Charlie David director of Shadowlands

on set of Shadowlands with Director Charlie David

Charlie David is the director, writer and producer of the Shadowlands series.  Shadowlands was his first time directing a scripted show so we sat down to discover the highs and lows of the process.

Shadowlands is available on OUTtv and OUTtvGO in Canada and on Vimeo for our friends around the world.

What was your inspiration for these three stories?

Charlie David: I’ve always loved Greek and Roman mythology and really used that passion as a springboard to write my book of short stories, also titled Shadowlands.  

And in terms of cinema I appreciate a well crafted anthology film. I saw Wild Tales by director Damián Szifron and it was so incredibly well done. It inspired me to revisit my stories in Shadowlands and re-imagine them for the screen.

Why did you opt for this triptych style of presentation?

Charlie David:  I’m sure the rule and magic of the number three has been ingrained in many of us from a religious standpoint – every major religion has numerological references and ‘3’ being ever present among them.  

I think it’s also inherent to human psychology to understand that there is a natural order to the number three.  Our modern and ancient story structure is most often presented in a three act structure – whether that’s television, film, books or other media.  

There’s something innately satisfying when that triptych structure works – it leaves us feeling a sense of completion.  And when it’s not followed, that’s often when we walk out of a film or set down a book once finished reading and feeling complacent, unmoved or unchanged.  

The playwrights in Ancient Greece wrote for their audience to experience catharsis, they wanted to invoke an emotional response in the people watching because that’s how to incite change.  An emotional response will provoke conversation after you leave the movie theatre, turn off the TV or put down a book.  

To me that is our goal as creators – to leave our audience moved, educated, and emotionally open.  In ancient Greece they held a large festival called the Dionysia and three full days were devoted to the performances of three playwrights – each presenting a set of three tragedies.  

My inspiration for many of the Shadowlands stories both in the book and the TV miniseries were these ancient myths.  Though I’ve told them in modern settings, I still wanted to honor as many details as I could from their story roots and that included their presentation in a tragic trilogy.

What’s the connection between the three stories that form Shadowlands?

Charlie David: Shadowlands is an anthology style series that explores love in three separate stories – a couple renegotiating a relationship, a narcissist grasping to comprehend it, and star-crossed lovers mourning its loss.

The series begins in 1928 with Alex, a plastic surgeon hell-bent on perfection, hosting a house party with an assortment of colorful guests.  Amid romantic misfires it becomes apparent that the only person Alex is interested in is himself.

Fast forward to 1951 and a gay military couple exploring the idea of opening their relationship while on a remote camping trip when they encounter a mysterious stranger.

The stories conclude in 2018 with a painter who in mourning the loss of his lover, becomes obsessed with creating a realistic painting of him.  The resulting piece is so beautiful and life like that he is drawn under its spell.

What does Shadowlands tell us about love?

Charlie David: Love to me is like the face of God or of the unknown.  It’s a multi-faceted diamond and each way you turn it in the light you will see something different.

In Shadowlands I’ve explored three stories of characters gazing into different sides of this multi-faceted diamond.  Each of them is seeing and experiencing love, the loss or expansion of love in a different way.  Just as I hope each person who watches the show will see aspects known and unknown to them reflected back.

The first story, Narcissus is really about someone who has not exercised his emotional toolbox enough to comprehend empathy and love – like many of us in our youth.

The second story, Mating Season is about a couple negotiating the often prickly subject of non-monogamy or polyamory.  Is it possible to fully love another but also have room in your heart to expand beyond the traditional norms of our society?  Does the addition of new experiences diminish the already present love in a relationship or can it multiply it?

The final story, Pygmalion Revisited is about the tragic loss of love – something that all of us will face in life whether it be a family member, friend or lover.

What was the production process? How long to write? How long to film? Was it difficult to find the locations you needed?

Charlie David:  I wrote the Shadowlands book over the course of a year.  The adaptations for screen took another year in writing amid doing several other projects.  Pre-production including financing, development, casting, and all the other myriad jobs that go into prepping a show took another 6 months.  We filmed a total of 20 days. Editing and post production was 6 months.  

The locations were challenging to find.  I had a vision in mind and if you have a massive budget that’s one thing – you can just go into studio and build sets until you get it right.  But that wasn’t the case here.  

I had restrictions based on my funding that required I shoot outside of the Toronto studio zone, in fact at least an hour’s drive outside Toronto in any direction so my scouting consisted of a lot of road trips to various other cities and towns in Ontario to try find what I was hoping for.  

In the end I’m super happy with our locations and there really are so many inspiring places.  More often than not, even when I didn’t find the perfect match for Shadowlands, I’d find myself feeling the inspiration for other stories in these smaller cities and beautiful landscapes.

What was the casting process?

Charlie David:  I worked with Jason Stroud from Fade to Black casting and we saw a lot of actors based in Toronto.  That’s one of my favorite parts of the film making process.  As an actor myself, working as a producer and director has given me so much insight into production.  

I can’t tell you how many times you have really equally talented people as options for the same role and it comes down to the most inane things – a comment on hairstyle from a network exec, height matching with another actor, the list goes on.  

If you’re an actor reading this, please just keep bringing your authentic self to the work and when you’re done the audition leave it at the door. There are so many factors that come into casting that are absolutely subjective.  The toughest lesson an actor has to learn is to not take the rejection personally, to disintegrate the ego – there’s going to be a lot of rejection no matter who you are – most of the time it has absolutely nothing to do with you.  

That’s why I think actors are some of the craziest people on the planet and why I love them so much. They pay for ongoing classes, they spend hours memorizing and living other people’s words in preparation for auditions, they drive all over town repeatedly to go to job interview after job interview, they are constantly physically and emotionally scrutinized.  Most have multiple jobs to simply juggle the demands of living in a major city in order to pursue their passion and the lucky few actually get to work from time to time.

It’s also why I think it’s incredibly important to continue creating scripted content with an LGBTQ+ focus.  Most of us within this space are still learning the ropes, we’re still figuring it out because we’re finally getting the green lights and more importantly finally giving ourselves the green lights to actually go out and make the stories we want to make – the ones where we see ourselves and our lives reflected on the screen.

What do you hope that people feel when watching Shadowlands?

Charlie David:  Something.  Just something!  Seriously, I never want to inform or telegraph to an audience what they should feel.  My goal when creating is to make you think outside of your comfort zone.  I want to push the envelope and as Rumi so perfectly stated, to go ‘Out beyond the ideas of right and wrong, there is a field.  I’ll meet you there.’

Who are some of your film heroes or inspirations?

Charlie David:  Xavier Dolan.  Absolutely.  He’s my fellow Canadian director of course and the guy is brilliant.  He knows fashion, pop culture, has so much emotional depth and just understands what makes us tick.

I’ve watched and re-watched all his films many times and they never stop teaching me about the art of film-making.  When he was making his latest film, The Life and Death of John F. Donovan I was asked to come photo double and stand-in for Kit Harington. I jumped at the opportunity because even though I wouldn’t be acting in the film myself, it was an incredible learning opportunity.  I got to be in the room during the rehearsals and blocking with the director, cinematographer and actors.  

And since Kit was the lead, his scenes were with Kathy Bates, Susan Sarandon, Michael Gambon, and Jessica Chastain to name a few of the star-studded cast.  The film was also shot on film so that was an exciting process to witness.  

To see how many hours would go into lighting a shot, the decisions to have a star like Jessica Chastain film all these scenes and then ultimately be edited out of the film, to really know what your vision is so completely and instinctively that you won’t proceed until it’s right.  

That’s how Xavier Dolan works and it’s humbling, provocative and just really fucking cool to watch. Obviously I don’t compare the level I’m working at with Xavier’s  – they are apples and oranges in terms of budget, scope and talent.  I’m just really grateful for the opportunity to witness and work in that arena once in a while as it’s incredibly inspiring.


What next for Charlie David?

Charlie David:  A camping trip with friends. I love the great outdoors.  😉 In my work life – there’s always lots of projects on the go.  Right now I’m producing a dating show, a cooking show, 2 documentaries and writing my next scripted show.  You can stay up to date with me on my social and website.

Website: https://border2border.ca
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/border2border/vod_pages
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/MrCharlieDavid
Twitter: https://twitter.com/charliedavid
FB: https://facebook.com/charliedavid
Instagram: https://instagram.com/mrcharliedavid

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Shadowlands TV series

Marc Devigne and Charlie David in Shadowlands

SHADOWLANDS TV SERIES – Director Statement

Are you wondering where to watch the Shadowlands TV series?

IN CANADA – You can use this **1month free promocode and share with your family, friends, on your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and with your UberEats delivery dude:

FREE MONTH OF OUTtvGO.com
https://www.outtvgo.com/

Step 1: Create new account (email, Facebook or Google)
Step 2: Click Redeem Promocode
Step 3: Type: SHADOWLANDS

**This will give you a month free. It must be used on a monthly subscription and won’t work on an annual subscription.

For all our international friends – please rent Shadowlands TV series here!

Format  The Shadowlands TV series is a miniseries of three episodes by director Charlie David exploring love –a narcissist grasping to comprehend it (Ep. 1 Narcissus), a couple renegotiating a relationship (Ep. 2 Mating Season) and star-crossed lovers mourning its loss (Ep. 3 Pygmalion Revisited).

The stories transition from one to the next in an anthology fashion and may be watched together and thought of as one film.  (Such as in Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Four Rooms or Damian Szifron’s Wild Tales.)

Each episode in the Shadowlands TV series has a companion digital media component such as music videos or an exploration of the artists and technicians involved. 

SHADOWLANDS TV SERIES EPISODE 1: NARCISSUS

Shadowlands TV series Narcissus bed

Synopsis – Alex, a plastic surgeon hell bent on perfection, hosts a house party with an assortment of colorful guests.  Amid romantic misfires it becomes apparent that the only person Alex is interested in is himself.

Theme – The pursuit of perfection may become deadly when left unchecked.  This theme is explored in a less extreme fashion in Director Charlie David‘s documentary STUDlebrity.

 Setting  – Mansion.  Era is modern but with the influence of 1920’s Berlin.  People exploring their sexual freedom and new cosmetic surgeries in the pursuit of perfection. 

Companion webisode – In the companion webisode, we explore the costume design in Narcissus.    

SHADOWLANDS TV SERIES EPISODE 2: MATING SEASON  Oscar Moreno in Shadowlands TV series

Synopsis – A couple explore the idea of opening their relationship while on a remote camping trip when they encounter a mysterious stranger.

Theme – In every culture since time began there have been stories of apparitions. The causes of such phenomena are continually under speculation. It seems that no matter how much data, first-hand accounts and theories are collected, the question ‘Do Ghosts Exist’ is one that may never be answered…

Setting  – 1951 post WWII forest

Companion webisode: In the companion webisode, we’ll explore the history of the WWII hit song, My Buddy.  A male duet of the song was recorded for the soundtrack as well as a music video featuring clips from Mating Season.  

SHADOWLANDS TV SERIES EPISODE 3: PYGMALION REVISITED

Marc Devigne and Charlie David in Shadowlands
Marc Devigne and Charlie David in Shadowlands TV series episode 3 ‘Pygmalion Revisited’

Synopsis – Rudy is a painter who in mourning the loss of his lover and becomes obsessed with creating a realistic painting of him. The resulting piece is so beautiful, so life like that he is drawn under its spell.

Theme – Star-crossed lovers whose romance is cut short by the shears of fate.

Setting  – Present day artist’s loft.   

 Companion webisode: The companion webisode is a behind the scenes look at the creation of the life-size paintings and how the VFX team brought it to life.    

A music video, Ça va, featuring actor and singer Marc Devigne was also created utilizing clips from the Pygmalion Revisited episode.

THE WORLD of the SHADOWLANDS TV SERIES

Shadowlands is a fantasy world much like our own but where there are paranormal occurrences.

Each episode is in the Shadowlands TV series its own microcosm.  The characters and stories do not overlap directly BUT there are ‘Easter Eggs’ for our audience in the form of allusions to the other stories/worlds in each episode.

This may be in the appearance of a minor character in two stories.  Or within set décor, music or a prop.  For example:

SHADOWLANDS TV SERIES EASTER EGGS

Shadowlands Easter Egg 1:  The character of Percy Katt (Brian Michael Jensen) belongs in the world of NARCISSUS but in the film festival version of Shadowlands – switches a record on the gramophone with the episode titles to segue between each story.   

Shadowlands TV show Gramophone Percy Katt Narcissus

Gramophones are hidden throughout the Shadowlands TV show episodes.

Shadowlands Easter Egg 2: Gramophones can also be spotted in one of two black and white photographs depicted as Alex (Sean C. Dwyer) by Durban artist Andreas Chasomeris from his photographic collection titled ‘The Gray Scale 1946”.   These hang on either side of the mirror in his dungeon in NARCISSUS.

Gramophone seen in photos of Alex in his dungeon scenes in Shadowlands ‘Narcissus’
Shadowlands 'Narcissus' starring Sean C. Dwyer as Alex.
Alex (Sean C. Dwyer) in his dungeon in Shadowlands ‘Narcissus’

Shadowlands Easter Egg 3: A gramophone can also be spotted in a painting titled DARE NOT (2014) by South African artist Andreas Chasomeris in PYGMALION REVISITED which hangs by Rudy and Xavier’s bed.

Dare Not by Andreas Chomeris. Painting in the gay TV series Shadowlands
Charlie David as Rudy in Shadowlands ‘Pygmalion Revisited’

Shadowlands Easter Egg 4: The man flying fishing in the opening montage of ‘Mating Season’ is seen at the eccentric house party in ‘Narcissus’.

Jim Garrow as Fly Fisherman in Shadowlands TV series episode 1 Narcissus and episode 2 Mating Season
Fly Fisherman (Jim Garrow) in the Mating Season episode of Shadowlands
Alex (Sean C. Dwyer) and Fly Fisherman (Jim Garrow) in Shadowlands ‘Narcissus’

Shadowlands Easter Egg 5: In MATING SEASON, the characters Matteo (Oscar Moreno) and Will (Nicolas James Wilson) are negotiating their relationship and end up having a threesome with Daniel (Vasilios Filippakis).  This episode endorses the idea of non-monogamy and polyamory.

The threesome scene in the Mating Season episode of Shadowlands

The character of Alex (Sean C. Dwyer) in NARCISSUS makes disparaging remarks about the Bunny Boys (Basil Hendy & Kato Alexander) and their sexual proclivities in the dungeon.  Alex ultimately punishes the Bunny Boys for ‘behaving like a couple of swine.’  In this episode non-monogamy is challenged.

Kato Alexander and Basil Hendy as the Bunny Boys with Alex (Sean C. Dwyer) in the Narcissus episode of the gay TV series Shadowlands

Shadowlands Easter Egg 6: The theme of war is explored in MATING SEASON with Daniel (Vasilios Filippakis) receiving a dishonorable discharge in the form of a blue ticket.  Will (Nicolas James Wilson) has a monologue about what scares him about his job as a sailor.

Shadowlands TV series episode 3 'Mating Season'
Oscar Moreno, Nicolas James Wilson and Vasilios Filippakis in Shadowlands TV series episode 3 ‘Mating Season’

War is also a theme in NARCISSUS.  Thalia (Natasha Balakrishnan) urges Alex (Sean C. Dwyer) that life before the war (allusion to WWI) wasn’t perfect and neither were any of us.  Alex’s relentless pursuit of perfection to fix people (beginning with amputee soldiers and mustard gas victims) takes on a life of its own in the roaring 1920’s of Berlin.

Shadowlands TV series Narcissus
Narcissus with Sean C. Dwyer and Natasha Balkrishnan

Shadowlands Easter Egg 7: The cinematography in MATING SEASON of an overhead view of Matteo (Oscar Moreno) and Will (Nicolas James Wilson) laying perpendicular on a blanket while they agree to open their relationship is mirrored in PYGMALION REVISITED with Rudy (Charlie David) and Xavier (Marc Devigne) in a memory sequence.  Rudy is likening their relationship to Greek myth with the line, ‘Eros and Psyche intertwined under the heavy branches of an olive tree, blissfully unaware of the passage of centuries.’

Matteo (Oscar Moreno) and Will (Nicolas James Wilson) in Shadowlands ‘Mating Season’
Xavier (Marc Devigne) and Rudy (Charlie David) in the Pygmalion Revisited episode of the Shadowlands TV series.

Shadowlands Easter Egg 8: MATING SEASON is at its core a classic ghost story. 

Shadowlands TV series Mating Season

The theme of apparitions is echoed in PYGMALION REVISITED in Rudy’s dream as well as in his flashbacks of the film he and Xavier were watching on their movie night. 

The film is The Terror (1963) in which Lt. Andre Duvalier (Jack Nicholson) is haunted by the Ghost of Ilsa (Sandra Knight) who ultimately drives Baron Victor Frederick Von Leppe (Boris Karloff) to suicide from his guilt.

Shadowlands episode 3 'Pygmalion Revisited' The Ghost of Ilsa (Sandra Knight) who ultimately drives Baron Victor Frederick Von Leppe (Boris Karloff)
The Ghost of Ilsa (Sandra Knight) who ultimately drives Baron Victor Frederick Von Leppe (Boris Karloff)

Shadowlands Easter Egg 9: The castle spires seen in The Terror (1963) movie are echoed by the spires of the church that Rudy (Charlie David) walks into in PYGMALION REVISITED.

Shadowlands series - church spires from film The Terror 1963
Shadowlands series – church spires from film The Terror 1963
Shadowlands series - church spires
Church spires seen in Shadowlands TV series episode 3 ‘Pygmalion Revisited’.

Shadowlands Easter Egg 10: Thalia (Natasha Balakrishnan) is given a copper box with white Calla Lilies hiding a revolver in NARCISSUS.   

Thalia (Natasha Balakrishnan) receives Calla Lilies in Shadowlands episode 1 Narcissus
Thalia (Natasha Balakrishnan) receives Calla Lilies in Shadowlands episode 1 Narcissus

In the dungeon scenes in NARCISSUS there are red Calla Lilies laying on the table in which Alex (Sean C. Dwyer) keeps his torture tools.

Calla lilies in Shadowlands TV series episode 3 Pygmalion Revisited
Calla lilies in Shadowlands episode 3 Pygmalion Revisited

In PYGMALION REVISITED, Xavier (Marc Devigne) requests Rudy (Charlie David) to have Calla Lilies at his funeral because ‘they’re my favorite, but you already knew that.’  Calla Lilies figure prominently around Rudy and Xavier’s loft in PYGMALION REVISITED and ultimately Rudy paints Xavier holding one in his final painting.

Shadowlands TV series Pygmalion Revisited

Calla lily at the end of Shadowlands Pygmalion Revisited
Calla lily at the end of Shadowlands Pygmalion Revisited

Shadowlands Easter Egg 11: A painting that sits sideways in Rudy and Xavier’s loft in PYGMALION REVISITED is a reference to Alex in NARCISSUS.  It is titled ‘The Devil is…1931’ (2015) by Andreas Chasomeris and is another allusion to the roaring 20s in Berlin.  On the wall behind the man in the painting is a poster of the Marlene Dietrich film The Devil is a Woman (1935). 

The Devil is 1939 by South African artist Andreas Chomeris featured in Shadowlands episodes Narcissus and Pygmalion Revisited.
The Devil is a Woman starring Marlene Dietrich

Shadowlands Easter Egg 12: The Bunny Boys (Basil Hendy & Kato Alexander) are tied up in Alex’s dungeon in NARCISSUS. 

Shadowlands TV series Narcissus Kato Alexander and Basil Hendy
The bunny boys (Kato Alexander and Basil Hendy) are kept captive by Alex (Sean C. Dwyer)

In PYGMALION REVISITED there is a painting of two men tied up beside Xavier & Rudy’s bed.  It’s open to interpretation whether one man is tying up or untying the other.  On one of the man’s shirtsleeves is sewn a pink triangle – a sign meant to identify and demoralize homosexuals, similar to the Star of David for the Jewish people, that the Nazis enforced in the lead up to WWII.  

Finally in this painting there is a gramophone in the corner of the room.  The gramophone and changing of the record by Percy Katt (Brian Michael Jensen) is the first image we see in NARCISSUS as well as a recurring motif in the film festival version of SHADOWLANDS.   The painting is titled DARE NOT (2014) and is by South African artist Andreas Chasomeris as part of his 1939 show.  

Dare Not by painter Andreas Chomeris featured in the Shadowlands episode Pygmalion Revisited.

Shadowlands Easter Egg 13: Xavier (Marc Devigne) has left the painting in the final frames of PYGMALION REVISITED.  He’s crossed over from death to life and tragically Rudy (Charlie David) has crossed from life to death. 

Xavier exits the painting in Shadowlands TV series
Xavier exits the painting in Shadowlands TV series

There is hope for their ultimate reunion by way of a painting of two naked men in an embrace which the camera slowly pulls out from in the opening party montage in NARCISSUS.  The painting was originally created in 2007 by Scottsdale, Arizona artist James Angel for Charlie David’s film MULLIGANS in which his character Chase also plays a painter. 

Charlie David as the young painter ‘Chase’ in his film Mulligans.
Shadowlands Narcissus – the Easter Egg painting by James Angel originally seen in Charlie David’s film Mulligans.

Shadowlands Easter Egg 14: The song ‘Ça va’ written by Montreal musician Michael Daniel Murphy and performed in PYGMALION REVISITED by Xavier (Marc Devigne) is also hummed by Alex (Sean C. Dwyer) in NARCISSUS after he kills the Bunny Boys.

Shadowlands Easter Egg 15: Thalia (Natasha Balakrishnan) threatens suicide by lethal injection in NARCISSUS. 

Thalia threatens suicide by lethal injection in Shadowlands TV show episode 1 Narcissus
Thalia threatens suicide by lethal injection in Shadowlands episode 1 Narcissus

Rudy (Charlie David) assists Xavier’s (Marc Devigne) death and ultimately commits suicide in PYGMALION REVISITED.

Assisted death in Shadowlands TV series episode 3 Pygmalion Revisited
Assisted death in Shadowlands episode 3 Pygmalion Revisited
Suicide in Shadowlands TV series episode 3 Pygmalion Revisited
Suicide in Shadowlands episode 3 Pygmalion Revisited

The ‘play within the play’ or The Terror archival film clips in PYGMALION REVISITED include a scene where The Ghost of Ilsa (Sandra Knight) encourages the Baron (Boris Karloff) to take his own life. She consoles him by saying, ‘my own hand will guide you.  And we can be together forever. Forever.’

The Ghost of Ilsa (Sandra Knight) encourages the suicide of the Baron (Boris Karloff) in Shadowlands TV series episode 3 Pygmalion Revisited
The Ghost of Ilsa (Sandra Knight) encourages the suicide of the Baron (Boris Karloff) in Rudy (Charlie David’s) dream.

Shadowlands Easter Egg 16: There are black and white framed photos done in the style of Paraty, Brasil artist Aecio Sarti (two faces conjoined) of  Rudy & Xavier in PYGMALION REVISITED and of Thalia and Alex in NARCISSUS.

Shadowlands TV series Aecio Sarti painting
A painting by Aecio Sarti is seen in the background in episode 3 Pygmalion Revisited.
Shadowlands TV series Aecio Sarti style photograph
Photo in Shadowlands TV series episode 3 Pygmalion Revisited in the style of artist Aecio Sarti.
Photo in Shadowlands TV series Aecio Sarti.
Photo in Shadowlands TV series episode 1 Narcissus in the style of artist Aecio Sarti.
Aecio Sarti painting
Aecio Sarti painting

Visit Aecio Sarti’s website and learn more about this world renowned artist.

Shadowlands Easter Egg 17: In PYGMALION REVISITED Father Malik (Michael R. Buchanan) commissions Rudy (Charlie David) for a painting of Saint Bacchus.  Saint Bacchus is most commonly paired with Saint Sergius and they are known as erastai or lovers. 

Saints Sergius and Bacchus Alessio Ciani (1946 - living) Italy 2013
Alessio Ciani (1946 – living) Italy. © 2013
Mounted on wood, printed on canvas with frame and halos hand painted with acrilic gold

For centuries Sergius and Bacchus were upheld as ‘gay Saints’, often depicted in icons and statuary together.  Saints Sergius and Bacchus were martyred and the tale of how Bacchus came to Sergius in a dream before he died and promised they would be reunited in heaven is relayed to Rudy by Father Malik in the first scene of PYGMALION REVISITED.    

Father Malik (Michael R. Buchanan) comissions a painting of Saints Sergius and Bacchus from Rudy (Charlie David) in Shadowlands TV series episode 3Pygmalion Revisited
Father Malik (Michael R. Buchanan) comissions a painting of Saints Sergius and Bacchus from Rudy (Charlie David) in Shadowlands Pygmalion Revisited

In 1969 the Catholic church de-canonized Sergius and Bacchus and their churches, alters and art were renamed or destroyed.  Coincidentally 1969 was also the year of the Stonewall Riots and what we now mark as the beginning of gay liberation – Pride.

Read more about Saints Sergius and Bacchus here.

GREEK MYTHOLOGY REFERENCES IN SHADOWLANDS TV SERIES

Shadowlands Easter Egg 18: Xavier (Marc Devigne) wears a gold medallion of Zeus throughout PYGMALION REVISITED which is later claimed and worn by Rudy. 

Xavier (Marc Devigne) wearing the Zeus medallion in Shadowlands Pygmalion Revisited
Xavier (Marc Devigne) wearing the Zeus medallion in Shadowlands Pygmalion Revisited
Rudy (Charlie David) wearing the Zeus medallion in Shadowlands Pygmalion Revisited
Rudy (Charlie David) wearing the Zeus medallion in Shadowlands Pygmalion Revisited
Zeus coin pendant
Zeus coin pendant

In the original Greek mythology of Pygmalion and Galatea, Athena empathizes with Pygmalion and brings his statue Galatea to life. 

The goddess Athena taking pity on Pygmalion and bringing his statue to life.
The goddess Athena taking pity on Pygmalion and bringing his statue to life.

Zeus is known as a jealous and vengeful god and the ultimate tragedy in PYGMALION REVISITED may be interpreted as his revenge at Athena showing undue empathy to mortals.

Statue of Zeus

Rudy references several gods in PYGMALION REVISITED while contemplating how to complete his commission of a painting of Saint Sergius from Father Malik (Michael R. Buchanan).  Among these are Pallas Athena, Heracles, Eros, Psyche, and Zeus. 

Shadowlands Easter Egg 19: In MATING SEASON, Daniel (Vasilios Filippakis) can be imagined as the incarnate god Pan known for trickery of travelers in the woods as well as his sexual appetite.

The Greek god Pan represented in Shadowlands TV series episode 2 Mating Season in the character of Daniel (Vasilios Filippakis)
The Greek god Pan represented in Shadowlands episode 2 Mating Season in the character of Daniel (Vasilios Filippakis)

Shadowlands Easter Egg 20: In NARCISSUS, the character of Alex (Sean C. Dwyer) represents the title role while the character of Thalia (Natasha Balakrishnan) is his cast off lover, the nymph Echo.  Echo is also alluded to in the final exchange between Alex and Drew (Brian Woodford) when Drew echoes each of Alex’s lines.

Shadowlands episode 1 Narcissus
Narcissus is a painting by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio, painted circa 1597–1599
Shadowlands TV series inspiration for episode 1 Narcissus
Echo and Narcissus (John William Waterhouse, 1903, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool)

Shadowlands Easter Egg 21: The dimensions of Rudy’s (Charlie David’s) art studio in Pygmalion Revisited are the divine ratio used in Greco-Roman architecture as well as classical art. The divine ratio or golden mean is found throughout nature, art and architecture such as the Great Pyramid in Giza, the Parthenon in Athens, and the Great Mosque of Kairouan. In art it is found in Leonardo da Vinci’s illustrations of polyhedra in ‘De divina proportione’,

Golden Mean ratio in the Pygmalion Revisited home of Rudy (Charlie David) & Xavier (Marc Devigne)
Golden Mean ratio in the Pygmalion Revisited home of Rudy (Charlie David) & Xavier (Marc Devigne)

Salvador Dalí explicitly used the golden ratio in his masterpiece, The Sacrament of the Last Supper. Mondrian has been said to have used the golden section extensively in his geometrical paintings.

Charlie David's Phi tattoo seen in Shadowlands episode 3 Pygmalion Revisited
Charlie David’s Phi tattoo seen in Shadowlands episode 3 Pygmalion Revisited

The actor Charlie David has tattoos of the Fibonacci sequence on his inner left wrist identifying his personal numerology of 3-5-8 and the symbol Phi on his inner right wrist which correlates to the Fibonacci sequence. If a Fibonacci number is divided by its immediate predecessor in the sequence, the quotient approximates the Divine Ratio or Phi.

Shadowlands Easter Egg 22: in episode 1 Narcissus, Thalia (Natasha Balakrishnan) stands on a silver statue of an owl.  A statue of the goddess Athena is seen in the background.

The owl is the totem animal of Athena and she is known as the goddess of wisdom.  In this scene Thalia is trying to save Alex (Sean C. Dwyer) from his ultimate demise by offering wisdom that could ultimately save him from himself.

Athena, goddess of Wisdom
Athena, goddess of Wisdom ancient coin with her totem animal, the owl on the reverse side.
Statue of Athena hidden in plain sight in a scene in Shadowlands Narcissus
Statue of Athena hidden in plain sight in a scene in Shadowlands Narcissus
Thalia stands on the totem animal of the Greek goddess Athena, the owl in Shadowlands episode 1 Narcissus.
Thalia stands on the totem animal of the Greek goddess Athena, the owl in Shadowlands episode 1 Narcissus.

Additional wardrobe, props and set decor from the three episodes in the Shadowlands TV series may be hidden in plain sight allowing for an immersive re-watch for the curious viewer.

Shadowlands miniseries is available on OUTtv and OUTtvGO in Canada and on Vimeo for our friends around the world.

If you enjoyed this, explore interviews with cast members of the Shadowlands series.

Charlie David (director of the Shadowlands series)

Marc Devigne (Xavier in episode 3 ‘Pygmalion Revisited’ of the Shadowlands series.

Oscar Moreno (Matteo in episode 2 ‘Mating Season’ of the Shadowlands gay series)

Sean C. Dwyer (Alex in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’ of the Shadowlands miniseries)

Nicolas James Wilson (Will in episode 2 ‘Mating Season’ of the Shadowlands gay series)

Vasilios Filippakis (Daniel in episode 2 ‘Mating Season’ of Shadowlands)

Brian Woodford (Drew in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’ of Shadowlands gay series)

Natasha Balakrishnan (Thalia in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’ of Shadowlands

 

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