Fans of the movie Training Day shouldn’t expect to see appearances by Denzel Washington’s notorious character Detective Alonzo Harris or Ethan Hawke’s Jake Hoyt in the new CBS series that’s premiering February 2 at 10 PM.
“We wanted to respectfully give them some distance on the show,” says executive producer Will Beall, “I liked what Noah Hawley did with Fargo, how the TV show existed in the same universe. Aside from the snow scrapper in the snow, the stories didn’t scrape together.”
Beall said he’s known Training Day director Antoine Fuqua, who also serves as an EP on the series, for the last nine years. There was talk between them of doing a movie together, but their schedules didn’t sync. Then Fuqua proposed the idea of doing Training Day as a series inspired by his 2001 feature, which delivered Washington an Oscar for lead actor and a supporting actor nod to Hawke. On the show, Bill Paxton is the mentor ala Washington’s Alonzo, and newcomer Justin Cornwell plays the rookie street cop Kyle Craig.
Fuqua says that while the feature was like Hearts Of Darkness in how the two protag cops journey up the river in L.A.’s underworld and descend into a greater murk, on the TV series Paxton’s Detective Frank Rourke is a guy “who made it up the river and is trying to find his way back” says Fuqua.
Unlike the movie, where Hawke’s character comes under the spell of Washington’s bad influence, the CBS series “isn’t about Kyle’s seduction, but Frank’s redemption. It’s about these guys who push and pull on each other,” says Beall.
Fuqua said that the decision to switch Paxton to the Alonzo-like role, and Cornwall to the Hawke-like part, had more to do with “getting the best actors out there” especially when Paxton decided to board.
Paxton was enamored with how the TV show is akin to a Western, not mention its homages to Los Angeles noir masterpieces like Sunset Boulevard. “The show opens with me floating in the pool!” beamed the actor who equates his Detective Frank to a “gunfighter pulled out of a time capsule.” In regards to whether the show is a same old-same old cop show, Paxton waved off that label asserting that “it’s about the people. Do you wanna hang with these people?”
In regards to Western influences, Beall mentioned that Fuqua and him spoke about The Searchers during the shoot “as the Training Day before the Training Day“.
Also appearing on the TCA panel were EPs Barry Schindel and Jerry Bruckheimer, the latter who was tapped by Fuqua to board the series, having previously worked together on the 2004 movie King Arthur.
Unlike the AT&T Audience Network Ice, which Fuqua executive produces and directed the pilot, there are no plans for the filmmaker to direct any future episodes of Training Day.