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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.