Lester Freamon, Ellis Carver, and some guy at last night’s panel.Photo: Getty Images
Imagine a Wire episode in which Cedric Daniels was Bubbles or Ellis Carver was Stringer Bell. It’s just so … wrong. But as we learned last night at a Museum of the Moving Image panel discussion on our favorite TV show ever, that’s what might have been. We also saw an extra from the season-five DVD (out August 12) that included casting from an alternate universe and several of the actors’ favorite scenes and characters. Seth Gilliam (Carver) loves Omar: “I just like the fact that he has a duster AND a shotgun.” And Deirdre Lovejoy (Rhonda Pearlman) has a predictable soft spot for Dominic West’s messed-up masterpiece of a role: “McNulty. Because he’s so perfectly flawed.”
David Simon and Richard Price held court over the panel, with supporting work from Gilliam, Lovejoy, Wendell Pierce (The Bunk), Clark Johnson (Saint Gus Haynes and director of the pilot and series finale), and Clarke Peters (Lester Freamon). Moderator David Schwartz wisely ceded control of the discussion, which yielded plenty of gems. After the jump, check out Price’s cogent response to the “Dickensian” question, their thoughts on a Wire movie, and the story of the revolt of Herc and Carver.
• Price and Simon spent their first meeting driving around a chaotic Jersey City the night of the Rodney King verdict in 1992.
• Price: “Everyone uses the word ‘Dickensian.’ I don’t know … whatever.”
• During shooting, Pierce frequented an after-hours club in Baltimore called, perfectly, Choices.
• Producer Ed Burns disagreed with Simon on whether Freamon should swear, but Simon insisted he let loose occasionally. The story prompted a live performance by Peters of the following: “I don’t want to go to no dance unless I can rub some tit.”
• Price: “I can’t think of a worse idea than Wire: The Movie.” Simon also has no interest in a film.
• In season one, when Carver, Herc, and Prez are shielding themselves from debris from the Towers overhead, real debris rained down — thrown by the senior citizens who actually lived there.
• There’s a real Bodie Barksdale and he has a wooden leg. He visited the set after getting out of prison. “I didn’t know he was out when I used his name,” said Simon.
• HBO wisely suggested to Simon that he scrap a strange McNulty dream sequence that was to open season two featuring past and present Wire characters.
• Simon recalled a “revolt” in 2006, when Gilliam and Domenick Lombardozzi (Herc) wanted the writers to stop using them for comic relief. “It was like being told by Bugs Bunny that he didn’t want to work with Elmer Fudd anymore,” said Simon.
• And David Simon still hates the Internet: “The Internet is a parasite, and it’s killing the host.” Sorry, David! —Aileen Gallagher