The miniseries Mosaic that airs on HBO is the result of a three-year process triggered by an idea by Steven Soderbergh.
The Oscar-winning director was inspired by the innovative exploration of stories a more interactive experience with the narrative, so he started with a prototype of 10 minutes. The film of the proposal, entitled The Departure saw a couple enter the lobby of a hotel where even a seemingly innocent person appeared. However, when arriving at the same event from different perspectives, the incident was not so innocent. Soderbergh filmed it one day and then he and his partner Casey Silver built a new technology for the story.
The final result, according to the writer of Mosaic Ed Solomon, was that Soderbergh thought the experiment was great.
"I got a call and he said: 'Hey, are you interested in trying to get a bigger idea?'" Says Solomon The Hollywood Reporter .
And that's how the idea of Mosaic began to take shape.
On Monday, the linear version of Mosaic comes to HBO as a six-part miniseries. Broadcast in five nights – with a final episode of two episodes on January 26 – the mystery of the murder follows the disappearance of the famous children's author Olivia Lake, played by Sharon Stone, and the subsequent investigation of the police and civilians of a picturesque Utah community that try to discover the truth about what happened.
The miniseries is developed chronologically, with flashbacks used to follow the characters both in the past and in the present. As is typical in all television series, there is a beginning, middle and end.
The story, however, was conceived as an interactive mobile experience, the first of its kind to be produced by Soderbergh and the Silver & # 39; s PodOp company. and actually it was released in its intended form two months before the HBO debut. (The application Mosaic is now available for download on iOS and Android, and can be seen on the desktop here.)
When Soderbergh approached Solomon about the idea after his experiment was a success, the writer of Men in Black and Bill and Ted fame told Soderbergh that he was intrigued by the idea of someone investigating a murder and realizing that the culprit I could not have committed the crime. Soderbergh said he wanted to make a story in an isolated town that focuses on a woman who is a "bigger than life" character, a person who enters a room and "molecules polarize around her". She is murdered and a few years later, something happens when the case is reopened.
The couple took ideas for a year before getting going. By June 2015, "we had hundreds, hundreds, and hundreds of scenes on this wall," says Solomon of the whiteboard plaster with multi-colored tiles that contained the scenes that would make up Mosaic & # 39; s history. "He said: & # 39; We shoot in November & # 39; and I'm thinking: I have 500 pages to write in November."
Solomon wrote a script for the application and the HBO versions and its outline was written chronologically. He then transferred the scenes to the handwritten tabs: "We sat in the middle of the room, threw the tabs and decided the correct narration order for the application version, which was different from the chronological order of the events. It gave us a good basis to go back to the beginning and reconstruct the story. "
In the original script, the character "bigger than life" was given the name of Sharon, as Solomon and Soderbergh imagined Stone in the role. "Initially we called the character Sharon because we thought:" Who would be perfect for this part? ", Recalls Solomon, adding that his first message to Soderbergh about the project was about Stone. "Then, when we realized that Sharon [Stone] was going to do it, of course we had to change the character's name [to Olivia Lake]"
After Stone, the rest of the cast was filled. Garett Hedlund plays the would-be artist Olivia intends to make his child-toy, Joel Hurley, Fred Weller plays the crook of Olivia turned into lover Eric Neal, Jennifer Ferrin is the sister of Neal, Petra and Devin Ratray plays the police local Nate Henry. Beau Bridges and Paul Reubens also complete the cast.
Rolled Mosaic in two parts in Park City and Salt Lake City, beginning with the story of the time spent in the fall of 2015, followed by the current sequences in early 2016. Soderbergh encouraged the cast to alter his appearances during the three-month break to help distinguish between the two scripts.
"I wrote the first part, 265 pages, and then we started filming past stories," recalls Solomon. So many ideas while we were filming that they see added around 100 pages. Because the format was very new and because there was no background for this type of narrative, we were inventing as we went along. We kept getting ideas while we were going. "When they returned for the second part of the shoot, the script had 500 pages, the cast called it" tomo. "
Since the application version is told through the branching narrative to show multiple perspectives, the same scene was filmed several times at the rapid pace of Soderbergh: "Sometimes, in one day, we filmed the same scene in three different moments from three different points of view," he says, and the actors received individualized scripts They only knew their own story and how the story ends from their character's perspective.
"We had to create characters that, no matter where they are in the story, could be worthy of their own movie. Each character in the story could be the protagonist, "says Solomon. We did not want them to know what their character did not know. "The order not to share stories until the end of filming was an easy order because, as Solomon jokes:" All the actors basically think they are the star of each movie in which they are They found "
The rest of 2015 belonged to the process of editing and creating technology for the application and, once the filming was complete, the pair began to address the linear version for HBO.
" We knew from the beginning that we had to do a linear cut, so, how do we do it? "says Solomon." We did not want it to look like you could just say history in any direction; We wanted to make sure that, regardless of the direction chosen, it was an optimized story. That you were seeing the best story for that point of view. So we also thought we would develop something to tell the story in a traditional television format. "
In response, Soderbergh reconstructed the HBO version from scratch." From the footage, he created a new story, "says Solomon.
The result is a subjective narrative version, similar to a rabbit story in the application, and a more objective and omniscient development of the events in the linear miniseries. , the latter being the "cut" of Soderbergh.The application has almost eight hours of content to explore, while the mini-series develops more than six episodes.In the application, the viewer selects the POV of a character and follows it through the story.
"The two versions are totally different narrative experiences of the same set of events" he explains: "The application version is very subjective about it. In the application, the viewer selects a character's point of view and follows it through the story. When you go through the end of the "line" of a certain character, you can not, like the character, have the complete image or the entire mosaic "
No matter which version the viewers see first, Solomon wants to clarify one thing: no go and return.
"There is material in the application that is not in the linear program; there is material in the linear program that is not in the application, "he says, distributing a difference of 10 to 15 percent in the content of each end. For the application, we wanted to design a story that would be different depending on the perspective it took, even though it is the same event. It's not that if you make a choice, the character lives and if you do another, they die, the application is not "choose your own adventure". People often ask what they should look at first. Personally I would suggest that anyone who chooses to do, do it instead of going back and forth, as they are structured differently. "
If viewers should look at both versions, it's up to them, says Solomon, who then jokes:" If you have problems to choose, then I tell him to do the broadcast version, since the version of the application is about choosing. "
But one version has a more definitive ending than the other.
" True things are more definitive in one and a little less definitive in the other. That's not for people to say, "Yes, but in the application that happens and in the HBO series that happens, then, therefore, blah, blah." People could do that, but the truth is that the reality of the linear cut version is the reality of the linear cut version and the reality of the application is the reality of the application. That's why going to the middle of one and taking a look at the other will actually ruin it. "
Solomon jokes that making a" normal movie "seems so easy now:" A story that only has 105 pages? That's nothing! "In fact, he and Soderbergh are already working on their next interactive project, now he says he's ready for people to explore the final versions of Mosaic and sees Stone as the character he worked so hard to close to create on the screen.
"Delivering something to someone is a great moment and she just crushed it," says Solomon about his star. "We are both aware of how we had each other when we filmed." I think we both felt that we were feeding something that was very tender, raw and powerful and, for both of us, significant. "
Mosaic debuted on January 22 at 8 pm on HBO; Deliveries will be issued at 8 pm on January 23, 24 and 25, and the final two episodes will air on January 26. The application is now available for download on iOS and Android and on watchmosaic.com.