Sam Hennings loves New Orleans and would like to call it home one day.
For now, though, he’s quite satisfied living there five months a year while shooting “Memphis Beat.” The TNT police drama is Memphis-set, but New Orleans-shot. The series uses footage of Memphis for opening credits and lead-ins, but episode work for seasons one and the just-wrapped second season was all done in New Orleans.
Hennings thinks Memphis and New Orleans have a similar vibe, with the latter having a wider palette because of its larger size.
“I don’t know if I’d want to be there (in New Orleans) for this time of year, July and August,” Hennings said from Los Angeles last week. “It’s just so, so hot.”
The series finished filming this season’s 10 episodes July 1. The fifth episode airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday (cable Channel 28).
“Memphis Beat” stars Jason Lee as gutsy, guitar-playing Memphis police detective Dwight Hendricks, and Hennings portrays his partner in crime-solving, the sometimes gruff Charlie “Whitehead” White.
“Whitehead is an old-school detective with great character and integrity, he is totally committed to law enforcement and the people of Memphis,” Hennings said. “Whitehead is the guy anybody would love to have as their best friend. He’s a little bit hard-headed, and a little bit gruff in his presentation, especially if he doesn’t know you, and especially if you’re on the other side of the law. But once he brings you into his fold, you’ve got a friend for life and you can count on him for anything as I would hope you would see in the relationship with he and Dwight, which is Jason Lee’s character.”
While shooting the pilot, Hennings said he got an idea for an addition to his character’s attire.
“It was my idea to add the shoulder holster because I thought, ‘Ah, that’s just old school,’ and I just love showing that tradition to young people who didn’t see ‘Streets of San Francisco’ or ‘Hill Street Blues’ or something like that. And it was such an endearing experience in my childhood to see those, and I thought ‘Ah, I’ll add that.’ In hindsight I’m like ‘Oh my God, what a mistake, because it just adds to the burden of the heat. That shoulder holster gets soaking wet from perspiration.”
“We still had 30 days of intense heat (during June filming), especially when we were working outside, and probably 75 percent of our stuff is exterior.”
Hennings praised his fellow cast.
“It is like dying and going to heaven, it’s just such a treat to go to work every day and have one or all of those characters to work with,” he said.
The group made the lengthy hours of shooting more bearable, the actor said.
“It gets to be pretty grueling, but it’s sweet who we get to work with.”
Hennings said this season, the least amount of hours shooting per day was 12, and the most was 18. They shot six days a week, with Sundays off.
“I bought a bike, and I’d take rides on Sunday,” he said. “New Orleans is just so pleasing to the eye.”
During shooting, Hennings’ character rode shot-gun several times in his partner’s vintage Pontiac GTO.
“You wouldn’t want to ride in it, trust me,” he said. “We have two of them, and the theory behind bringing us the second one was ‘Oh, this one has air conditioning and it’s going to run so much better.’ And neither one surfaced until about the last two episodes. And it did not have AC.”
Hennings said if the series is renewed next year, shooting might start in January to beat the heat.
“They’re kind of hinting for 13 or 18 (episodes) next season,” he said. “That would be sweet.”
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Local ‘Sons’ returns
“Sons of Guns” begins its second season at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Discovery Channel (cable Channel 46).
The series follows Baton Rouge’s Red Jacket Firearms, owned by Will Hayden, as he and his team of gunsmiths build weaponry for law enforcement, military and collectors.
In season two, Hayden, his daughter and office manager Stephanie Hayden and the crew attempt to join three M16’s together in what Hayden calls a Triamese, try to silence a grenade launcher and see what happened when an AK and a sniper rifle are combined. And that’s just the beginning of what Red Jacket will get into this season.
According to Discovery, an average of 1.79 million people watched the debut of “Sons of Guns” and it continues to be a viewer favorite.
WBRZ giving away TV
Viewers can register for WBRZ’s Daily Headlines Newsletter and get the day’s news, sports and weather headlines sent to their email.
By joining the newsletter during July, there’s a chance to win a 55-inch flat-screen LED HDTV valued at $1,200.
The giveaway ends on July 31. Viewers must be 18 years of age or older in order to win the HDTV.
The contest rules can be found at http:// www.WBRZ.com. Click on any of the banner ads that say “Daily Headlines Newsletter, Win A TV,” or click on “Links” in the top menu, and then go to “Newsletter Sign Up.” A registration form will be displayed. Fill out the form to receive the Daily Headlines Newsletter via email, and you’re entered to win the HDTV.
If you are already signed up for the Daily Headlines Newsletter, you are also automatically entered. The winner will be selected at random from all those who have registered by July 31.
Worth a look
CNN PRESENTS: A LARRY KING SPECIAL — HARRY POTTER: THE FINAL CHAPTER: 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Sunday, CNN (cable Channel 34). In the one-hour special, King interviews the cast of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 2.” The final Harry Potter movie opens in theaters this week.
THE CLOSER: 8 p.m. Monday, TNT (cable Channel 28). The police drama starring Kyra Sedgwick begins its extended final season. The Los Angeles Police Department’s Major Crime Unit will face a civil lawsuit, a major departmental reorganization, a new boss and an unexpected tragedy this season.
THE PICK, THE PAWN & THE POLISH: 8 p.m. Monday, History (cable Channel 47). In this special, two-hour crossover event, the shows “American Pickers,” “Pawn Stars” and “American Restoration” will intersect. The series’ characters work together to find, buy and restore an ultimate American artifact, a rare model 1957 Chevy.
I MARRIED A MOBSTER: 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Investigation Discovery (cable Channel 103). The new series gives an inside perspective into the reality of New York mafia families from the first-person viewpoint of the wives. It’s narrated and produced by Lorraine Bracco, who starred in “Goodfellas” and “The Sopranos.”
MANN V. FORD: 8 p.m. July 18, HBO (premium cable Channel 300). The new environmental documentary looks at the Ramapo Indians of New Jersey and their struggle against the toxic legacy of the Mahwah-Ford auto plant.
Television stations with news about programming, on-air reporters or personalities should send the information to: Judy Bergeron, television editor, The Advocate, 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810; fax to (225) 388-0351 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.