McMafia

Discussion in 'TV Central' started by Barbara Fan, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Did anyone catch this on BBC last night, I quite enjoyed it

    After a tragic event, Russian exile Alex Godman is drawn into the murky world of global crime as he tries to protect his family from their dark past.

    BBC One’s ground-breaking new international thriller McMafia is an eight-part series created by Hossein Amini and James Watkins and inspired by Misha Glenny’s best-selling book of the same name. McMafia begins on BBC One on 1st January at 9pm. Co-writer and director James Watkins explains further.


    What inspired you about the McMafia book to create this drama?

    What appealed to Hoss [Hossein Amini] and I when we read the book was the world. There’s a reality in the world of the mafia and it seems very zeitgeisty in terms of the corporate becoming criminal and the criminal becoming corporate. We had many conversations about the project, we thought about making a film but felt we couldn’t do any justice to the global aspects of the story if we did that. But in eight episodes of television there’s time to interweave multiple strands and storylines and geographical locations around the world. We spoke a lot about The Wire and how it was the story of a city and how McMafia is the story of an interconnected global city, so we thought it would be really interesting to explore.

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    Rebecca (JULIET RYLANCE), Katya (FAYE MARSAY), Oksana (MARIA SHUKSHINA), Alex (JAMES NORTON), Dimitri (ALEKSEY SEREBRYAKOV) (Image credt: BBC Worldwide)

    Was it important to you to have an international cast?

    It was incredibly important to us to cast globally for the authenticity. One of the first discussions we had with our partners was that when we depicted Russia, we wanted the language to be Russian, so needed to cast Russian actors. I think audiences are far too sophisticated now to have an English actor putting on a Russian accent, it feels fake. In order to immerse people in these worlds we wanted to seek out the best actors in these different countries, Russia, Israel, Georgia, the Czech Republic etc. It was fantastic working with people from different worlds as everyone has the same approach but different processes.

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    Katya (FAYE MARSAY), Rebecca (JULIET RYLANCE), Dimitri Godman (ALEXEY SEREBRYAKOV), Oksana Godman (MARIA SHUKSHINA), Alex Godman (JAMES NORTON)(Image credit: BBC/Cuba/Nick Wall)

    How do you hope McMafia is received by audiences?

    We want McMafia to be a tense gangster story, but also a family story. It’s a collision of those two worlds. We talked a lot about The Godfather and the way it’s epic yet intimate. We want to draw people into the story of Alex Godman (James Norton) and his family and Vadim (Merab Ninidze), his nemesis, and his family. It’s a clash of clans and we hope that makes for a thrilling and immersive drama. I want them to be entertained, engaged and to go on a journey with our characters. If you look at the best drama at the moment it's stories about the world in which we now live, which I hope McMafia can do in some way.

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    Alex Godman (JAMES NORTON), Vadim Kalyagin (MERAB NINIDZE)(Image Credit: BBC/Cuba/Nick Wall)

    Tell us about the development process of McMafia?

    The development process was pleasurable, Hoss and I are friends and we’d meet up in cafes or in the garden at the Victoria & Albert museum and work out the story timeline and arc. Then we got some of the best UK writers into a writer’s room, David Farr, Laurence Coriat, Peter Harness. They sat down with us and collectively kicked the tyres of what we had come up with, went away and fleshed out the episodes. Hoss has put a tonal unity over all of the episodes and put his stamp on it. Quite early we spoke to a lot of broadcasters and gave them our vision and the BBC and AMC came on board. We then scouted locations in Croatia and London and it all came together very quickly.

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    Traffickers in the desert - from McMafia episode 2 (Image Credit: BBC/Cuba/Nikola Predovic)

    Tell us about the locations where you filmed?

    We shot in many territories around the world, main and second unit, to give us that breadth of scale. We were in London, Croatia, Serbia, Qatar, India, Turkey, Czech Republic, and Israel. None of the story is actually set in Croatia but Croatia is incredibly impressive in how it can double for so many places, there is such a variety of landscape and architecture.

    You directed all eight episodes - what was the decision behind that?

    It was a difficult decision because it was a 27 week long shoot and you don’t do that lightly. But at the same time, having created the series with Hoss, I would have found it difficult to hand it over. It also meant I could keep a strong tonal authorship over the material, so I feel pleased to have made that decision. I think it also helped the actors; it would have been very hard for them to maintain their journey with their long character arcs otherwise. I approached it like an eight hour film and hopefully that pays off.

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    McMafia - Alex Godman (JAMES NORTON) discusses filming with writer/director James Watkins (Image Credit: BBC/Cuba/Nick Wall)

    Where was a highlight to film?

    Filming in India was very special. The chaos, the noise and the sensory overload was all really wonderful. It was a new world to me and being able to capture that was incredible.

    The other highlight was working with actors from across the world and talent that you might not normally see in mainstream drama in the UK or USA, actors who are huge stars in their own countries but undiscovered to those audiences. It’s wonderful to be able to showcase their talents.

    Do you think the world of television is changing?

    The world of TV has already changed and it’s an ongoing conversation. A lot of the best stories are now being told on television. The opportunity to be able to tell long form character stories is something that TV affords and is therefore a terrain that a lot of filmmakers are interested in exploring. Between huge budget franchise films and micro indie movies, the film industry has become a difficult place and the freedom you have in television means you can explore the stories in a much richer and deeper way.

    Watch McMafia on BBC One from 1st January at 9pm and on BBC iPlayer

     
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  2. Edie70

    Edie70 Soap Chat Active Member

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    Thank you for posting this. Looks interesting. I am a huge James Norton fan, he played such a sick bastard on Happy Valley a few years ago. He is definitely a very good and convincing actor.
     
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  3. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat TV Fanatic

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    I´ll try to watch the first episode at least, it really looks interesting if it doesn´t become another infomercial of "how to make a good life through drug-dealing...". At first, I thought it was about a burger mafia, who knows why... (Miss Piggy got scared big time!!):lmao:

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  4. Gabriel Maxwell

    Gabriel Maxwell Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    They've already aired the 2nd episode of McMAFIA last night and there will be a total of 8. This is also on my must-watch list for 2018. It looks great and I've loved the suddenly omnipresent Norton for years.

    I'm however sorry engagements like these are keeping him from doing another season of his cozy little whodunit GRANTCHESTER where he plays a priest solving murder cases in the 1950s English countryside.
     
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  5. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Its good but jumps about a lot and i might need to watch it again as it can be confusing

    Its got lovely scenery, locations and filming

    Not sure that I "get" James Norton" as the ? Maybe next James Bond though
     
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  6. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Enjoyed last nights episode but its not the Night Manager and Tom!

    The longer it goes on the more I dont really get the appeal of Mr Norton and wooden springs to mind when it comes to his acting

    not for Bond ! IMHO
     
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  7. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Its the final episode tonight and have to say I have found this drama - confusing, convulted, havent a clue what is happening half the time and the main lead James Norton the biggest disappointment of all

    He is more wooden than an oak tree and same goes for his drippy, insipid girlfriend - he reminds me of the phrase runs the "gamut of emotions from A to B". Just hope he isnt the next Mr Bond

    I had a lot of hopes for this but it didnt live up to the hype for me

    On the other hand Next of Kin on ITV is great and looking forwards to Trauma with Adrian Lester starting this week.
     

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