Five Minutes With Magic City’s Danny Huston

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Danny Huston in Magic City
Danny Huston in Magic City

He’s one of those actors that you know of and then again … things like, `Hey, is he … ?’ `Yeah, he’s from a famous family,  I think. He looks familiar.’

Yeah, actor Danny Huston is definitely the brother of Angelica, son of the late, famed director John, uncle to Boardwalk Empire’s Jack and he’s been holding down jobs in front of the camera for some time now.

Huston has worked with A-list actresses including Nicole Kidman in Birth, and with Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardner, More recently he was in You Don’t Know Jack, about euthanasia’s, Jack Kervorkian.

Magic City is set in 1959, pre-Kennedy assassination, pre-Cuban Missile crisis¾ when the mob in Miami¾ was just a stone’s throw from the new Castro dictatorship in Cuba. The action takes place in the fictional Miramar Playa Hotel (modeled loosely on the real-life Miami Fontainebleau hotel), where the white evening jacket isn’t retro and while everyone appears to be having a grand ol’ time, everything isn’t what it seems.

Huston talks his role and how ‘Magic’ is both the same and different from that other M-world show, Mad Men.

So you were directing and you had no intention of getting into acting?

“I had no intention of getting into acting at all. The fellow directors out of the kindness of their hearts, saw me suffer through this stage of development and they cast me in small films and small parts.”

Your dad (John Huston) kind of got into directing that way and now this is a fun way to live, right?

“It is and I get to work with people on stories that I enjoy, what could be better.”

Most of the castmembers of You Don’t Know Jack got to meet Jack Kevorkian, did you?

“Yeah, absolutely. He was an extraordinary man and a real bit of an anarchist in a way, rebellious but also someone who believed in human rights.”

You, Angelica (Smash) and Jack are in series this year, what do you think of that?

“Yes. You know, the whole thing about cable is now that movies are so large, as far as budgets and 3-D, etc., it’s hard to make an intimate story theatrically and get it released and get it out there.

So cable is such a wonderful way to reach out to audiences that are already there and be able to tackle stories that are sometimes complicated.

I find it a little daunting that you don’t know what is going to happen but I suppose it’s like life, and life is a little daunting if you think about it, and you don’t think about it. You never really know and that’s also kind of exhilarating.”

How do you authentically know about this period?

“What’s fun about this is that, there’s a line where (his character) Ben Diamond says, `Aw, Castro, these dictators they come and go like the weather down here,’ and it became quite the opposite.

So it’s interesting to re-visit, go back in time to see how people are perceiving things.

So from the Cuba aspect, there’s lots of explore but there’s also lots to explore from Women’s Lib and the Pill was just coming out, which changed women’s position in the world, of course, Mad Man very much explores all those existential thoughts but also Kennedy’s about to be elected. The CIA is doing their thing, you have stars like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis who wasn’t able to stay at the Fontainebleau and performing there to great applause.”

Speaking of Mad Men, do you watch a lot of television and if so, what?

“I watch Boardwalk Empire but I do remember watching Mad Men in New York while I was working on the Kevorkian film and was speaking to a friend and I said, there’s this incredible show, it’ called Man Men and my friend’s like, `It’s been out for two years.’

I thought I discovered it! I didn’t know AMC was producing it.”

Does your character remain a villain throughout the show?

“He is completely villainous and he knows he is.”

But Ike (Jeffery Dean Morgan) is not all good himself so it’s not like I’m stealing candy from a kid or something or corrupting the innocent.”

Did you create a back story for your character?

“Yeah, It’s kind of there in the writing. He grew up in a orphanage, kind of clumsy and an outcast, and he spent a lot of time in the dark, which is why he loves the sun and he’s always in the sun and this is before we knew the sun was bad for you.

So I feel very nostalgic about the period. We could do things that are bad for us because we didn’t know. What a shame that we know so much!”

 Magic City airs Fridays at 10 p.m. on Starz.










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