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An Interview with Blake Masters and Henry Bromell of Brotherhood

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An Interview with Blake Masters and Henry Bromell of Brotherhood
© Showtime
Many times when we become invested in a television series, we forget the most important factors: the people behind the scenes that make the magic happen every week. I had the good fortune of chatting with Henry Bromell and Blake Masters, the brilliant executive producers of Showtime's hit series Brotherhood and got answers to some of those burning questions....

Q: Henry, You have produced several television series, which series would you say was your most challenging?

Henry:
"Well, they are all challenging to be honest with you. The really good ones like Northern Exposure, Homicide and Brotherhood are challenging because it's really hard to make something good. The others are challenging because they are hard to survive. A friend of mine once said it's just hard to make a good show as it is a bad show."

Q: Blake, your previous work is on films, what made you decide to make the jump to television?

Blake:
" Brotherhood started as an idea for a movie that I was talking to somebody about and they said it sounded like it would make a really great TV series. Selling a movie idea as a pitch is incredibly hard to do, so I figured it's just as hard to pitch a TV series, so I thought it was an interesting idea. I took it to Showtime first and before I could take it anywhere else, they bought the pilot idea and sent me to go write the pilot script."

Q: Did you both come up with the idea for Brotherhood?

Blake:
"No, I created the show and did the pilot and when they ordered the ten episodes that made up the first season, Showtime very wisely said, 'You've never run a television show before, you need to bring someone in to partner with you.' I was the world's biggest Homicide fan instantly said the only guy I knew of was Henry Bromell, who I had the good fortune to stalk at a friends wedding and on a movie set [laughs] - which he, to my good fortune didn't remember when he saw the pilot and said this could be a really good show. We met and within about 15 seconds decided we liked each other's way of thinking and we were partners on this from then on."

Q: When you created the roles for Tommy and Michael, did you have the two Jason's in mind for the roles?

Blake:
"No, no, when I wrote them, they were these two characters I had in my head. The audition process was quite long. We cast some 75 actors for each part and Jason Clarke was really the only actor we seriously considered for the role of Tommy. Michael was just a role we couldn't cast. It wasn't until we were literally a week from shooting that Jason Isaacs came on board."

Q: When the show started, I got a lot of email about "The Hill" in Rhode Island -- is the show based on the real "Hill"?

Blake/Henry:
"There is no real 'Hill' in Rhode Island. Ok, here is the thing: Providence is built on seven hills, like Rome actually. The confusion is that before people watched the show, they assumed the 'Hill' we are talking about is Federal Hill, which is the Italian neighborhood. We are not actually talking about Federal Hill. Federal Hill does exist in the landscape of our show, it is indeed an Italian neighborhood, and we call that Federal Hill. What we have done is create a fictional Irish neighborhood we refer to simply as 'The Hill.'

Q: Brotherhood quickly got the reputation of being a no-hold-barred, shocking twist on drama, going forward is the plan to continue to push the envelope?

Blake/Henry:
"I think we're just going to tell the honest stories of the world we created, which will truthfully not look like other television shows. We're going to be true to the world we created. We don't see it as trying to push the envelope in a way, because we're in it. We don't do violence for the sake of doing gratuitous violence, it has to come out of a natural place within story and within character. We don't look at it and say, 'Ooooh, how can we bend the rules or how can we do something transgressive."

Q: The character of Tommy has toed the line at corruption -- do you think Tommy will become as corrupt as his brother or do you think that at some point he'll crack and really go after Michael?

Blake/Henry:
"That's the tension of the series. It's not brother versus brother, it's how do these two men co-exist. In their co-existing in this difficult and morally gray world, will they lose their souls? It's the same message for Tommy as it is for Michael. The minute Tommy's soul isn't in jeopardy there is no more show."

Q: Has the series been renewed for a second season yet?

Henry:
"Nope, not yet."

Q: Do you know when you'll hear about a renewal?

Blake:
"Probably around January."

Q: Should the series not be renewed, will the show leave fans hanging in the finale or will you have a chance to wrap up the series?

Blake/Henry:
"We're really not considering that possibility at the moment. We certainly never planned on wrapping up the series in one season."

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