“Land of Lovecraft”, “The Crown”: a new perspective on historical events


Actor Jonathan Majors remembers his mother telling him when he was a child to always come home before the street lights come on.

But it wasn’t until the filming of “Lovecraft Country” that he realized it wasn’t because “my mom was afraid I couldn’t go home in the dark”, he said. “It was the fact that she grew up in Texas and that a city at sunset was a real thing and if you weren’t home by the time those street lights went on you were in trouble. “

Working on the first season of the HBO drama which mixes elements of horror, supernatural mysticism and sci-fi against the backdrop of historical events gave him a new perspective on the black experience in America.

In addition to the Jim Crow laws, the majors saw the Tulsa racing massacre of 1921 in a new light after working with fellow actors Courtney B. Vance and Michael K. Williams on stages set during this period. .

“They broke it down: ‘It wasn’t a riot; it was a massacre, ”says Majors. It is “the correct way to refer to this moment in history as Black and in our history as Americans.” To then cross this space with this idea in mind [of], “Oh, all these people are not going to lose their lives because they act like crazy, they are going to lose their lives because people are going to come in and it’s going to be a brief territorial genocide”, which completely cracked something ‘open in me. Changing the narrative for myself changes the way you move around the world, changes the way you move through space.

The way “Lovecraft Country”, which was created and is directed by Misha Green, affected its lead actor is indicative of how any strong dramatization of actual historical events should impact those who engage with it. material, although liberties are taken to polish some of the details – or in the case of “Lovecraft Country”, present said events through otherworldly elements like time travel. For many of today’s drama series that highlight specific defining moments in time, the key to success lies in balancing a high level of emotion and educational elements.

Late last year, just two weeks after Netflix launched the fourth season of “The Crown,” British Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden called on the streamer to put a warning at the start of episodes, to fear that young viewers will mistake fiction for fact, as they might not have a personal memory of the events depicted in the show. But because “The Crown” is a drama series, not a documentary, recreating specific events – even when they are globally iconic such as the wedding of Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) and Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) – are not what matters most to the show. It is the internal struggles and interpersonal dynamics between members of the British Royal Family that keep the public watching the frenzy.

Likewise, Netflix’s “Selena” and “Bridgerton” care more about the inner workings of character relationships than simply re-filming the late singer-songwriter’s music videos or TV performances or recreating specific galas at which only 1% of time attended, respectively. (Although both shows do the latter sporadically as well.)

Unlike “The Crown,” which no member of the Royal Family consults on, “Selena” counts the real Abraham Quintanilla Jr. and Suzette Quintanilla among its executive producers.

“When you become a legend, there are so many rumors. So for us it was really important to have the real story and to really understand the emotions of what it took and the sacrifice, why they made their choices, ”said the executive producer of“ Selena ”, Jaime Dávila.

Knowing that each person’s truth is slightly skewed by their individual perspective, Dávila says that the “Selena” Writers’ Hall mainly worked with Suzette Quintanilla on the story. But they also did other interviews with family and group members, in addition to archival research, to capture the spirit of the 1970s to 1990s for all of those who worked so hard to make this group. family and the young girl at the center of a successful business. and rising star.

For “Bridgerton,” which is based on Julia Quinn’s debut novel in her eponymous book series and which takes place during a social season at Regency England, showrunner Chris Van Dusen worked with historians such as Dr Hannah Greig to correctly represent many details of the period. .

“For the meal scenes, he notes for example, there were so many rules that I had to learn: how people sit at the table and how they eat, how they hold their silverware, how the valets behave, how they come in at times and how they leave when someone wants a new drink.

But because he wanted to create an “ambitious” vibe for the show, from the love story between Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Duke Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page), to the actual visuals, he chose to marry history with fantasy in many areas, such as production and costume design.

The reality at the time, he points out, was that “the streets would not be clean and the costumes would be in ruins,” but “when I watched the show I wanted to be able to think, ‘I want to live in this world. ‘”

In addition, it was important for him to use the hindsight he had in writing this series more than two centuries after the actual period to deliver “a truly modern commentary on how, over the past 200 years, everything has changed. changed but nothing has changed ”.

David Weil, who created Amazon Prime Video’s “Hunters,” which focuses on the titular group of Nazi Hunters in 1970s New York City, also preferred to look at thematic parallels and a specific tone rather than describing with perfect precision recent history. The first season follows the group on a high-octane, slightly exhilarating adventure as they strive to eliminate Nazi war criminals who conspire to create a Fourth Reich in the United States. Pacino) is a former Nazi himself and that Adolf Hitler is still alive and well, more than three decades after actually taking his own life.

In the face of so much current racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism, Weil previously said Variety, the show became a quest for self-defense justice and asking audiences to think about what they would do if they faced such hatred head-on.

Arousing such strong feelings in the audience is also essential to get through a difficult time and make them want to invest in a dramatic season as the seasons go by.

Speaking of “Selena,” Davila says, “The goal was to give you a positive picture of a Mexican-American family. [and] to show why she had the impact she had. The first part is: “How do you make this dream come true?” And part 2, which we will see later, is: “Once you have achieved this dream, how do you keep it going?” Ultimately, I want to make sure people are entertained by this story, and aren’t there any moments on the show 100% accurate? Yeah, they’re not. But I think what is 100% accurate is the emotion. This is the truth that I wanted.

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Patrick F. Williams

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