Michael Mann | Interview outtakes
At the end of my recent interview with film director Michael Mann, executive producer and pilot director of HBO’s new series Luck, I asked him about a rumor that he’ll be shooting a new film here in his hometown. “I can’t talk about it,” he replied, “but I’m developing something that may be based in Chicago.” Here are a few things he would talk about—outtakes that don’t appear in.
You’ve said your childhood in Humboldt Park and Ravenswood has shaped the aesthetic of your films. Is that true even here, a series about horse racing in California?
Yeah, if you notice where [the gamblers] live, I didn’t put them in the Holiday Inn. I put them in a crazy kind of Korean, you know, the Oasis Hotel with the cactus motif in the middle of Korea Town. So in that sense I always have a sense of urban anomalies and the contradictions that are presented in an urban environment. But that’s not really Chicago; that’s really Los Angeles urban environment. Very few people really know the L.A. urban environment.
You’re known for your thorough preparation—how’d you prepare for this project?
The preparation is to go find out all about it, spend time on the tracks, talk to the jockeys, talk to trainers, get in a vehicle, put five race horses on a track and be right up next to them and just watch the experience as close as you can get to it and meet them, meet them. I have a horse. I know that horses have a distinct kind of personality.
Did you place any bets to get a sense of that rush?
Oh, I think [series creator-writer] David [Milch] placed 20 dollars on a horse for me sometime. I don’t really get a rush from that. Two friends of mine are very good at it; one’s David Milch, and the other’s [series co-EP] Eric Roth. They’re very complicated forms of betting and you have to know a lot about it—what the horse did before, who’s training them, who rode them last time, who’s riding this time, is this jockey and this horse a good marriage, or both are good but it’s a bad marriage and you bet against it.
Luck premieres January 29 at 8pm on HBO.