“Noir is a genre that Roger Ebert described as being about characters who are smart enough to hatch a plan but not smart enough to pull it off… we adhere to that essentially,” said Steve Conrad, executive producer and showrunner of Epix new noir thriller, Perpetual Grace, LTD.
While the crime drama may contain remnants of the noir tone, Conrad spoke on how the show bends the narrative in that with traditional neo-noir stories “the characters often turn on each other pretty quickly and it becomes an every man for themselves event. We’ve figured that the time that we share with the audience the demonstration will be that it is not material to succeeding or surviving. They’ll come to depend on each other pretty quickly. So it doesn’t follow that noir engineering.”
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He continued, “The characters will start to love each other and start to support each other as they march through this unraveling plan. So we’re different from the traditionally noir in the sense that the show really becomes a show that is concerned in love primarily, which sounds odd. It does bend things that the old noir does but it becomes about love in a way that makes it little more distinguished than a show that doesn’t care about that.”
Starring Ben Kingsley, Jimmi Simpson, Luis Guzman, and Jacki Weaver the 10-episode series follows James (Simpson), a young grifter, as he attempts to prey upon Pastor Byron Brown (Kingsley), who turns out to be far more dangerous than James suspects. It turns out Byron and his wife Lillian (Weaver), known as Pa and Ma, have used religion to bilk hundreds of innocent people out of their life savings.
Conrad, who was joined at the ATX Television Festival by Simpson, Guzman, and fellow producer and showrunner Bruce Terris, talked about bringing a cinematic quality to the TV platform.
“The common denominator among everybody who comes to work on Perpetual Grace is just they love the art form of filmmaking… the things we choose to watch when we get home ought to just be more intimate. We want it to have personalities that are formed with invitational energy.
He continued, “I want you to love what we do. I feel very strongly that we can say this about the show is that I don’t want the show to be liked. I want it to be loved. Loving something means you understand its complexities. It makes it stronger and deeper and more fun.”
Perpetual Grace, LTD is currently airing on Epix.
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