Today's Entertainment

August 19, 2012

The Brainerd Dispatch - Today's Entertainment Magazine

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COVER STORY It's 'Hell on Wheels' for brothers in arms By Kate O'Hare © Zap2it As the 2012 Calgary Stam- pede winds down, work con- tinues on the Transcontinental Railroad, or at least the version being built in the fictional world of AMC's Sunday sophomore drama "Hell on Wheels." "It's hot right now," says star Anson Mount, calling from the Alberta, Canada, city, "and we're dealing with the mass confusion that is Stampede." Mount plays Cullen Bohan- ries work in terms of its brand is the fact that you have a huge group of men here who had, only months before, been trying to kill each other or owning each other. Suddenly they're in a situ- ation where, to some degree, they're equal. "When you're getting paid "What makes the whole se- to heave a sledgehammer, it doesn't matter what color your skin is or where you're from; you've got to get the job done. "It's a really phenomenal non, a former Confederate sol- dier trying to escape his haunted past. He has become attached to the traveling community of vice and corruption that follows the Union Pacific Railroad work- ers as they march across the country on the way to meeting the Central Pacific Railroad and linking the two coasts of the re- cently reunified nation. Along the way, Bohannon has forged a link of his own with biracial emancipated slave Elam Ferguson (Common). They may have come from different worlds in the former Confederacy, but their fates are intertwined as the now United States of America struggles to remake itself. "In a lot of ways," Mount says, framework for a Western." Taking a break from shopping in a local health food store, rap- per-turned-actor Common sees how the two characters have found a basis for, if not exactly friendship, then a sort of accom- modation. "We're from different parts of "it's the most interesting relation- ship in the series. Cullen ends up having a position for the railroad that Elam covets, and it's interesting watching how the writers have Cullen deal with that. the world," he says. "We've got some similarities, but we've got some differences. I don't know if it's a bromance, because at the end of the day, (for Cullen) to be a slave master and Elam to be a slave, he's definitely coming from a different angle. "But then to find the similarity, to find the connection some- where, is something in itself, too. Honestly, it represents certain aspects of America, if you think about it." for Elam to find Cullen's human- ity if his grief over losing his fam- ily didn't cause him to stuff it so far down. Of course, it would be easier directly. He's led men before, and Elam hasn't. He realizes you don't lead a man by beating him into submission. You lead a man by letting him choose when he comes around and then slowly allow him to take the reins of his own destiny. "He doesn't face off with Elam "He doesn't let a lot out," Common says of Cullen. "He's not that expressive. But intuitive people, and people that have some spirit, can see beyond that. You could see that he has something under there that's humanity, and I think he wants good for people. "He's not a bad guy; let's put it that way." can rap," he says, "but he can sing. Ask him about his singing. I think I might have taught him a little bit, just about hip-hop even more. I think he knows about it, not just hip-hop, but somewhat of black culture. "He's been telling me about the southern Tennessee culture, of the white people in Tennes- see." Told of Common's assertion about his lack of rap ability, Mount says, "Me? That's bulls..., because I've never tried to rap around him, unless I was really drunk and don't remember it. I think he's making a cultural as- sumption about the Southern boy in the cast. Asked if this means that he really can rap, Mount declares, "I'm saying, right here, right now, I challenge Common to a rap-off. I challenge Common officially right here. You heard it first." But the actors have learned from each other. "He's very precise and experi- "I definitely don't think he Common stars in "Hell on Wheels" Sundays on AMC. In the Season 2 premiere, on his way to an uncertain fate, Bohannon went from humming to singing "Dixie." According to Chicago native Common, that's his Tennessee-born co-star's only vocal talent. enced," Common says. "I've defi- nitely learned from that. By the same token, I enjoy being kind of raw and natural about things, but still prepared, because it al- lows me to be free with it also." "I'm definitely learning from Common," Mount says, "how to be more intuitive and to be less technical sometimes. I take my work very seriously and at times, too seriously. And Common is really better about enjoying him- self and his time on the set. "He helps me do that as well." 3 x 3" ad 2 – AUGUST 19 - 25, 2012 – BRAINERD, MN/DISPATCH 1 x 4" ad 2 x 4" ad

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