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August 28, 2015

Harry Hamlin heads to Harper's Island

by Allison Waldman, posted Sep 5th 2008 6:02PM
Hamlin dancingWhen CBS presented their upfront last May, one of the more intriguing dramas was a murder mystery/slasher film/whodunit about a wedding party on a Seattle island. It was called Harper's Island and projected for mid-season. The preview played like a cross between Ten Little Indians and Twin Peaks to me, and I liked what I saw. I certainly plan on giving it a try when it shows up on CBS.

It's still slated for early 2009, only now the actor playing the groom's loud, fun-loving and duplicitous uncle is going to be Harry Hamlin. He has been added to the Harper's Island cast as Marty.

Before you start to think that there's something wrong with this show because of cast changes, think again. In the preview CBS made available for the press, Uncle Marty was played by Bill Pullman, but it turns out that was all for show. The creators of Harper's Island came up with the idea of shooting a preview, casting and filming just the first 15 minutes of the pilot and a few other scenes to throw together as a sales tool. This was all in place of a traditional pilot.

Therefore, most of the actors in that preview were not necessarily going to be in the TV series. Hence, Harry Hamlin is Uncle Marty, not Bill Pullman.

That also goes for Christopher Gorham, as Henry the groom, rather than Ryan Merriman. Gorham's casting means that he will not be returning to Ugly Betty, at least not in the foreseeable future.

I don't know if putting one set of actors in a preview and then switching out for a whole 'nother set of actors is the most Kosher way to sell a pilot. It's kind of a bait-and-switch. But if CBS doesn't care, should I? Don't get me wrong, I think changing an actor from a pilot for one who might be better in the role -- classic example is George Peppard being replaced by John Forsythe in Dynasty -- is a good thing.

All in all, Harry could be a better choice for Uncle Marty than Bill, especially since the role is now being labeled a womanizer. Hamlin has always played a romantic lead. He's been on TV of late with a stint on Veronica Mars as well as a twirl on Dancing with the Stars.

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I saw an episode in Vegas as a screening and it was the worst thing I have ever seen. The acting is so bad and the plot is absurd. I felt like I was watching a B class slasher movie. They take off great shows like Moonlight witout giving it a chance and this is what they come up with? If this makes it past 2 episodes I will be in shock!!

October 27 2008 at 8:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toby O\'B

So long as the general audience never knows about the casting switch, it shouldn't make a difference. It's a different story when a casting change happens after the audience already knows the character.

Of course, these things end finding new life on the internet nowadays, so if they go looking for it, they'll be able to compare the different actors. But then, that's what makes for good DVD extras!

September 05 2008 at 6:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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