Tom Verica Interview: ‘For the People’ director
In the new Shonda Rhimes-produced legal drama “For the People,” executive producer and director Tom Verica uses art direction and cinematography to “take the viewer on a journey of what these first-year attorneys are up against.” Created by Paul William Davies, this freshman ABC series starring Hope Davis, Ben Shenkman, Anna Deavere Smith and Vondie Curtis-Hall centers on a group of young lawyers who arrive in New York’s Southern District Federal Court, more ominously known as “The Mother Court.” Verica, who serves as the producing director, wanted to “create these anthem-like frames and spaces” to “bring forth what one’s experience might be when they’re suddenly thrust into the federal justice system.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Verica above.
Verica’s direction of the pilot episode was influenced by legendary film and television director Sidney Lumet, whose legal dramas “12 Angry Men” (1957) and “The Verdict” (1982) “had a lot of inspiration and feel for what I wanted to portray.” Verica aimed to “put the camera in a place that really spoke to character and point-of-view,” which was a challenge given that “oftentimes with the pace of television, you don’t have those luxuries to set up those shots … So it was really important to me, in speaking with our DP and crew, to be very specific.”
Verica is a prolific TV director, having helmed episodes of “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Ugly Betty,” “The Mentalist,” and “Boston Legal.” He is also an actor, having appeared on such shows as “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Will & Grace,” and “L.A. Law,” as well as the films “Red Dragon” (2002), “Flags of Our Fathers” (2006) and “Zodiac” (2007).