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This chapter offers an account of David Milch’s early work in television, particularly his success as a writer for Hill Street Blues and his creation of NYPD Blue. It offers a detailed analysis of the creation and development of his first major character, Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) in that show.

in David Milch
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This is the first full-length study of the career and achievements of David Milch, the US writer who created NYPD Blue, Deadwood and other ground-breaking television dramas. It locates Milch’s work in the traditions of American literature while tracking his career from academic research assistant to leading Hollywood screenwriter of his generation. It draws on behind-the-scenes material in order to evaluate the nature and significance of authorship, intention, collaboration and performance in his shows, and in doing so provides a major contribution to the study of television art.

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This chapter introduces the main themes pertinent to the analysis of David Milch’s writing. It locates his television work within debates about film and television authorship and signals the necessity of thinking about American literature as a way to properly understand that work.

in David Milch
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This chapter explores Milch’s work after the cancellation of Deadwood, with particular attention to John From Cincinnati and Luck. It seeks to understand how Milch’s authorial voice developed and evolved alongside changes in US drama production.

in David Milch
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This provides an account of David Milch’s writing process once he had departed from network television with a particular focus on the writing of Deadwood.

in David Milch
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This chapter offers a detailed biographical account of David Milch’s family background and his early life at university and elsewhere before he began work as a television writer in the 1980s. In particular it examines the profound influence of the poet Robert Penn Warren on Milch during the latter’s time at Yale University in the 1960s and 1970s. It also calibrates the significance of Milch’s time studying at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and offers an analysis of his MFA dissertation, ‘The Groundlings’, and one of his early poems.

in David Milch
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Expendable Expendable?

This chapter investigates how The Expendables film series constructs and frames the age identity of Lee Christmas, played by Jason Statham, by reading his position in the narrative in order to understand how ageing is represented in action cinema. Much of the critical attention for this series has been focused on the hyper-masculine ageing body of the franchise’s lead actor, Sylvester Stallone. This chapter will look at the construction of Christmas’s age identity as a middle-aged man during the unstable cultural position of middle-agedness. It will also focus on how the middle-aged action hero is constructed in the three Expendables films to date. It begins with an overview of the film series’ premise, followed by a brief outline of relevant critical ageing theory, then a consideration of how Christmas’s age construction aligns with the ageing theories of decline, prowess and the culture of the Third Age.

in Crank it up
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Jason Statham’s mock-Cockney attitudes have remained virtually unchanged across his range of roles. Whether in America or Britain, Italy or small South American islands, Statham has rarely ventured into exploring the culture of his surroundings. However, his role as Frank in the French Transporter films offer a tantalising glimpse into examining the interaction of a British star as ‘transnational body’. This chapter will examine Statham’s work within the codes of these international action movies.

in Crank it up
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Exploring the virtualisation of the Statham brand

It is no secret that videogames are no longer for children. Over 65% of American households play videogames, and the average age of a gamer is 35. Celebrity videogame endorsements offer an innovative way to infuse brands into the lives of their customers. In today’s celebrity-obsessed culture, a famous face can instantly make or break a product’s popularity. Celebrities are chosen with care. What do they bring to the product? How will it help increase their own brand? Does it work?

By examining videogames such as Red Faction II, Call of Duty and Sniper X, this chapter will explore how they work to reflect and expand both Statham’s fan base appeal (through his own website and fan-based ones) and the celebrity brand that is Jason Statham. By focusing on the militaristic and gaming aspects of Statham’s corpus of work, and the ways that this negotiates the machismo and masculinity that form a distinctive part of his brand identity, it will reveal how the idea of ‘celebrity’ has come to incorporate not just acting roles, but has become part of a transmedia world in which the ‘rules’ of cultdom, fandom, celebrity and stardom combine to produce one overall package: Jason Statham.

in Crank it up
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Jason Statham and the ensemble fi lm

As an action star, Statham is a somewhat unusual performer. He is an extraordinary individual star who brings something new to the field with his visually stunning physical prowess, complex stunt work and ambiguous transnational persona. But he presents more than just that of the quick-fire lone wolf tradition. Many of his leading roles are well sustained by interaction with compelling secondary casts (such as the Crank and Transporter franchises), and even his comic turn in Spy works so effectively due to the fractious relationship created with other figures.

His screen presence is often not the singularly extraordinary ‘best of the best’, but more akin to ‘[one of the] best of the best’. His acting reflects this stance. Therefore, this chapter will explore the landscape of Jason Statham’s performances in order to think about Statham’s own individual acting technique and how this functions across wider ensemble casts – from supporting players to other major icons of cinema.

in Crank it up