The Examiner: Tony Goldwyn and cast talk new We TV show ‘The Divide’

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On Thursday, June 26, 2014 Examiner.com had the opportunity to attend a Special Screening of we TV’s new show “The Divide,”which premieres on July 16. Creators Richard LaGravenese andTony Goldwyn and cast members Marin Ireland, Damon Gupton, Nia Long, Paul Schneider, Britne Oldford, Clarke Peters all walked the red carpet.

So can you tell me a little bit about what inspired the project?

Tony Goldwyn: Yeah. I started “The Divide” because I made a film in 2010 called “Conviction,” which stars Sam Rockwell and Hilary Swank about a man who spent 18 years in prison for a crime that he didn’t commit. And his sister became an attorney to try and get him out and with the help of The Innocence Project, after 18 years, got exonerated off DNA evidence and that’s a true story. So, developing that film, I got very involved with The Innocence Project. I got to know Barry Scheck, and Peter Neufeld who founded it, and saw the extraordinary work they were doing, and heard story after story after story about spending time in prison after sometimes 20, 30 years for crimes that they didn’t commit. And I found this all very moving. So I finished that one, and I said to my friend Richard LaGravenese, you know I think there’s a TV idea telling, explaining these themes of how this happens and the vagaries of our justice system, and our gray areas and our moralities, and our personal moralities and our attitudes towards innocence and guilt and right and wrong, so we really wanted to dig into the gray areas we all have in our own lives. So that’s how it kinda happened.

So how long have you been working on this project?

TG: We came up with that idea in 2010. And then sold the idea to AMC at the end of 2010, the beginning of 2011. It took us sort of a year to get a script and we made a pilot for it. Another 6 or 8 months and they decided to just do the first season. So yeah, it’s been quite a few years. So four years.

So what was it like directing a show that you created?

TG: It was thrilling, it was great. It was like directing a movie. When you’re making a movie … the director is the primal author of it. You have the screenwriter, but the director is the decider the ultimate person who sort of steers it. In television, it’s the writers and creators. So, I’ve directed a lot of TV but as a TV director I’m always sort of in service of the creator. For us, it’s always me and Rich. I even deferred to him ultimately and the visions he sees as the writer. So we conceive it together, but if there was almost any decision, you know, I would say “Look, this is what I think, but what do you want to do?” And he would either agree with me or say what, it’s more important to do this. And I would defer to him because television is the writer’s medium. But, this is the ultimate for me, as a director I get to be a director but also have that authorship that you have when you’re a movie director as well.

So after directing this huge thing and after being an actor obviously, would you say you prefer one over the other now?

TG: I love both of them. I love being able to do both. If I had to choose I’d probably choose directing because you are just involved with so many more people and as I said, you’re the central storyteller. But I’d be terribly depressed if I couldn’t act.

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