is the latest summer series coming to USA network in 2013. The cast, including Vanessa Ferlito, Brandon Jay McLaren, Manny Montana, Daniel Sunjata, Serinda Swan, and Aaron Tveit, as well as creator Jeff Eastin spoke at TCA 2013 about what fans can expect in the show's first season.
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Check out the Graceland trailer below.
The show is based on a true story. Jeff Eastin brought the idea of Graceland to USA. He said, "The idea initially was brought to me by my agents at CIA. He took me down and showed me the real house that had been decommissioned at that point for a couple of years, [then] introduced me to some of the real guys who lived in the house and they just started telling stories. At that point I was like, 'Wow, I got to make this into a show.'"
Why "Graceland"? According to Eastin, the working title was just "Safe House," which he thought was "a little dull." There are also a couple of mentions in the pilot that said that the house was seized "from a guy who was an Elvis fan."He added that, for a while, there was going to be a big velvet Elvis hanging in the foyer, but he said, "we decided that wasn't a good idea, but we kept the title."
There is some singing on set. With some of the cast having a background on Broadway, Daniel Sunjata said that people bursting into song on set wasn't unusual. He said, "This guy's (indicating Aaron Tveit) got a fat black woman trapped inside of him."
The cast enjoyed researching their roles. To play the tough agents portrayed in the series, cast members had to train in the ways of federal agents. Manny Montana said, "Speaking for everybody, I think, we had fun." Apparently the cast members went into the makeshift buildings their trainers set up for them with "guns blazing" and had a great time "lighting everything up." Brandon Jay McLaren said that co-star Vanessa Ferlito started making requests of where she'd like the cardboard bad guys to be placed within the house. Though they all had fun with it, the cast agreed that they learned a lot from their lessons as well.
It is a dark show, but still based in reality. Talking about the dark theme of the show, Eastin said "It is a dark show, but I consider it more of sort of a reality-based show." He also said that within the darkness, there will also be a little bit of comedy, but "instead of the laughs coming off of jokes, it kind of comes out of the reality of what it is."
The show is set in California, but it's not shot there. Eastin said, "We film in Florida," though the house itself, the one that the show is modeled it after, is set in Manhattan Beach. That being said, Eastin said "we're pretty careful to call it 'set in Southern California.'" He also said that where the characters are is "a little bit of a fictitious area, sort of between Manhattan and somewhere down by Oceanside."
Graceland is set to air this summer on USA Network.