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‘Watchmen’ Looking Glass – Tim Blake Nelson Interview

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  • Veteran character actor Tim Blake Nelson (Holes, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Incredible Hulk) plays the truth-seeking masked cop Looking Glass on HBO’s Watchmen.
  • “I just look at him as a guy who justifiably wants to right wrongs,” Nelson says about his mirror-faced police character.
  • Watchmen‘s fifth episode, which focuses on Looking Glass, airs 11/17.

    With Episode 5 of HBO’s Watchmen focusing primarily on Tim Blake Nelson’s character Looking Glass/Wade Tillman, we thought it would be a good idea to republish our interview with the longtime character actor from when the season began. The episode not only provides a glimpse into Looking Glass’s past, but gives good reason to understand how and why he became the way he is in the show’s present day.

    There’s also the fact that he’s simply put one of the show’s most interesting characters: he’s a hero, but not perfect; he’s inherently human, his life experiences shaping who and what he has become. Our interview below with the longtime character actor who plays him should only help to provide more insight into the full depth of this incredibly interesting character, whether he’s got a mirror-faced mask on his face or not.

    Even outside of Watchmen, this is a big year for Nelson (who grew up in the very Tulsa, Oklahoma where Damon Lindelof’s series is set). He’ll also appear in two major, star-studded movies with Oscar Buzz: Just Mercy, alongside Brie Larson and Michael B. Jordan, and The Report, alongside Adam Driver and Jon Hamm. Like Watchmen, neither of these movies are entirely original works: both are based on true stories.

    Either before or after watching the Looking Glass-centric Watchmen episode, revisit our conversation with Nelson below.


    HBO’s Watchmen may be loosely based on an iconic graphic novel. And it may center on a world where superpowers and secret identities exist, and people wear masks. But Tim Blake Nelson, who plays a mystifying masked police officer named Looking Glass in the show, doesn’t see Watchmen the same way others might.

    “I don’t consider this a superhero show,” he says on a Wednesday afternoon in New York City’s Gramercy Park Hotel. To his point, the Watchmen series only has one character with superpowers: Dr. Manhattan, the otherworldly being who now lives on Mars. “I consider it a humanist show, that asks what would happen if if the law allowed for the masking of retribution? How would that ramify? What sort of fractures with that widen your culture? And I think that the show really beautifully examines that.”

    If Watchmen were a superhero story, Nelson would be far from a stranger to it. While the Tulsa native might be best known for his work with filmmaking stalwarts like The Coen Brothers (O Brother Where Art Thou, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs) he’s also had a pair of prominent superhero roles to his credit: one came in the DOA 2015 Fantastic Four film; the other as a villain in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, the second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and a role he’s been rumored to return to for years.

    Watchmen is set in an alternate history universe, some 30 years after the events of the graphic novel (which showrunner Lindelof considers canon). In this world, Robert Redford (yes, that Robert Redford) has become the United States’ longest serving president in history, and police officers, like Nelson’s character, are forced to a life of anonymity, afraid they’ll be targeted after one particularly violent attack from a white surpremacist group.

    “I don’t consider this a superhero show—I consider it a humanist show.”

    The way Looking Glass maintains that anonymity, undoubtedly, is his character’s defining quality. Chrome in the same nature as a pair of reflective Aviator-sunglasses, the mask shows only what surrounds him in the room. When he looks into someone’s eyes, all they see is themselves. “Looking Glass’ mask goes beyond opaque.” Nelson says. “It blasts one’s image back at them.”

    When the 55-year-old actor is in costume, he describes the chrome mask (which covers his entire head) as “a little more than translucent” when looking through—which made things so difficult that his goal was simply see 40% of the actors he was shared scenes with. “You need your partner, and what they’re giving you, so that you can give back to them. It’s like ping pong—you don’t want a situation where you can’t see the ball.” Luckily, this challenge didn’t persist throughout the entire production—eventually, Looking Glass’ mask had holes cut where his eyes were (with the eye slots digitally painted over in post-production), so that 40% skyrocketed to a more plentiful 100%.

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    HBO

    The nature of Looking Glass’s character, and his own position within the ecosystem of the Watchmen universe is a unique one; he’s got a cool mask; not a signature weapon, but a signature device (wait until you see ‘The Pod’); and fights crime. But, as Nelson says, he’s still operating within the system of government as it’s been set up. “I just look at him as a guy who justifiably wants to right wrongs,” he says. “And he’ll do that, using whatever means are necessary. And in this respect, it’s not about revenge. And it’s not about taking the law into his own hands. He’s working within the law.”

    As one moment later in the show that distinctly pokes fun at a scene from The Dark Knight makes clear, Nelson thinks one of the key themes of Watchmen comes in examining vigilanteism—but Looking Glass doesn’t even fit that vigilante mold. “The work they do—or at least the work that he does, that defies any convenient label” he says.

    Nelson’s scenes as Looking Glass are incredibly tense. The character is the Tulsa police force’s primary interrogator, and while he doesn’t have superpowers, per sé, his mask gives him a major advantage on anyone he comes into contact with.

    “He’s watching somebody respond to the truth of their image, and that really puts somebody on the spot”

    It makes the power dynamics totally shift—if anyone is lying to the face, it’ll only make them feel like they’re lying to themself. Their own image is all they’re getting back. “He’s watching somebody respond to the truth of their image,” Nelson says. “And that really puts somebody on the spot.” He compares the interrogation technique to T.S. Eliot’s poem Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, and the idea that someone’s been pinned to a wall, with no choice but to interrogate themselves.

    Nelson seems fully-invested in the show’s writing, praising not only the conventions used, like his mask, but the world that the show exists in. Not only does the universe established in the comic persist, but Lindelof does masterful work in building out the show’s universe in the early episodes. There’s no part of you that ever doubts that what’s happening on-screen isn’t just a drop in the bucket of more happenings around the show’s world.

    In fact, Nelson was drawn to this project, in particular, for these two reasons: his familiarity with the source material, and his respect for the previous work that showrunner Damon Lindelof has done—particularly The Leftovers. But even more than he enjoyed his work, Nelson enjoyed meeting the man himself.

    “He radiates not only intelligence, but also decency, and sensitivity,” he said about his Watchmen boss. “And if you combine that with his unpredictable openness as a storyteller, which leads to places that completely surprise you, but at the same time feel inevitable. When you look back on every preceding moment, you realize that you’re in the presence of a real magician.”

    When asked why now felt like the right time for this version, this continuation of Watchmen, Nelson first had a bit of fun with the show’s October 20th release date (“So that people can wear our costumes for Halloween”) before explaining that now is the “perfect,” time for the show with an answer that echoes what Lindelof himself has been saying when asked. “The original Watchmen was examining what most concerned us in 1985, which was the Cold War and the prospect of nuclear annihilation,” he said. “This show is examining what bedevils us today, and I think in a really deep way.”

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Most Extreme Animals | Coolest Things Animals Can Do

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5. Stonefish are the most poisonous fish in the world.

The stonefish produces intense vasoconstriction. If you’re stung by one, it can cause shock, paralysis, malaise, nausea and vomiting, sweating, delirium, pyrexia, cardiogenic shock, respiratory distress, and even death if it’s not treated within a few hours by anti-venom. If you do survive, the symptoms can last a long time, from days to weeks, and full recovery may take many months.

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Joe Pesci’s Net Worth — What Is Joe Pesci’s Net Worth Now?

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Premiere Of Netflix's "The Irishman" - Arrivals

Frazer HarrisonGetty Images

The Irishman is making headlines for its great performances, incredible score, and creative retelling of one of the most mysterious disappearances in U.S. history. And, of course, the Netflix movie is also creating a lot of chatter because it’s the film that finally brought Joe Pesci out of retirement.

Even though Pesci reportedly had to be asked 40 times (!) to join the film, his scenes in The Irishman make it seem like he’s never left the big screen. Fans are now curious about what Pesci has been up to since his last voice role in 2015—they’re also wondering about just how much money he has in the bank. Here’s what we know about Pesci’s net worth.

Joe Pesci’s net worth is $50 million.

Pesci made a name for himself in movies like Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Home Alone, and My Cousin Vinny, but many people don’t know that Pesci actually got his start as a child actor. He started starring in plays in New York at 5, and when he was 10, he made appearances on a television variety show called Startime Kids.

He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1981 for Raging Bull, and he ended up winning the award in 1991 for his role as the violent and hot-tempered mobster Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas.

The New Jersey native’s most profitable role is his turn as burglar Harry Lyme in 1990’s Home Alone, as the movie grossed nearly half a billion dollars worldwide. Pesci reprised the role in 1992’s Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. He later announced that he was retiring from acting in 1999, although he’s been in four movies since then, including The Good Shepherd and The Irishman.

Music is another one of Pesci’s talents, and before he became an actor he released an album called Little Joe Sure Can Sing!, where he sang covers of contemporary hits. Growing up, Pesci was friends with The Four Seasons‘ Tommy DeVito and Frankie Valli, and its rumored that Pesci is the one that connected the band with singer and songwriter Bob Gaudio. Actor Joseph Russo portrayed Pesci in the Jersey Boys movie.

Pesci’s second album, Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just for You, was released in 1998, and the album’s name is a nod to his character from My Cousin Vinny. Still Singing, his latest album, was released in 2019, and it includes a song that features Maroon 5’s Adam Levine.

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Who Was Tony Pro? The True Story of The Irishman Character.

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While Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino lead The Irishman in their roles of Frank Sheeran, Russell Bufalino, and Jimmy Hoffa, respectively, it’s the movie’s supporting characters that managed, at times, to steal the show. Bobby Cannavale shined as gangster Felix “Skinny Razor” DiTullio, and Sebastian Maniscalco was brilliant as “Crazy” Joe Gallo, but it’s Stephen Graham’s turn as Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano that really has fans talking.

Pro is a key part of most of The Irishman‘s second and third acts, but the movie doesn’t delve into his later life, leading fans to wonder what happened to the New Jersey mobster. Here’s what we know about Tony Pro’s true-life story.

    Who was Tony Pro?

    Tony Pro’s real name was Anthony Provenzano, and he was born in New York City in 1917. Not much is known about his early life, but by the 1950s, he was president of the Teamsters Local 560 in Union City, New Jersey, and vice-president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. He was also a made member of the Genovese crime family.

    While The Irishman portrays Pro and Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa as enemies pretty much from the beginning, the two were actually friendly for many years. It was later revealed that the two men were using union funds for their own personal use. Pro went to prison in 1963 for extortion, and Hoffa went to prison in 1967 for bribery and fraud, and they both ended up serving time at the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary in Pennsylvania.

    James R. Hoffa, Gen. Pres. of International Brotherhood of T

    Jimmy Hoffa and Anthony Provenzano with two other Teamsters leaders during happier times.

    New York Daily News ArchiveGetty Images

    Their relationship soured while in prison, as Pro learned that he wasn’t going to be eligible to get his Teamsters pension anymore. “Jimmy refused to help Pro go around the federal law and get his $1.2 million pension when he went to jail, while Jimmy got his $1.7 million pension even though he went to jail, too,” Sheeran claimed in the I Heard You Paint Houses book. Hoffa further angered Pro when he allegedly told him, “It’s because of people like you that I got into trouble in the first place.”

    After they both were released from prison in the ’70s, Pro and Hoffa’s relationship continued to worsen. They reportedly came across each other during a chance meeting at an airport, and Hoffa is said to have broken a bottle over Pro’s head, while the mobster told the union boss that he would “rip his guts out with his bare hands and kill his grandchildren.”

    In 1975, Hoffa disappeared. He had been in Detroit for a meeting with Pro and mobster Anthony Giacalone, but they never showed up. Hoffa was last seen getting into a maroon Mercury in the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Township, Michigan, but no one knows what happened to him after that.

    And while Sheeran later said he was the one that killed Hoffa, the case is still unsolved. However, most experts believe that Pro had something to do with it—he had an infamous grudge against Hoffa, and while some say he was in New Jersey the day of Hoffa’s disappearance, other reports place him in Detroit. Pro was named as a suspect on the FBI’s report about the case, called the Hoffex Memo, along with Giacalone and Russell Bufalino.

    Portrait of Anthony Provenzano with Newsmen

    Tony Pro talks with journalists in Florida in 1975. Pro reportedly explained that he was a friend of Jimmy Hoffa and he had nothing to do with his disappearance.

    BettmannGetty Images

    And in an interesting twist, Nixon’s first public appearance after resigning as President was with Pro and some other Teamsters leaders at a golf course, just ten weeks after Hoffa’s disappearance.

    Where is Tony Pro today?

    In 1978, Pro was convicted of ordering the 1961 murder of Anthony Castellito, the Local Teamsters 560’s secretary-treasurer. He was sentenced to 25 years to life for the murder. A month after getting that sentence, Pro was also sentenced to four years for arranging kickbacks on a $2.3 million pension-fund loan. A year after that, he was also convicted on labor racketeering charges, which landed him another 20-year prison term.

    Teamster Anthony Provenzano Arriving for His Trial

    Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano arrives for his trial on labor racketeering charges in 1979.

    BettmannGetty Images

    Pro died in prison in 1988 at the age of 71. He’s buried at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Hackensack, New Jersey.

    Which actor played Tony Pro in The Irishman?

    English actor Stephen Graham plays Tony Pro in The Irishman. And while it’s unclear if Pro ever showed up to meetings in shorts like he did in the movie, the mobster was once described as a “short, stocky and ham-fisted man who bore the scars of his young years as an amateur boxer.”

    Before the movie’s release, Graham talked to Esquire UK about how he got cast for the film. He recounted speaking with De Niro and director Martin Scorsese in Scorsese’s house, and the legendary duo spent some time talking amongst each other. “They’re gonna say I’m not Italian-looking enough, my accent,” Graham recalls thinking. “They don’t understand what I’m saying anyway, so how can I pull it off?”

    Graham and Scorsese had actually worked together on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire before reuniting for The Irishman. In that series, Graham played another notorious and hot-headed crime figure: Chicago gangster Al Capone. Scorsese directed him in the pilot, and was an executive producer for the remainder of the show’s run.

    After Scorsese told him that he had gotten the Irishman role, Graham said that he “felt like I’ve just been made, do you know what I mean? Like I’d been accepted into the family.”

    image

    Stephen Graham as Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano in The Irishman

    Netflix

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