Home Movie ‘Profitable Time’ Season 2 Builds to Magic Johnson and Larry Chook Rivalry – The Hollywood Reporter

‘Profitable Time’ Season 2 Builds to Magic Johnson and Larry Chook Rivalry – The Hollywood Reporter

‘Profitable Time’ Season 2 Builds to Magic Johnson and Larry Chook Rivalry – The Hollywood Reporter


[This story contains spoilers from the third episode of season two of Winning Time, “The Second Coming.”]

Moving into dictating the general inventive imaginative and prescient for the newest episode in season two of Profitable Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty was “a pure development” of the work Todd Banhazl has carried out on the sports activities drama concerning the emergence of the basketball franchise. So says the filmmaker who obtained an Emmy nomination for finest cinematography for a single-camera sequence for his work on the HBO present in 2022. But relating to being the one who directed Sunday’s pivotal episode — which units the stage for the decades-long rivalry between Lakers main man Magic Johnson (performed by Quincy Isaiah) and Boston Celtics’ Larry Chook (performed by Sean Patrick Small) — Banhazl, says casually, “I feel I received actually fortunate.”

“I feel this entire season is build up in the direction of this battle, proper?” Banhazl tells The Hollywood Reporter within the chat under. “It’s like this Lord of the Rings factor the place we’re constructing each storylines till they collide. Episode three, for me, is like our supervillain’s backstory, however on the identical time, it’s additionally about humanizing him utterly. I feel by the point you get to later within the season, the hope and the aim is that you simply actually perceive each characters and also you truly care about each of them too.”

How did your longevity as a cinematographer and on this sequence particularly assist you in making the leap to direct this episode?

I feel I do know what I would like as a cinematographer from my administrators to assist me do my finest work, so it was such a pleasure having the ability to assist give my DP, Rick Diaz, who’s an in depth pal of mine, permission to do his finest work and to be free to strive issues and experiment. Directing felt form of like what I’d already been doing as a DP, I used to be simply in a position to do it extra broadly and be one of many emotional leaders and one of many inventive leaders, and produce out the perfect in everybody, together with the actors.

Usually sports activities dramas rely closely on the motion on the courtroom or discipline of no matter sport they’re portraying to maneuver the plot alongside. Profitable Time is way more story targeted. Are you able to discuss that inventive selection?

I feel what Profitable Time is admittedly about is America. It’s about race and capitalism and the way these two issues work together, notably at the moment in America, and the way that mirrors what’s occurring now in America; what issues have modified and what issues haven’t modified. I really feel like for us, the solutions at all times come from the characters’ experiences. In some methods, Magic versus Chook, or Buss versus Reid, or L.A. versus Boston is just like the story of recent America versus previous America, or like Black versus white. It’s all these various things converging, which is why I feel it’s so necessary that Magic and Chook personify these concepts, and why it’s so necessary that in the end, they change into buddies within the precise true story of their lives. This sequence is about these themes and people characters informed by way of the story of basketball.

There’s additionally a singular strategy to treating some scenes as if they’re documentary footage versus fictionalized depictions of real-life occasions. How is that method necessary to the general really feel of the sequence?

We at all times wished the present to really feel like a collage of American reminiscence. We wished the viewers to lose observe of what we shot and what’s archival, and the reality is, it’s all what we shot. However that’s what we would like the sensation to be. The blended format is a technique to see these sorts of mythic-like characters from our tradition as bigger than life figures, after which additionally see them on this actually stripped down, susceptible human approach. You’re consistently confronted with other ways of seeing them.

Season one was targeted on the Showtime period of the Lakers dynasty throughout Jerry Buss’ first yr as proprietor from 1979-1980. Season two now facilities on the interval from 1980-1984. What’s vital about these years?

From my standpoint, the ‘60s and ‘70s had a little bit extra romance. It was the crew’s first season profitable with Magic and on the finish of season one once they win, they ask, “What are you gonna do now?” And Buss says, “Effectively, I assume we do it once more.” Nevertheless it turns into much more difficult now. It turns into a query of: What do you do if you’re chasing these mountains and also you get to the mountain peak solely to appreciate there’s simply one other mountain past? There’s a really large existential query. Season two and moving into the ‘80s is about moving into more cash, extra energy, the lack of innocence, and these two dynasties coming collectively.

Winning Time Todd Banhazl

Larry Chook, performed by Sean Patrick Small.

Warrick Web page/HBO

The tip of the episode foreshadows the disruption of profitable time, so to talk, that’s Larry Chook. Why is there no sequence concerning the Lakers with out his story?

There’s no Magic with out Chook and there’s no Chook with out Magic. They begin off like mortal enemies, however actually, they want one another, and so they push one another to change into higher. The rivalry between the 2 dynasties is the rivalry between the 2 of them, and everyone knows that they really change into buddies and that’s what’s so lovely; they’re truly two sides of the identical character. 

There are additionally these parallel surrogate father-son tales. That is the episode the place Buss affords Magic an enormous deal to be a Laker for the remainder of his profession and it actually comes right down to belief. Magic got here in as a child being mentored by Buss, and there’s this restrict with Magic’s actual father, who did such an incredible job elevating him, however now there are elements of Magic being a contemporary younger child on this new world that he can solely join with Buzz about. Issues like cash, energy, and a approach of being on the planet as a celeb. And it’s actually examined on this episode as a result of Magic’s not a child anymore and he’s asking himself: Can I belief you? Do you actually have my finest curiosity in thoughts?

The identical factor is going on with Chook with the tragedy that occurs together with his actual father and him discovering a surrogate father determine in Invoice Hodges, his assistant coach, the primary particular person to essentially see him and say, “I see your expertise, and I see that you simply’re scared, comply with by way of with it.” In the end, it turns into Crimson Auerbach who’s this different surrogate father-figure who actually helps Chook transition into who he turns into. I feel it’s fascinating to see these two sorts of parallels working within the episode.

When the primary season got here out, among the gamers took situation with their portrayals, as did Jerry West. Have you learnt whether or not sentiments have modified upon the discharge of season two?

I don’t understand how they really feel about season two. I do know that our intentions have at all times been to signify these characters with probably the most grace and empathy attainable. I have a look at the Kareem episode in season one and there’s simply at all times been a aim of letting these characters develop and displaying the entire unimaginable issues that occurred throughout their lives. I don’t know that they’ve seen it since then. I hope that they’ve seen it and I hope that they prefer it.

Winning Time Todd Banhazl

Pat Riley (Adrien Brody) and Paul Westhead (Jason Segal) in Profitable Time season 2.

Warrick Web page/HBO

Along with making your directorial debut this yr, you additionally grew to become a member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) in January. Are you able to communicate to the importance of that milestone?

The ASC is a company that I’ve regarded as much as my entire life. I bear in mind after I was a child and I wished to make motion pictures, and this horror film got here by way of my hometown. I went to attempt to get on set and I met the grips and so they let me hang around and I received to carry a bounce board and I used to be so excited. One in every of them had a difficulty of American Cinematographer Journal of their truck and I bear in mind studying it and having no concept what something meant however desirous to be a part of that group. Being part of the ASC appears like such an honor to be part of that group that I maintain in such excessive esteem. These are all of the artists which have impressed me my entire life. There’s no Profitable Time with out so lots of the cinematographers that I look as much as in ASC.

Are you wanting ahead to your subsequent director function?

Completely. The massive factor that I felt whereas directing this episode was, “Oh, I I’m a filmmaker,” you already know? There are these packing containers that we form of construct for ourselves. Like I’m a DP, I’m a director, and I simply form of realized for myself, I simply love this factor and I’m a filmmaker. So, no matter it’s going to seem like for me, the long run is capturing issues that I like, directing issues that I care about. This makes me pleased and it’s filmmaking it doesn’t matter what.

In desirous about that future within the midst of the continuing SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, are you hopeful concerning the worth that shall be positioned in your work as a filmmaker when negotiations are mentioned and carried out?

I really feel like it is a second in time that should occur and I actually, actually help what’s occurring with the strikes. I feel we’re at an actual inflection level and I feel the trick for me, and perhaps for lots of us, is to attempt to discover hope and inspiration — self-generate hope and inspiration to make good work going ahead when there’s not a whole lot of that inspiration being mirrored again to us proper now. My mentor a very long time in the past informed me the actual trick on this factor is to remain passionate and keep hopeful and hold that fireside. And I feel proper now it’s laborious for lots of us to maintain that fireside as a result of it’s such an amazing prospect, what’s occurring proper now. However that’s the trick. And that’s what I’m looking to do, whereas we’re additionally figuring this out and combating for a greater system for all of us and for all artists.

Interview edited for size and readability.

Season two of Profitable Time airs Sundays at 6 p.m. PT on HBO and Max.



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