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deadwood Gerald McRaney

A new day is dawning in Deadwood...

The spring of 1877 brings major changes to the teeming outlaw camp of Deadwood, as civilization makes its way to town. New arrivals will usher in an era of power struggles with the camp founders-and power struggles in Deadwood have a way of turning violent....

Created and executive produced by David Milch ("NYPD Blue"), Deadwood is one of most acclaimed dramas on television. The series was nominated for 11 Emmys® and two Golden Globe® Awards in its debut season.

George Hearst. In June 1877 George Hearst, who had earlier sent an agents to offer a bond to owners of the Homestake claim, buys the four and one half acre claim for $70,000. George Hurst was a mining tycoon who had already made millions in Utah, Nevada, California and Montana. The man is almost illiterate and loves poker, bourbon and tobacco. In later life his sole ambition was to be a politician which eventually led to the Hearst publishing

Deadwood Gerald McRaney

Read more about the “Deadwood” at HBO: www.hbo.com/deadwood

Click on the photo to watch an interview with Gerald McRaney.

McRaney Brings a Legend to Life

By Kate O'Hare

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) All this season on HBO's Western drama "Deadwood," the very mention of the name George Hearst has caused such formidable operators as saloonkeepers Cy Tolliver and Al Swearengen (Powers Boothe, Ian McShane) -- both of whom are more than willing to commit or solicit murder if it suits their purposes -- and less impressive locals, such as cringing hotelier E.B. Farnum (William Sanderson), to stutter, capitulate and bend over backwards to avoid giving offense to the 19th-century mining magnate.

On Sunday, May 22, in the show's second-season finale, called "Boy-the-Earth-Talks-To" (the name Hearst said American Indians gave him, referring to his skill at finding "color," or precious metals, underground), both the citizens of Deadwood and viewers will get to see what all the fuss is about, when Hearst finally arrives in the freewheeling late-1870s mining camp in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Bringing Hearst to life is veteran character actor Gerald McRaney, a longtime acquaintance of legendary Paramount producer A.C. Lyles, a consulting producer on "Deadwood," created by David Milch ("NYPD Blue").

"At that moment in time," McRaney says, "there were people who believed that if God didn't destroy Deadwood, he owed Sodom and Gomorrah an apology. It was, in fact, beyond the law, and thus beyond the pale."

Hearst is eager to buy up all the gold mines in Deadwood, and he isn't too concerned about who he has to walk over to do it.

"George Hearst was a fascinating character," McRaney says. "But I don't think he was actually mean to people as some think he was. He just used them as any other piece of mining equipment.

"He was just so fixated on getting this stuff out of the ground, and it wasn't even for the wealth involved. For all I know the earth did talk to him."

Any man who could strike fear into the hearts of the lawless founders of Deadwood must be 10 feet tall and be able to catch lighting bolts in his teeth. Asked how he could play Hearst to live up to his billing, McRaney says, "Actually, I don't mind if people think [he should be taller], because people probably did think such things when this guy finally showed up.

"I'm just playing Hearst as a human being who has this one obsession that is in control of his life. At least his obsession isn't quite as deadly immediately as the one his assistant has."

Hearst's front man in Deadwood this season has been his geologist, Francis Wolcott, played by Garret Dillahunt. Earlier in the season, Wolcott slit the throats of two prostitutes and their madam, but murder in is nothing new to Dillahunt. Last season, under heavy makeup, Dillahunt played Jack McCall, the gambler who killed Wild Bill Hickock (Keith Carradine).

"He's so damn good," McRaney says. "What a fine actor he is. He's a throwback, in my estimation, to what actors were supposed to be about when I started. You play different characters. I started in a rep company, where one night you're the king, and tomorrow you're the spear carrier. He can do that."

McRaney has also enjoyed Milch's distinctive -- and salty -- language on "Deadwood," even if the lines are written moments before he says them.

"We think it's a fun way to work," he says. "I absolutely loved it. New lines, vastly different interpretations of those lines -- it's amazing." The experience has also left McRaney a bit spoiled.

"I have to tell you," he says, "pilot scripts got submitted to me this season, and I haven't been able to bring myself to accept anything, because the writing, I'm sorry, it doesn't measure up. It's not there. To be able to do 'Deadwood,' it's almost like doing today's version of Shakespeare." In real life, after the time of "Deadwood," Hearst went on to make an unsuccessful bid for governor of California in 1882, and eventually became a U.S. senator for the Golden State, serving until his death in 1891.

Of course, fictional "Deadwood" isn't bound to follow history in every particular, but McRaney says, "They haven't killed me so far. I've only done the one episode, and I wound up surviving it. We're talking about coming back for next season, but I don't know if they'll want me back to finish one more episode and kill me after that -- which seems unlikely, since it didn't happen.

"He was a senator, after all."


From: www.zap2it.com

Why is 'Major Dad' on 'Deadwood'?

Gerald McRaney: 'Because it's good'

Monday, June 12, 2006,     BORROWED from   CNN.com ;-)

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Actor Gerald McRaney's place in TV history is secured by his steady work in shows ranging from "Simon & Simon" in the 1980s to an upcoming fall drama for CBS, "Jericho."

But McRaney, it turns out, also represents a nexus between television's former and current incarnations of the Old West, the airbrushed "Gunsmoke" and HBO's pocks-and-all series "Deadwood."

McRaney, who joined "Deadwood" as a guest star last season, had the honor of being the final bad guy on "Gunsmoke" to face U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon in "that classic showdown with two of you drawing against each other," McRaney recalled.

His character was killed in the 1975 episode and good prevailed once again in Dodge City. "Gunsmoke" (1956-75), although seen as TV's first adult-oriented Western, was so upright that Miss Kitty, who in the original radio version seemed to be a madam, became merely a saloon owner with an usual number of female employees.

In the messy, forthright world of "Deadwood," created by David Milch, a hooker is a hooker and virtue and vice share breathing room in the ragged South Dakota town of Deadwood in the late 1870s.

McRaney plays mining baron George Hearst, among the historically based characters populating the drama that returned Sunday for its third and last 12-episode season. HBO said this week the series will conclude with a pair of two-hour specials, as yet unscheduled. (What happened Sunday night? Find out on EW.com.)

The gulf between "Deadwood" and TV's previous takes on the wild West measures about as wide as the one separating McRaney's G-rated body of broadcast TV work from the HBO series.

Known for such characters as easygoing Rick Simon on the private-eye series, a Marine in "Major Dad" and a family man on "Promised Land," the actor is aware some were surprised by his jump to the coarse and brutal "Deadwood."

No mystery, McRaney said: "It's because it's good."

So is the Mississippi-born actor. Wearing the comfortably well-padded look of a 19th-century man of power and wealth, McRaney proves slyly adept at portraying a Hearst whose hands stay clean while brutal acts are carried out on his behalf.

Researching the real Hearst (father of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst), McRaney found he was likely less erudite than depicted on "Deadwood" but as intent on accumulating gold and silver, dubbed "the color" on the show.

"The money didn't matter to him," McRaney concluded. "He was like a stamp collector .... It wasn't a matter of 'What is the value of all these stamps?' but, 'I have them and other people don't.' "


We have to find the curves in there'

The series offers only an interpretation of Hearst, McRaney said -- and the plum role of his career, bar none. He's a featured player throughout this season.

"I don't mean to diminish any of the people I've worked with. The circumstances that get dictated in network television just don't permit the kind of luxuriousness that we have in creating 'Deadwood,' " the actor said.

That is measured in time, money and artistic freedom -- which includes a chorus of profanity that some viewers find wondrous and others, inevitably, off-putting. But it's all in context, said McRaney, whose character holds his tongue.

"The guys who use a lot of foul language are pimps. And the people around them are assistant pimps and whores, and they were not known for their lofty language," he said.

For him, the drama means savoring the layered conflict and offbeat elegance of language provided by creator-executive producer Milch and other writers. It's dialogue that at once seems as classic as Shakespeare and as new and rhythmic as rap.

"David has a very specific take on what he wants," McRaney said. "If a thing is too on the money, if a thing is too direct, that's not good enough. We have to find the curves in there. And if it's too well-defined, let's some fine emptiness to play -- to give it texture, and also to give it human imperfection."

Showing a touch of the poet himself, McRaney compares Milch to "one of those great Arab carpet-weavers who purposely will weave imperfections in, because only God is perfect."

McRaney, 57, married to actress Delta Burke (they met on her series, "Designing Women," and recently celebrated their 17th anniversary) and himself a father, is sensitive to the fact that some find the show's blunt vulgarity offensive.

While early prime time on the networks should be a family-friendly zone, McRaney is eager to make the point that it's ultimately up to the individual to decide what entertainment to allow into their home.

"It's a very dangerous thing to do," he said of further federal regulation of TV content, including proposals that were floated in Washington to extend control from broadcast to cable channels.

"I'm a little tired of government treating us all like children. I'm a conservative and I'm for limited government. This idea of telling me what I can see, what I can read -- don't go there," McRaney said.

Keep the kids away from "Deadwood" and change channels if you don't like it, he advised.

But be mindful of what you might miss, such as an upcoming scene that McRaney cited as a favorite in which Hearst argues "the case for greed and rampant capitalism and exploitation and why it will save the world."

Clearly, one man's music can be another's profanity.


Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

From:  cnn.com

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