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[【推荐】] Will & Grace同志主创Max Mutchnick接受Afterelton访谈![附上部分内容翻译]

Interview with "Will & Grace"’s Max Mutchnick

http://www.afterelton.com/people/2008/3/maxmutchnick


我挑了内容上的重点翻译了,这篇访谈其实蛮精彩的,但是很难翻,而且翻出来也没有原文的神韵了。

[ 本帖最后由 nastyg 于 2008-3-9 15:04 编辑 ]
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In July of 1998, the groundbreaking sitcom Ellen was winding down, headed off to the blissful land of syndication. The loss of Ellen meant GLBT lead characters on broadcast television would be non-existent in a vast, bleak desert of breeders. Fortunately, that September a small but happy tidal wave called Will & Grace came triumphantly crashing over the horizon, landing on NBC’s must-see-TV line-up and quickly becoming the gayest hit show in the history of network television.

Criticized by the Queer as Folk crowd as a neutered and tepid version of our real lives, and mocked by a few edgy comedy writers for being “the same gay joke” over and over, Will & Grace nonetheless garnered enormous artistic respect within the Hollywood community. Nominated for 73 Emmys, winning 14, it also won the hearts of a broad-based American audience reaching peak ratings on a par with that other “must see” Thursday night hit, Friends.

The writing team responsible for this cultural phenomenon was David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, notable for their friendship since high school and the fact that one is straight, one gay. Mutchnick, the gay half of that partnership – and the model for Will & Grace’s Will Truman – recently spoke with AfterElton.com as part of our upcoming look into gay characters on primetime television.

In these excerpts from that conversation, Mutchnick looks at his own gay creations Will and Jack, talks gay internalized oppression, and gives us the dope on the new gay Kohan/Mutchnick pilot script picked up by ABC. He also reveals why he chose not to make Will & Grace too butt-f ... Um. We’ll let him say it.

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AfterElton.com: This past fall GLAAD came out with their annual report on GLBT representation on the networks that was pretty grim. They did say some positive things about ABC, mentioning Ugly Betty, and the character of Kevin Walker on Brothers & Sisters.
Max Mutchnick: I recently came across some comments that Greg Berlanti [former Brothers & Sisters showrunner] gave about how once you’ve seen a show like Six Feet Under and you see the way that the gay characters are drawn on that show, you can no longer be behind that eight ball.

AfterElton.com: He actually said that in an interview he gave to AfterElton.com.
MM: I thought it was so interesting … I used to believe that Will & Grace was the litmus test. And I no longer think that that’s the case. And that’s because of guys like Alan Ball, but more recently Greg Berlanti, and of course Robbie Baitz [referring to Jon Robin Baitz, creator of Brothers & Sisters. Ball, the creator of Six Feel Under, Berlanti and Baitz all happen to be gay.]

Alan Ball, Greg Berlanti, Jon Robin Baitz



AE: Greg said that one of the reasons he thought that Robbie Baitz had the balls, or even thought to write the gay character of Kevin Walker on Brothers & Sisters so explicitly was because he came from theater and wasn’t enmeshed in Hollywood attitudes.
MM: Yeah. He wasn’t using the internal oppression that I used to use in my everyday experience.

AE: Do you feel that that came into play as a writer with Will & Grace?
MM: Yeah. I think we said a lot, but I think we could have said a lot more.

AE: Originally Will and Grace were part of an ensemble which were mainly straight couples. Correct? And it was an executive who said - you know these are the two interesting characters?
MM: We [Mutchnick and writing partner Kohan] were given the assignment to write another heterosexual romantic comedy that they could turn into a franchise a la Mad About You. We went about creating a hip San Francisco couple that had two other couples that they hung with, and one of the couples was Will and Grace – who we of course understood the best of everybody we had written. [Former NBC president of entertainment] Warren Littlefield could see that and said, “You seem to understand and know that world. Why don’t you write that as your series?”


AE: [taking a moment to check tape recorder. Mutchnick hears his voice on playback]
MM: There’s my Bea Arthur [voice]. You know what my entire life has been? “Hello. This is information, how can I help you?” And then I say: “I’d like the Paramount Theater on Main street.” And she says to me: “There is no Paramount Theater Ma’am.” And I say: “I’m not a ma’am.” And then she says: “I didn’t call you a man, Miss.” I keep having this exchange over and over again.

AE: [laughing] Well, there’s your next little sample of sitcom dialogue.
MM: Exactly.

[ 本帖最后由 nastyg 于 2008-3-9 12:51 编辑 ]

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AE: So do you think you were exercising some self-imposed restraint by not initially pitching a Will & Grace?
MM: No. That wasn’t the case at that time. I think the only time I started to exercise restraint was in the body of the show. The things that got us to create Will & Grace were beautiful fortuitous moments in a development process, which certainly didn’t start from any sort of reluctance. That said: My writing partner David Kohan, the straight half of the team, deserves all the credit for making sure that we told a gay love story.

AE: So he really pushed it?
MM: Yeah. He for sure is the singular reason that [Will & Grace] is here today.


AE: Now how do you explain that?
MM: Because he was the one that said, “That would be the most interesting relationship to write, you and Janet [Mutchnick’s best friend and the basis for the character of Grace Adler].” I was not interested in that at all, for the reason that I didn’t think that anybody else would be interested.

David Kohan, Debra Messing & Max Mutchnick



AE: But you opened this interview with your own internalized oppression.
MM: I just said I exercised that throughout the 197 episodes.

AE: You think that you did?
MM: Yes, I do. I think that I was very acutely aware that the larger part of the audience of Will & Grace was straight. And I always was very clear that I was writing that show for my parents. My proverbial parents. …

I don’t know if I’ve ever told anyone this story. The pilot had been picked up for Will & Grace, and now it was all about casting. And I was sitting in the Bel Air home of a very, famous gay director. And when I told him about the script he said: “Just make sure you don’t make it too butt-f***y.” And I said: “What does that mean?” And he said, “You never want the American public to have to think about butt-f***ing.” And it could not have been better advice. Because it made us understand what our job was. And our job was to get as many people as possible to be entertained and to watch the show every week.

I could have gone full-tilt in the first 13 episodes. But I chose to not do explicit stuff, and edgy, edgy gay stuff. Because I wanted people to stay with it, get comfortable with it. David and I said to each other, we’ll have won if by the time this show is over the audience wants Will to be in love, wants him to be in a relationship.


AE: So your idea was to be a bridge to a place on the air…
Mm: None of it dawned on me until the show happened. This literally unfolded as I was doing it. It’s a metaphor for the coming-out process that a young man has within their family. And that is exactly the way the show was written. It was: We told you we were gay in the first minutes. And then we slowly allowed you to absorb it and figure it out and get comfortable with it. And realize that we’re the same as everybody else in the room.

AE: Do you think that internalized oppression you spoke of affected you before Will & Grace? In what you thought executives or audiences would accept?
MM: I think that it did when I was in the closet. And then the minute that I came out of the closet, I was on a mission to be equal to or greater than anyone I was with.


AE: I guess I mean in your writing.
MM: There was not even a whisper of gay anything, in anything we had done before Will & Grace.

AE: And what do you think the reason was for that?
MM: It didn’t even dawn on me to write it. … I just didn’t see it as a subject matter. I didn’t find myself to be that interesting or that funny. And it was my straight writing partner who said that whole language and the colloquialisms used in the gay world – he just found them to be so humorous and funny.

AE: I think that’s kind of striking that you didn’t see it as a possibility, that it took the straight guy. Do you think that you didn’t think of it as a subject because it was sort of off limits? Because somewhere you just felt like there’s no way the suits are going to accept it, there’s no way the audience is going to accept it?
MM: I don’t remember now because I’ve been out so long. I do feel like, I mean – if I’m being very honest – I have a healthy amount of insecurity and at times gay shame, and all that kind of stuff existed for me before I really came out. And yeah, I’m sure that affected everything that I did.



AE: With Will & Grace it was pretty groundbreaking for America to embrace a fully developed gay character in this way, and you were in many ways the guy behind it. I’m wondering if going through this and having Will get all this positive feedback affected your own self-acceptance as a gay man.
MM: It’s very simple. I was the gay guy who created Will & Grace. Yes. It helped my self-esteem quite a lot. … I mean how much more accepted can you feel then making a show that’s telling a story that is very close to the one you are living as your life – and all these people are watching it every week. What else is that telling you as the guy who’s writing it - that you’re ok.

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AE: What do you think the reason is that there are so few gay characters on network TV?
MM: I don’t think that people write them well. I actually believe that the bar is high. And I think that guys like Robbie [Baitz] and Alan Ball and Greg Berlanti are writing gorgeous gay characters that work. And I think when you write ridiculous flamboyant – and I know this is rich coming out of the mouth that was responsible for Jack McFarland – but if you don’t write them real and true – and a lot of people don’t – then they don’t work.


AE: And what are the flaws they fall into?
MM: Groundless stereotyping. Jack had a fully fleshed out life that existed. He wasn’t just a flaming homo. He had family and friends and values and lack of values. I always have taken umbrage at people that just refer to Jack McFarland as a stereotype. He is not a stereotype. He was an innocent. He was very specific. And I think that that’s what the problem is. I think if and when people run into problems with writing gay characters - or the reasons why they’re not on TV right now - is because they’re not written really specifically.

Jack encounters Cher


AE: A lot of showrunners have told me that they feel if you have a central lead character who is a fully developed gay character, that it may tip the scales against you in getting something on the air.
MM: That’s just not the case anymore. We can’t make those kinds of excuses. Because we live in a world where if you write a serial killer sympathetically, it will get on the air and it will do well. People want to be with interesting characters who are experiencing interesting story lines. That’s what they want. And as long as they’re well-written they deserve, and should be, and are on the air.

AE: So writers need to get over it?
MM: I don’t think this is something that we suffer from at this point. … I don’t mean to sound boring, but [gay characters] will be on the air if they’re good characters that are well-written. Period. End of story. …

There’s no oppression. The only oppression that exists that you and I have been talking about is internal. We’re at the same place again. It only exists inside these gay writers that keep saying to you that “I don’t think that it will work”, “I don’t think they’ll ever say yes to it.” When the fact of the matter is that the straight people that are working in these positions of power, not a one of them that I’ve come into contact with in my professional dealings has felt reluctant or homophobic or disinterested in this subject matter. Not once.

[Mutchnick receives an email – then exclaims with great portent…]
MM: I just got a very important bulletin that it’s Ellen’s 50th birthday tomorrow, and I’ve sent her nothing!!!

AE: Us gays have got to stick together, baby…
MM: Yes, exactly! Then let’s send her…? What should we send her? Come on, you tell me.

AE: Three dozen long stem yellow roses.
MM: [Horrified] Honey!!! You’ve lived in [suburbia] for too long!

AE: [laughter] I KNOW! It’s pathetic.
MM: It’s orchid country around here [Hollywood] first of all. And nobody sends three dozen of anything. Next, are you going to tell me I should send her three dozen peppermint carnations? Jesus Christ.

AE: I’m so glad you read me. Because now I know.
MM: I’m sorry. We will not be interrupted again.

AE: So tell me about this pilot script that ABC just bought? [The script is one of only four comedy scripts going to pilot at ABC, and one of the first scripts bought after the writer’s strike].
MM: It is another gay story. And I’m very excited about it. … I start the casting process next week. I’m really going to try very hard to make this one work. I think we did what we could do, and now, God willing, we will find great actors to elevate this material and make it so it gets on the air. That’s the best I can hope for.


AE: And say it does make it onto the schedule? What would you do differently with the gay characters now almost ten years later, then you did starting out Will & Grace?
MM: I want to be past the story.

AE: You don’t want it to be about that? You don’t want it to be about the gay jokes?
MM: I’ll make as many gay jokes as I make in a given night. That’s the barometer that I’ll use. I don’t want to make it the drive. … The gay angle is not the hook. The relationship is the hook. And it happens to be a gay man and a straight man who are best friends. And I want the relationship to be more interesting to people than I want the fact that one of them is gay. But by the way, I think that the thing that people were interested in with Will & Grace was that relationship [between Will Truman and Grace Adler]. I think people knew that relationship – they just hadn’t seen it on TV yet. That was just lucky. I mean that relationship was around.


AE: We’ve all had it.
MM: Mm-hm.

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AE: And is this central relationship in the new show based on you and David [Kohan] in the same way the Will & Grace relationship was based on you and Janet?
MM: Yes.


AE: Do you have any concerns about finding actors for the gay roles?
MM: That’s not my concern at all. I mean ideally, I would like to find a gay man to play a gay part, because I think they just will get it better. But, whoever reads it the best is going to get it.

AE: Will the gay guy have as fully-developed a romantic life as the straight guy?
MM: Yes. In fact he’s in the thick of a very serious relationship in the pilot.


AE: One more question? You’ve been really great to spend so much time with me.
MM: [dreamily] It was nice. [Snaps to] You have one minute and 19 seconds!

AE: Are you dating anybody right now?
MM: I feel like I’ve been blessed twice in my life. I got to have this work experience that was blessed and special. And when it ended another door opened up and I fell very much in love. We’ve had a gorgeous lesbian love story. We’ve been together since really the first night we met. I live with Erik Hyman [an LA attorney].


AE: You said this relationship came about right after Will & Grace. I’m wondering if the experience of Will & Grace made you ripe for the picking? The way you felt about your sexuality, and your self?
MM: Well, I’ll tell you this: I felt like Will eclipsed me in the finale. And I had never felt that way in my entire life of writing Will & Grace. I was standing on the stage watching the final scenes with Eric McCormack and Bobby Cannavale. And I thought to myself, “Oh my god, this guy is now more evolved than I am.” And for me, it made for a very perfect ending of a very wonderful eight year romance.


taping the Will & Grace finale


AE: And do you think that affected your future choices?
MM: I think that I was ready and available. I think that stuff comes to you when you’re open to it and you’re ready. And there it is. It’s a glaring difference. I live a very happy domestic life. I haven’t been out of my house in a year and a half.

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还有AE那边的回复很不错,有兴趣的自己看看,这里就不贴了

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首先要给W&G的新粉丝们讲一讲这部剧的一些背景知识。

Will & Grace这部剧共有两位主创,David Kohan和Max Mutchnick,前者是异性恋后者是同志,两人从大学开始就是非常好的死党,另有一位名叫Janet的女生也是他们的同学兼好友,且在Max意识到自己的同志取向之前一直与他约会。本剧两位主角的原型就是Max和Janet,当然在实际剧集中作了很多的艺术夸张和加工,但是不少情节都是有一定的生活事实做基础的。[Jack和Karen虚构的成分更多一些]

Will & Grace是电视史上特别是同志电视史上非常重要的一部剧集,是全美不少异性恋人群第一次每周追看同志作为绝对主角的电视剧。可以说没有W&G的巨大成功,那么Queer As Folk[美国版]几乎就不可能出现,而诸如Brothers & Sisters,Six Feet Under,Ugly Betty[美国版]这些剧集也会与现在非常的不同。剧集73次Emmy提名14次得奖,特别是四位主角都获得了emmy的表演奖,这在电视史上也是很罕见的。

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以下关于访谈内容


Max透露说其实最开始他们二人接到的要求是写一部类似Mad About You那样的异性恋浪漫喜剧。他们最初完成的版本是一对旧金山的[异性恋]情侣,经常跟另外两对伴侣一起玩,而其中的一对就是Will和Grace。很明显其中的W&G二人因为融合进了不少亲身经历,写得最为出彩。当时的NBC娱乐部主席就建议他们把这两个角色作为剧集的中心来写。[注:大家可以看到这个最初的概念在剧集里还是被部分保留了,典型例子就是Rob&Ellen还有另外那对同志]


一开始Max本人对这个想法的信心不足,担心观众不接受,反而是身为异性恋的写作搭档David力挺这个创意。有一点要澄清的是,Will&Grace的观众群体一直是异性恋人群多过同志的,而Max也是要把这部剧写给自己的父母看的~所以部分大陆网友误解这是一部给同志看的同志剧集是非常不正确的。为了保证能够争取到最广泛的观众群,编剧在剧集的最开始小心的控制剧集本身“同志内容”的比例,在大获成功之后,到中后期才逐渐的放开手脚。这也解释了Will这个角色在剧集早期很“直”,但越到后来越“弯”的表现。至于Jack这个角色,本身设定上只是一个很“天真”的特例,并不能够代表全体同志,因此他也不认为Jack是那种“典型的同志”


关于电视上为什么出色的同志角色如此之少,Max认为更多的问题在于编剧本身的水平和胆识,只要是写出有趣的角色,观众是会喜欢的。因为现在即使是一个连环杀手[Dexter?]也会受到观众的热烈欢迎



中间Max还讲了个笑话就是每次在电话里,他都会被别人当作是女生……

[ 本帖最后由 nastyg 于 2008-3-9 14:16 编辑 ]

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关于两人的新剧,之前有跟进相关消息的应该都知道了,创意上有些类似Will & Grace,是以Max & David两人为原型的,而且很多地方应该会照搬两人生活中的事情,因为设定里两个角色也是编剧好友。

好消息就是确实已经被电视台选中了,而且从原定的CBS跳到了ABC,同志题材的剧显然是在后者更有发挥空间一些。但是坏消息是原本CBS选中的pilot的主演应该都是没有档期。Brian Austin Green本来演的是Max为原型的Noah,可惜了一位帅哥……目前我们所知道的是ABC今年买下的试播集的剧本,一共只有四部是喜剧,这就是其中一部。目前应该是在选演员准备重排pilot的阶段。Max表示说比较理想的条件下他所对应的那位同志角色希望是由本人也是同志的演员来演,但是选角的时候还是谁表现最好就签谁。还有就是剧中该角色跟Will不同,剧集一开始就已经是有伴侣的。


还有就是新的这个pilot应该是重新写过了,大家不妨对比下

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0893558/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1189396/

原始的版本只有两三个重要的女性配角[很古怪],现在的这个新版应该会正常些,至少可以肯定还会再有一个男性同志角色配戏了
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  • neverland

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最后Max说他刚好在W&G剧集结束后不久遇上了现在的男友Erik Hyman[是个律师,晕……],深深祝福

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oh my lord
peter paul and mary you're fabulous...............

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这部新剧什么时候演啊

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新剧如果被选中,那么应该是在今年秋天,但是也有可能是在09年初的mid-season


如果最终没有被电视台选中就不好说了

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