How the entertainment industry both reacted to and adapted after 9/11

The series finale of “Rescue Me,”?starring Denis Leary, airs tomorrow at 10 p.m. on FX.

Escapism

Rise of superheroes and huge comedies

There has been a palpable shift in the entertainment industry post-9/11, and it can be summed up in one word: escapism.

“In the past 10 years, it’s become easier to get a good comedy or good action-adventure, Marvel comic-type picture green-lit,” says producer Jane Rosenthal, who is behind the “Fockers” franchise.
Producer Peter Tolan has seen a bump in escapist entertainment; but more directly, he has witnessed a “lightening up”?of network television. “Even the darkness in my show, ‘Rescue Me,’ is a little sunnier than it may have been in the past,”?he says.

Still, both producers are quick to add this is not a reaction solely attributed to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Technology, Rosenthal says, has made significant changes to the business.

“Ten years ago, there was no iPad. [Now we] make movies that you want to go to to get another kind of experience, one you can’t get on whatever device you’re using at home.”

Revitalization

Rebuilding downtown, one movie at a time

Jane Rosenthal wit­nessed the 9/11 attacks and wanted to help. As a film producer, her skill set wasn’t exactly suited for rescue efforts. But her work in the last 10 years has been instrumental to the revitalization of lower Manhattan.

“‘What could we do?’” Rosenthal recalls asking herself and partner Robert DeNiro, who co-founded the film and TV company Tribeca Productions in the neighbor­hood in 1989. “‘OK, we could put on a show and give our community something to smile about and give everyone a reason to go downtown again,’” she says, was their answer.

The resulting Tribeca Film Festival premiered in Nov. 2002 with only 120 days of planning. “We didn’t have a sponsor, we didn’t have a budget, we didn’t have any films,” Rosenthal says with a laugh. “So we called the governor, called some of our friends — Ed Burns, Marty Scorsese, Meryl Streep. We weren’t going to wait for someone to just come and help us — it was, ‘We’re going to take care of our community ourselves.’”

That rehabilitation included emotional healing as much as physical rebuilding.

“Outside of Sarajevo, we’re the only film festival that was started because of an act of war,”?Rosenthal says. “Film can go places and say things and activate people in ways that are far more profound than a politician, and that’s what we set out to do.”

Remembrance

Honoring firefighters by telling their stories

Few pop culture contributions have captured the psyche of New York City post-9/11 quite like “Rescue Me.”

Created by Peter Tolan and Denis Leary, who also plays firefighter Tommy Gavin, “Rescue Me” centers on the self-destructive antics of Tommy, who is haunted by his cousin, a FDNY member who died on 9/11.

“[The first responders] don’t really deal with [the effects of 9/11] directly because they are still jumping on the rig,”?says Leary. “Tommy and these guys have been avoiding a lot of it or trying to drink it away or f— it away. That’s sort of a common thing for guys who are still at war, you know, on the job.”

Though 9/11 was a touchstone for the series, Tolan stresses they were very careful not to lean on the event too heavily. “We never wanted to be accused of diminishing the tragedy into a story point,” he says.?A sense of humor Leary calls “very organic to living in a firehouse” helped “Rescue Me”?achieve that through seven seasons. Humor, Tolan says, “is how people move forward. They laugh and they bust each other’s balls, and life goes on.”

The series, however, has reached its end, peg­ged to the 10th an­niversary of 9/11. Leary says this last season, which has made the anniversary a prominent storyline, is “a natural summing up” for the characters as they are forced to re-examine the events of that day.

But “Rescue Me” has always refused to let their heroics, despite the repercussions, be forgotten.

Healing

The power of music

Paul McCartney sat on the tarmac at JFK Airport when the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center took place. Later, watching the events unfold on TV, he quickly realized his part in helping out — organizing an all-star benefit concert.

“More than words, more than speeches, more than comedy — which are all important — music has some property that can really be very healing,” the former Beatle says.

The days following 9/11 are documented in “The Love We Make,” a cinema verite film by Albert Maysles chronicling McCartney’s experiences around Manhattan, including his preparation for The Concert for New York City. The film premieres Saturday at 9 p.m. on Showtime.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Rock legend Neil Young files for divorce after…

The legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young has filed for divorce from his wife of 36 years.

Local

Cabbie tried to sexually assault passenger with kids…

NYPD is on the lookout for a taxi driver suspected of trying to sexually assault a female passenger while her three kids were in the car.

Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Movies

Review: Pierce Brosnan gets a cut-rate Bond knockoff…

Pierce Brosnan tries to reclaim his glory days with the spy thriller "The November Man" but instead gets a sad DTV-style ripoff with lame action.

Gossip

Ariana Grande addresses Big Sean dating rumors

Now that Ariana Grande and Big Sean were caught on camera holding hands, she has something to say.

Entertainment

QUIZ: How many English words do you actually…

Are you as smart as you say you are? Are you a word nerd? Take this quick vocabulary test to find out if you're a true wordsmith. Good luck.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 12,…

If you've wondered whether Ali and Bethany knew each other, you got an answer tonight: Yes, and in a very tangled way. But many lingering…

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Parenting

Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.

Travel

Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…