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by Ben Travers
July 10, 2014 6:09 PM
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TCAs: 5 Things We Learned About Steven Soderbergh's 'The Knick' (Including Its Season 2 Renewal)

Clive Owen in 'The Knick'

Cinemax announced at today's TCA panel it has ordered a second season of "The Knick" (well before its first season premieres August 8th). But that was only a taste of the juicy information given at HBO's first panel session of the day. 

Steven Soderbergh, Clive Owen, Andrew Holland, Eve Hewson and co-creators Jack Amiel and Michael Begler were on hand to discuss the upcoming Cinemax original series. Below are the highlights from the half-hour long session:

Why did "The Knick" air on Cinemax, not HBO?
"It was an ego problem," Steven Soderbergh said, as to why the series would air on Cinemax instead of its big brother network. "I kind of wanted to be the big kid at the small school."

Soderbergh said he didn't want to air the series on HBO, so he called HBO President Michael Lombardo and specifically asked for it to be shown on Cinemax. "For me, creatively, it all worked out perfectly," Soderbergh said.

Soderbergh will return to direct all 10 episodes of Season 2.
"Yeah, I'm going to do all 10," Soderbergh said after getting the question fairly late in the panel session. "You're seeing a trend now of fewer directors doing a series. There's a positive aspect to having a visual language that is very specific and very unifying throughout the show."

Why did Soderbergh come "out of retirement" for "The Knick"?
"As the first person who got to take a look at it, I knew the second person that was going to see it would say yes," he said. "My whole life, I've moved in any direction I thought was going to excite me and engage me, and it's sort of unfortunate that people have to keep listening to me explain why I went back to work, but I'm glad I did."

Why "The Knick" is a dark show -- and they don't mean the mood...
While "The Knick" is a dark show in its premise and tone, it's also got quite a few shadows in its cinematography. Soderbergh is an avid proponent of digital filmmaking, and it comes across clearly in the footage from the show's first two episodes. It's clean, precise, and magnetic; but the show itself is gory, dirty, and dark (literally). 

"I wanted the show to be dark enough you could understand what it was like to walk around in that period," Soderbergh said, in regard to the lighting used on the show. The pilot episode ends on a shot of the lights coming on for the first time in The Knickerbocker hospital in New York City. 

Clive Owen could say no to Soderbergh, but not to the script.
"Steven called me up when he had the first script and told me he was thinking about a 10 part television series," Owen said. "To be honest with you, before I started reading the script, i wasn't sure I wanted to commit to 10 hours of television." Then he read the script and said "there was no way I wasn't going to do it."

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