‘Billions’ Writers Get Creative in Village Digs – Variety
The action on â€œBillionsâ€ takes place on Wall Street, but the masterminds of the Showtime drama are more comfortable working out of digs in the West Village.Â Brian Koppelman and David Levien, co-creators and showrunners, havenâ€™t been in the space for long, but there are a few cherished mementos representing their partnership.
THE WILD WEST
Koppelman and Levien met as teenagers â€” Brian was 16, David was 14Â½ â€” when they were sent on a summer bus tour of the American West. â€œThat was the summer the two of us became like brothers,â€ Koppelman says. In a Jackson Hole, Wyo., tourist trap, after knowing each other a week, the two donned Old West garb and props for a sepia-tone photo that has survived the years. Levien points out that Koppelman is pointing a gun at him. â€œI donâ€™t think the two guys in that picture ever imagined that hanging out would become our job,â€ Koppelman says.
The 1998 Matt Damon drama â€œRounders,â€ about a poker ace, put Koppelman and Levien on the map. The framed call sheet for the first day of shooting was a gift from a Miramax executive. Director John Dahl was gracious and offered to let the tyro screenwriters observe the entire 44-day shoot as a crash film school course. â€œIt was pre-dawn, in the winter, outside on Manhattan bridge and it was freezing. And it was exciting,â€ Levien recalls. Koppelman says the call sheet reminds them how far theyâ€™ve come. â€œWe wrote this script in a basement with no contacts, no career and no clear prospects. Itâ€™s a great reminder of what we can do when we put our heads together.â€
Wherever Koppelman and Levien find themselves working, thereâ€™s sure to be a football or two lying around. The pair regularly toss a ball back and forth inside their office when they need a break or need to work out a story problem. By now the â€œBillionsâ€ production crew knows to keep a few handy for elaborate location shoots. â€œWeâ€™ll talk about the scene as weâ€™re throwing the football in between set-ups,â€ Levien says.
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