Last Sunday's all new episode of "House of Lies" caused quite a reaction around the Internet with the storyline revolving around Marty's clients at Dollahide. Lucas, played by rapper T.I., and Dre, played by Mekhi Phifer, are at odds about how to handle the business end of their hip hop clothing line. Things come to a head that leaves Marty and Jeannie right in the middle of it.
While we won't give away any spoilers, let's just say viewers were in for a shock. In a brief recap of the series thus far, Jeannie (Kristen Bell) reached out to an old friend for help with a government contract, causing an issue between her and Marty (Don Cheadle) about their future with Dollahyde. Clyde (Ben Schwartz) created friction between Monica (Dawn Oliveri) and her client, Vincent (Fred Armisen); and Doug (Josh Lawson) hit on Caitlin (Genevieve Angelson).
Classic TV Examiner was one of a few reporters that met with the show's executive producers, Matthew Carnahan, David Walpert and Taii K. Austin to get their thoughts on the episode, casting T.I. as Lucas Frye and what is going with their wild card character Clyde.
Check out the interview below:
Q: TI gives an excellent performance as hip hop business mogul Lucas Frye. How did you cast him in the role?
Matthew Carnahan: It was a big risk. I think he was undisciplined on other projects I had heard, but he came in and he was prepared, he was into his work... I feel like he has now that he can take this and cash it in for a big feature, Chris tucker type type of comedy, action. He just has the thing, whatever the thing is, he has it. W
Q: Why him? Why a rapper? Was he the chosen one?
David Walpert: It wasn't anything specifically that we talked about as far as rappers but we were looking for primarily actors Matt -- and he's not playing a rapper so. He's playing a hip hop business entrepreneur and so he... I think we talked about a few other hip hop people but mostly it was other actors.
Matthew Carnahan: I think we wanted someone with a little feel of danger but someone we also thought would be sympathetic and i think we scored on both accounts and that's a tough one. Cause you know with tough guys who don't feel vulnerable and I think he did really really well .
Q: His relationship with Kristen Bell was really good too. Can you talk about that? Did they read together before you cast him?
Matt Carnahan: They definitely had something.
Taii K. Austin: TI really really impressed me with how prepared he was all the time and it was kind of cute because i was a TI fan from the music. After the scenes, he'd come up and says “did I do that okay?” And I was like “Yeah, Yeah” (Laughs) The two of them...Kristen amazes me no matter how many lines she has or the depth emotionally with what she's doing, she just dives right in and he brought that quality to it as well, though...I mean you put the two of them together and they was probably a little bit of that competitive thing too...Where he's like, “I want to be just as good as the “actor” actors.”
David Walpert: We grew it a little bit too. I don't think our intention was.. we always sort of thought our intention was to fell more places in their business world ... dealing with an alpha and trying to sort out the power dynamic. I think when we cast him, they were only going to hook up once and then it kind of grew a little bit cause it was kind of like of interesting
Taii K. Austin: From watching the dailies, we thought 'oh, there's something here.'
Q: What was his audition process like?
Matt Carnahan: He sat down for a meeting with us.... and he shows up with his people and( laughs ) a little bit of an Entourage ... it was really just a couple of guys, but he was just so right. He was just so amazing..he obviously incredible business person....he just he had a real sense of, I'm trying to remember if he read anything, but he really just went of a description of the character and when we said, it's kind of like Jay Z and Damon Dash, hew know that situation well and started talking about a few ideas about how he might play a character like that and about the way that that character carries...he knew it...he knew stuff about that guy....
Q: Do you like the arc of 12 episodes for a season? Do you wish that you had more?
Matt Caranahan: I don't know. This season came out about right. I think this feels pretty organic at 12 episodes. I could have done 1 or 2 more to have concluded...and when you see the finale, maybe you'll let me know. We have next season thankfully so but just in the way the story kind of rolls in these cycles, I feel like it's a pretty, it feels to me anyway, pretty...it's thematically and in terms of the narrative, it feels pretty good after the 12 episodes.
David Walpert: And we've been sort of negotiating every season, how long theses business stories should last and I guess each one is their own... I remember during the first season, we did exclusively single episode business stories and we sort of deliberately moved away from that because we felt we were kind of spending a lot of time explaining what the businesses problem was and then the episode was over. We now just decide how long we could stay with the story and keep it interesting.
Q. Clyde -- has grown a lot since the show first started. Where do you see him in a sense. Where do his loyalties lie?
Matt Carnahan: [Clyde's] a complicated guy, I think and obviously he has a lot of demons. You don't really resolve his substance abuse issues and his whatever deeper things are driving him. Watching these two episodes, I was thinking 'Wow, he's really a messed up guy.' You don't think of it when you're in it. But man, he's really a mess.
David Walpert: I think of it too, as he has very paternal feelings towards Marty but I think his emotional age, he's twelve years old or thirteen. He's very easily offended and insulted by slights and sees but he also wants to impress this person and be assimilable in his eyes...
Matt Carnahan: All that's true and he's operating from an intense narcissism and sense of entitlement like all thirteen year olds. It's a volatile mixture.
Catch "House of Lies" Sundays at 10:00 p.m. on Showtime.
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