Emmy Magazine Features

Code Red

Iconic costumes and colors are part of the mystique of Money Heist.

By Malcolm Macdonald

When Netflix dropped the first season of Money Heist, execs at the streamer couldn’t have dreamed of its global success.

As one of Hollywood’s original scream queens, Jamie Lee Curtis was perhaps destined to join forces with horror honcho Jason Blum. But for Curtis, it was the Blum’s character, not his credits, that sealed the deal. Today, they’re collaborating on films — the second installment of Blumhouse’s Halloween reboot, Halloween Kills, opens on October 15 — and an array of TV projects, including a series based on novelist Patricia Cornwell’s best-selling thrillers featuring medical examiner Kay Scarpetta.

Thirty years of friendship — and creative collaboration — have given Ethan Hawke unique insight into Jason Blum. Sure, he has business smarts, but the secret to Blum’s success, says Hawke, may be his unconventional streak: “He enjoys coloring outside the lines.”

How and why do creators create? That’s what Joseph Gordon-Levitt explores in his work, while always urging others to test their own talents. With his latest show, Mr. Corman, he hopes viewers will take that next step.

He prefers not to settle on one great idea. That’s why B.J. Novak created an anthology series, The Premise. He also didn’t settle on just one job, though for Novak, writing is everything. “When I act, I feel like I’m writing a character,” he says. “When I direct, I feel like I’m writing the aesthetics of the scene. That’s how I see the world.”

At Blumhouse Television, production deals are surging like, well, a house on fire. And it’s not all horror and the supernatural. When disrupter-in-chief Jason Blum decided to add TV to his company portfolio, he knew he’d have to jump into genres with less blood and guts. Even so, his television division is killing it.

As a cast member — and, more recently, a consultant — Jesse James Keitel brings authenticity to trans representation as Big Sky’s Jerrie Kennedy.

Exclusive to TelevisionAcademy.com

Dedee Pfeiffer, who plays Denise Brisbane on Big Sky, says, “I’m into all the mysteries of the universe.” It’s an opportune outlook, because mysteries abound on the unpredictable ABC drama.

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When shooting in New Mexico was curtailed because of Covid, Big Sky producers had to make substitutions.

Back in New Mexico for season two, ABC’s Big Sky is shooting some surprising storylines against startling scenery. In this drama, “the unexpected happens and no one is safe,” warns creator David E. Kelley, who’s well known for his plot twists. But loyal viewers can relax (a little). While it explores new cases and characters, the series remains “foremost about Cassie and Jenny,” the detectives at its heart.

“The hippest trip in America,” as creator Don Cornelius called Soul Train, was so much more than a Black American Bandstand. Way before “influencer” was a word, the show set trends in music, dance, fashion, commercials, marketing — and even inspired the King of Pop.

While never discounting Black trauma, some Black show creators are choosing joy. The new flurry of comedies (which recalls a certain ‘90s classic) features single, Black friends doing the things friends do — hanging out, hooking up and having fun.

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