The Latest: Actor goes from playing clergyman to 'McMafia'

AP News
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Posted: Jan 14, 2018 12:17 AM
The Latest: Actor goes from playing clergyman to 'McMafia'

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on upcoming programming from the TV Critics meeting in Pasadena, California (all times local):

9:20 p.m.

"Grantchester" star James Norton is out of his clerical collar and into very hot water in AMC's new drama "McMafia" coming in February.

Norton told TV critics Saturday that playing a British banker entangled with organized crime taught him that people from every walk of life are susceptible to criminality.

"McMafia," based on the book by Misha Glenny, stars Norton as Alex Godman, the respectable son of Russian exiles with a shady past. When Godman's loved ones are threatened, his effort to protect them creates a moral struggle.

James Watlins, the show's co-creator and an executive producer, said in contrast with classic gangster dramas that play out in closed worlds, the modern one portrayed in "McMafia" is intertwined with corporations and politics.

Norton, who plays a crime-solving clergyman in "Grantchester," was asked if another season was ahead for the PBS series that also stars Robson Green. Norton, who spoke via satellite, said he isn't sure.

"I'll get told by powers much more important than me," he said.

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1:15 p.m.

Antonio Banderas grew up in Malaga, Spain, walking by the birthplace of artist Pablo Picasso on his way to school as a child. So it felt inevitable that he would one day portray him.

Banderas said he turned down such opportunities before signing up for National Geographic's "Genius" series, which for its second season will focus on the artist. The first season, with Geoffrey Rush playing Albert Einstein, was a critical and commercial success for Nat Geo.

The Picasso miniseries debuts on April 24.

Banderas, speaking at a news conference from where the series is being filmed in Budapest, said he's pleased with the seriousness in which producers have approached the project. They're exploring the complexities of Picasso's character, including some messy relationships with women. Picasso died in 1973.

"So far we are very happy, working hard but we have a long way to go," Banderas said.

No pressure, though.

"If I don't portray him properly, I may not be able to go back to my hometown," he said.

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12:50 p.m.

A sexual assault scene in an upcoming YouTube drama series was re-shot and revised after a female showrunner joined the project.

Executive producer Lauren LeFranc said Saturday she wanted to focus more closely on the experience of the victim, a 16-year-old played by actress Maddie Hasson in the drama "Impulse." LeFranc said she wanted to depict the assault as "visceral and real."

The pilot episode of the upcoming "Impulse" was both shot and revised before the sexual misconduct scandal broke in Hollywood last year, Le Franc said.

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The emergence of the anti-misconduct #MeToo movement and the new YouTube drama is a coincidence but one that might draw more viewers to the important subject matter, she said.

Hasson plays a teenager who discovers she is capable of "teleportation" in the sci-fi drama whose executive producers include "Bourne Identity" filmmaker Doug Limon.

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11:15 a.m.

YouTube has suspended a star who posted video images of what appeared to be a suicide victim but said Saturday that doesn't mean it won't work with him in the future.

The video service announced this week that it had pulled Logan Paul's channel from its ad-supported Google Preferred platform and put two other projects on hold.

YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl said Saturday there's no timetable for when Paul's future will be addressed again. Kyncl didn't shut YouTube's door on Paul.

"Everything is evolving so fast," Kyncl said. "The best thing we can do is put all projects on hold indefinitely, and there's no date or plan for him in the future."

Paul apologized for posting video of him in a forest near Mount Fuji in Japan near what seemed to be a body hanging from a tree. The location is known in Japan as a frequent site for suicides.

YouTube said the images violated its policies. Paul pulled the images from his channel on his own.