Starring Jeffrey Wright, HBO Films’ O.G. premieres Feb 24 exclusively on HBO GO and HBO

The HBO Films drama O.G. debuts same time as the U.S. on Sunday, February 24 at 11am exclusively on HBO GO and HBO. The film repeats on the same day at 11.30pm on HBO. Starring Jeffrey Wright (Emmy® winner for HBO’s “Angels in America,” two-time Emmy® nominee for HBO’s “Westworld”), the film is directed by Madeleine Sackler (Emmy® winner for HBO’s “Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus”) and written by Stephen Belber (Emmy® nominee for HBO’s “The Laramie Project”).

O.G. follows Louis (Wright), once the head of a prominent prison gang, in the final weeks of his 24-year sentence. His impending release is upended when he takes new arrival Beecher (Carter), who is being courted by gang leadership, under his wing. Coming to grips with the indelibility of his crime and the challenge of reentering society, Louis finds his freedom hanging in the balance as he struggles to save Beecher.

Also starring Theothus Carter and William Fichtner (“Crash”), O.G. premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, where Wright won the award for Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film. It was filmed over a five-week period at Indiana’s maximum-security Pendleton Correctional Facility.

Groundbreaking in that it was filmed in an active prison, with several of the incarcerated men and prison staff appearing as first-time actors, O.G. takes an intimate and unflinching look at the journey of one man at the precipice of freedom.

The film is executive produced by Sharon Chang, Kareem “Biggs” Burke, Mark Steele, Nic Marshall; produced by Madeleine Sackler, Boyd Holbrook, Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler, Nick Gordon, Trevor Matthews, Stephen Belber and Ged Dickersin.

Director Madeleine Sackler describes the inspiration behind the film’s uniquely realistic approach, noting, “There have been so many prison films that it’s become a genre of its own. To me, when a type of story becomes a genre, it can lose its uniqueness or its specificity in the storytelling.

“My goal was to disregard the prison genre and start from scratch, starting with one character, a man preparing to leave after many years behind bars. To do that as authentically as possible, to truly understand and portray that experience, I wanted to make the film in close collaboration with people going through the experience themselves, so I started calling different departments of correction around the country. And I was very lucky when the state of Indiana called me back.

“This film wouldn’t be what it is if we hadn’t made it as a collaboration with the prison and with hundreds of men incarcerated there. And to have two films come out of the experience, one fiction and one nonfiction, is very exciting. We were able to explore many different themes.”

For Jeffrey Wright, it was a unique experience filming in an active prison, which helped him step inside his character. He explains, “It was absolutely necessary for me to wrap my head and my body around who this character was and what the story was that we were trying to tell. It’s a pretty informative place. It’s an affecting place. There’s an energy inside that place unlike no other, no other. It’s heavy, it’s kind of laden with trauma. It’s just molecularly heavy inside, and it certainly informed our understanding of the story, of the issues, and in my case, the character that I was playing.”

Director Sackler describes her introduction to Theothus Carter, saying, “His audition was incredible. We were watching hundreds of people in one week, and you can’t imagine the array of men who are incarcerated, and the talent and depth that they bring to the dialogue. There’s just no replacement for the real way that people move and interact and talk. And then Theothus came in, and he just blew me and the casting director away. And then he worked harder than anyone else.”

Wright says, “Theothus was all business, and he has a force to him. He has capabilities that we see through this film, that he had never tapped into in a way as constructive as this, perhaps in his lifetime.”

O.G. is an HBO Films and Maven Pictures Presentation in association with Brookstreet Pictures, a Great Curve Films production of a Madeleine Sackler film. The behind-the-scenes team includes director of photography Wolfgang Held; editor Frédéric Thoraval; production designer Michael Bricker; and costume designer Heidi Bivens. Music by Nathaniel Méchaly; casting by Richard Hicks.

After the screenplay for O.G. had been developed and Sackler was prepping to shoot the film, she began collaborating with 13 men incarcerated at the facility on a nonfiction film. In IT’S A HARD TRUTH AIN’T IT, co-directed by Sackler and those men, several of whom were also first-time actors, they study filmmaking as a vehicle to explore their memories and examine how they ended up with decades-long sentences. Animated sequences by Yoni Goodman (“Waltz with Bashir”) bring their stories to life.

Sackler says, “In a way, O.G. and IT’S A HARD TRUTH AIN’T IT are two different sides of the same coin. In O.G., Louis is preparing to leave prison after 24 years of incarceration. In IT’S A HARD TRUTH AIN’T IT, the men look deeper into the paths that got them to prison in the first place. In that sense, neither film is about being in prison, but something deeper.”

HBO is available on SKYcable Ch. 54 SD/Ch. 168 HD (For Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Lipa-Batangas) or on Ch. 402 SD/710 HD (For Bacolod, Baguio, Cebu, Davao, Dumaguete, General Santos, Iloilo). SKYdirect subscribers can watch it on Ch. 22 HD. HBO Original Series as well as live channels are also available for streaming on HBO GO which is exclusively available to SKY subscribers. To subscribe, call 418-0000 or your local SKY office or visit www.mysky.com.ph.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Series details and image provided by HBO in a recent press release.

Check out my posts on HBO shows:

 

Westworld Season 2 ends with a 90-minute episode on June 25

After leaving its viewers reeling with the events of its penultimate episode “Vanishing Point” last Monday, Westworld Season 2 will conclude on June 25, 9am with its longest episode, “The Passenger.”  Clocking in at an hour and 30 minutes, the episode promises to lay questions and conspiracy theories regarding the show to rest as well as give rise to new ones.

  • Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) has emerged from being Season 1’s sweet damsel in distress to being Season 2’s big bad.  As she nears her goal of reaching “The Valley Beyond,” will she also succeed in avenging herself and her fellow hosts against humanity?
  • William aka The Man in Black (Ed Harris) seemed to be on a redemptive arc for a while but his prolonged stay in the park has messed with his mind that he kills his daughter after suspecting she is a host.  How will he move on after causing the deaths of both his wife and daughter?
  • Maeve (Thandie Newton), revealed to be Robert Ford’s (Anthony Hopkins) favorite among the hosts, unknowingly rebelled against his plan to allow her to escape the park and now is badly injured and held captive in headquarters.  With the transfer of Ford’s consciousness into her, will she escape her confines and deal with Dolores?

Winner of five 2017 Primetime Emmy® Awards and nominated for a total of 22 Emmys®, Westworld is a sophisticated, highly imaginative drama series that elevates the concept of adventure and thrill-seeking to a new and ultimately dangerous level. In the futuristic fantasy park known as Westworld, a group of android “hosts” deviate from their programmers’ carefully planned scripts in a disturbing pattern of aberrant behavior that culminates in a violent wholesale rebellion by the end of Season 1.

In Season 2, the fruits of that uprising, and a series of questions about many of the hosts and humans who co-exist and clash in Westworld and beyond, will be revealed. With returning cast members including Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright and James Marsden, Westworld was inspired by the 1973 motion picture written and directed by Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park), and was created for television by Executive Producers, Jonathan Nolan (Interstellar, The Dark Knight) and Lisa Joy (Pushing Daisies, Burn Notice). Season 2’s Executive Producers also include J.J. Abrams, Roberto Patino, AthenaWickham, Richard J. Lewis, and Ben Stephenson.

This episode will air on HBO (SKYcable ch 54 SD and 168 HD in Mega Manila) at 9am with a same-day encore at 10pm.  It will also be available for streaming within the same day on HBO Go, HBO’s online streaming service exclusively available in the Philippines to SKY subscribers.

HBO Go not available in your area?  Watch Season 1 and Season 2 on HBO on Amazon Prime.

Not yet on Amazon Prime?  Start your free trial today!

Check out my other posts on Westworld:

6 Takeaways from Journey Into Night, Westworld Season 2’s Explosive Premiere Episode

We’re back in Westworld, thanks to an exclusive advance screening held by HBO and SKY.

Held at the Narra Rooms in the posh Shangri-la at the Fort Hotel last April 19 (four days before its TV premiere on April 23, Monday), the event was attended by selected SKY subscribers as well as members of the press and social media influencers.

By the time this post is published, the episode should have aired on HBO. For those who haven’t watched it yet, be aware that there will be spoilers below!

(Check out my recap of Season 1’s finale episode.)

So far, my thoughts on the episode titled “Journey Into Night” are:

  1. The inmates have taken over the asylum. When we left Westworld during last season’s finale, it was on the brink of chaos. Now we see the aftermath: bodies of both hosts and their human guests are littered everywhere, clear evidence of violent delights that have violent ends.
  2. They are out for blood. Former Sweetwater sweetheart Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) has fully embraced her inner Wyatt. Together with her posse which includes earnest cowboy Teddy Flood (James Marsden) and femme fatale Angela (Tallulah Riley, now promoted to series regular) are hunting down the human guests who were present during Robert Ford’s (Anthony Hopkins) presentation of his new narrative (which has the same title as this episode – Journey Into Night), and subsequent death at Dolores’ hands (yes, he’s really dead as evidenced the maggotty rotting corpse in the beach scene which takes place a few weeks after the shooting). Having broken free of the restriction from killing humans, the hosts are rounding up all the other human survivors and shooting them down or lynching them.
  3. A mother’s love knows no bounds. Former brothel madam Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton) is continuing her search for her daughter in her past narrative, despite knowing that “it is not real,” enlisting the willing assistance of notorious bullet-ridden outlaw Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro) and the reluctant one from narrative designer Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman).
  4. Worlds are colliding. Last season, we discovered that Shogun World exists. Now, thanks to a robotic carcass of a giant robot Bengal tiger which the SWAT peeps say wandered too far from home, we can surmise that there’s probably a Jungle World as well.
  5. The Man in Black (Ed Harris) still has something to keep him busy. Last season, he was told by Ford that the maze (the object of his obsession which turned out to be the hosts’ journey to consciousness) was not for him. In this episode, he was told by Ford’s young robot clone that he is now in the game.
  6. Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) is acting all shady again. We know that this good-hearted head of behavior can be used as a weapon. Seeing him in a series of timejumps, from waking up to security personnel rounding up hosts for the slaughter to his run for survival with Delos director Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson), we know he will prove be central to more violent ends from violent delights.

Westworld Season 2 premiered on HBO (SKYcable ch 168 HD | 54 SD) on April 23, Monday at 9am with a primetime encore telecast at 10am. A new episode airs every Monday at 9am.

New Westworld episodes will also be available for streaming within the same day on HBO Go, HBO’s online streaming service exclusively available to SKY subscribers.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers.  I consider this privilege one of the biggest perks of my job: being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people.

Mayhem abounds as Westworld Season 2 begins

#SpoilerAlert!!!

When we left the Westworld, the place was a mess.

Westworld founder and for-all-intents-and-purposes deity-in-chief Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) has just revealed a new narrative to the board during the launch party before having his head blown off (intentionally) by host Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood).

WW202_JJ_092217_0055.jpg

Dolores, after reawakening in the lab with Ford and Westworld head of programming and a-host-all-along Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright), realizes that the voice she hears inside her head has been hers all along (the concept of the Bicameral Mind, wooooh!) and therefore has finally gained consciousness.  She then began shooting up the park’s human guests in the party and enjoining the other hosts to revolt, no longer constrained by the “don’t harm the humans” rule.

WW201_JJ_111017_0110.jpg

The Man in Black (a crusty Ed Harris), revealed to be earnest William (Jimmi Simpson) whose heart was unknowingly crushed by Dolores during his first park visit thirty years ago, revels in the hosts’ revolt even as he is shot in the arm.

MIB.jpg

Brothel madam Meave Millay (Thandie Newton) gains superuser rights to Westworld, seizing control of her narrative and those of the other hosts.  She starts her own revolt in the labs and is last seen discovering Shogun World then deciding to search for the daughter she had in her previous narrative.

WW201_JJ_071417_0176.jpg

After all those reveals and delicious mayhem in Season 1, who could resist a sneak peek into Season 2?  Well, the creators themselves decided to release a spoiler video.

Or maybe not.

Westworld Season 2 premieres in the Philippines on April 23, Monday, at 9am on HBO  (SKYcable ch 54 SD and 168 HD) and will be available for streaming on HBO Go.