Editor David Remnick, EP Alex Gibney and Showrunner Kahane Cooperman Preview The New Yorker Presents
Based on content from The New Yorker, Americaâ€™s most award-winning magazine, The New Yorker PresentsÂ is a unique viewing experience, combining documentaries, short scripted narrative films, comedy, poetry, animation and cartoons. As with the pilot, new episodes will bring the pages of the magazine to life, drawing upon the reporting, fiction, humor, poetry, and cartoons that distinguishÂ The New Yorker. The season will feature content from award-winning narrative directors and A-list talent from the worlds of film, television, art, and music, and will debut provocative and insightful documentary films from Americaâ€™s most acclaimed non-fiction filmmakers.
On why theyâ€™re taking their brand to TV now.
David Remnick: â€œWhat you want is The New Yorker as a collective of intelligences and creative personalities who have the capacity to go out into the world, whether it’s in fiction or nonfiction, bring these stories home, and then, with the talents of people like Kahane [Cooperman] and Alex Gibney and Jonathan Demme and all the rest, do something with it that makes sense for television.
Inside the magazine, we don’t pretend to be experts at television. We are in, kind of, an â€˜advise and consentâ€™ role with our partners at Amazon and Jigsaw, which is Alex’s concern. I’ve been absolutely thrilled about the results. What these guys have done, taking stories that began in one form and making them real television, whether it’s funny or moving or deep or journalistic, the results have been astonishing, and I’m over the moon about it.â€
On how far back theyâ€™ll go in the archives.
Alex Gibney: â€œI don’t think there’s any limit to how far back we could go. It’s really a sense of, â€™Is it a good story that would work on television that would be exciting? Is there a filmmaker that has a passion for a particular take?â€™ That’s what we are looking for. So there’s no limit on it in terms of time.â€
Kahane Cooperman: â€œI can add that, for this season, I think the oldest story that we looked at and turned into a film was about 15 years old. While the main character has changed in that story, the institution that it’s about still exists. So the filmmaker was able to do research and find another equally compelling character doing the same thing. Then, we were able to make a film that was inspired by that original article but follows a different individual.
We can go back to 1925 when the magazine first started. That is something that, if we move into the future, we’d love to be able to explore. It’s a different kind of challenge, but I think there’s a lot of really great ways to go back to stories that have been reported over time and make them into films that we can show as part of this series.â€
On the mood and tone they created for the series.
Alex: â€œThe key and the challenge was to have it emerge from the spirit of The New Yorker but at the same time to bring on board filmmakers who had their own voices so that they would respond to something in the material, they would come at it in a way that was particular to them. The ones that got us the most excited were when people came in and said, â€˜I want to focus on this part of this longer story, and here’s how I want to do it.â€™ It was that personal vibe that I think was really great. I mentioned the word â€˜eclecticâ€™ earlier, that’s what we were looking for, that personal dig at some of the material in The New Yorker that inspired folks.â€
David: â€œBurk Bilger wrote an amazing piece about the phenomenon, particularly in the Southwest, of little kids being in rodeo. You write your piece, it goes out into the world and that’s it. It’s your thing. We’ve had to learn how to give that kind of story over to somebody else who is looking at it fresh.
So we have the maker of Hoop Dreams go to this story. You’ll see it in the second episode. At first, you’ve got to think your heart is a little bit in your throat because here’s somebody else you don’t even know going at what you think of as your story. But the people that Kahane and Alex have selected are so amazing. So the maker of Hoop Dreams goes at this story fresh, and I was moved all over again and in different ways because television and filmmaking do different things. It has different capacities, different limitations and different horizons. That was very exciting, but it’s something that, as a writer, as an editor, [you] had to put yourself in the hands of smart, creative people and let it go.â€
Kahane: â€œThe whole show has been an incredible collaboration, obviously, between Amazon and Jigsaw, the writers and editors at The New Yorker and these filmmakers who have their own visions and are established.
So, early on, as we are figuring out which filmmakers are going to be doing what stories, we let them choose from a selection. We actually have a phone call, and we have the writer, the editor, and the filmmaker and myself and the supervising producer all on the phone together. The filmmaker talks about how they see the film. They are able to ask the writer questions. The writer is able to give them some insights and directions that you don’t necessarily glean from the article of their personal experience with it. It’s really an incredible conversation to be a part of because you see these different minds coming at these stories in the same way, and then, in the end, you can see how the filmmaker interprets that story.
It’s just an incredible process to be part of, and, I mean, the results are in the show. But that’s one thing that we thought was really important was to have all the people who were involved in the story and the people who were going to take the story somewhere else at least have one time where they are talking together, and it was pretty fantastic.â€
On if every episode is based on something from the magazine or website or if the filmmakers can come to the series with new ideas?
Kahane: â€œIn this season, every single piece except for one came directly from The New Yorker. We have short interstitials that are about life in NewÂ York and dropping in on moments around NewÂ York and looking behind the doors and windows of what’s going on in the city. They are in the spirit of The New Yorker, but those interstitials are not directly from the pages of [the magazine]. 90, 95 percent, come from The New Yorker, and it could be a mention in listings, goings-on about town, or it could be a full essay or an article or a short story or anything else that’s from those pages.â€
David: â€œI should say that this show is a show. It’s not a branding exercise. This is not for The New Yorker to advertise itself. It’s a really creative venture, creative experiment, too, in which filmmaking is foremost. The people at the magazine itself, at the website, participate where we can be helpful, and that extends even to factâ€‘checking, which is something that we pride ourselves in the level of accuracy. Part of the reason I feel like I’m working with such kindred souls, Alex and Kahane and people that they have at their place, is that they picked up on this ethos with real relish. There was no resistance to our fetish for accuracy and refinement. In fact, it felt one and the same. These are real brothers and sisters in arms.â€
Edited for space and content.
The first 2 episodes of The New Yorker Presents will be available on Tuesday, February 16th on Amazon Prime.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Kelly McCormack Talks Favorite Moments in A League of Their Own
[Warning: Mild spoilers for season 1.] Now that you’ve had a chance to watch A League of Their Own, here’s the rest of my chat with Kelly McCormack about her favorite moments of the season. Seeing the iconic Peaches uniforms for the first time wasn’t just a goosebump moment for…
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People [streaming on Global TV in Canada and Roku…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
Ricky He Talks From “The Way Things Are Now”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode 102 of EPIX’s From.] Epix’s new series From is two episodes in and it’s already laying the groundwork for a seriously spooky season. Tonight’s episode demonstrated the careful balance of relief and horror that the show hits, with our characters’ worst fears realized, just not when…
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…