Returns Summer 2015
This week, Hell on Wheels is voted the year’s most underrated show by CarterMatt‘s readers, while TV Fanatic takes another look at Season 4. Plus, The Huffington Post has expectations for the last season. Read on for more:
• CarterMatt‘s voters deem Hell on Wheels the year’s most underrated TV show, which had “a tremendous fourth season that included wonderful performances, beautiful sets, and several emotional moments that probably had you welling up.”
• TV Fanatic looks back at Season 4 and declares, “The series may be headed towards its final season, but it’s not looking to go out with a whimper.”
• On the heels of the Season 4 finale, The Huffington Post writes, “As the producers and writers recalibrate Hell on Wheels for next season, to satisfy faithful viewers they must be in agreement on one thing. There has to be a final showdown” between Cullen and the Swede.
Continue reading “Hell on Wheels Voted Most Underrated Show in CarterMatt Poll; TV Fanatic Revisits Season 4″ »
Gunfights. Explosions. Brawls. Murders. A struggle for power. The deaths of three major characters. Cullen’s stunning departure from the Union Pacific. The fourth season of Hell on Wheels had it all. Here are five ways to get caught up on everything that transpired this season:
1. Binge-watch the entire season with all 13 full episodes online, streaming on amc.com (authentication required). But don’t delay — they’re only available until Friday, December 19.
2. Watch the Wrapping Up Season 4 video, in which the Hell on Wheels cast talk about the journey their characters have taken over the course of the season.
5. Which episodes did you enjoy the most? Vote for your favorites in the Season 4 Episode Poll.
Q: Season 4 includes a number of new sets, including the casino, the Palmer hotel, the railroad office, and the Cheyenne Leader office. Were there any sets that were especially challenging to provide props for?
KW: I think the printing press was the biggest challenge this year, and that was a matter of having to show the actors who were working in there how to run it. We had to teach Jennifer Ferrin (Louise), and she was brilliant. We taught her once, and that’s all it took.
JO: I personally got lucky because Ken had already established that set, so I ran away from it as far as I could. [Laughs] I walked in and everything was set up for me. My favorite set was the casino because it had all the liquor in it. I enjoy doing food scenes, and a lot of props guys don’t. I enjoy serving the food, having the food look good, and watching the people actually enjoy it.
Q: Talk a little about the press. Where did you find it?
KW: We were lucky enough to have some help. Pieces were found from museums and all over the U.S. It’s original stuff.
Q: Are there any other notable props on any of the sets that fans should be sure to notice?
Q: How much have the looks of series regulars needed to change over the course of four seasons?
A: Quite a bit, actually. A lot has happened to everybody. Everybody has gone through a certain evolution depending on their status in their community or what’s happened to them. I think The Swede would be the most obvious one. He’s gone, quite drastically, up and down and has had both good and bad fortune. That’s affected the costumes a lot. Eva is a fairly good example, too. She’s gone from being at the bottom of the bottom to being a wife, then a mother, then a widow; and she’s now moving into a more independent look for herself that is her own, as opposed to the look of a mother or prostitute.
Q: Talk a little bit about The Swede’s evolution.
A: The Swede’s look was so good at the beginning of the show that we wanted to keep him in that world, but he’s a man of many disguises. He’s like a coyote, like in the Native American lore, or a chameleon. We tried to make him blend into the environment that he’s in and still give us an edge and show that he isn’t all that he appears to be. Chris [Heyerdahl] is a great actor to work with because he’s willing to put in effort and make it a special thing. We’ve done a lot of fittings and talking and we try to keep him in dark colors. This last season, because he spent time as a Mormon, his costume didn’t evolve too much, but at the end, we do find him going back towards his original look.
Q: After multiple seasons, does it get easier or harder to design for the series regulars? Do they get any input into their attire?
Continue reading “Hell on Wheels Q&A – Carol Case (Costume Designer)” »
• John Wirth tells CarterMatt that Cullen’s search for his family is “one of the things that is going to be driving him early in the season next year.”
• Wirth also talks to CarterMatt about shifting the Hell on Wheels story in Season 5 to the Central Pacific section of the railroad from the Union Pacific.
• CarterMatt nominates Hell on Wheels as one of the year’s most underrated shows, declaring that it “brought us the strongest episodes that we’ve seen to date. Anson Mount raised his game, and the emotional conflicts of all of the characters became a little more present.”
Continue reading “John Wirth Teases Season 5 to CarterMatt; Gotham News Praises Season 4″ »
This week, Anson Mount shares with Entertainment Weekly some advice he once received from Jon Hamm, while TV Fanatic is already eager for season 5. Plus, The Huffington Post is still lamenting Ruth’s death. Read on for more:
• Anson Mount tells Entertainment Weekly a story about receiving advice from Jon Hamm (that involves bumming a cigarette from Aaron Paul).
• TV Fanatic, reviewing the season 4 finale, remarks that season 4 “definitely came back with a vengeance proving that this western television series has still got it. And it’s certainly got me ready to take that final journey with Cullen and company.”
• The Huffington Post wasn’t ready for Ruth to die or for Hell on Wheels to lose its “courageous spiritual overseer.”
Q: In Season 1, the focus was Cullen‘s search for vengeance for his family. Now it’s the search for his family. Did you go back and study Season 1 when planning Season 4? Also, how do you balance Cullen’s desire for family with his addiction to the railroad? — Speech Girl
A: In life, we sometimes go in circles when we don’t necessarily want to. It is a common theme that runs through the series. Cullen’s search for his family now is more about healing himself and becoming a whole person, as opposed to just trying to get the anger and anguish out. We’ve seen his attachment to the railroad in the past. In the finale this season, he ends up quitting, but then joining the [Central Pacific] railroad in order to find his family. What Huntington said is a good question for Cullen: How badly do you want to find your family?
Q: A script can possibly and suddenly evolve into a storyline you had not previously pondered. Has this been the case with Season 4 of Hell on Wheels, or did you have a clear understanding from beginning to end as to how this current season would play out? — Cathy P.
A: The writers have a lot of lead time before we begin production, so we have a pretty good road map before we get started. This season, a couple of things surprised me. The death of Sidney Snow [in Episode 411] and the decision to amputate his leg to try to save him was something that came up. We didn’t plan on that. The hanging of Ruth [in Episode 412] was also not something we planned on early in the season. We thought Sidney might shoot Cullen. As we started to move through the season, we knew Ezra would be killed, and it emerged that Ruth would be Sidney’s killer — then we decided where to go from there with her character.
Q: Do you know what will happen to each character by season’s end, or do you allow the characters a chance to develop with the storyline as the season progresses? – Marie
Continue reading “Hell on Wheels Q&A – Showrunner John Wirth Answers Fan Questions” »
Rick Clark, Music Supervisor on AMC’s Hell on Wheels, talks about selecting music for Season 4 and featuring a Bob Dylan song in the season finale.
Q: This is your first season as Music Supervisor for Hell on Wheels. What interested you most about working on the series?
A: I really enjoy well-conceived, well-written westerns. Hell on Wheels, in my book, is one of the best. The writing on the show is extraordinary, as is the acting. All around, it’s a top-notch show with rich, detailed characters and powerful moral dilemmas.
Q: The Season 4 finale features a just-released alternate take of a Bob Dylan classic, “I Shall Be Released.” How did you come to select that song as an appropriate one to use in the episode’s closing moments?
A: John Wirth, the showrunner, called me up with an idea for putting a piece of music in at the very last scene. He suggested the song, but performed by a different artist. I liked the song, but that particular version didn’t communicate what I felt was most effective for the scene. What it all comes down to is what works for what’s at hand. I don’t care what the song is or who it is – all I want to do is feel something. I just want to support the power of the moment. There’s an emotional nakedness to Dylan’s performance of this song, and when I put it up against the picture, it worked.
So, I called the guys at Dylan’s office and we arrived at this recording that, at that point, had been previously unreleased. I listened to it and immediately thought it was a perfect fit. A lot of people would have gone for a grand, big finish for the final scene, but to me, Dylan’s more personal feeling performance left enough air in the scene to allow Anson [Mount]’s acting to really breathe. They complemented each other. The final look on Cullen’s face, combined with this beautiful song, is pretty powerful.
Q: Talk a little bit about the process for arranging for the rights to use a song in an episode. Were there any unique challenges with arranging for the use of “I Shall Be Released (Take 2)”?
Continue reading “Hell on Wheels Q&A – Rick Clark (Music Supervisor)” »
Q: What was it like to join the cast of a show that was entering its fourth season? Did anyone in particular make you feel at home on set?
A: I’ve known Anson [Mount] for about 10 years. He gave me a heads up that it would be a terrific group of people, a terrific writing staff, and a well-organized machine that I was joining. That proved to be the case. It was seamless. I felt welcomed and encouraged.
Q: How does feeling comfortable on set help when acting with your castmates?
A: It’s always nice to like the people you’re acting with. That always helps. I think Anson provides great leadership and makes it clear that no misbehavior or prima donna-like antics will be indulged.
Q: What appealed to you most about the role of John Campbell? Was there anything in particular about the character that stood out to you?
Continue reading “Hell on Wheels Q&A – Jake Weber (John Campbell)” »
Anticipation is rising for the Season 4 finale of Hell on Wheels this Saturday night. Here’s one more thing to look forward to: The finale will feature the song “I Shall Be Released (Take 2),” taken from the brand new album The Basement Tapes Complete, performed by Bob Dylan and The Band and written by Bob Dylan.
The origins of the song are legendary in the annals of rock ’n roll. In the summer of 1967, Bob Dylan ensconced himself in the basement of a small house in West Saugerties, New York along with Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson and Levon Helm. Over the course of several months, the collective, which came to be known as Bob Dylan and The Band, recorded more than a hundred songs, including the future classic, “I Shall Be Released.”
Several of the songs soon surfaced as unofficially-released bootlegs, but the recordings remained commercially unavailable until 1975, when 16 of them appeared on an album named The Basement Tapes. Over the years, the remaining songs from The Basement Tapes sessions haunted and perplexed fans, with the original recordings themselves representing a holy grail for Dylan enthusiasts. On November 4, The Basement Tapes Complete was finally released, bringing together every salvageable recording from the tapes for the first time ever, including “I Shall Be Released (Take 2).”
The Season 4 finale of Hell on Wheels, “Further West,” airs this Saturday, November 22 at 9/8c on AMC.