Titus Welliver talks about his new series on Amazon “Bosch”

Titus Welliver has appeared in numerous film and television series including “The Town”, “Sons of Anarchy” and “Transformers: Age of Extinction”. Titus’s latest role is that of Harry Bosch in Amazon.com’s first original drama “Bosch”.  Taken from the pages of Michael Connelly’s book series “Bosch” looks to be a break out hit for the websites first on screen venture. Media Mikes spoke with Titus recently about his role in the series and what it’s been like working with Amazon to make “Bosch” stand out above the rest.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about the new series and your character Harry Bosch?
Titus Welliver: Harry is a LAPD homicide detective who we meet at a difficult point in his career. Right off the bat we meet him while he is in the middle of a civil suit for shooting a serial killer. While this is going on he gets called to a scene where the remains of a young child have been found. Upon viewers first meeting Harry they will see that he certainly has a lot on his plate.

AL: What was it that sparked your interest about the project?
TW: In the past I have played my share of cops in both film and television. What really drew me to the character was that he is not a cookie cutter or contrived type of character. All too often these characters are written as overly heroic and hard as nails. What’s interesting about the Harry Bosch character is that he is a very human character. He is flawed and vulnerable yet very driven with a strong moral compass. He’s not a political animal as he is very much an advocate for the victims. Harry wants justice for people which makes him a very myopic character. I find a number of different aspects of the character quite intriguing.

AL: Going in to the project were you familiar with the book series?
TW: I had read one of the books many years ago. It certainly stuck with me as easily remembered the character. I have friends who are big fans of the series as well. When I was cast in the role the first thing I really had to do was dive in to the role. I was working on “Transformers 4” at the same time so there wasn’t a lot of prep time. I read “City of Bones” and “The Concrete” blond which are the two books the pilot episode sort of are focused around. I have the other books as well so when I have some free time I work on those. There are a lot of nuances in the books that I have been able to pull out and use in my portrayal of the character.

AL: Were you given specific guidelines for the character or were you free to develop your own interpretation of the role?

TW: There isn’t a huge deviation from who the character is in the books. A bit of the freedom we have being with Amazon is that we aren’t tied to the same rules as a standard network show. We are able to curse and show a bit more graphic content. With that being when you have that freedom and you make decisions based on just because you can I find that to be a weak move. However people also have to understand that cops do not speak like Boy Scouts. The realism depicted in the books gets a little grittier in the visualization so I think in that way it might be a bit stronger and edgier. The world Bosch inhabits is a fairly dark place as he is not a meter maid. He is dealing with the dregs of society.

AL: Besides the freedoms you already mentioned how has working with Amazon compared to that of network series you have been involved with?
TW: Besides what I mentioned already we are not pandering to the small screen. The show is shot in a cinema type scope which typically you don’t see in network television. There are shows out there like “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” certainly have larger elements to them but when I got to see ‘Bosch” on a large screen for me it was almost more enjoyable. What’s being shot isn’t the standard of what you see in network television. In essence you are seeing ten one hour films. I think there is a lot to be said about the shows look. These guys working on this have great cinematic eyes.

AL: Do you feel these types of attributes will make the series stand out from other shows with similar subject matter?
TW: I think those things are certainly a part of it. Harry Bosch isn’t the guy who solves the case in an episode or two. The journey of this show is what makes it interesting. The story is really told through Bosch’s eyes. As Harry is experiencing things the viewer is also seeing those same things almost in real time with him. I think that makes the show more engaging. The show feels like your reading the book.

AL: Do you have any other new projects you liked to mention?
TW: I had a film come out recently with Ron Pearlman called “Poker Night”. It’s sort of a thriller/serial killer film. It also features Giancarlo Esposito and Ron Eldard. I have a few other things that I am looking at while we are waiting to hear if we have the go to start on season 2 of “Bosch”. I have also started writing a film. I can’t really say too much about that just yet as it is still in the very early stages.

 

Titus Welliver Talks About “Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.”

 Titus Welliver first joined the Marvel universe in the short one-shot, “Item 47”. Taking place in the aftermath of the Battle of New York in 2012’s The Avengers, Welliver played SHIELD Agent Blake. The short saw Blake sending Agent Sitwell (later of “Hail HYDRA” fame, boooo, hiss!) to recover a lost Chitauri weapon from a pair of common criminals on a bank robbing spree. There it was implied he was previously the superior agent to Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson. No surprise then, with Coulson’s resurrection, Blake too cropped up on ABC’s Agents of SHIELD.

Now that SHIELD has a temporary NYC home at Discovery Times Square’s Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. with Agent Blake inducting new agents on a daily basis, Welliver dropped by for a tour with his family last week. He gamely tried out several of the interactive exhibits and visited with some important Marvel props (including Item 47 itself). I was happy to get to tagalong with them, along with the exhibit’s executive director, Mark Smith. Both men were extremely knowledgable on their Marvel comics and it was a pleasure to see the exhibit in the company of these enthusiastic fans.

Lauren Damon: When you did Item 47, did you know Agents of the SHIELD could be happening?
Titus Welliver: No, Agents of SHIELD was probably in the works at that time, I didn’t know that they were going to do an Agents of SHIELD show. So when I did Item 47, it was just–I flipped out. I was so excited to do it. Because Blake and in that he’s kind of a Walter Mitty character, you can kind of tell he’s just champing at the bit to get out in the field and do something.

LD: Agent Blake’s background is having been a superior officer to Agent Coulson, did you and Clark Gregg have any discussion on their roles before the Avengers?
TW: No, I mean we didn’t. Clark was my roommate in college, so we’ve known each other for a really long time so he sort of hinted after I did Item 47 that there was stuff coming down the pipe. So when we actually got to work together it was pretty funny for us because we were such total goofoffs in college and now we’re like these Agents of SHIELD being all serious standing on the helicarrier so it’s really fun.

LD: Your SHIELD episodes aired prior to The Winter Soldier premiering, after those events, where does that put Agent Blake?
TW: Well they’ve got to reconstruct SHIELD now from the ground up now that’s it’s been so heavily compromised and destroyed. So it will be interesting to see how they resurrect SHIELD within–and as you saw on the show, it ended on a pretty bleak note. So…those writers are so good. They’ll find a way to bring it back up and I’m just happy for the show because I think it’s a smart show. I don’t think we’ve had anything like that you know, maybe The X-Files sort of the closest comparison I could come up with. And that was a phenomenal show. But with the science and the whole
Marvel universe, because everything is so interconnected, the places they can go are kind of endless.

LD: Finally, who is your favorite Avenger?
TW: My favorite Avenger? Captain America.
LD: Alright!
TW: I mean…ahhh that’s hard! I mean, I like them all. But yeah, I’m a huge Captain America fan from way back and I have probably about eighty-five percent of the original Captain America comics. So yeah, I’m a big geek.

Fittingly, in Captain America’s space at the Discovery Center, I asked Mark Smith how they went about choosing which of Captain Rogers’s props would be placed within the exhibit:

Mark Smith: It’s based on the storyline really. So with Captain America, the rebirth pod was a big part of that. The initiation of the super soldier program itself so we wanted to make sure we had real props and costumes and pieces from the movie to be able to then blend into the storyline about how Captain America is the super soldier.

Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. is now open at 44th street in New York’s Times Square, you can read more about visiting the center at its official website . In the meantime, Titus Welliver can currently be seen in “Transformers: Age of Extinction”.

Julie Taymor Talks “Titus” at New York’s First Time Fest


April 7 – Tonight the First Time Fest will be honor director Julie Taymor with the John Huston Award for Achievement in Cinema. This will be her first film award after directing four features: The Tempest, Across the Universe, Frida and first film, Titus.

Made in 1999, Titus is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s violent revenge tragedy, Titus Andronicus. It stars Sir Anthony Hopkins as the titular Roman general whose murder of the sons of an enemy Queen (Jessica Lange as Tamora) leads to the destruction of his entire family. Taymor joined festival goers this week, along with composer Elliot Goldenthal for a screening and discussion of the film. It screened as a part of the fest’s First Exposure series highlighting successful director’s first features.

Even though Taymor had already produced the play “very simply and inexpensively” in a church in 1994, the film version did not come about until after her wildly successful production of The Lion King on Broadway.

“I came off The Lion King and what do you do next?” she told the audience, “I had to go to the opposite end of the spectrum–I mean I know that’s considered Hamlet–but really I think that I just didn’t want to be put into a box of any sort. And also I really wanted to work with the greatest writer in the English language…and I had loved the play when we did it.”

Taymor maintained it was her favorite Shakespeare play despite the popular opinion that it’s not one of Shakespeare’s best works saying it presented “a young man’s anger…before he got refined and self-reflective” and later adding “no contemporary movie compares to the bravado of that play. That you think Titus is going to be the good guy and then he kills his daughter! And then he kills his sons! And then Tamora and she says ‘cruel, irreligious piety’, her sons are taken away–you should understand everything that she does. And then look what she does.”

Along with her passionate discussion of the play itself Taymor offered additional trivia about the film itself including:

  • Al Pacino was in consideration for the lead role before Anthony Hopkins signed on.
  • Taymor initially planned to shoot the film in Las Vegas rather than Rome but after visiting Rome on the advice of production designer Dante Ferretti, changed her mind.
  • Many of the cast members including Jessica Lange, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Laura Fraser had never performed Shakespeare before the film.
  • Anthony Hopkins insisted a scene in which he has one of his hands chopped off be done in one take because, as Taymor recalled him telling her “ I know myself and what I’m gonna do, if i do it again, I will have a heart attack.”

Titus Makin, Jr. talks about TV shows “Star-Crossed” and “Glee”

Photo: The CW

Probably best known as David, one of the rival “Warblers” on the popular television series “Glee,” Titus Makin, Jr. can now be seen on the popular new CW show “Star-Crossed.”  As Lukas, Makin gets the chance to help save the day with the occasional blast of humor.  While getting ready to take a break from filming and finish his new musical EP, Makin took the time to talk to me about his new show, “The Lion King” and a possible return to “Glee:”

Mike Smith:  Can you give the readers a brief introduction to your character, Lukas, in your new show “Star-Crossed?”
Titus Makin, Jr:  Sure.  Lukas Parnell is one of Emery’s  (Aimee Teegarden) best friends.  He’s the guy that shows her the ropes in her new high school.  He breaks down who people are, what they do and how it all works.  He’s also the “logical” guy…the tech savvy guy.  He’s the guy to go to if you need answers or need to know how to get into dangerous places.   (much brighter) And he’s also the comic relief!  He can cushion the blow of an otherwise dramatic situation.

MS:  What attracted you to the project?
TMJ:  The sci-fi aspect definitely attracted me to the project.  I’m a big sci-fi buff so as soon as I saw the word “spacecraft” I just said “sign me up!”  (laughs)  I also love the comedic aspect within the drama.  I love drama and sci-fi so to be able to play a comedic role within that?  What a dream come true.  I definitely was on board.

MS:  You really do a little bit of everything.  You act, you sing, you dance.  Do you have a preference among your talents?  Is there a dream project out there?
TMJ:  I really don’t have a preference.  I’m very content with both acting and music.  A dream project would probably be….you know, “Glee” pretty much touched everything that I love to do so in a way I’ve already done the musical dream project.  As far as the acting side goes, it’s probably to be able to do a film with Will Smith.  Of course, that’s probably everybody’s dream!  (laughs)

MS:  I know one of your fellow “Warblers,” Darren Criss has appeared on Broadway (Criss took a break from “Glee” to star in the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”).  And desires to tread the boards?
TMJ:  Oh yeah.  I would love to be able to appear on Broadway one day.  I love the stage.  I love theater acting and I love musical theater.  That would be an honor.  I’ve thought about that before, but when I did that dream seemed so farfetched that I didn’t consider it for a while.  But now I think it would be amazing to one day jump into a great role.  I need to get a little older so I can jump into a good role in “The Lion King.”

MS:  As “Glee” prepares for its final season next year, do you know if there are any plans to have “the Warblers” return?
TMJ:  I definitely think so.  I haven’t heard much since I’ve been filming “Star-Crossed,” but I do keep in contact with a lot of the other guys and there is always hearsay about us coming back for a “competition” episode or some kind of dramatic moment.  Of course they never get confirmed.  But that’s the great thing about Ryan (Murphy, the creator of “Glee”).  He’s always willing to bring back fan favorites so I think there is a huge chance “the Warblers” will be back.

MS:  What else do you have coming up?
TMJ:  Other than waiting for “Star-Crossed” to air I’m going to dive back into music for awhile while we’re on our break.  I’ll be recording an EP down the road here so for me music is still doing well.

Blu-ray Review “Titus (1999)”

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange, Alan Cumming, Colm Frere, Laura Fraser, Harry Lennix, Jonathan Rhys
Directed By: Julie Taymor
Distributed by: Twilight Time
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 162 minutes
Release Date: January 21, 2014

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

I remember seeing “Titus” back in 1999 in some little “trendy” theater in NYC since it never received a wide release. It really opened me up to the world of William Shakespeare and his tragedy books. It also introduced me to the wonderful Julie Taymor, who is such a visual director that should be making every film being released, period. She has such a unique way of bringing a film to life, also see for example “Across the Universe”. I haven’t seen this film in years and it still managed to blow to away with its visual experience. A must have for an Shakespeare fan!

Official Premise: Julie Taymor’s stunningly cinematic adaptation of William Shakespeare’s first tragedy, Titus (1999), stars Anthony Hopkins as a noble but misguided Roman general who finds himself ensnared in an unwinnable war of vengeance with an implacable barbarian queen (Jessica Lange). With its time-bending mix of elements from Ancient Rome, Fascist Italy, Fifties America, and Punk Britain, this radical reimagining of a theatrical classic offers a dark vision of violence, murder, rape, and revenge.

This Blu-ray release is an Screen Archives Entertainment Exclusive and is a Limited Edition release with only 3000 copies produced. Since I mentioned that this film is so visual, I was really hoping that the 1080p transfer with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 rocked…and boy did it. I can’t believe this film has not received a Blu-ray release prior since this is a must watch on this format. Same goes with the amazing, heart-pounding DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which is just fantastic. Elliot Goldenthal’s haunting score also shines quite well here.

Twilight Time released this Blu-ray with jam-packed with great special features. First we get an amazing Isolated Score Track. There are three fantastic audio commentary tracks included. The first is with Director Julie Taymor, which focuses on the production. Next is with composer Elliot Goldenthal and since the score is so important for this film it is a great listen. Lastly, the next track is with Actors Anthony Hopkins and Harry Lennix, which is a little dryer but still a great listen for hardcore films of this film.

If all those commentary track aren’t good enough for you we still have more. There is a really solid 50-minute behind-the-scenes documentary looking into the making of “Titus”. There is an interesting 30-minute excerpt Q&A with Julie Taymor following a screening at Columbia University. There is another short behind-the-scenes look at the visual sequences with “Penny Arcade Nightmares”. Lastly there are Trailers and TV Spots rounding out the extras. After you enjoy the the film, be sure to check out the extensive Julie Kirgo liner notes and film art included as well.

“The Town” Cop Back in Town: Titus Welliver in Boston

Titus Welliver, who played one of Boston’s finest in “The Town,” was back in his old neighborhood yesterday to honor Warner Home Video’s Blu-ray Ultimate Collector’s Edition release of “The Town Take 2,” Ben Affleck’s brand new version of his hit drama about a Boston bank robbery. Sal LaMattina, Boston City Councilor representing Mayor Menino renamed Avery Street as The Town Take 2 Place, and a one-time only theatrical screening followed the renaming at AMC Loews Boston Common. Warner execs — EVP Jeff Baker, himself a Boston native, and VP Ronnee Sass — greeted Welliver. Welliver also played cops in “Man on a Ledge” and Affleck’s “Gone Baby Gone” and will next be seen in TV’s “Touch” (with Kiefer Sutherland) and Affleck’s new film “Argo.”