz. But right now you can catch a couple episodes for free on Starz.com.
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