Archive for the ‘Sean Maher’ Category

Much Ado About Sean Maher from Edge on the Net

13 November 2011 Leave a comment

Much Ado about Sean Maher

by Jim Halterman
EDGE Contributor
Monday Nov 7, 2011
While actor Sean Maher has appeared in high profile projects like Joss Whedon’s cult fave “Firefly” series (and the “Serenity” feature film spin-off) as well as the just-cancelled “Playboy Club” series (where he played a closeted gay character), he made headlines recently for publicly coming out as a gay man for the first time in his career.

Unfortunately, that good news was clouded a bit when shortly after his coming out NBC abruptly cancelled the drama, based on Hugh Hefner’s popular nightclubs in the 1960s, due to low ratings after just three episodes had aired.

After bumping into the always cheery Maher at a recent GLSEN event in Beverly Hills, EDGE’s Jim Halterman jumped on the phone last week with him to reflect on the rollercoaster ride he’s endured over the past few months, why he thinks “The Playboy Club” didn’t last, as well as details on the just-announced Whedon project that currently has Hollywood abuzz and features Maher in a villainous role.

100% out

EDGE: It was great seeing you at the GLSEN event but it made me wonder if it was a different experience for you being at an event like that now that you’re 100% out?

Sean Maher: Yeah, it was very freeing and it was very liberating. I think it also just kind of reaffirmed for me how proud I was of the decision I had made. It felt great to sit there at the event and hold Paul’s hand and not have to worry ’Is anybody looking for me?’ Actually, it was the first event that we had gone to together so it was very freeing in many ways.

EDGE: How long have you and Paul been together?

Sean Maher: It’s going to be nine years!

EDGE: That’s a long time in gay years!

Sean Maher: You know what’s funny is when we first started the adoption process, we were less than five years and our lawyer said, ’I gotta let you know that you’re not really considered a long-term relationship yet.’ We were like, ’What are you talking about?’ And he said, ’You’re considered a long term relationship when you’ve reached five years.’ We were like, ’But we’re gay! We’re in gay years relationship!’ It’s just interesting.

Playing a sexy villain

EDGE: The news just broke about Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing” and your part as Don John. I know you’ve worked with Joss before but how did this come about?

Sean Maher: He just simply emailed me. I was in Chicago at the time working on “The Playboy Club” and I came back to the hotel and I got an email from Joss and he said ’I’m pulling together this small, indie film adaptation of ’Much Ado About Nothing.’ Trying to put together a cast. I’m looking for a sexy villain. What sayeth you?’

I said yeah. It was a no brainer for me. As terrified as I was and I really was terrified because I had never done Shakespeare and I think when it’s Joss you want to make him proud. I love him so much so I always want to be the best that it can be so I did feel a lot of pressure to dive headfirst into a play that I wasn’t 100% sure I knew the ins and outs of, but once we started rehearsing and started getting around the dialogue and the characters and the dynamics and the relation that he had and then it didn’t feel like work at all.

It went from being one of the most challenging, terrifying experiences to not feeling like work and in the end incredibly exhilarating and magical. I kept saying to him, ’I’m so happy I’m doing this! This is just so much fun!’ His wife had said she hadn’t seen him this happy in a long time. We were all there, we weren’t getting paid much money at all and we came together because we love Joss and obviously love the idea of this project and everybody cleared their schedules for him. Everyone came together and everyone was just dedicated 100% heart and soul. It really was a very special thing to be a part of.

EDGE: You shot the whole thing in 12 days but was that a plus or a minus?

Sean Maher: That’s the thing. I think because it was such a short period of time there really was not a lot of wiggle room for error on the actors’ part so we needed to come to work and know our words like the back of our hand and knowing everything in terms of the dynamics between the characters and coming to work and just being ready to go.

Realistic & intimate

EDGE: When I go to the “Much Ado About Nothing” website, the picture is a guy in a lake in scuba gear and a martini glass which makes me think this isn’t a traditional telling. Is that the case?

Sean Maher: I’m actually in that picture underwater getting ready to come up because I’m in that scene. So I’m holding my breath underwater.

That’s obviously a still from the scene so it is a little bit of, obviously, Joss’s twist on it. He didn’t change any of the text but we shot the whole thing in black and white and he wanted to draw it in from being anything too theatrical. He didn’t want big Shakespeare. He wanted us to make it as realistic and as intimate as possible and use the dialogue and it really takes each actor knowing exactly what they’re saying with every word and every line and every paragraph, which is hard to do and to do Shakespeare right where the audience understands what’s happening is difficult.

’Playboy Club’s’ failure?

EDGE: I had the chance to also talk to Chad Hodge [creator of “The Playboy Club”] at the GLSEN event about the show having such a short life. What are your thoughts on why the show didn’t really get a chance by the network?

Sean Maher: I’m not even sure. I’ve seen so many theories in my day and gone through so many cancellations so a part of me stopped trying to figure it out what happened. It really was something special we were doing. I think…and I’m not an expert on the market…but I don’t think the time slot was working in our favor and I do think people had the wrong perception of what the show was about. If I had a quarter for every person who told me, ’I love the show! I had no idea there was singing in it!’ I probably could fund the next few episodes.

It was amazing that nobody knew what was going on in the club. It wasn’t just sex and girls in bunny outfits. I thought Laura [Benanti, who played mother-bunny Carol-Lynne] kicked ass on this show! She worked her ass off every single episode and I think everybody was drawn to this Tony-award winning actress who is just electrifying and magnificent and nobody knew there was singing in the show! I think the small things like that where there was such a misconception of what the show was about absolutely hurt it.

And, you know, you never know what could’ve happened if we had been given a chance to survive another week or another few weeks. I think it was such a big show and it was expensive so they decided to pull it sooner rather than later.

Moving on…

EDGE: You and your on-screen wife Leah Renee (who played Alice, a closeted lesbian married to Maher’s character] obviously forged a good friendship during the short time you worked together.

Sean Maher: We finished the sixth episode, I came back to LA, the show got cancelled the day I started rehearsing Joss’s movie and I never got to say goodbye to anyone. Like say goodbye to the set, the crew…and I was dying to see Leah so it was so nice to see her [at the GLSEN event] and have some closure. She’s someone I will now have in my life because we did have such a strong connection.

It’s sad, especially when they were writing such great stuff for her and I. We just connected in such a lovely way and I think the writers were responding to that and they were writing some really, really amazing stuff for she and I. It’s a shame.

EDGE: “Much Ado About Nothing” is going to hit the festival circuit in the Spring. What else is going on?

Sean Maher: I don’t’ know! I’m waiting to hear on one other project and I should know more this week and if that doesn’t work on, then I just enjoy some downtime, enjoy the kids for awhile and get back into the rat race.

To check out the Much Ado website, visit the “Much Ado About Nothing” website. You can follow Sean Maher on Twitter @Sean_M_Maher.

Original Interview at Edge of the Net

Sean Maher Talks ‘Nothing’ With The Insider

31 October 2011 Leave a comment


By Jarett Wieselman

October 24, 2011

To say the internet exploded with the news that Buffy, Firefly, Dollhouse creator Joss Whedon had taken 12 days out from filming The Avengers to bring together some of his most beloved actors and shoot a modern day retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing would be an understatement. In fact, I’m amazed you’re able to read this story right now given the collective insanity that swept the WWW after someone hit send on the soundly applauded press release.

In short, Joss gathered up Firefly stars Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher, paired them with Buffy alums Alexis Denisof and Tom Lenk, who then worked with Angel’s Amy Acker and Dollhouse’s Reed Diamond and Fran Kranz to bring to life Shakespeare’s “deconstruction of the idea of love.” At least that’s how Joss describes it.

To get a greater sense of what fans can expect from the indie, I rang up Sean Maher to chat about Nothing.

Insider: First, can you take me back how Joss asked you to participate?
Sean Maher: I got an email late one night in Chicago while I was working on The Playboy Club. It was like three in the morning and it said: “Hey, I’m putting together a cast for an independent film adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing – here’s the deal, it’s low budget guerrilla film-making and we need a sexy villain. Can you come be Don John for me? What sayeth you?” That was it. And I wrote back, “Joss, does this mean you think I’m sexy?” [laughs] I would do anything for him. It was pretty much a no-brainer. Plus, I’ve never played the villain before!

Insider: And Don John is a ladies man, right?
Sean: Yea! It’s so funny because I had talked to Joss about my choice to come out – he was so supportive. He just wanted me for this because he saw me in this role of a villain. A very mean-spirited, mischievous, manipulative villain. What Joss did was write don John’s associate, who is a man in the play, as a woman – and we have some very promiscuous sexually-charged scenes together. So during this whole coming out process, with all the press asking me if I could ever be seen as a heterosexual man on screen again, I so badly wanted to say, “well, Joss Whedon just cast me as the guy in between Riki Lindhome’s legs.” But he asked me to keep it a secret, which I did. I mean, it’s Joss Whedon. But I have to say, I had such a good time being a dick – I’ve never played a dick before and Joss kept telling me, “you’re such a good dick!” [laughs]

Insider: How did you guys keep it a secret for so long?
Sean: He simply asked us not to talk about it and because we’re all so loyal to him, we’d never betray his trust. But Nathan and I hadn’t seen each other in forever so we were snapping away and Joss would see us taking pictures and shout, “don’t you Tweet that!”

Insider: The last time Joss and Nathan worked together was in Dr. Horrible — are there any songs in Much Ado?
Sean: There are. I will just say that. There’s original music, so this was a long time coming for Joss.

Insider: He has talked about his need for a small movie after the craziness of Avengers — what can people expect from this Much Ado?
Sean: Obviously people are excited to see anything Joss does but this intertwining of all these Whedon-verse actors is amazing. Everyone – from the cast to the crew – was handpicked to create this vision he had. It’s such a different take on so many levels, that comments on a different interpretation of the text. He’s just a genius and put so much of himself into it. His wife Kai told me that she hadn’t seen Joss this happy in a long time – it was something he needed to feed his soul, and that’s why I think it’s going to be magical.

For more on Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, click here!

Original Interview at The Insider

Sean Maher Reveals Much Ado About Nothing Secrets to THR

31 October 2011 Leave a comment

Joss Whedon’s Star Sean Maher Reveals ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ Secrets

10/24/2011 by Kimberly Nordyke

The actor tells THR that the writer-director made jokes about the cast and crew staying off Twitter during the 12-day shoot, which took place entirely at Whedon’s house.

The media are still scratching their heads over how Joss Whedon managed to keep his latest project, a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, entirely under wraps until it wrapped filming.

Amazingly, no one involved in the project leaked word — at Whedon’s request — until late Sunday, when stars Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher along with costume designer Shawna Trpcic tweeted out a link to a website announcing the project.

The site provided scant details until a press release was issued Monday, confirming the movie was a modern take on Much Ado About Nothing and features a slew of frequent Whedon collaborators. Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof star as Beatrice and Benedick, while the supporting cast includes Fillion as Dogberry, Clark Gregg as Leonato, Fran Kranz as Claudio, Sean Maher as Don John, Tom Lenk as Verges and Reed Diamond as Don Pedro.

So how did Whedon manage to keep the large cast — as well as the crew — quiet?

For starters, Maher told The Hollywood Reporter, Whedon made sure to ask everyone to keep it on the down-low before shooting even began. Maher was asked to be a part of the movie about a month ago.

“I had just come out publicly and was doing a lot of press for [his now-canceled series The Playboy Club] at the time, and I knew I was going to be rehearsing for Joss’ film,” Maher said. “So I specifically asked Joss if I could talk about the movie, and he asked me not to: He had a bigger strategy in mind.”

That strategy clearly included the late-Sunday tweets and reveal of the website, which featured a single photo of a man in what appears to be a lake wearing scuba gear and holding a martini glass positioned under a cast list. The site read, “Bellwether Pictures is proud to announce the completion of principal photography” and said the project is “a film by Joss Whedon based on a play.”

On Monday, a press release added more details about the project, including that it’s the first feature film from Bellwether, a “micro-studio” created by Whedon and Kai Cole for the “production of small, independent narratives for all media, embracing a DIY ethos and newer technologies for, in this particular case, a somewhat older story.”

Meanwhile, the film’s secrecy also was helped thanks to the fact that Maher and the rest of the cast and crew are frequent Whedon collaborators.

“Everybody on the set loved him so much and wanted to be there, so nobody leaked or talked,” he said. “Everyone on this project has the utmost loyalty to him.”

Whedon even cracked jokes whenever he saw one of the cast or crewmembers on their mobile phone: “He’d remind us, ‘Don’t you dare tweet that,'” Maher said.

Whedon didn’t offer his reasoning behind the secrecy, saying only: “Trust me, I have a bigger strategy at hand.”

Meanwhile, the entire shoot took place over only 12 days, with Whedon filming anywhere between 12-15 pages a day.

“Because we were doing it in such a short period of time, you had to be 100% prepared,” said Maher, who plays the villain Don John.

Maher said the entire filming process took place in Whedon’s own home in Santa Monica.

“His house is magnificent — not ostentatious in any way, shape or form,” he added. “It’s one of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever been in. And the entire action takes place in Leonato’s [Clark Gregg] estate, so it was perfect for that.”

Maher also confirmed what was hinted at in Monday’s press release: That the film was shot on a tight budget. In fact, the cast wore their own clothes — with the help of the costume designer — and came to the set hair- and makeup-ready.

“We all got paid — we didn’t get paid very much — but that goes toward the point of, none of us was there for the money,” Maher said. “We were there because we wanted to be.”

As for the decision to shoot the movie in black and white, Maher said the film has a “very noir” and “stylized” feel to it. He said Whedon — who plans to take the film on the festival circuit — also stayed true to Shakespeare’s dialogue while putting his own touches on the production.

Whedon “sort of tried to rein it in from not being theatrical,” Maher added. “He wanted to make it as intimate and realistic as possible.”

In his press release Monday, Whedon said: “The text is to me a deconstruction of the idea of love, which is ironic, since the entire production is a love letter — to the text, to the cast, even to the house it’s shot in.”

For his part, Maher said he was initially nervous about taking part since he’d never done Shakespeare before, though he did jump at the chance to work with Whedon again after starring in his TV series Firefly and its big-screen follow-up, Serenity. He also relished the chance to play a villain for the first time in his career.

“It was so fun; I got to be deliciously mean and manipulative,” he said. “I’m so grateful that Joss thought of me for this; it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done.”

Original Interview at The Hollywood Reporter

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