"This story wasn't going away," said David Simon explaining his persistence in making the six-part mini series, Show Me a Hero, he co wrote with William F. Zorzi based on Lisa Belkin's 1999 book. The story in question is about chaos in Yonkers in the late '80s over desegregation in housing. Yes, the '80s are already fodder for nostalgia -- think shoulder pads -- but the issue of race remains hot, the headlines continuing to scream injustice. In the Yonkers version of the story, a story of race in America reverberated in other David Simon projects for HBO like The Wire and Treme, a single character, Nick Wasicsko stands out. Elected mayor at age 28 on his platform against the affordable housing mandated to be built in middle class neighborhoods -- read: whites forced to live with blacks -- he changes heart.
Oscar Isaac who plays Nick posed for pictures with guests at the special screening and party at the Times Center this week. With his bedroom eyes and brooding looks he embodies the imperfections of this hero, in some ways like his character in this year's A Most Violent Year by way of Al Pacino. He has great chemistry with Carla Quevedo, the Argentinian actress name who plays his wife. She practiced the show's special Yonkers' accent with a speech coach. Many from the cast, Bob Balaban, Winona Ryder, Peter Riegert, Dominique Fishback, and La Tanya Richardson Jackson partied with Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee, and Katie Couric. The '80s being recent history, Nick's real life widow Nay Noe was present, as was Maureen Dorman-Lutz, daughter of a housing protestor played by Catherine Keener. Hero's director Paul Haggis, brilliant at projects involving the braiding of multiple plot lines, like his Academy Award winning Crash, held sway at a table of models. Cast and crew were gearing up for the next night's challenge, a special screening in Yonkers.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.