We don't usually expect the entertainment world to talk about high-end art dealers. Cops and killers and robots are favorite subjects; auction houses are not.
But lately, there have been exceptions: Steve Martin's excellent novel "An Object of Beauty" ... the movies "Woman in Gold" and "The Monuments Men" ... and now "The Art of More" -- an interesting series that starts Thursday (Nov. 19) in the new world of Internet streaming services. Here's the story I sent to papers:
By Mike Hughes
The birth of a movie
or a TV show can be slow, stready and safe.
“You've got 50
executives sitting around .... It's film by committee,” Cary Elwes
Then there's the new
flip side: “There is a revolution going on with television ....
where you feel like the inmates have taken over the asylum,” Dennis
New places – with
fewer executives and fewer delays – keep adding shows. Beyond
cable, there's Netflix and Hulu and Amazon. And now Crackle has “The
Art of More,” an ambitious drama with Quaid, Elwes, Kate Bosworth
and Christian Cooke. “This is the new independent film,” Elwes
He knows the value
of independent-thinking; one of his first films, “The Princess
Bride” (1987), became a classic. It “boggles the mind – how
such a quirky and modestly conceived film could achieve such a lofty
position,” Elwes wrote in “As You Wish” (Touchstone, 2014), his
book about the movie.
For that matter,
Quaid found fame in “Breaking Away,” a small film about Indiana
bike-racers. Both men went on to make movies that were bigger, but
(usually) not better.
Now they're in this
new world of original shows made for Internet streaming services. In
“Art of More,” Arthur Davenport (Elwes) and Samuel Brukner
(Quaid) are art collectors.
opposites, (but really) the same,” Quaid said. “They're
collectors of people and objects. Only he had a silver spoon ... when
he was born and (Brukner) was more roughened.”
Both collectors are
sought by people working for big art dealers. There's Graham Connor,
the assumed name of Cooke's character, a tough Iraq veteran from
Brooklyn. And there's Roxanna Whitman.
“She's a very
strong woman,” said Bosworth, who plays her. “I love her drive
.... You see the little cracks of vulnerability in a very tough
exterior .... All the characters have little cracks.”
Bosworth, 32, never
used to get roles like this. “I moved out to Los Angeles at 18, to
try this acting thing,” she said.
She'd been a
champion equestrian in Massachusetts, which led to a teen role in
Robert Redford's “Horse Whisperer.” After a few lesser projects,
Bosworth coveted the role of a young surfer. “I wanted 'Blue
Crush' more than any person on the planet. (It was a) very intensive
process for me.”
She got the role and
other big ones; Bosworth may be the only person to portray both the
fictional Lois Lane and the real-life Sandra Dee. But more and more,
she's leaned to independent films; she married an indie director
(Michael Polish) and has been in three of his films, plus the
acclaimed “Still Alice.”
Elwes, 43, started
in indies. “Princess Bride” director Rob Reiner spotted him in
“Lady Jane” and visited him in Germany, where he was filming
“Maschenka,” from a Vladimir Nabokov novel.
“He resembles a
young Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and he's so handsome and he's a terrific
actor,” Reiner wrote in Elwes' book. “But I didn't know if he was
The verdict came
quickly: “He was just a naturally funny guy.”
Elwes has gone on to
play roles ranging from a comic Robin Hood to a serious astronaut
Michael Collins, from serial killer Ted Bundy to Pope John Paul II as
a young man. Still, few shows fit him as neatly as “The Art of
In real life, Elwes'
brother, father and grandfather have all been painters. “My mother
was an interior desigher,” he said. “She used to take us to some
of the high-end auction houses in England, so it is somewhat of a
familiar world for me.”
Bostwick and Quaid
both profess a non-expert fondness for art. Cooke makes no such
claim: “I know nothing about art. That's the beauty of being an
actor. We get to become experts with each job.”
Now he can become an
expert on art, combat, manipulation and TV's new, independent world.
-- “The Art of
More”; the 10-part first season is available beginning Thursday on
-- Crackle is owned
by Sony and primarily offers – with commercials – Sony's past TV
series (including “Seinfeld”) and movies (from “Easy Rider”
to “Glory” to “District 9”).