“The blood is really pumping out of those bodies,” declared Michael Begler, executive producer of the new Cinemax drama “The Knick,” during our recent webcam chat (watch below). “When they make that first cut into the body, it’s just a gorefest. We were all taken aback at first by how much blood there was. That’s what made it so great because it seemed so real and so visceral.” He and co-creator Jack Amiel delighted in dishing the first season of the show, which is set in a fictional New York hospital in 1900.
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Amiel and Begler have extensively researched the early 1900s, especially in regards to health and medicine of the time. In the pilot episode, the lead character of Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen) happily points out that medicine has advanced to the point that a life expectancy has grown from age 38 to 47. About that surprising stat, Amiel says, “They believed they were on the outer edge of the technological and medical understanding envelope. They were the vanguard. They were the pathfinders at the absolute leading edge. For us, this was a real signal that these people were discovering the things that now we take for granted that keep us alive.”
In addition to Begler and Amiel, the show is executive produced by Gregory Jacobs and Steven Soderbergh. When Soderbergh signed on, the Oscar winner (“Traffic”) and recent Emmy champ (“Behind the Candelabra“) not only wanted to direct the pilot but the entire first season. Begler readily admitted, “Jack and I can see the full spectrum of color, but Steven sees it in the ultraviolet. He can see things that we would never see in the material.” Begler believes the director “is really interested in the other things we cover… race, sex, class struggle. They all hit these things he really loves all in one package.”
The show has already been renewed for a second season, which will most likely go into production in February. Soderbergh will be back to direct all 10 episodes for the next season with returning cast members Owen, Andre Holland, Juliet Rylance and Eve Hewson.