Edward Lai Harner, Edward Harner
Andrea Harner
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November 2, 2007

Stealing Life: The crusader behind "The Wire" by Margaret Talbot, New Yorker


I haven't loved a New Yorker article this much in a while. It is absolutely fascinating if you love The Wire but even if you don't know The Wire but have a sociological interest in cities and institutions you will be taken by David Simon's take on his show and America.

On a muggy August afternoon in Baltimore, trash scuttled down Guilford Avenue, the breeze smelling like rain and asphalt. It was the last week of shooting for the fifth and final season of the HBO drama “The Wire,” and the crew was filming a scene in front of a boarded-up elementary school. Cast members had been joined by forty or so day players—mostly kids from the neighborhood. Earlier, the episode’s director, Clark Johnson, had been giving some of the kids the chance to say “Cut!,” and they’d bellowed it like drunks at a surprise party. Now, when Johnson yelled “Cut,” the kids swarmed around a video monitor to look at themselves in the last shot, pointing and laughing. “He just said it was good,” one kid complained. “Why we gotta do it again?” Johnson, who was wearing what he called his “lucky cowboy hat,” stepped away to talk to one of the professional actors. Another man—a bald white guy, unprepossessing in jeans and a T-shirt—remained by the monitor, and he answered the kids: “Hey. He’s the director. You don’t believe him? He kinda, sorta knows what he’s doin’.” The bald guy was David Simon, the show’s creator: a former Baltimore Sun reporter who figured that he’d spend his life at a newspaper, a print journalist who has forged an improbable career in television without ever leaving Baltimore. The kids listened politely to Simon and ran back to their places.

Each season of “The Wire” has focussed, with sociological precision, on a different facet of Baltimore. continued...


You might enjoy this audio interview with David Simon: http://www.mrmedia.com/2007/02/fridays-with-mr-media-david-simonthe.html .

Posted by: Bob Andelman at November 3, 2007 9:30 AM
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