Amazon’s ‘Sneaky Pete’ Series to Launch Starring the Daring Duo, Brian Cranston and Giovanni Ribisi
By: Sharoll Jackson and Valerie Milano
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 1/9/2016 – Cast members, creators and their guests celebrated Wednesday night at the launch event for “Sneaky Pete”, Amazon’s original dramatic series. The party was held at Clifton’s in Downtown Los Angeles with plenty of entertainment, including poker and blackjack tables. Fun competition at the head table included Giovanni Ribisi, Margo Martindale, Marin Ireland, and Executive Producers Bryan Cranston and Graham Yost.
Cast and Creators had plenty to say about “Sneaky Pete” and the catchy situations that are laced with lies and secrets – creating heart-pounding entrapments for all.
During an interview, the powerhouse Executive Producer /Actor, Brian Cranston gladly chimed in.
Why do you think CBS passed on Sneaky Pete before you found a home on Amazon?
They have their own set of ideas of what they want to do, and it was just a no. II think it was a very difficult no. I think they really did like the show a lot. They have to hone it down to the ones in their plan. But it gave us an opportunity to open up the show and create a show that was without certain boundaries; we could go to places that we couldn’t go on CBS.
Do you worry about the audience connecting with the lead character who is basically a villain?
No, I’ve played that before. The one thing you want to do is give the audience enough of a glimpse of a character to where even if they don’t sympathize, they can understand, and they can root for the character. Our character who becomes Pete, we understand through a series of flashbacks what happened to him, so we have sympathies toward him; and so we kind of root for him.
Does Amazon ever try to offer any input or opinion on the content in the manner of a broadcast network?
Amazon has been phenomenal partners in this. They would describe what was working for them and also what wasn’t at any given point, but they never imposed their own ideology on what is the fix. They left it up to the creative team to decide how we’re going to fix the problem and that’s wonderful. It was more like them saying, “I’m not understanding this one thing here or can we enhance something”, and then we’d go and we would do it. They were open and great to work with.
What movie role character is close to who you are?
I think that the movie role that I’m playing that’s out right now, ‘Why Him” is more closely related to me than anything. It’s about a family man who has a daughter and a loving wife, and that’s what I have – very stable and very normal. But usually I’m not attracted to those kinds of characters. I usually look for something that moves you. The story has to move me first in order to capture my interest. This comedy appealed to me, coming off of years of drama.
Do you think the stigma has disappeared for top tier actors to participate in alternative platforms like Amazon?
I don’t think there was a stigma attached to it at all. A few years ago there was a divide between working in television and those working in feature films. I’m glad to see that come to a crushing halt because good storytelling is good storytelling whether it’s on television, or whether it’s on stage or in the movie theaters. I always said that the story should dictate the medium. For instance, “Breaking Bad” would have made a terrible movie because you would have had to truncate the storyline. It needed the long play to roll out slowly so that it brought audiences in week after week, with the cringing of it, and you couldn’t do that in a feature film. So you really have to decide – where does this story offer the best opportunity to be fully embraced.
Giovanni Ribisi, the super talented lead who plays Pete, shared his insightful thoughts.
In the trailer the main character says that when a liar is caught in a lie, he just makes the lie bigger.
I think that’s sort of the nature of writing or constructing plot where you develop a desire line in an effort to overcome the conflict of that goal, you change or become more obsessed to get out of it .
Do you see any redemption in the future for Pete?
It depends. I have empathy for that character just because of his background that we are going to explore. I think he’s in a situation that fell in his lap and that he’s behaving in the way that he was brought up and the only way he knows how to. He’s using his talents to liberate his brother, if he can. You can’t necessarily look at him as a villain, but as someone who is trying to survive a situation.
What do you think about Pete’s choices?
I love the insanity of a character and finding how stupid and crazy and how far he will go.
How is it working with Brian Cranston?
I think he’s one of the great American actors. He’s a consummate professional.
It’s an inspiration to work with him – you want to be better, and even if it’s just observational, then you strive and you go to work the next day and you kick yourself to get there.
Margo Martindale, who plays Pete’s colorful mom, talked about the work.
How do you feel about your career at this time?
I appreciate it. One thing that’s great about maturity is that you have had life experience and that you don’t have to make it up.
What is the one project that really accelerated your career?
I’ve built on things all along in my career, even though it may not look like that from the outside. From the stage, which I’ve done 300 plays, to being picked up from the movies to getting a bigger part in a movie, to getting a bigger part, to going back to playing the part of a mouse, and then getting a television series.
Do you think you’ll go back to the stage again?
I love the theater and there’s nothing like it. When the right thing comes along, I will be back.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done for a role?
Karate for a commercial – and I could kick all of the way up there.
Do you have any ideas or desires about the direction of your role in ‘Sneaky Pete’?
I’m leaving that in the capable hands of Graham Yost and the writers. They will present something great to do.
What did you learn from Brian?
As a director, Brian is very hands on and he is phenomenal, a wonderful director. He’s great. He has a clear vision of what he wants. I think he cares deeply that the show has all of the texture is should have.
Cranston offered a quick last thought.
What I’m grateful for is that actors can now say I’m an actor, and not be limited by saying I’m a television actor, or I’m a soap opera actor, or a comedic actor. It’s great to say, I’m an actor and I’m looking for an opportunity to tell stories.