Underground masterminds Matt Greenberg and Mark Friedman sat down with both Ron Cephas Jones and Jackie Earle Haley at the event. Greenberg says that though he was impressed with the material, under David Yarovesky’s direction it ended up being a “sleeper script that no one in the world knew existed.” What the show really needed was a collaborative voice. He recruited Hawkins to head the True West department and brought on “The Sopranos” writer and director Tim Van Patten to guide the show through its early stages.
Jones, who stars in the show as Abe Lucas, says he embraced the uniqueness of Abe’s psychology. “The problem with Abe is a lot of us as humans don’t allow ourselves to think about death,” he says. “I think as actors we bring that to life.”
Though Moonves doesn’t encourage creative collaboration, Cephas Jones says that his experience with CBS was free of effort, with unlimited creative input. “They really do trust you,” he says. “I feel like over the years they’ve become a little bit older and more liberal … we’re not as prejudiced, maybe.”
The writers worked to understand the political sides of the Underwoods. “I think the President would want a lot of the Underwoods’ help,” Shields says. That flexibility will help the network imagine other controversial projects moving forward. “I think they’ll look at this show as ‘Maybe that could work,’” he says. “Maybe it wouldn’t. So I think it’ll definitely make way for more diversity.”
For more on the creators of the new period drama, watch the video above.