Added ePremieres Wednesday, July 1 at 10:00 PM on CBS.
Series Premiere May 25 & May 26.
School may be almost out, but that doesn’t mean Jeffrey Dean Morgan isn’t ready to offer some history lessons. The actor will soon appear in two period dramas about very different aspects of U.S. culture: History’s “Texas Rising” miniseries, about the formation of the Texas Rangers, and Lifetime’s “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe,” where he plays baseball great Joe DiMaggio. (Later this summer, he’ll head to the future and star opposite Halle Berry in the second season of CBS’ “Extant”).
Morgan was candid with Variety about his attraction to both projects during an interview at the London Hotel in West Hollywood. Here, he explains that Westerns make for good entertainment because there’s less dialogue (“That’s the sign of bad television, they’re over-explaining. In a Western, you’re never over-explaining.”) and speaks of the tumultuous love story that was Marilyn Monroe’s relationship with DiMaggio.
“Texas Rising” premieres at 9 p.m. May 25 on History. “Marilyn Monroe” premieres at 8 p.m. May 30 on Lifetime.
Which project did you shoot first?
I did “Texas Rising” for about six months last summer. I lived in Durango, Mexico. Looking back on it now, it was one of the greater experiences I’ve ever had. While I was there, I was miserable because I was away from my family and I didn’t eat for six months. I lost almost 50 pounds to do the role. I tortured myself greatly.
Now, a year later, I made some great friends and had some adventures that could not be duplicated. I fell in love with being on the back of a horse. I’ve seen the finished product, and I think it’s extraordinary. As an actor who is pretty hard on himself, it’s rare to come away from it and think it’s pretty damn good.
Had you seen History’s other miniseries?
I’d seen “Hatfields & McCoys” and I watch “Vikings.” I think the stuff they do is really good television. They get writers and they get good directors and they get good actors. Roland Joffé directed [“Texas Rising”], and I think he’s one of the finest, if not the finest, director I’ve ever gotten to work with.
The History miniseries “Texas Rising” set to bow on Memorial Day, has been expanded to 10 hours and will air over the course of five weeks, the network announced on Tuesday.
The series, which details the Texas Revolution and the rise of the legendary Texas Rangers, will air two-hour installments on both Memorial Day (May 25) and the next night (Tuesday, May 26). Its final six hours will then be played out over the next three Mondays (June 1, 8 and 15).
It had originally been planned as a six-hour series.
Roland Joffe is directing “Texas Rising,” whose all-star cast includes Bill Paxton, Brendan Fraser, Ray Liotta and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. It is produced by A+E Studios, ITV Studios America and Thinkfactory Media. Leslie Greif serves as executive producer. Dirk Hoogstra and Julian P. Hobbs serve as executives in charge of production.
History is hoping ratings magic can strike twice with Paxton and another event series set in the South. Paxton played the leader of the McCoy family in the network’s blockbuster 2012 miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys.”