Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - EN­TER­TAIN­MENT -

Rolly is devastated, and finds him­self forced to de­cide: Should he leave the Vine­yard? Con­tinue to try to con­ceal his iden­tity as Haney be­comes part of the com­mu­nity? Or, per­haps, hatch some kind of in­sane and ill-con­sid­ered plan that will af­ford him a level of re­venge while forc­ing Haney to be the one to leave?

It isn’t hard to fig­ure out which way this one’s headed.

For his part, David said it was all about do­ing some­thing for HBO that wasn’t just an­other sea­son of Curb. When it was sug­gested that de­spite the dif­fer­ent set­ting, the tone and at­ti­tude of Clear His­tory are a lot like what he de­liv­ers in Curb Your En­thu­si­asm, David was in­sis­tent that this project stands on its own.

“I would say this,” David of­fered in his usual semi-con­fronta­tional tone when he met with the press dur­ing HBO’s por­tion of the U.S. net­works’ semi-an­nual press tour in Los An­ge­les, “I was think­ing about (do­ing more) Curb or think­ing about do­ing a movie, and I thought, you know, per­haps it’s time I tried some­thing else. So I de­cided to do the movie.

“But it’s not like, ‘Oh, I have th­ese ideas that I can use on Curb, but I want to do them in a movie.’ Be­cause I wasn’t think­ing that way. I was think­ing ei­ther of do­ing ei­ther one or the other, and I just thought it was time to try some­thing else.”

What does make Clear His­tory dif­fer­ent from Curb Your En­thu­si­asm is the heavy layer of makeup David was forced to en­dure in the movie’s early scenes. David said his orig­i­nal plan was to have Nathan be a clean-cut guy who later, as Rolly, grew out his hair and beard to dis­guise his iden­tity.

He’s glad he made Nathan the long­hair and Rolly the Larry looka­like.

“The main rea­son (for the makeup) was we didn’t want Jon Hamm’s char­ac­ter to be able to rec­og­nize me,” David ex­plained. “So it had to be ex­treme, and ac­tu­ally, as con­ceived, it was sup­posed to be the op­po­site, where I was go­ing to be bald and my­self at the be­gin­ning and then grow the beard and the hair.

“Thank God we didn’t do it that way, be­cause the makeup was in­tol­er­a­ble — to get to sit in that chair for an hour ev­ery morn­ing to put that on, it felt like I had 10,000 in­sects on my head. I couldn’t stand it. But I thought I cut quite a fig­ure.”

One thing this movie shares with his long-run­ning HBO se­ries is that it dis­plays David’s abil­ity to at­tract a pow­er­house ros­ter of co-stars. In ad­di­tion to Hamm and Hud­son, Clear His­tory fea­tures solid guest-star­ring per­for­mances by Danny McBride ( East­bound & Down), SNL veteran Bill Hader, Michael Keaton, Eva Men­des and, in an un­cred­ited sort-of cameo, Liev Schreiber.

David said he was par­tic­u­larly happy to get McBride on board, be­cause the struc­ture of the movie — largely im­pro­vised from rough out­lines writ­ten for each scene — de­manded a lot from its com­edy-minded cast.

“Danny was amaz­ing in the movie,” he of­fered. “He im­pro­vises some of the fun­ni­est lines in the movie. I would do scenes with him, and I just couldn’t be­lieve how fast he was, how sharp he was... He kind of had the part of my sound­ing-board pal, and a lot of scenes weren’t de­signed for him to be funny, but be­cause he’s so fast and so good and such a great im­pro­viser, ev­ery scene he was in, he was ter­rific.”

HBO high­lights: Dur­ing HBO’s por­tion of the TV press tour, net­work ex­ecs an­nounced air­dates for a few other up­com­ing ti­tles (most will air on the same day/date on HBO Canada). Lead­ing the list are Board­walk Em­pire, which re­turns for its fourth sea­son on Sept. 8, and East­bound & Down, which begins its fourth and fi­nal sea­son on Sept. 29. The ac­claimed post-Ka­t­rina New Or­leans drama Treme also re­turns for its fourth/fi­nal sea­son later this year (date TBA).

Slated for new sea­sons in 2014 are Girls, Veep and Game of Thrones.

Jon Hamm, Kate Hud­son.

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