Arts & Entertainment

'Battle Creek' cast scouts city

July 18, 2014
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'Breaking Bad' creator focuses on 'Battle Creek' for CBS
The CBS drama “Battle Creek” portrays Battle Creek police officers on the small screen. Photo via battlecreekmi.gov

Battle Creek is becoming a star magnet.

"Battle Creek"

CBS' new police series "Battle Creek" is being filmed in Los Angeles, but its cast is making pilgrimages to Battle Creek to soak up the atmosphere.

Kal Penn visited, going on a ride-along with officers and observing in the squad room.

Josh Duhamel planned to take a red-eye flight Friday to gather his own impressions of Battle Creek, he told a TV critics' meeting Thursday. He's traveling solo, leaving wife Fergie and their baby behind for the weekend, the actor said.

He should receive a warm welcome: Penn said everyone he met was "super nice" and excited about the series created by Vince Gilligan ("Breaking Bad").

"Battle Creek" stars Duhamel and Dean Winters as odd-couple law enforcement partners.

Marinating idea

Gilligan, who came up with idea more than a decade ago, was asked if he could have imagined that his five years spent building AMC's "Breaking Bad" into a hit could have led to the revival of his dormant script.

"Yes, I saw it all coming," Gilligan said, tongue firmly in cheek. Then he got serious.

"Not even remotely did I see the success of 'Breaking Bad,'" he said.

When he came up with the idea for "Battle Creek" 12 years ago, "I thought I'd be lucky if I wasn't living in half of a double-wide."

"Battle Creek," which also features Janet McTeer, Edward Fordham, Jr. and Aubrey Dollar, will air in mid season.

Because Gilligan's attention is being consumed by the "Breaking Bad" prequel, "Better Call Saul," David Shore ("House") was brought in as the showrunner.

It was the combination of Gilligan and Shore that helped sell him on the show, said Winters, whose credits include "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and the "Mayhem" character in TV commercials for an insurance company.

Series television

Shore put him on the spot, saying Winters was initially reluctant to sign on to a network series.

"I had a terrible experience the year before and I said, 'Never again,'" Winters said, not specifying the program or the details.

Duhamel, who spent five years on the TV drama "Las Vegas," said he was aware of how much commitment a series can require. That didn't deter him, he said, but he had to make sure he was excited about the project and the people he'd be working with.

Taping the show in L.A. was a bonus.

"I have a little one now and wanted to be there as often as I can," Duhamel said of his nearly 1-year-old son, Axl Jack.

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