Theoretically, any of the all-star actors in the cast of George Clooney's remake of "Failsafe" could show up for work at CBS-TV on April 9 and turn in the performance of a lifetime.
That's partly because the remake of Sidney Lumet's 1964 film, "Failsafe," deals with the story of a fully nuked B-52 streaking toward Moscow at the height of the Cold War. That's unnerving enough, but even more terrifying than the dramatic premise is the fact that producer-actor George Clooney has the show being filmed and broadcast live -- even the commercials by Ford Motor Media.
Figuring the show is destined for the record books, the CBS network and George Clooney have brought together a major cast for "Failsafe," which now includes Academy Award winning actor Richard Dreyfuss, Harvey Keitel, Hank Azaria, Oscar nominee James Cromwell, Tony Award-winning actor Brian Dennehy, Sam Elliot, Don Cheadle and Clooney's cousin, Miguel Ferrer, who is also the son of the late Academy Award-winning actor, Jose Ferrer.
At a time when Broadway Digital Entertainment (Broadway Tonight) and the Broadway Television Network (BTN) are busy bringing broadcast business models to theatre, Clooney's experiment with live performance at CBS marks another significant blurring of the line between theatre and television.
Various aspects of the live production are daunting. When it airs at 9 PM (EST) in New York, "Failsafe" will employ some 22 cameras and, because the show is being filmed in black and white, Clooney and CBS have dug up the old studio lights that were once used in live television to give the production an authenticity of era. On the other hand, state-of-the-art digital background and synchronization techniques are being used to ensure that the program is as seamless as possible. The Clooney remake of "Failsafe" on CBS has been a labor of love for the actor. The former "ER" star ("ER" did a live broadcast while Clooney was with that show) has shepherded the project, personally championing certain aspects of the production that he believed were essential to its success.
-- By Murdoch McBride