"Whether it's comedy or drama, tell the truth. And whatever your truth is, tell it as boldly and as loudly as you can get away with."
About This Interview
In his three-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Tom Fontana talks about his early life, being a theater major in college, and deciding he wanted to be a writer. He describes being "discovered" by Bruce Paltrow and Blythe Danner, which led to him writing for the critically acclaimed NBC series St. Elsewhere. He recounts his time on St. Elsewhere, recalling the cast, various classic episodes, the comedic and dramatic aspects of the show, and its now-infamous finale. He discuses his time writing and producing Homicide: Life on the Street for Barry Levinson, detailing the filming of the series in Baltimore, the network's reaction to the series, and classic episodes including "The Subway." Fontana speaks of creating Oz for HBO, and chronicles the extensive research he did in prisons to write it. He also recalls the cast of Oz, the nearly complete lack of censorship on the show, and the end of the series in 2003. He recounts his experience of being in New York City on September 11, 2001, and describes writing for America: A Tribute to Heroes, as well as his then-current projects. Karen Herman conducted on June 30, 2009 the interview in New York, NY.