What's So Funny About Dementia? Find Out on Blunt Talk

Michael Logan
BLUNT TALK 2015
Cinemax

Most folks would agree that there’s nothing funny about Alzheimer’s disease. But Blunt Talk begs to differ. The irreverent new Starz comedy—set at a struggling cable news channel—hits the road this week when harried producer Rosalie Winter (Jacki Weaver) and her bombastic star newsman, Walter Blunt (Patrick Stewart), go searching for Rosalie’s husband, Teddy (Ed Begley Jr.), who is suffering from dementia and has disappeared somewhere in the Southern California desert.

“Teddy’s condition is certainly sad and tragic, but [creator-executive producer] Jonathan Ames also finds humor and whimsy and sweetness in it—and why the hell not?” Weaver says. “There’s comedy in all of life. I’ve been around deathbeds where some extremely funny things have been said—sometimes by the person who’s dying!”

The in-demand Australian actress has earned two Oscar nominations in the last four years, for Animal Kingdom and Silver Linings Playbook, and has several big films coming up. But she couldn’t refuse Ames. “He took me to lunch and literally got down on his knees like he was proposing marriage and said, ‘Please be in my show!’” Weaver recalls. “How do you say no to that?”

Besides, the gig required very little prep on her part. Weaver was married—twice, actually—to controversial newscaster Derryn Hinch, who, she notes, is “the Australian version of Dan Rather crossed with that guy with the suspenders who used to be on CNN. So I am intimately aware of how the TV-news world works. No research required!”

Blunt Talk, Saturday, Oct. 3  9/8c, Starz