Monday, May 27, 2024

Michael Douglas Discusses Portrayal of Benjamin Franklin in New Historical Drama Series

Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas as Benjamin Franklin in the Apple TV+ series ‘FRANKLIN’ / Credit: Apple TV+

*Acclaimed actor Michael Douglas steps into the shoes of Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s most iconic founding fathers, in the new Apple TV series, “Franklin.”

The first three episodes of “Franklin” are now available to stream on Apple TV Plus. The next episode will premiere on Friday, April 19.

The cast includes Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place) as Temple Franklin, Thibault de Montalembert (Call My Agent!) as Comte de Vergennes, Daniel Mays (Line of Duty) as Edward Bancroft, Ludivine Sagnier (Lupin) as Madame Brillon, Eddie Marsan (Back to Black) as John Adams, Assaad Bouab (Call My Agent!) as Beaumarchias, Jeanne Balibar (Irma Vep) as Madame Helvetius, and Theodore Pellerin (There’s Someone Inside Your House) as Marquis de Lafayette.

Watch the trailer below.

EUR’s Ny MaGee spoke to Douglas during the Television Critics Association’s Winter Press Tour on Feb. 5 in Pasadena, California, asking about his experience portraying this historical figure for the series.

“I guess the one that I found, which kind of relates to being a celebrity in real life is, you have this added aspect of awe. I know in real life, people go, “Oh, gee, he’s such a regular, down-to-earth kind of guy,” and you’re expecting this thing. And truth be told, we use it to a certain extent. I think Franklin did so,” the veteran actor explained. 

“I enjoyed the ability he had to seduce,” Douglas continued. “I love the ability, it would be a male or female, he could identify very quickly the foibles of somebody, whether it was flattery or something else, and knew how to bring the best out of them and make them all feel like he was Ben’s best friend, even though he had other ulterior motives,” Douglas continued.

“I enjoyed that. And then as I said earlier, because we only have these few portraits of him, which were always very formally done, we don’t really know what he sounded like — we knew he grew up in Boston — that it gave you a little more freedom, that you didn’t feel — and Tim Van Patten was very good — just restricted by some historical piece. But it was his pleasure, his joy of telling the white lie, I think, that probably I like the most,” he said. 

Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas as Benjamin Franklin in the Apple TV+ series ‘FRANKLIN’ / Credit: Apple TV+

“Franklin” is based on Stacy Schiff’s book, “A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France and the Birth of America.” 

According to a press release, the series “explores the thrilling story of the greatest gamble of Benjamin Franklin’s career. In December 1776, Franklin is world famous for his electrical experiments, but his passion and power are put to the test when—as the fate of American independence hangs in the balance—he embarks on a secret mission to France. At age 70, without any diplomatic training, Franklin convinced an absolute monarchy to underwrite America’s experiment in democracy. By virtue of his fame, charisma, and ingenuity, Franklin outmaneuvered British spies, French informers, and hostile colleagues to engineer the Franco-American alliance of 1778 and the peace treaty with Great Britain in 1783.”

New “Franklin” episodes drop weekly on Friday on Apple TV+.

READ MORE: ‘Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead’ Reimagined with Black Cast | EURexclusive

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