Daybreak Dose’s Dan Buffa this week talked with Greg Yaitanes, showrunner/director/executive producer of Cinemax’s Quarry about the first season and how it came together. Yaitanes also discusses the link between television and film and looks back at Cinemax’s goldmine, Banshee.
On the racial tension of 1972, where the series takes place, mirroring modern times:
“The guys were steeped in research for this. As Quarry wrapped and was in the can, the fact that it was mirroring a polarizing election, polarizing war, and polarizing racial tensions was something we didn’t see coming. In Memphis around that time, after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, the spirit of Memphis was broken. The city is dealing with a form of post traumatic stress.”
On the battle of wills inside Logan Marshall-Green’s lead character, Mac Conway:
“I don’t see it as two sides and winning. I see it as two sides of him who understand and learn to accept the other’s shadow self. When you see this extra scene this weekend that we cut from the finale yet released on Youtube, you will see Mac’s slow integration.”
On Damon Herriman’s tortured gay hitman, Buddy:
“I gravitate towards leading male ensembles. And the supporting casts is what that lead plays off of. These ensembles fascinate me. I give all credit to casting director Alexis Vogel, who cast Banshee, Quarry, True Detective, NYPD Blue. You see it with House, Banshee, and now Quarry. What’s always fascinated me about Buddy is he is living a triple life. The hitman, loving son, and the life of a homosexual man in the south in 1972. We see where other gay men had to go in order to connect with each other, and we shine a light on that in the finale.”
On the writing and working with Cinemax:
“There’s phenomenal talent going on with this show. Similar with Banshee, where Jonathan Trooper created it and wrote it, and I shepherded it to the screen. I’m here to take their talent and guide them to the success. I use my experience to help get them there. I’ve produced over 200 episodes of television. Quarry was enormously challenging. We shot it a year ago, and now it’s finally airing. It’s a period of time I look fondly on.”
What is the role of a showrunner?
“The easy answer is I am the final yes and no. With Banshee and Quarry. As TV has grown in scope, this role has come along. It’s a large amount of management. With (Quarry writers) Graham and Michael, I would consult and sometimes have to make difficult decisions on behalf of the greater good. I am often seeing the forest through the trees for everybody from 30,000 feet.”
Listen to the rest as Greg talks more about the evolution of the leading man on television and previews tonight’s finale of Quarry on Cinemax.
Check out My review of the series for Inside STL.