Hell on Wheels might be trying too hard. You can't really blame it — as an AMC series, it's got cohorts like Mad Men and Breaking Bad to live up to: two of the greatest character studies on television. Maybe in television history. These programs instated the complicated, tortured antihero. In the wake of shows like The Sopranos and Dexter, AMC eagerly grabbed at the idea of the tremendously marred central figure, delivering Don Draper and Walter White on a silver platter. We love those guys. And all TV heroes nowadays strive to be those guys, including Hell on Wheels' Cullen Bohannen (Anson Mount). But despite Mount's prowess for performance, the whole ordeal still seems a bit forced.
The second season picks up with Cullen involved with a train robbing troupe. At once, he is made out to be the levelheaded good guy in a world of bad, and the hot-tempered, tortured widow. These two ideals are hardly mutually exclusive; unfortunately, Cullen seems to be tailored entirely differently depending on his scene. Sometimes, he's the sort of guy we can look to to see a bright light in this misty post-Civil War era of arbitrary crime and intolerance. At other times, he's a rogue scoundrel. A sheathed, mysterious warrior who'll snap at the drop of a hat. The show can make both aspects of his character work, but it really needs to build the bridge a bit more sturdily.
On the other side of the cast is Colm Meaney as railroad proprietor Doc Durant. Doc is the pinnacle of pragmatism. He doesn't "hate" anyone, but he recognizes that hate is the state of being in his society, so he embraces it. His aversion toward hiring blacks and sympathizing with prostitutes — both seen in the premiere — are simply out of "good business," not any true prejudices.
Speaking of prejudices, Season 2 does seem to be opening the door toward a more thorough exploration of sexism, feminism, and the female identity. Dominique McElligott represents a forward press for women, standing up for a deceased whore who isn't considered deserving of a proper burial. The ever interesting character of the Swede is asked by Lily to give the murdered woman the simple decency of a humane funeral, which he allows (although apparently without much sympathy for her of his own).
The one thing Hell on Wheels does best is building up the character of its central town. All corners of the village are crumbling, from the drunken priest to the sympathetic but hardly innocent pair of the McGinnes brothers. And as Elam (Common) longs for the love of his estranged Eva, we see that one of the show's strongest characters is weakened by his breaking heart.
Still, the show is on shaky ground. As vivid as this town is, none of the individual members command enough attention to drive the show, even Cullen. Perhaps if Hell on Wheels spends a bit more time substantiating its hero rather than vying for conflicting styles, Season 2 might offer an improvement over its predecessor.
[Photo Credit: AMC]
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AMC is fresh off a slew of Emmy nominations for their crown jewels Breaking Bad and Mad Men — and the latter leads the pack with 17 total nominations — but the drama train isn't ready to slow down. The network has revealed six new stills from post-Civil War drama Hell on Wheels exclusively to Hollywood.com.
This season, which starts right back on the path to building the first transcontinental railroad, drops us right back into Cullen Bohannon's (Anson Mount) tumultuous westward journey. Also along for the ride are emancipated slave Elam Ferguson (Common), greedy and opportunistic entrepreneur Thomas “Doc” Durant (Colm Meany) and widow-in-a-man's-world Lily Bell (Dominique McElligott). Season 2 premieres August 12 at 9 PM ET on AMC. Click here to launch our exclusive gallery! Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler More: 2012 Emmys: See the Nominees 'The Walking Dead' Invades Universal Studios 'Small Town Security': Now Quite Hot on the Trail - EXCLUSIVE
Hell on Wheels, the completion of AMC's superfecta of earthly horrors (slavery, zombies, the drug trade and advertising), has got a lot going for it. Its superior cast is led by Anson Mount, who tells the story of a post-Civil War era man on a desperate, hopeless quest for revenge against the men who murdered his wife, and Colm Meany, who plays the Machiavellian railroad investor who understands the necessities in villainy.
On par with its terrific acting and intriguing writing is the visual style of Hell on Wheels. The setting is a gripping picture of the era; the characters' vibrance is as dense with literary value as the lines they deliver.
Below, we have four exclusive pictures from Hell on Wheels. Among those depicted are Mount, and rapper/actor Common, who plays Elam, a railroad worker with a grudge against the white population, and Dominique McElligott, who plays Lily Bell.
Hell on Wheels airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.
AMC built its nearly indestructible reputation with critically-acclaimed, mesmerizing programming, so we're fairly willing to invest some faith in the network's newest series, Hell on Wheels. The post-Civil War-era drama, starring Anson Mount, Common, Dominique McElligott, and Colm Meany, will combine fiction with history to examine the lives of former slaves and soldiers adapting to the new America under the reign of the conglomerate railroad company.
This featurette offers some words from the cast and producers of Hell on Wheels, discussing the history of the period and the stories, characters and themes that will be explored in the series. In addition to interviews the featurette offers clips from Hell on Wheels' inaugural season, which will explore the rise of the transnational railway industry, as well as former Confederate soldier Cullen Bonnehan's (Mount) quest to avenge his wife's death.
Click here to watch a preview for the upcoming series, which will debut Sunday, Nov. 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
AMC has become the network to watch out for when it comes to original programming. The Killing may have been a waste of time (and an incredibly frustrating one, at that), but they're still responsible for programs like Mad Men, The Walking Dead, and Breaking Bad. That's why you should be pumped for Hell On Wheels, AMC's latest endeavor. The series, which will premiere following The Walking Dead, is a historical drama that focuses on the construction of the transcontinental railroad after the Civil War.
Hell On Wheels premieres Sunday, November 6, at 10 pm. Let's keep our fingers crossed that this is the new Deadwood.
Anson Mount (of the upcoming Straw Dogs) will star as former confederate soldier out for revenge after the death of his wife. Presumably, he'll do this while building the railroad. Or at least taking trains. Rapper turned actor Common will also star as a recently emancipated slave, along with Dominique McElligott, Colm Meaney and Eddie Spears.
This isn't AMC's first foray into the wild west; they produced the mini-series Broken Trail in 2006. "Since Broken Trail, AMC has looked for the next expression of an original Western series," said AMC's senior VP of original programming, production and digital content, Joel Stillerman, "Hell on Wheels is an incredibly powerful story that captures the intensity and inspiration of the American West at a time when nothing less than the future of the nation was at stake. The characters and the story that Joe and Tony Gayton, Jeremy Gold, and John Shiban have created; and that our terrific cast and crew have realized is compelling, epic, and a truly original take on a classic American genre of storytelling."
The series is appropriately timed, as the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War was this April. Being the mamby-pamby liberal arts History major that I am, I'm always glad to see a historical TV series, especially one that takes a multicultural bent. Fortunately for us, and for AMC, American history isn't all just old guys making speeches. Because that would make for some incredibly boring TV. Not to mention, a boring country.
Let’s be honest here. We’re friends. We can share things with each other. Casting rumors and “who auditioned with who” don’t really matter that much until it’s officially announced who got the part. It’s not like we can influence who gets the part or whatever.
But what does matter is that it gives us an excuse to look at and post pretty pictures of starlets!
So let’s see who Andrew Garfield might get to lock lips with, that lucky bastard!
As previously reported, Emma Stone and Mia Wasikowska are the two main actresses in talk for the role. They’re both great actresses and considering all I know about the two roles they’re up for is that they are a blonde and redhead, they seem to fit the part well!
Newly added to the list of possibilities is Glee’s Dianna Agron. Quite pretty when not with a bastard child out of wedlock in high school (quoting my extremely old fashioned grandmother on that one), she could be in line for the role of blonde Gwen Stacey. But thanks to the miracles of hair coloration these days, she could easily turn that into Mary Jane Watson.
We also have Georgina Haig in contention. Earlier this year she was in Road Kill and Wasted on the Young, two movies I haven’t seen nor heard of! But Georgina is quite pretty and we’ll take any excuse to post pictures of pretty ladies. Here’s hoping she gets a callback!
And finally we have Dominique McElligott. Since we’ve had so much positive attention thrown around with the other ladies vying for the role, McElligott will be derided simply because she was last in line and her last name is hard to spell and pronounce. So, gosh! I can’t believe they would audition her! Ugh! (In all seriousness she seems to be a good actress and is very attractive, but we couldn’t have this be a one sided article even though this sentence made it that).
So there are the ladies who might be swinging into Peter Parker’s web in 2012. Needless to say, I’m excited, if not for an excuse to post this picture of Emma Stone again.
Yesterday we reported that rapper-turned-actor Common was the first to join AMC's new western series Hell On Wheels, as freed slave Elam. Now, Deadline reports that Anson Mount and Irish actress Dominique McElligott have also signed on as leads.
Set during the building of the Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860s, Hell On Wheels follows Cullen (Mount), a former slave owner and Confederate soldier driven by the desire to avenge the murder of his wife by Union soldiers. He ends up working on the railroad out in Nebraska, along with Elam (Common), and Lily Bell (McElligott), an intelligent young woman taking care of her sick husband, one of the railroad's surveyors.
Mount has worked on several features, most recently Cook County, and just wrapped production on Straw Dogs and Burning Palms. He is perhaps best known for his turn as Assistant D.A. Jim Steele on Dick Wolf's series Conviction. McElligott recently starred opposite Sam Rockwell in writer-director Duncan Jones' Moon, and just finished shooting The Guard and Blackthorn.
The majesty of the Emerald Isle is on full display in Leap Year an opposites attract romantic comedy starring Amy Adams (Julie & Julia Enchanted) and Matthew Goode (A Single Man Watchmen). Director Anand Tucker (Shopgirl Hilary and Jackie) shooting entirely on location in Ireland takes us on a whirlwind tour of the country’s breathtaking landscape reveling in its fabled fairy-tale charm.
Pity then that such a magnificent setting is so mercilessly defaced by Leap Year’s unrelenting mediocrity. The film’s dubious premise testing the already loose limits of rom-com believability casts Adams as Anna a type-A career girl who flies to Ireland intending to pop the question to her feet-dragging boyfriend on February 29th aka Leap Day. Why Leap Day? Because according to some idiotic old Irish tradition that’s when women are allowed to do such things. (Click here to watch Adams herself try to explain the plot.)
Unfortunately for Anna weather problems force her plane to land far away from Dublin and her would-be fiance. Trapped in a tiny coastal town with no reliable transportation at her disposal she enlists the help of a scruffy abrasive barkeep named Declan (Goode) to drive her cross-country so she can reach her destination by the 29th. And thus begins the traditional rom-com mating ritual of sexually-charged bickering followed by moments of abrupt awkward intimacy.
While watching Leap Year I swear I could hear the Irish countryside quietly weeping as it witnessed Goode and Adams slog through the film's succession of trite misadventures the talented actors straining in vain to manufacture some semblance of romantic chemistry as an assortment of jolly Waking Ned Devine types futilely spurred them on. Oh if only Greenpeace could have intervened and put a halt to such wanton environmental desecration. It's the worst thing to come out of Ireland since The Cranberries.