“It starts off with a bang,” declares Hunter Doohan about Showtime’s legal thriller “Your Honor,” which opens with intense extended sequence that culminates in a horrifying car crash. “The show has so many twists and turns!” he says, adding that viewers are ultimately in for “a wild ride.” Watch our exclusive video interview with him above.
“Your Honor” is Showtime’s 10-episode limited series that is based on the Israeli series “Kvodo.” It stars two-time Tony winner and multiple Emmy winner Bryan Cranston (“Network,” “All the Way” and “Breaking Bad”) as widowed New Orleans judge Michael Desiato, who unexpectedly compromises his ethics to protect his son Adam (Doohan) after he’s involved in a hit-and-run accident that kills the son of local mafia boss Jimmy Baxter (Michael Stuhlbarg).
Fearful of the deceased’s parents Jimmy and Gina Baxter (Hope Davis), Michael becomes increasingly desperate to dispose of the evidence, which leads to even more tragic consequences. Boasting a creative team that includes writer Peter Moffat (“The Night Of”), director Edward Berger (“Patrick Melrose”) and co-executive producers Michelle King and Robert King (“The Good Wife”), “Your Honor” explores the lengths a father will go to to protect his son and the lengths the system will allow him to do so.
The series’ pilot episode opens with Adam visiting the place where his mother died a year earlier. After encountering a local gang, he panics and drives away but his panic leads to him suffering an asthma attack. The tension ramps up more and more as he is unable to find his inhaler while he is gasping for air. He reaches down in desperation to find it, but he suddenly hits a nearby motorcyclist, who we later discover is Rocco Baxter (Benjamin Wadsworth), the son of vicious crime boss Jimmy (Stuhlbarg). Adam, battered and bruised and in shock, finds Rocco almost dead on the curbside. He tries to revive him, even calling 9-1-1, but his panic leads him to flee the scene and leave poor Rocco to die, choking on his own blood.
Doohan credits his director Berger as being critical to the car crash sequence coming off as effectively as it did. “He does an incredible job of making you feel like you are there. Everything was so up close and into all the action. That whole sequence with the crash ends up being seven minutes. Usually it would be crazy to have a scene with no dialogue last that long,” he explains.
“That whole sequence, with the crash, we did over about three days. It was exhausting. It was also in New Orleans in September so it was like, 100 degrees. We were wetting the pavement in between takes and it would quickly dry because it was so hot and I’m crawling with my face on the pavement,” he smiles. “And then I was getting light-headed from keeping up the asthma wheezing. It was definitely the most challenging thing I have ever gotten to do as an actor,” he says.
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