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The Origin Story of 'Hunters'
February 26, 2020  | By Mike Hughes  | 2 comments
 


Imagine being Logan Lerman.

He's a young actor who's done the usual young-actor roles. (As a kid, he did a couple of Mel Gibson films and starred in a Hallmark Hall of Fame; as a teen, he starred in a superhero movie, later doing a sequel.) But he's also a film buff who admires the classics.

And suddenly, at 28, he's starring with Al Pacino. "He's my favorite actor," Lerman told the Television Critics Association last month.

For Hunters – which debuted Feb. 21 on Amazon Prime – they were colleagues. "It's mainly Logan's story," said Pacino, 79.

That's no exaggeration. Hunters goes 23 minutes before introducing its best-known actor. For four minutes, he does big, Pacino-esque things, leaving viewers wondering who the character is.

Not to spoil the surprise, but he's a wealthy Holocaust survivor. In 1977 New York, he has organized a secret society to hunt and kill Nazis who escaped to America.

It's an odd tale, springing from mismatched pieces of writer David Weil's childhood. "My grandmother was a Holocaust survivor," he said. "She would tell me stories about her time during the war. And as a young kid – 5, 6 years old – hearing those stories (felt) like the stuff of comic books and superheroes."

So he gave this a slightly comic-book feel, almost as if Pacino is Professor X, leading a team of Nazi-hunting X-Men.

Reviews (aggregated by Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes) have been so-so for the story, but approving for the cast, including its mismatched stars.

"We have a similar work ethic," Lerman said. "And we really loved getting together and going through the material."

This was heady stuff for someone who grew up in Beverly Hills, loving movies. When Lerman was 1-year-old, Pacino got his seventh and eight Academy Award nominations and his only win; that year, he also had his 12th and 13th Golden Globe nominations and his second win.

While filming Hunters, Lerman said, the two would occasionally discuss movies' classic days. "We talked about (his) collaboration with Sidney Lumet; I love Dog Day (Afternoon) so much."

Lumet directed that movie and Serpico, both bringing Oscar nominations for Pacino. Hunters is a different sort of experience, Pacino said. That's partly because it used six directors for the ten episodes. "Every week, or every 2-3 weeks, you get a new director." And it's partly because there were no rehearsals before filming began. "Sidney required it – three, four weeks of rehearsals."

Instead, he and Lerman would carve out their own rehearsal time. "We would find time on the weekend or something to get together."

Which probably exceeded Lerman's childhood dreams.

His dad's company specializes in prosthetics and orthoses (external devices). Lerman grew up comfortably and landed movie roles.

He was Gibson's son in The Patriot and Gibson's younger self in What Women Want. At 11, he starred in The Painted House, based on Grisham's childhood. At 12, he played a lad who would later be president, in the Jack & Bobby series. At 18 and 21, he starred in the Percy Jackson movies.

And now he's working with a superstar. Lately, Pacino has been playing a lot of real-life people – Jimmy Hoffa, Joe Paterno, Phil Spector, Roy Cohn, Jack Kevorkian. Now he creates a fictional person who might be similar to others he's known or played.

"I've known so many people," Pacino said. "I've done so many roles."

(EDITOR'S NOTE: One of the writers of Hunters is Mark Bianculli, son of TVWorthWatching’s founder and editor.)

 
 
 
 
 
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2 Comments
 
 
Zeke
R.Dunn-- Maybe for the same reason, I agree with you.
I was unprepared for a serious topic, with a serious title to be a Cartoon! Not animated, but cartoon in the type of Batman, etc.
I'm certain that even if I wasn't disoriented by that, I would find it distasteful.
(and I'm still befuddled at Italian Pacino playing an Elder Jew)--
For the Creator's sakes, I hope it finds an audience, but meanwhile the "Pacino in somehow Historical series" is very misleading description as its premise!
(I didn't go past Episode 1)
Mar 2, 2020   |  Reply
 
 
R. Dunn
Heard this series is BAD by the Holocust Museum. its a bunch of made up shit...
Feb 27, 2020   |  Reply
 
 
 
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