Twice a year, I spend a couple of weeks at the Television Critics Association press tours. The tour held during the summer is the most important since it’s an opportunity to see all of the programs debuting in the fall and to interview cast members. The winter meetings are for the midseason replacements.
The most difficult part is trying to determine which shows will last and which will be treated like a character on “Games of Thrones” and given the ax at any minute. Because there are so many interviews, it’s hard to determine which ones to publish first and which ones to hold. If there’s any chance the show will die quickly, I try to use those stories as soon as possible.
That formula didn’t work with the WB series “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.” The odds seemed good the show would last because it is loaded with characters from the DC universe and is on the CW, which is not known for quick cancellations. And it already had a fan base because several of the characters had been introduced on the WB shows “Flash” and “Arrow.”
What I didn’t factor in was a major character getting killed in the second episode, which is what happened when Hawkman (Falk Hentschel) was killed by the evil Vandal Savage (Casper Crump).
My interview with Hentschel looked to be equally dead. There’s a spoiler coming in case you want to jump down and read about the new feature film “Captain America: Civil War.”
The fate of my story changed when, in a recent episode, the character of Carter Hall (Hawkman’s secret identity) returned to the show.
Hentschel didn’t talk about his storyline when I interviewed him. He mostly talked about playing a character who had lived and died hundreds of times over the centuries. In hindsight, that conversation could apply to being on and off (and back on) the show.
“I want to play the character as an old soul,” Hentschel says. “Even doing that there will be character traits that make him seem kind of young. He’s a bit flippy and arrogant in the beginning but I think that comes from have done so much over and over. I play him as a character who has seen it all. He has many different outlooks on life because he’s had so many opportunities to learn so much information.”
Hentschel has spent a decade working, with roles in “Reckless,” “White House Down” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.”
He’s one of the rare actors who has appeared in TV series based on both Marvel and DC comics. After appearing on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” he played Hawkman on “The Flash” and “Arrow.”
“It’s really cool,” Hentschel says. “I think when it comes to acting, there’s nothing different about playing these characters. But getting these jobs is a pretty cool honor.”
The good, the bad and the Bucky
Sebastian Stan doesn’t often get to play a movie role more than once. The chance to portray Bucky Barnes in three “Captain America” movies, including the new “Captain America: Civil War,” has given him a chance to really examine his role and those surrounding his character.
Stan has decided that the best way to describe Captain America is to say he lives in a very black-and-white world. That means there is a sharp division between good and evil, truth and falsehood and right and wrong. Barnes lives in a gray world.
“He lives in a gray world because he’s unstable,” Stan says. “At this point, in this movie, right and wrong is a very fine line for him. But we find him in his place where he’s learning about his past and it’s not a pretty picture.”
Because Barnes is dealing with both his good and evil sides, the challenge for Stan in each scene was to make sure he was getting across the precisely correct temperament. Having that kind of character to play is both challenging and rewarding to Stan.
Before every scene, Stan and the directors – Joe and Anthony Russo – would have long discussions about how much of the old Bucky was still in the character and how much of the “Winter Soldier” character he had become.
“I think we found the right tone because you can’t have him suddenly all the way back. We need to do more work to earn that,” Stan says.
Funny face: A large group of celebrities will participate in this year’s “The Red Nose Day Special” to be broadcast at 9 p.m. Thursday, May 26, on NBC. The annual event raises funds to change the lives of children.
The list of participants includes Craig Ferguson, Ellen DeGeneres, Jack Black, Paul Rudd, Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, Sarah Silverman, Tracy Morgan, Key & Peele, Anna Kendrick, Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Ellie Kemper, Kristen Bell, Emma Watson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Rose Byrne, Blake Griffin, Emma Thompson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Steve Buscemi, Danny Trejo, Adam Devine and Ron Funches.