Auctions have never seemed particularly exciting, always depicted as stuffy affairs where the well-to-do raise paddles against other well-to-dos in a tit-for-tat for some overly priced sculpture. But in Crackle’s The Art of More, the stuffy setting becomes the nexus for violence, corruption and various betrayals. Who knew? Cary Elwes and Dennis Quaid co-star as two of those well-to-dos, navigating the ins and outs of the art world in an effort to boost their own political capital. Their characters are shrouded in mystery – and season two of the series (set to premiere tomorrow) slowly pulls back the curtain on just what makes them tick.
In the following interview with Quaid and Elwes, the duo discusses the art of forgery, the tonal shift of season two and their character’s hidden agendas. For the full interview, read below.
(Note: the following interview was conducted at the Los Cabos International Film Fest which ran from November 9th to the 13th)
The art world and the auction world are so foreign to me. Were you both at all familiar with it?
Cary Elwes: I grew up in the art world. My mother was an interior designer. My father was a portrait painter. My grandfather was a portrait painter. I used to go to a lot of auctions with my mom for antiques so I grew up in this world. The issues felt really comfortable for me.
Did you learn anything new while doing this part?
Elwes: I had my first auction last year and I bought an item at Julien’s Auction House. It was nerve wracking… I really wanted the piece.
Dennis Quaid: Was that the Ringo piece?
Elwes: It was.
What was it?
Elwes: I bought a Peter Blake [portrait] of Ringo, but I thought I was going to lose it so it was this touch and go moment. I now understand the excitement of an auction.
Have you ever been to an auction, Dennis?
Quaid: I’ve been to them. Yeah. But I didn’t grow up in the art world…
Is there some trick to knowing the real thing from a forgery?
Elwes: The professionals who do the job of authenticating artwork are incredible. What they do in terms of collecting paint and studying the pigment and analyzing what year that paint was made. All of that. The oil. The canvas. The wood. All of it. It’s a painstaking process but fascinating because we’re still finding forgeries every month.
Quaid: They’re the original pirates. There’s this new technology they come up with to make [the forgeries] look even more real.
Elwes: Some of these forgers have paid their debt to society and come out and become famous painters in their own right. There’s one artist whose name I can’t recall right now who was famous for being able to match anyone. He could do Degat, Matisse… Paint in anyone’s style.
I think F is For Fake — the Orson Welles movie…
Elwes: Yeah – I think that was that guy [Elmyr de Hory]. His artwork now go’s for millions. So how about that?
Tonally – how similar is Season Two of The Art of More to Season One?
Quaid: In season one, everyone was out to get something that they desired and coveted and no one got what they wanted in the end. Season two – it’s more interior. It’s about the other side of the characters. The hidden part of them. For instance: you find out that I have a daughter, whose comes to live with me. It brings out different things in Brukner. He’s humbled by not having success in the political arena and he’s been lying low…
Did you know in Season One that you had a daughter?
Quaid: Well – I knew. I came up with a backstory.
How much does the backstory you create influence where the show goes?
Quaid: We all have a say where our characters are going. There comes a point where you know your character better than the writer does. So that’s when it really becomes fun to work with the writer. To find out the path, where it’s all going…
What storylines did you influence, Cary?
Elwes: As Dennis said – the first season set up the show and the parameters and what the show is about. This season we now explore the characters – so whatever they were hiding in season one, we’re now finding out exactly what it is they were hiding in season two.
Did you know what you were hiding when making season one?
Elwes: Yeah we did.
Quaid: There was a hint of it.
Elwes: We always make sure we go over in great detail with [series creator] Chuck [Rose] and the other writers exactly what the arc is for that season and where it’s going to take us in the next season. That way we’re not operating in the dark. But that’s the genius of television. In film – you have two hours or so to explore a character. In TV – you have…
Quaid: Hopefully fifty.
Elwes: Hopefully from his lips to God’s ears. That’s the beauty of television. You really do get to explore characters in greater depth and detail. You really get to flex [your] muscles a bit and explore in great depth.
The Art of More Season 2 is available now on Crackle.