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Television takes us into worlds we’d never experience on our own. Hopefully we’ll never need to go to an emergency room or be on trial, but medical and courtroom shows let us experience the drama. Even more specific worlds may be the fantasy realm of Game of Thrones, the 1960s advertising offices of Mad Men, or pretty much anything you can imagine.

The new series The Art of More takes us inside the world of auction houses, courtesy of Kate Bosworth who plays Roxanna Whitman, a second generation auction executive. One part of the show will follow her navigations with clients, who try to get the most prized artwork. “She’s the executive but also the daughter of one of the owners,” Bosworth said. “It’s one of the biggest auction houses so I’m an executive there. Obviously, I’m trying to prove myself to my father and get the biggest clients. My character and Christian [Cooke]’s character, Graham, are antagonists. Yet even though they’re enemies in a way, they’re also like moths to a flame to each other.”

Kate Bosworth who plays Roxanna Whitman

There will be plenty of drama behind the scenes, but the auction room itself has enough drama for a whole show. “When you’re in the room and they’re staging an auction, you hear the dialogue about the amount of money that’s going back and forth. It’s exciting,” Bosworth said. “You really feel like you’re a part of that theater, absolutely.”

Roxanna is a bit of a femme fatale, using her feminine wiles to her advantage, and Bosworth loved the idea of playing a femme fatale. “What I love about this character is that she’s sexy and also the smartest person in the room,” Bosworth said. “Honestly, to be candid, a lot of the roles that I read where the sexuality is played up, the character isn’t very intelligent. What I love so much about this role is that femme fatale quality her character has! She’s a very intriguing, mysterious woman, and she’s also very smart and vicious. I’m excited to play her, and actually, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”

The Art of More will consist of 10 episodes in its first season, and hopefully, this may give Bosworth a chance to show us the vulnerability behind Roxanna’s stern front. When we first meet her though, Roxanna would never let her guard down. 

Kate Bosworth and Dennis Quaid

“She’s a very armored person,” Bosworth said. “I think she has to be in this type of an industry.After all, it’s a man’s world. She has to go to extreme lengths to get what she wants and needs, so there’s kind of a harder exterior from the very front. You’re not sure what she’s thinking. You’re not sure what her weaknesses are, and it’s deliberate. That’s how she is, and I think as the series continues, you start to see her vulnerabilities and the different people or situations that bring that type of emotion or vulnerability to her, including  softness and humanity. Obviously there has to be humanity in characters you play, even if they appear to be vicious and tough. I think that that was the part of her that I wanted to develop, as the series progressed.”

Being in the world of high art means having access to high fashion, too. Especially making the kind of living an auction house executive would make, Roxanna can afford the best, and would want to present herself as a woman of exquisite taste.

“She’s such an affluent character,” Bosworth said. “It’s one of my favorite things, to understand a character’s hair and makeup, wardrobe. It’s when you really truly start to feel like you’re walking in her shoes. Her wardrobe is very classical, and she’s a stylish woman, but I think that she’s so high end that she’s not really one who’s falling into trends so much. It’s the Chanels, and the world where you can see a picture from years ago and it still stands the test of time! I think that that’s the type of woman that she is. She’s so classical that way.”

Having walked a lot of red carpets herself, Bosworth has gotten to know many high end designers. When she spotted one of her friend’s designs in her Art of More wardrobe, she shared it with him.

“There’s a dress that I wore to the opening that’s a Jason Wu dress,” Bosworth said. “I took a photo of it and I sent it to him. I was supposed to go to the Met with him this year and I couldn’t because of the show. I sent a photo and I said, ‘Well, I’m representing you anyway,’ though in a very different sense. There were some really great designers that we were working with, but it’s a funny thing, because I do associate so much with my character that there’s something nice about also taking her off and leaving her behind as well.”

Christian CookeWorking on The Art of More also gave Bosworth a chance to enjoy a greater appreciation of art throughout history. “I think what I find most fascinating about art is how it often reflects the time is was created, and what this show does that's so interesting is that it sort of demonstrates what is value to someone, and how does it carry through time, how it increases, how it decreases. What's so interesting to me when you see someone like Van Gogh, who is now one of the highest selling artists, but back in the day was hardly selling anything. So to me, it's kind of interesting to see how that increases with time. I think the value that we place on different objects, whether it's a letter that was written back in the day, or anything that's now so significant for whatever reason, that's really what's most interesting to me.”

Characters like Roxanna also have a say in determining value, or perhaps manipulating it. That was also illuminating to Bosworth. “Such a huge aspect of our show is the competition between auction houses, and the kind of lengths that each character will go to,” Bosworth said. “One of the lines that my character says is, ‘Whatever it takes,’ and I think that the lengths that a lot of these characters go to for whatever reason, whether it's power or ego or desire. Or whatever it is that they are needing to fulfill within themselves, is one of the most interesting aspects of the show to me.”

The Art of More is going to air on the Crackle streaming service. It’s the first scripted drama they have produced, although they have experimented with original shows like Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Crackle is available on gaming systems, Roku devices, online at Crackle.com and other devices. Along with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, Crackle joins the world of non-broadcast outlets putting on original programming, and that is how they attracted a star like Dennis Quaid.

Dennis Quaid

“I had seen the Seinfeld series, but I think what's going on with Crackle and with television is there is a revolution going on with television that is completely new,” Quaid said. “You feel like the inmates have taken over the asylum in a sense, sort of what it was like in movies back during the '70s. There was a lot of great stuff that came out of that because there was this freedom to take on issues and stories that had not been done before. It's an exciting time to be working in television.”

Quaid plays real estate mogul Samuel Brukner, who is working with Roxanna, or at least for as long as she can satisfy his needs. Quaid is also an Executive Producer of the show.

“In some ways it is just a title, but we're all part of a team,” Quaid said. “All of us really are, in a way, producers on this because it's very collaborative, the way it all works. We're responsible for our characters and we're all trying to make the best show possible, and tell best story we can tell. I've always felt the same way when I'm on any set, even when I don't have the title, that you're there. Especially when you're in a leading role, you're responsible for doing the best job you can do and making the best story, and taking care of the crew, and even making sure everybody is having a good time.”

Arthur Davenport played by Cary ElwesBrukner’s biggest rival is Arthur Davenport (Cary Elwes), a veteran in the art world. Brukner earned his way into this society and will stop at nothing to stay there. “Brukner is the complete opposite of Davenport, although they're the same,” Quaid said. “They're collectors of people and objects.  Only Davenport had a silver spoon in his mouth when he was born and was part of society, and Brukner comes from a background of building pot balls in Indiana, to building office buildings in New York. And he uses the art for what it can get him into, get him into society, gain him power or influence or respect, and of course, recognition.”

In real life, Quaid is a novice at art, but he does enjoy collecting some pieces. “I had no formal art training or anything like that, but it’s just something I've always loved all my life,” Quaid said. “I love beautiful art, and what it says to you. To me, art is like the myth it points at. It doesn't actually say it with words, but instead it points at some sort of deeper truth. I have a de Kooning drawing that's drawn on, like, Big Chief notepaper. It's funny and ambiguous and I just love it. I've had it for 30 years.”

While Quaid himself has a healthy relationship with art, the theme of The Art of More is how art can consume some people. “That happens with us all the time, doesn't it, in little ways and in small ways,” Quaid said. “You're just walking down the street and you see something that two minutes ago, you'd never even thought about it, and all of a sudden it becomes the object of your desire and you must have it. Especially if there's competition involved. The thing is, that's supposed to give you some sort of satisfaction, but once you have it, the thrill is gone. You need something else. That's the whole thing about desire. It doesn't fill up anything.”

The Art of More

The Art of More launches on demand beginning November 19, on Crackle.


www.Dishmag.com / Issue 175 - September 2018
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