Catching Up with Craig Brewer

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Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer is readjusting to his hometown after a long stay in Southern California working on the pilot to the FX network series Terriers. (Brewer on this Twitter feed this morning: "WAIT! Why wasn't I told that a Chick-Fil-A was built on Union Ave since I've been away? Glory be to God!") And good news has followed him home, as FX announced this week that Terriers has been picked up for a 13-episode season.

The show, a private-eye beach drama created by Ocean's Eleven screenwriter Ted Griffin and produced by The Shield's Shawn Ryan, stars Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James (who had a small role in Brewer's Black Snake Moan). Descriptions of it suggest a promising shaggy quality reminiscent of ’70s series The Rockford Files.

Brewer says he hopes to continue his involvement in the series, but how many — if any — of the remaining first-season episodes he will direct is unclear.

"They definitely want me to [direct more episodes] and I want to," Brewer says. "But I've got some feature projects heating up. I'll know next month. This is my first experience [with starting a television series]. I want to know what it's like working with the writer's room."

Brewer finished the pilot and submitted it just a couple of weeks ago, so greenlighting the entire season was a swift decision for FX.

"I'm happy we hit it on the first try. It was a real quick turnaround," Brewer says.

As Brewer has shepherded Terriers into existence and worked to get a feature project underway, he's also been keeping tabs on $5 Cover: Seattle, currently in post-production under the direction of Seattle filmmaker Lynn Shelton (Humpday). The second, Seattle-based installment in the Brewer-conceived series is going well enough that Brewer and MTV execs are considering other cities for a potential third $5 Cover installment.

Meanwhile, back in town, Brewer is getting ready for a guest appearance with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra Saturday night, an event dubbed "Music as Muse: An Artist's Inspiration." The symphony will perform classical and symphonic works that Brewer has drawn inspiration from, with the filmmaker on hand to provide commentary. Brewer cites West Side Story and Amadeus (a subtle inspiration for Hustle & Flow) as works from which musical selections will be drawn.

Brewer's appearance with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra is 8 p.m. Saturday at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. See memphissymphony.org for more info.

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