Welsh actor Matthew Rhys plays the title role in the new HBO series, Perry Mason. His version of the iconic criminal defense attorney is younger and more hardboiled than the one Raymond Burr played in the popular TV show from the '50s and '60s. The new series focuses on Mason as a divorced private investigator in the early 1930s in Los Angeles — before he became a lawyer.
Film directors Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez are the team behind the new film Sin City, based on Miller's graphic novel series of the same name. Miller's Sin City series garnered numerous awards, including the Harvey and the Eisner Awards.
David Atkins directed Novocaine, a new film starring Steve Martin. It's about a dentist who's lured into a life of crime. Atkins is also a drummer and songwriter, and participated in the creation of several songs on the movie soundtrack. He also wrote the screenplay for the film Arizona Dream, starring Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway and Lili Taylor. It something of a cult classic in the U.S., although it was successful overseas. Novocaine is his feature film directorial debut.
Director Curtis Hanson and actor Russell Crowe from the film "L.A. Confidential." It's about corruption and retribution in L.A. in the 1950s and 60s and is adapted from the 1990 novel by James Ellroy. (James Ellroy is a previous Fresh Air guest whose memoir "My Dark Places" was about his mother's murder in L.A. in 1958) The film won best picture, best director and best screenplay awards from the New York Film critics circle and the LA film critics. It's also been nominated for 5 Golden Globe awards. (REBROADCAST from 9/18/97)