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‘Wire’ and ‘Treme’ Creator David Simon Looking at Race Clashes in Yonkers

Future Of Film Panel: Stories By Numbers - 2014 Tribeca Film Festival

HBO’s miniseries “Show Me A Hero” is producer and writer David Simon’s latest thrilling-while-socially-meaningful work, following in the footsteps of his masterpieces “The Wire, ” “Treme” and “The Corner.”

“Show Me A Hero” is based on NY Times writer Lisa Belkin’s 1999, and will feature Winona Ryder, Jim Belushi, Catherine Keener, Alfred Molina and Peter Riegert.

Belkin’s book penetrated the prejudices, myths, and heated emotions, as she showed how a proposal to build scattered-site public housing in a middle-class neighborhood in Yonkers, in Westchester County, NY, nearly destroyed an entire city and forever changed the lives of many of its citizens.

Lohud.com reported on the first day of shooting of “Hero, ” in David Simon’s transformed southwest Yonkers public housing complex.

“I’m sort of past the point where I want to do larger than life, and most of TV is about larger than life, ” Simon said on Wednesday. “We’re trying to tell a story in a medium where vampires and gangsters and dragons prevail.”

“This is about real people, ” he said. “There are some people I sympathize with more than others, but everyone’s on a human scale. I don’t feel as if anyone’s a complete villain or anyone’s a complete hero. It’s very ordinary people, particularly the people whose lives are at stake at Schlobohm or School Street or Mulford Gardens.”

The main character is Nicholas Wasicsko, elected mayor in 1987 on his promise to oppose the federal order to desegregate Yonkers. A few days before Wasicsko’s inauguration, a federal court of appeals upheld the desegregation order, and the new mayor realized he had to comply.

But there was hell to pay for that realization and the political decisions that followed. They turned the very white residents who elected Wasicsko into his staunch enemies. A stalemate on the part of the Yonkers City Council over desegregation incurred disastrous daily fines that pushed Yonkers near bankruptcy.

“I find myself drawn to stories that are about people as I actually have encountered them in the world, ” Simon said. “A lot of the entertainment world is about people who are bigger than the institutions they’re in — the cop who won’t take ‘no, ‘ the drug dealer who is more evil, the guy with magic powers. For me, the real was very interesting to us.”



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