Noah Bean: A Connecticut Yankee in ďDamagesĒ court
By April MacIntyre Aug 8, 2007, 18:36 GMT
A new legal drama on F/X: \'Damages" stars Glenn Close who plays Patty Hewes, a high-stakes litigator - described as ruthless & tougher than nails. ...more
The look of the new FX series "Damages" draws you in immediately. The writing and ensemble acting talent keeps you glued to your set.
"Damages" is FX's latest calculating show constructed of layered smallscreen themes, legal drama, murder mystery cop show and thriller, where the writers play with timelines and flashbacks with a deft hand.
The co-creators and writers, Todd and Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman, have taken a cue from Dick Wolf and taken it up several notches, combining all these elements with brilliant production values in art direction, cinematography, editing, costuming and overall scripting.
Connecticut born and now New Yorker actor Noah Bean (David Connor) is part of the excellent cast that includes star Glenn Close as Patty, Ted Danson as the heavy, Frobisher, Tate Donovan as Hewes associate Tom Shayes, rising star Rose Byrne as Ellen, 3x Tony award winner Zeljko Ivanek as Frobisherís attorney, and Anatasia Griffith who plays Noahís on-screen sister, Katie Connor.
Friday, Monsters and Critics got a chance to speak to Noah along with a few other online journalists to ask what lay ahead for him.
When asked what his thoughts were on joining the show where he knows his character dies, potentially resulting in not having as long as a run as the other characters, Bean was okay with it, replying, ďI donít really have any idea whatís going to happen either, which is amazing. But yes, it was kind of at first, when I first got the job, obviously in the pilot, we see what happens to David and it didnít look so good. But at first, I was kind of thrilled because I thought this was just great. I get one season on this great show.
And then once we started shooting it, I was like, Darn it, this stinks because, itís so great. Itís just gotten better and better and better, the show as weíve continued shooting. So itís a little bit of a bummer, but I think itís going to be sort of fascinating. I think the guys, our writers and our creators, have got some really cool story lines that are going to kind of build up to the end of the season and then like you said, I think that weíve all kind of got no idea where this may go. So who knows?
Bean continued, "It may not be the complete end of David Connor, although I donít think Iím going to be coming back to life from these days in this. I think itís going to be some really fun stuff to play and to watch. Itís kind of a bummer, but the same time, itís exciting."
When Monsters and Critics asked how the Damages pilot script crossed his path and what sealed the deal for him to sign on to this project, Bean was forthright and happy to be in the right place at the right time: ďBasically, I just lucked out. I was the lucky one. They said yes to me, so I got it just in a typical way that my agent gave me the script. And I remember though when my agent gave it to me, he said, ďThis is really special and really good.Ē And Iíve been in New York since 2000, so itís sort of rare that you get so few shows that shoot in New York.
So that to me was the first thing that it was something that I was really looking forward to try to find a show that keeps me in New York and not have to go to Montreal or L.A. And it just so happened that it was this fantastic script and so I was really lucky enough to get the part. I was finished as soon as I shot in New York, Glenn Close and probably one of the best pilot scripts, I bet."
Monsters and Critics asked Bean is he knew that Allen Coulter was going to be directing the first pilot. Bean was indeed surprised, and had high praise for Coulter. ďI didnít know that. I didnít realize. And do be completely honest, I didnít know when I first heard it was Allen. I didnít realize who Allen was and then quickly, I did my research and obviously then knew the Sopranos and Hollywoodland and that. And Allen totally blew me away.
I think that he did a great job with the pilot and he really set the tone of the piece and the way itís shot because if feels like weíre shooting movies every week. Itís really shot in a really beautiful schematic way. Allen is just fantastic. I wish he would come back and direct more, but heís off to some other projects."
Media Boulevard asked Bean to compare filming a TV series compared to acting on the stage, to which Bean replied, ďI think that the biggest challenge is that we donít know where weíre going in this and so building a character when you donít know what the end is going to be, although, I do have the fortune or the misfortune of knowing the ultimate end for my character.
But in the theatre, you get a script and you can really plot out your journey, the beginning, middle and end. And you know you want to play anger a certain way in Act I because thereís going to be a payoff in Act III. But in this itís like being a part of a novel or being part of where all you can do is know everything about where youíve been up to the current point.
And then just play every scene for what it is, itís a challenge, but itís sort of an exciting time. And youíve just got to be bold and brave and go in and give every scene everything youíve got. But I think the theatre is always a great training ground for television and for film because of the specificities thatís required in theatre and really the ability to chart out a greater journey and Ö Bringing that to this project has been very valuable."
The L.A.ist interestingly, was in not in LA, but in New England, and asked Bean if his
character David Connor going to have any scenes with Patty Hewes, and how many
shows were left in the season.
ďThey got us for 13 episodes, which is a full season on FX. And weíre about half way through shooting right now. Weíre in the seventh episode shooting lines. And yes, without giving too much away, David, my character, does start to get some run-ins with Patty Hewes. Thankfully for myself, the actor, itís like a dream come true. Itís fantastic."
When asked if the series was a good as they say it is, Bean replied ďI wouldnít know
completely, but yes, itís pretty darn good. She is really amazing. We shot this scene a couple of weeks ago and I went in with all this stuff kind of planned out and had all these ideas about the scene and kind of going to do this thing where I really want to stare her down. And Iíll tell you man, we got into this scene and they yelled action and Glenn justóshe saw what I was doing, I think and she then went so over top with me and stared me down, that I couldnít even look at her. She went inside my soul; it was really fascinating and terrifying at the time.
She puts her all into it and that it is very infectious for I think everybody on set, cast and crew. Because weíre doing some long days and some hard work and difficult scenes, but she really is not satisfied, unless sheís really giving it all she has and that everything has to be truthful and real and believable and complicated. Itís really great. And then to be on set with her, I think it just raises the caliber for everybody.
Ducky Does TV.com asked Noah to elaborate on how he prepared for a role that he knew would be ending soon. Bean replied: ďYes, I knew even before. The first thing I did was get the script. And the script that I got there was some slight changes from the earliest draft that I got before I auditioned. But David was definitely dead in the bathtub in the end.
So it was a slight disappointment, but at the same, itís just so cool to be kind of a lynchpin in this story. And to as the season will go on, I think weíre going to get closer and closer to that moment and what happened and why it happened and who did it, to know that you would be kind of a real intricate part was exciting and more, so than maybe the disappointment of knowing that your days are numbered.
One of our executive producers taught Kessler. He used to work on the Sopranos for a few seasons and he was saying that all those actors were dreading the call when they would getótheir character was going to get whacked next week or something. He said, 'You know what, you donít have anything to worry about because you already got the call when you signed up for the job.' I donít have anything to worry about. I know my fate is sealed, but how itís going to happen and how long Iíll be around itís still sort of a mystery to me and all of us over there."
Media Boulevard Magazine asked Noah in lieu of the excellent ratings that ďDamagesĒ was enjoying, how that affected him and offered any sense of relief.
"We just all came back to work on Monday and I went in yesterday for the first time and it was great. Everybody was congratulating everybody and it was sort of kind of high fives. And I think because it is so exciting now that we actually went up from the pilot, which seemed sort of rare.
Everybody is just totally thrilled and I think we were working hard before, but now I think everybodyís even more jazzed and excited and really happy to be there. So itís great...youíre kind of working in a bubble for so long and then finally when it comes out and for it to be, for people to like it and to be catching on is a great feeling. "
Bean elaborated that since the actors were in episode seven for production, the slow reveals of each characters arc has been fascinating for all of them to find out for themselves.
ďItís a lot like life. You kind of go along and then all of a sudden, something is revealed and you could be suddenly playing a different tactic or different motive. Itís like taking it one day at a time. And our producers will tell us just enough to get us to where we need to be for that scene, but itís exciting. Weíre finding out new things just like the rest of everybody else,Ē said Bean.
Bean had praise for lead actress Glenn Close and the experience of working on set with her. ďThe great thing about Glenn is that thereís something so appealing about her and you do, youíre terrified of her and youíre fascinated and kind of love her at the same time, which is just her brilliance, Noah elaborated.
ďAnd itís in writing, these guys are and all the characters as we go on, I think thereís going to be lots of surprises for everybody. And itís everybodyís morals are tested quite a few times in this world and because itís big business and big money and powerful people and thingsóit gets dangerous.Ē
When asked by Monsters and Critics about working with actor Ted Danson, who does a complete turnabout on his normal TV persona with the character of Arthur Frobisher, where Danson inhabits the role in a nod to the Ken Layís of the world, Bean talked at length about his fellow castmates.
ďI think Ted is unbelievable. I just think heís so good. I just watched the second episode last night again and he is so darn good. I mean his part. I mean itís reallyóbecause I grew up watching like everybody Cheers and Sam Malone. And the great thing about him is he keeps that humor, he keeps that sort of great likeability that he had in Cheers and everything like that. But this is a completely different side of him. The stuff that heís going to be doing in the future is just fantastic and fascinating and complicated.
Because the great thing that a writer sits on is they put these people in these really difficult situations and see how they react. I love the scene when he kind of says in the second episode and he doesnít want to take Katie out. And then they choose to put him in the back of that car with the hooker doing coke and thatís when he makes the decision. Itís sort of fascinating. And, of course, thatís not the best place to make a decision to end somebodyís life."
Bean continued: ďYes, I think itís great and I think it really humanizes those people, like those Ken Lays and stuff like that that we see in the newspaper. You see these kind of stuffy guys and itís really we donít really understand them as people, as men.
I think that Ted has really kind of flushed out this really fascinating character that is flawed and powerful and fused and has morals at the same time as being a really kind of scary guy. It's a character that Iíve never really seen before and I think Ted is just knocking it out of the park and is going to keep doing some really cool things as the season goes on.
Monsters and Critics asked Bean if he would consider doing theater with Danson in the future. Bean quipped, ďIf Ted Danson wanted to go to a bar a sing show tunes, I would do it with him. Whatever that guy wanted to do with me, I would do it. Heís great. Heís fantastic, just such a cool guy and nice guy and genuine. Heís really excited by this character and to see whatís going to happen next.
Bean also discussed his castmate Zeljko Ivanek. ďHeís one of my favorite actors. Heís actually a great New York stage actor. Heís one of those guys you see him in everything, almost every movie heís got some part in. Iíve known sort of him and watching his work since I moved to the city, New York, in 2000. And we worked together up at this place in Williamstown Cedar Festival doing stuff, plays. And he was actuallyówhen he had signed onto the project before me and when I found out that Zeljko was a part of it.
He was actually who I was the most excited about like the potential of working with just because Iíve been watching him on stage for so long and love his work. Heís so fascinating, complicated and spooky and a really cool guy. Heís a true artist and a really just an all around actor. He does television and stage and film constantly and he writes...everything. Heís a real inspiration. We've been hanging out and really glad to sort have him as sort of friend now.
Monsters and Critics asked Bean if he had any intentions to move west.
"Well, weíll see. Weíll see what happens at the end of the season. But I love it
here (New York) because of theatre, Iíve been trying to keep that as a big part of my career and of my life. But now getting involved in a project like this, Iím happy to not be going to the Theatre eight times a week and this is a greatóIím completely happy and satisfied right now. But I donít know, weíll see. See what happens.
Media Village.com asked Bean if there was any dirt he could spill on upcoming events
ďItís going to be totally unexpected. I donít know. Theyíve given us strong warnings to not give away too much. But Iím trying to think of whatís happened up to II. But as far as Davidís concerned, my character, I think that David gets flushed out in the next, especially into IV and V and VI. I think that Ellen and David, Rose and I, we, our relationship, theyíve started us this young happy couple - power couple, a doctor and a lawyer, and it could be a little vanilla at times.
But we definitely get tested, ouróindividually and our relationship. Things get a little tenser as the landscape of the whole story gets more complicated and more dangerous as the episodes move on, which I have been very happy to have us. David is more black and white...where all these characters sort of live in the grey zone.
(My character) gets into some more precarious situations and obviously, I end up in some life threatening situations as the season goes on because we all know what happens. There's going to be really cool stuff that happens. Itís amazing.
It does get so complicated. Thereís going to be some new people that come into the fold and that have some links to the whole situation with Frobisher, and it gets really complicated. Iím having to go back and reread and be like wait a minute."
Bean continued his take on 'Damages" premise and his enjoyment watching the story unfold.
"Wait. Where did they meet? What did they see? What did they tell? Are they lying? Are they not lying? Iím just glad people love it because itís amazing. I was watching the first two episodes with some friends here and I almost forgot that I was in it. I was totally engrossed in it and itís a really fun who done it.
Bean went on, posing the question back, asking Why would you want to know? "It will be more fun if you donít know. But it takes some time. Certain things will get revealed, but a lot of things get so complicated that it really takes time to
understand why certain things have happened. And those two time lines do continue to stay, that sort of six months earlier where the bulk of the show is. And then the flash forwards with Ellen being with the police and all that and dealing with Davidís murder. Things start to link up and get revealed.
Media Village continued asking if there was a fun atmosphere on the show, or if it was all business on set.
ďWe definitely have some fun. Itís become like a little family over there. We shoot over in Brooklyn. We shoot at the Steiner Studios and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Weíre kind of in this littleóitís like a little place onto itself. Thereís no subways that go over there. Right out on the Brooklyn waterfront. Thereís definitely 'when itís time for business', itís a really good focused set.
All of directors have been fantastic. Weíve had different directors for every episode and all them have come in and really jazzed up the focus and really work and want to do some cool things. Theyíre doing a fantastic cinematography.
They are just really excited to be able do some really cool work that you donít always see on television, stuff that really looks like movies.
Glenn is fantastic. Weíve become really good friends. Rose and Iíve have become great friends. Rose, of course, just moved to New York for the series, but weíve become great friends and hang out all the time. So, itís been great, but itís also people are there that weíre doing some really long days over there. So people are definitely focused and wanting to do good work and get it done. But we have fun.
Our crew is really chill and really great. Glenn and Todd Kessler and Dan Zelman...theyíre working their butts off. I donít know if those guys have slept in the past year. But they are also cool guys and they like to laugh and have a good time not a lot of practical joking going on over there.
We had a really cool premier the Thursday before the first episode aired. We went out and had a great night on the town that night. Itís like itís turned into like a little family over there."
Bean described the difference between working on an L.A. set versus a New York set.
ďYou know, actually I was just in L.A. last week and I visited the set of Dirty Sexy
Money, they were doing some reshoots and so Iíve got some friends, Seth Gable whoís on that, heís a friend of mine and actually this guy Jack Bender, whoís a director. Heís directing I think the second episode and heís a good friend. And I went over and checked out the set for a little bit and it wasóthey shoot on the Paramount lot out there and it did have a slightly different vibe.
There were more people around. I donít know if thatís a difference between New York and LA, but thereís definitely more people. Theyíre a different kind of show, so there was a little bit of a lighter kind of feel, there was a little bit more of aóthe energy was a little bit more jovial, maybe. Their subject matter is a little bit lighter I think and theyíve got a lot of comedy in their thing, but I donít know.
I love shooting in New York. I think the best thing about shooting in New York is we shoot on location, so we get to shoot all over the city in these great places and thatís the best.
New Yorkers are also great because they donít give a darn about anything, sort of. So youíre out there shooting in the Village or whatever and thereís a couple people watching, but itís a blast."
Media Boulevard Magazine asked Noah if he would like his fans to know more about
him, and ďDamagesĒ as well. ďI am absolutely terrified now. Tell them about Noah Bean? I donít know, man. This is the highest profile thing that Iíve ever been fortune to be involved in and I am psyched and Iím really excited and thrilled to be a part of this.
I love the show. Itís a blast to be shooting this thing. Itís a thrill ride to watch and itís just as exciting to be making it, be involved in it. Iím excited for the season and I hope thereís plenty more to come. Whether or not Iím a part of those seasons, weíll wait and see.
Even if not, I think that hopefully I would just love to stay involved in projects of this caliber and that are this just kind of writing that is as good as this and with a cast that is as good as this and creators and directors.
Hopefully, people will be seeing more of me I hope beyond the season. Iím excited."
The L.A.ist asked if Bean would be returning to the Williamstown theatre festival with
Roger Rees soon.
ďWell I canít this summer because weíre shooting until beginning of October. I havenít been. Iím busy with this, so not this summer, but hopefully maybe next summer.
Iíve actually got a theatre company in New York called Stage 13 with some other fellow actors. Iíve seen another actor named Dan Fogler; I donít know if you know who that is. Heís got like a bunch of movies coming out, this movie Balls of Fury and Good Luck Chuck.
Heís got like a whole bunch of movies that are about to come out. He does really, really funny, unbelievably talented guy. So he and I and few other actors and some directors and playwrights and filmmakers have the company called Stage 13.
My involvement has sort of been on the producing side right now while Iím doing this. But thatís been very good to have that around and keep the creative juices flowing. We did an all-star rated show last fall. And we did all the series over at the Atlantic Theatre, which is David Manmouthís theatre company. We did some stuff work over there and so for now weíve been sort of bumping around which is kind of the norm for not doing off-off and off-Broadway stuff.
We shoot until the beginning of October. So casting-wise, things are starting to heat up a little bit for that time, about two months before that when things will start casting films. Thatís what Iím really looking for hopefully in that time is to hopefully get involved in some kind of film or something like that."
Damages air every Tuesday night on FX at 10:00 p.m. eastern / pacific time.