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TCA: Starz ready to “Crash”

Dennishoppertca_4Starz enters the scripted drama game in October with “Crash,” and if the premise of reinventing the Oscar-winning film for TV doesn’t drawn in viewers, maybe watching Dennis Hopper talking to his penis will do the trick.

Hopper plays eccentric record producer Ben Cendars, an off-wall-character — yeah, that’s a big change for Dennis — who tries to remain professionally relevant but has a difficult time understanding his time may have passed.

“He’s crazier than any of them,” Hopper said in comparing the bizzare-o characters he’s portrayed over a stellar career to this one. “Totally out of control. Phil Spector and I shared offices for 10 years.” Enough said.

While the show is loosely based on the movie, there are new characters introduced and this shouldn’t considered a sequel by any means.

“I hope people are excited by the show and think it has something to offer, but if they’re expecting to see the movie over 13 episodes, they’re not going to see that,” said exec producer Don Cheadle, who co-starred in the theatrical release and may appear in the show at some point. Anger and unresolved issues are the theme for the series.

“We came to the realization the show has to stand on its own. In the movie, we had 90 or 100 minutes to create these characters and resolve their arcs, and now we have 13 episodes. It’s much more exciting for the actors,” Cheadle said.

Crash” showrunner/exec producer Glen Mazzara, an alumnus of “The Shield,” acknowledged the primary challenge of figuring out how to plot the multiple character arcs and how they all intersect.

“With the movie you can have the characters intersect within two hours. Over the course of a show, you can plot out if and when they meet each other. It’s really nice to have the 13 episodes to plot that out. It won’t be a gimmick every week,” Mazzara said.

— STUART LEVINE

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