'Magic City' captures Miami Beach's glamorous past
This publicity image released by Starz, James Caan, left, and Danny Huston in a scene from the second season of the series "Magic City," set in Miami, Fla. The second season premieres Friday, June 14 at 9 p.m. on Starz. (AP Photo/Starz, Justina Mintz)
MIAMI (AP) — Miami Beach's resort hotels showed guests a tropical paradise when they were built in the 1950s, but just beyond the sunny facade was a shady, more dangerous world. Funded by the mob and crooked union bosses, the resorts attracted the rich, the famous and the powerful just as South Florida was undergoing rapid political and social change.
The upcoming sophomore season of the Starz network's period drama "Magic City" will again follow the denizens of one such resort, the fictional Miramar Playa Hotel.
Resort owner Ike Evans, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, had a seemingly perfect life that verged on collapse at the end of the first season, thanks to an ambitious state attorney, a sadistic mob boss and the fallout from the Cuban Revolution nearby. Now the show's writer and creator, Mitch Glazer, promises the new eight-episode season, which starts Friday, will pick up in early 1959 right where the first season left off.
"Part of the first season was to introduce people to this world and these characters, and with the second season, I have the opportunity to unleash them," Glazer said.
Morgan said the new season will be even more harrowing than the first for his character, who was arrested for murder at the end of last season.
"He starts off in jail this year, and that may be the easiest time he's had," Morgan said. "It only gets worse for him in season two."
To protect his family and employees, Ike realizes he has to get out from under the mob, which helped finance his hotel, and hatches a plan involving Fidel Castro's fledgling regime and Cuban casinos to pay off his criminal backers for good.
"That line that Ike walked last year, of meddling around in that gray area, I think this year he goes even a little bit darker," Morgan said. "Ike made a deal with the devil when he built the hotel, and we started seeing the pressure of that hit him last year. And this year, we see him go all in."
"Magic City" is also getting a boost to its cast with James Caan, a veteran of gangster films such as "The Godfather." In "Magic City," Caan plays a Chicago mob boss who has to sort out problems created in the first season by a South Florida mobster played by Danny Huston. Others returning include Olga Kurylenko as Ike's wife, and Steven Strait and Christian Cooke as Ike's sons.