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).”
Keep an ear out for “I Shall Be Released (Take 2)” during the Season 4 finale. Missed it, or want to hear it again? Click here to listen to the song in its entirety. The Basement Tapes Complete is available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon.
The Season 4 finale of Hell on Wheels, “Further West,” airs this Saturday, November 22 at 9/8c on AMC.
• Entertainment Weekly, speaking with Kasha Kropinski about her pivotal scenes in “Thirteen Steps,” calls Ruth and Cullen’s jailhouse conversations “beautifully written, lit, staged, and acted” and thinks they’re “some of the best scenes of the series.”
• Kasha Kropinski, talking to Cowboys & Indians about Ruth and Cullen’s jailhouse scenes says, “To be engulfed in that darkness is liberating, and I think gives Ruth the courage and freedom to speak her heart and her mind.”
• Anson Mount, interviewed by Key West (Fla.) Citizen, calls Westerns, like Hell on Wheels, “America’s martial arts films.”
Continue reading “EW, Cowboys & Indians Interview Kasha Kropinski” »
Got any questions about Hell on Wheels? Here’s your opportunity to get the inside scoop on the show, straight from Show Runner and Executive Producer John Wirth. Post your queries in the comments section below by Monday, November 24 at 9AM ET. Then check out John’s fan Q&A, which will be posted exclusively on amc.com later that week, to find out if he answered yours.
The Hell on Wheels Season 4 finale airs Saturday, November 22 at 9/8c.
Q: When you began shooting Season 4, how much did you know about Ruth’s storyline in the upcoming season?
A: I knew absolutely nothing at the start of the season. They were very secretive and I couldn’t get any story out of them, so everything was a surprise. As each script came through, I read and performed it, and I experienced the evolution of Ruth this season as it happened. When I first read about Sidney Snow, I thought, oh gosh, here’s a bad guy to stir things up in town. I didn’t know what was to come.
Q: Did you find that being kept in the dark helped your performance?
A: There’s spontaneity when you don’t know what you’re going to be given the next week. If I knew throughout the entire season that Ruth was going to die, I think that would have affected my performance in a negative way. I would have been obsessing over it and worrying, and I think that can dictate your choices as an actor. I think it’s beneficial to have the freedom of ignorance.
Q: Ezra dies in the church fire set by Sidney Snow in Episode 409. Have you gotten close off-screen with Tayden Marks after having had so many scenes together?
Continue reading “Hell on Wheels Q&A – Kasha Kropinski (Ruth)” »
• Hell on Wheels will return for a final Season 5, with seven episodes airing next summer and the final seven in summer 2016, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Crave Online, Deadline, Den of Geek, The New York Times, TV.com, TV Guide, TV Overmind, Variety and TheWrap also report on the renewal.
• John Wirth tells the Calgary Herald that it’s “really nice to be able to know that we’re working toward the end and take the time to consciously approach that.”
• Basket of Kisses applauds Anson Mount’s acting because “he is conveying so much with such sparse elegance.”
Continue reading “Hell Announces Season 5 Renewal; John Wirth Speaks With Calgary Herald” »
Q: You’ve previously acted in various genres, from horror to sci-fi to comedy. What’s unique about being in a Western, and what’s been unique about being on Hell on Wheels, in particular?
A: What’s not unique about Hell on Wheels? One of the things that drew me to this project, beyond just the awesome material and being a fan, was the character and the strength of Maggie Palmer. I feel like the great thing about this show is that every character — despite the fact that they may have challenges and insecurities — is very strong. I think that comes from the need to survive during that era, and I think that’s almost genre-specific to the Western. Every character is so driven towards their own goals, and it makes it interesting to play with.
Q: Maggie is a no-nonsense business woman. Has she taught you anything about your own self?
A: I started playing Maggie just before I turned 40. It’s hard to say if she’s influenced the woman that I continue to become, or vice versa, if the woman I continue to become influences Maggie. I definitely feel much more connected to a woman like her in how I’m grounded. She’s so strong and seemingly unafraid of most things, and I believe that to be how I live my life.
Q: Talk a little bit about the scene in Episode 411, “Bleeding Kansas,” in which Maggie helps Cullen amputate Sidney’s leg. Was it challenging to film such a graphic scene?
Continue reading “Hell on Wheels Q&A – Chelah Horsdal (Maggie Palmer)” »
AMC has announced that Hell on Wheels will be returning for a fifth and final season of 14 episodes. Seven new episodes will air next summer, with the final seven episodes of the series following in the summer of 2016. The Western period drama opened up a new night of original programming for AMC on Saturday, and in its current season, is delivering an average of 3.4 million viewers on the most challenging night of the week for television.
Continue reading “AMC Renews Hell on Wheels for a Fifth and Final Season” »
Hell on Wheels is back! This Saturday, November 8 at 9/8c, Season 4 returns when Episode 411, “Bleeding Kansas,” premieres on AMC. Want to get your boots a little dirty before hitting the streets of Cheyenne again? Here are seven ways to catch up before Saturday:
1. Tune in to the Hell on Wheels marathon, beginning this Saturday, November 8 at 11AM/10c on AMC, to catch up on the first ten episodes of the season before watching Episode 411, “Bleeding Kansas” at 9/8c. You can also catch up on recent full episodes online.
2. Watch a video featuring the cast and creators teasing what’s to come in the final three episodes of Season 4.
3. Watch the trailer for Season 4, Episode 11, “Bleeding Kansas,” then check out a sneak peek scene and sneak peek photos from the episode.
Continue reading “Seven Ways to Get Ready for the Return of Hell on Wheels Season 4 This Saturday at 9/8c” »