Mar 12, 2009

King David on NBC

The NBC series Kings is simply brilliant and Busted Halo's Bill McGarvey sat down with the creator of the series Michael Green and discussed the show at length.

BH: The story of King David is an iconic Old Testament story — were you raised in a very religious household?

MG: Not very religious. I was educated in a Jewish parochial school system. Known as yeshiva, but called by us — we called it Jew School. It’s very similar to (Catholic school) — the same as a lot of people on your site might know — but rabbis instead of nuns. My mom is Israeli, so she wanted me and my sibling to be conversant in the religion and culture.

BH: How long have you wanted to do this story?

MG: It’s a story that I’ve been interested in for a long time. The decision to pursue it came about two and a half years ago. I’d always thought it was something I’d have to do much later in life, when HBO would be willing to let me make it. I originally imagined it as a period piece, but then I thought, “Why wait?” — the TV audiences have grown so sophisticated in the last few years that with all the fantastic shows being done by HBO, by Showtime — you know, Lost, Alias, Heroes — all these shows have really brought up the level and audiences have grown so accustomed to, or so willing to, or so eager to dive into a story and to pick at its nuance. People treat The Wire like a novel, and it’s written like a novel and it rewards that deep viewing. And because of the great work done by all those shows, I felt like it was a fair time to try to tell this sort of novelistic story.

BH: I felt a kinship on some level between your show and HBO’s Rome . You get to do a modern re-telling of the story of King David. What made you decide not to do it as a period piece?

MG: Mostly, cost. It’s cost-prohibitive. It’s nearly impossible to do something accurately in a period piece. The reason Rome didn’t continue was because — it was absolutely brilliant, I thought it was a wonderful show — it was so costly that it couldn’t sustain itself, as I understand it. I could be guessing, but that’s what I’ve been told, that it never was able to gain the ratings required to justify its cost. And in order to do period in a way that isn’t silly, in a way that is authentic, it’s just incredibly costly. And plus, doing it period would have made it a much more accurate telling, and I was interested in taking the story and going further with it. You know, there’s a lot to draw from in the original text but not enough to sustain a hundred episodes of dialogue, let’s say. So by creating a ‘remove,’ and setting it in modern times, or with a modern aesthetic, anyway, we were free to continue interpreting. It was convenient. And the other thing was to make it really relatable to a modern America.

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