When it came time to find an actor to fill the role of Chicago crime boss Sy Berman in Season 2 of “Magic City,” series creator Mitch Glazer says casting James Caan was a no brainer. In fact, Glazer wrote the part specifically for the seventy-two-year-old “Godfather” star.
“I’ve known Jimmy Caan for years and the chance to work with him was a dream,” Glazer told reporters in Pasadena on Saturday during the Starz drama’s TCA panel. “I begged him to come in and do it and it was everything I’d hoped for,” he admitted. “To put him in this world — it felt fated.”
Caan didn’t take much convincing. He was already a fan of the show and his schedule was open. “I had the left-hand corner of the ‘Hollywood Squares’ before Mitch called,” Caan joked.
“The truth of the matter is I’m at the point where I care very much about what I do and still try to maintain a bit of integrity,” he admitted. “This was well written and beautifully shot. I thought it would be a lot of fun in a creative way and it was.”
In Season 2, Berman appears as the boss to Danny Huston’s villainous Ben Diamond. Glazer said the impetus to write the character was born from a desire to explore a higher echelon in the show’s limited mob scene. In Season 1, “Ben Diamond was the great white shark and had no known enemies,” Glazer said. “But [in this world] you always answer to somebody and it felt like great storytelling to turn it on its head. Ben was on the top of power but [we wanted to] show that he’s responsible to someone else and show where the Butcher came from and how he became what he became.”
For Caan, it was simply a pleasure to work with Glazer and co-stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kelly Lynch, and Huston. “All of these people are just great,” he said. “It was beautiful to work on and it was fun. I enjoyed every minute of it.”
“Magic City” returns for a second season on Starz this year.