The cast of COPPER - Season 2 | ©2013 BBC America/Cineflix (Copper) Inc./Steve Wilkie

The cast of COPPER - Season 2 | ©2013 BBC America/Cineflix (Copper) Inc./Steve Wilkie

BBC America’s COPPER begins its second season Sunday night, June 23, at 10 PM. Created by Will Rokos and Tom Fontana, who executive-produce with Barry Levinson, the series is set in the dangerous Five Points neighborhood of 1880s New York, where Civil War veteran Irish-American Kevin “Corky” Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones) works as a police detective. Despite its East Coast U.S. setting, COPPER is actually made inToronto.

Christina Wayne, another of COPPER’s executive producers, takes some time to talk about COPPER’s production origins and logistics.

ASSIGNMENT X: Were you working with Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana prior to COPPER, or did you get involved with them professionally because of this?

CHRISTINA WAYNE: I actually brought Tom onto the show when I was at AMC, because I had developed this show back in 2005, with Will Rokos, at AMC. I had hired Will to write the script, and Will wrote the pilot script for the show, because we were going to do it when I was running the scripted department at AMC at the time, and then Tom and I were working on another project, and when I finished working with Tom, I asked him what his next project was going to be, or what he was passionate about. He said, “Oh, I want to do a cop show set in the 1800s.” I said, “Oh, I have this script that Will Rokos just wrote and we’re looking for a show runner.” It was around 2006, we brought Tom on, and when I left AMC to go to Cineflix to start the studio over there, we all brought the script over together, and that’s how it came about.

AX: Were there any problems with getting the COPPER project it away from AMC?

WAYNE: No, they decided that they didn’t want to make it, and the script reverted back to Will Rokos and Tom, so it was fairly easy. As soon as the script reverted back, Tom and Will called and said, “Hey, want to be an exec producer on the project?” And I said, “Yes.”

AX: COPPER is BBC America’s first internally-produced scripted project. Did you persuade them to do that, or did they come to you and say, “We’re looking for a script,” or how did this come about?

WAYNE: Well, I had gone to Cineflix at this point, so Cineflix had the script at that point and knew that it was one of their scripts that we were going to do. Perry Simon got hired at BBC America shortly after. I joined Cineflix in July of 2010 and Perry joined BBC America in I think September and he knew he had to do a show, so he said to Tom’s agent, Peter Benedict at UTA, that he wanted to know what Tom was working on. And he said, “Oh, I’ll send you this script COPPER,” and he literally called me a week later and said he’d read the script, he loved it and they wanted to do this as their first show. So it was pretty cool – it was easy [laughs].

AX: And has there been anything about the producing of this once it got on its feet that surprised you?

WAYNE: I had never done a [series in Canada before] – I’d done a miniseries in Canada, I’d shot BROKEN TRAIL up in Calgary before, so I’d worked in Canada, but I’d never done a Canadian-content show before, which this qualified under, because we did the six out of ten [six out of every ten people working on the series must be Canadian citizens]. So that was one of the challenging things about it, because your pool of who you can pick is just so much smaller in terms of directors and editors and cinematographers. There are tons of talented Canadian people in all those fields, but trying to find somebody that’s actually available when you need them for the look of what you’re doing, that was the challenging part. Larysa Kondracki is one of the directors – she is Canadian. She directed the movie with Rachel Weisz called WHISTLEBLOWER, and she did [first-season] episodes seven and eight for us. She is phenomenal. So it’s difficult, because of scheduling, with talented people, but there are phenomenal Canadian talent. She is an amazing director.

AX: Is there anything else you’d like to say about COPPER?

WAYNE: I think one thing that’s interesting about COPPER is, the shows I’ve worked on in the past, like MAD MEN and BREAKING BAD and those shows, they’ve all been serialized dramas. So this was the first show I’ve ever done that was sort of a mix of being serialized and closed-ended procedural all in one thing. And I don’t think there are a lot of shows like that. I think you either are a closed-ended procedural show or you’re a serialized show. I don’t know too many other shows out there that actually do a good job of combining both and really give equal weight to both types of storytelling, and I think that that’s unique and different for this show. And I think that actually appeals to a wide audience, which is great.

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Related: TV Review: COPPER – Season 1 – “A Vast and Fiendish Plot” – Season Finale

Related: Exclusive Interview with COPPER actor Ato Essandoh

Related: Exclusive Interview with COPPER actor Kyle Schmid

Related: Exclusive Interview with COPPER actress Anastasia Griffith

Related: Exclusive Interview with COPPER actor Kevin Ryan about the BBC America series

Related: TV Review: COPPER – Season 1 – “Better Times Are Coming”

Related: TV Review: COPPER – Season 1 – “Arsenic and Old Cake”

Related: Exclusive Interview with COPPER star Ton Weston-Jones

Related: TV Review: COPPER – Season 1 – “La Tempête”

Related: TV Review: COPPER – Season 1 – “The Empty Locket”

Related: TV Review: COPPER – Season 1  – “In The Hands of an Angry God”

Related: TV Review: COPPER – Season 1 – “Husbands and Fathers”

Related: Exclusive Interview with COPPER star Franka Potente

Related: TV Review: COPPER – Season 1 Premiere – “Surviving Death” 

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Article: Exclusive Interview with COPPER executive producer Christine Wayne on Season 2

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