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Feature: Primetime

Las Vegas

The Las Vegas cast

Several TV series have used ‘Sin City’ as their backdrop, but NBC’s new drama goes to the heart of Las Vegas

Las Vegas investigates the inner-workings of an elite surveillance team who maintain the security at the fictionalized Montecito Resort and Casino.

Creator/producer Gary Scott Thompson admits that he was keenly aware that the series couldn’t “deal with a cheater every week. There are 127,000 rooms in Vegas. That’s 127,000 stories every week. So we can do anything we want, anytime we want. Whatever you can think of, we’ve already thought of, and there’s a pretty good shot that it already happened in Vegas or it’s about to happen.”

Oscar nominee James Caan makes his series début as Surveillance Chief ‘Big Ed’ Deline. “I think the thing that attracted me most to this show is its unpredictability. When you turn it on you’re not going to know if it’s going to be a comedy or some emotional relationship story. We really have no boundaries, which makes it fun. I’m doing something new and exciting with a great bunch of kids. See, I’ve gotten to the point everybody’s a kid now. That’s a pain in the ass.”

Several journalists have noted that Caan’s character could be considered a close cousin to his Oscar-nominated role of Sonny Corleone in The Godfather. The actor remarks, “It was certainly one of my concerns when we were talking about me doing the show, that it would be something new and different. My character’s a tough guy, from Delta Force and the CIA. But he’s completely henpecked by his wife and daughter. Everybody else talks about him being tough, and I don’t have to talk about it. Hopefully, there’s a lot of warm, nice, character and relationship stuff.”

Partially shot in Vegas, Thompson is amazed that the filming doesn’t faze either the tourists or the gamblers. “We had three cameras at one point, and the people would walk by and not see them, because Vegas is so big and there’s so much noise they didn’t even know what was going on. When we shot a scene where a cheater was winning, we had our extras as a crowd. And the crowd just kept getting bigger, because people kept going, ‘Somebody’s winning over there.’ And pretty soon it was packed with people who thought they were witnessing a winner, and there were cameras above them and behind them, and no one saw the cameras.”

Caan, who has visited Vegas throughout his lifetime, has noticed a big change in the last few years. “I was there when the big ‘F’ [Sinatra] was there. I was a young guy, and I witnessed some unbelievable stories. Everything was more personalized in those days. Everything was on a first-name basis. Today it has gotten really kind of corporate and cold. On the other hand, there’s a lot to do for the kids now that wasn’t there before. There’s a lot of pros and cons – but personally, I think I like the old days.”

by Judy Sloane

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Photo © NBC
Feature © Visual Imagination 2003. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone #170
December 2003
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