Sometimes technical difficulties aren't such a bad thing. Thandie Newton and I had just started discussing her new DirecTV drama, Rogue (her first spin as the lead in a TV series), and the clock was ticking. I had so many questions and so little time, I babbled out my first question more than asked it (and managed to call "Missing" and "Red Widow" movies instead of TV shows). But then, the camera guy called for the interview to stop. Something had gone wrong with his camera, so we needed to wait. And wait.
At first, the actress best known for "Mission Impossible: II and "The Pursuit of Happyness" and I sat quietly, waiting to get the signal to continue. When that didn't come, we just started talking. She chatted about her kids, the upcoming Easter holiday, the normal casual conversation you'd expect from any friendly mom at the supermarket. Her laid-back manner made her performance in "Rogue" all the more remarkable. As Grace, an undercover detective with a steely ability to play dirty, she shows how easily she can slip into the behavior of a wily drug dealer -- then, how she can fall apart. When Grace's son is killed, the cop goes, yes, rogue, forming a bond with Jimmy (Marton Csokas), a crime boss who may be able to help her find her little boy's killer.
It's a demanding role, and one that also includes some gritty, decidedly un-romantic sex scenes. So when the camera guy finally gave us the go-ahead to continue, I felt comfortable asking the personable actress about what was hard to even watch and must have been harder to film. Later, when I was told my time was up all too soon, I quickly told Newton that her raw, emotionally (and physically) revealing scenes reminded me of "Monster's Ball." She demurred, saying she could only hope to be as good as Halle Berry was in that role (for which she won an Oscar). Though Grace is a very different character than Leticia (Berry's character), the sadness for both of these tortured characters is palpable and communicated viscerally through their revealing scenes. While the series gets off to a very slow start, by the end of the first episode Grace is grappling with grief and how to do right by her son as well as her surviving family -- and Newton delivers. But I'll let you be the judge. "Rogue" premieres on DirecTV's Audience network at 9 p.m. tonight.
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
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