In ABC's new thriller, Marta Walraven (Radha Mitchell) grew up in the world of organized crime in San Francisco, but believed she'd escaped it. But her normal life is turned upside down when her husband and the father of her three children is gunned down in their driveway.
The housewife finds herself moving deeper into the dangerous, dark world she thought she'd left behind. She discovers her husband stole drugs, which she has to pay back to a criminal kingpin named Schiller (Goran Visnjic). And then there's the question of who killed her husband, Evan Walraven.
So, what can you expect from the action-packed premiere episode? Here are five things to know about "Red Widow":
1. The show has a "Twilight" connection!
No, no vampires running around the Pacific Northwest. Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg was the screenwriter behind the entire "Twilight" saga. And just like that franchise, she had to adapt from an original, since "Red Widow" is based on a Dutch series called "Penoza." But where "Twilight" had to be condensed, Rosenberg had to fill out "Penoza."
"I used a lot of the same plotting stepping stones, but I really had to develop all of the secondary characters and their relationships," she told Collider. "What you're building, hopefully, is seven years on the air."
2. Marta will be breaking bad
Rosenberg wanted to write a complex female lead character along the lines of the antiheroes we see on cable. "We've had on cable these male characters who are very flawed and complex: Tony Soprano, Dexter Morgan, Vic Mackey," she told TV critics in January. "We've just begun to have that on cable for women in 'Nurse Jackie' and 'Weeds.'"
But the show Rosenberg most wants to emulate? "Breaking Bad."
"It is the model," she said. "I don't know where the character could go -- she could be as bad as Walter White."
3. But she'll still be a mom.
Marta won't be cooking up meth or murdering anyone. While she discovers a knack for the criminal (maybe it's in the genes), she's still focused on her three kids. "She's dealing with all these mundane, maternal issues," Mitchell explained. Marta engages in the criminal aspect of her life only to protect her kids.
"I think there's something beautiful about that maternal energy and seeing that not as the backup to a male lead. We don't often see mothers as leads."
4. Goran Visnjic was Rosenberg's first choice to play Schiller. But the "ER" star didn't sign on right away because Schiller appears just briefly in the pilot and he wanted a meatier role for his return to series television. Rosenberg eventually won him over with promises of deeper character development in future episodes. "It was a lot of belief in what Melissa's going to write afterwards," he said. "And I have to say, from Episode 2 on, it was really fun to do all these things. "And the character is completely unusual, something I've never done before."
5. Who killed Evan Walraven? We'll find out at the end of Season 1.
The mystery of Evan's death will not drag on forever. "Having learned from 'The Killing,' we are answering the questions of who killed [Evan] and where is the coke," Rosenberg promised. "The question of how Marta is going to get herself out of this is a series-long question."
And don't expect too many more shocking deaths. "By the end of the season, we'll have a satisfying answer to the season, but I'm not giving anybody up," she said. "I'm not killing everyone, and I'm not letting anyone off the hook."
The 2-hour premiere of "Red Widow" airs Sunday, 3/3 at 9 PM on ABC.
Note executive producer & writer, Melissa Rosenberg at around 14mins in the party scene.
Ralph Cole Jr. stars in K-11, a film written and directed by Kristen Stewart’s mother, Jules Stewart. Acting in a movie with ER‘s Goran Visnjic, as the character Kay-Kay, was a big step for Cole, who previously built up his credits on TV shows like Harry’s Law, Two and a Half Men, The Chris Rock Show and Desperate Housewives.
The theme of “K-11″ is really unique and almost sucks someone in. With the film being about jail, have you ever felt “jailed” in your life and what did you do to escape your metaphorical “prison” to happiness, either personally or in your career choices?
What a terrific question! Metaphorically, I felt jailed when I tried to be what I thought casting directors wanted me to be..which is impossible. Once I was myself, I was free!
You said in a previous interview that your favorite acting gigs are sitcoms. Do you do anything special preparing yourself for humor?
I excavate every possible nuance the writers have given me to present the funniest scenarios possible.
What would you do differently if you were in a sketch comedy show that changed the script up to the last minute like “Saturday Night Live?”
Like sketch comedy, sitcom dialogue can often change up to the last minute. In my experience, my approach stays the same…remain flexible so as to absorb your updated dialogue with ease.
As someone who won an NAACP Award himself, you know best of all that we can’t pretend racial issues don’t exist in entertainment. We still don’t have movies opening like crazy where we see tons of racial diversity in romantic comedies. As much as I love Bradley Cooper, Ben Affleck, etc., we could think of the other hand: how might those same movies perform if we had an African-American actor in the lead roles? Have you ever encountered any negative situations based on your race? How did you look past these bad events to move on to better things?
It remains disheartening that racial issues exist anywhere. As for my work in the entertainment industry, I feel fortunate to not have experienced negative situations based on being Negro. If for some reason I have not booked a role because of the color of my skin, I am pleased to be unaware because I always move onward and upward to better things.
Regarding incredible African-American performers and actors, who are your favorites?
Wow, another delicious question! Growing up, I thought Mom’s Mabley was hilarious. Scatman Crothers, Alfre Woodard, Sidney Poitier, Michael Jackson, CCH Pounder, Morgan Freeman, Viola Davis, Angela Bassett. Also, while not on a stage necessarily, but a “performer” all the same, Harriet Tubman. There are so many fierce Negroes!
If you could have a sitcom created just for you similar to any previous one, done your way, which show would you rely on for inspiration?
“I Love Lucy!”
With web radio, you either love hosting or hate it. I tried it and felt I was all wrong for it because I cannot be myself when I see myself talking into a telephone. I feel as if I am talking TO the telephone, haha. So with you, clearly, you are successful with your Universal Broadcasting Network program and have a natural knack for doing it. What do you love about it and what are your secrets to making audio work for you when we as a society are so accustomed to needing visuals whether we are in the audience or the people being heard or seen?
Here is the secret revealed: I love to talk. I love to talk to friends on the telephone. I love talking to Planet Eartha with the click of a button from our UBN studio! For those who need visuals, we can be live streamed as well. If you had to interview yourself, asking yourself something you may feel is very deep, touching a tough spot as your hardest ever question for your gig as a radio journalist, what would you ask yourself? Would you be willing to give the answer to your own question…to yourself? And what might you say? Do you think your effeminacy has prevented you from booking roles?
Absolutely. Our society is not tolerant of the effeminate male but as part of this society I am worthy of every possible opportunity. And as I stated earlier, once I was myself in all facets of my life, I was free. And that freedom has led to me being a veteran industry participant. Who are your favorite people you have had on your show, and your favorite moments?
On the Set with Jasper Cole is a tremendously listened to radio show. My first and foremost favorite person has been Jasper himself. Our favorite moments are derived from us laughing with wild abandon. That happens every show. Denise Boutte, Alicia Minshew, Suze Lanier-Bramlett, Jennifer Bassey, Leslie Jordan, Carolyn Hennesy, Leon Acord, Cerris Morgan-Moyer, Lisa Ann Walter, Carlease Burke, Damien Haas, Ronnie Butler, Jillian Rose Reed, Tony Sweet, Marty Shannon, Jeffrey Patrick Olson, Norma Micheals, Shanica Knowles, Jason Boegh, Sally Kirkland, Galen Gering, Corbin Bleu, Jared Allman, Elaine Hendrix, Olivia Summers, Matt Fahey, D.J. Shangela Pierce, Diana DeGarmo, Ace Young, Stephen Grove Malloy, Freda Payne, Jeffrey Sumner, Rib Hillis, David Pevsner, Jennifer Gimenez, Ann Walter, Chad Darnell, Jon Huertas, Robert Hensley, Jason Stuart, Versa Manos, Dylan Hyde, Morgan Giesler, Valarie Pettiford, Bill Oberst Jr., Markus Redmond, Efren Ramirez, Stephen Foster, Dara Zane Scully, and Bruce Vilanch are a few of our guests that have added to the popularity and hilarity!
How do you think good comedy can lead to being a powerful dramatic actor?
Good comedy allows you broad strokes. Powerful drama is more subtle and refined. Being able to harness and sculpt a dramatic performance from your comic options is a terrific journey.