He's a warm, unicorn-loving hitman


Maybe I was destined to like "Mr Inbetween," the quirky series that airs late-night Tuesdays on FX. After all, my sons are named Scott and Ryan ... and this show is written by and stars a guy named Scott Ryan. Anyway, I also like the show because of its offbeat tone. And I marvel that it's based on a movie that few people noticed when it was in Australian theaters, 13 years ago. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

Every now and then,
a mega-movie becomes a TV series. After all, it already has the fans
and the buzz.

But “Mr Inbetween”
is in a category by itself. It's based on a movie that was seen by
virtually no one.

“I can't tell you
how much I love this series,” said John Landgraf, FX's program
chief, who gave it a cozy spot after “Mayans MC.” Like “Mayans,”
it has bursts of violence; unlike that show, it's had a sweet,
father-daughter chat about unicorns.

“I thought about
what it would be like to be a hit man who was a regular guy,” Scott
Ryan said.

So in film school in
Australia, he starred in “The Magician,” which he wrote,
directed, produced and edited. “That was the first thing that I
acted in .... There were no professional actors, no crew.”

It only cost about
$3,000, but an early version showed up at a film festival and
intrigued Nash Edgerton, a stuntman/actor whose younger brother Joel
is a movie star. Edgerton helped land $330,000 in government funding
to give it some technical zing; it reached theaters in 2005 ... and
only made $182,000, scuttling Ryan's dreams.

“It came and went
and it didn't change his life,” Landgraf said. “He went back to
being a taxi driver.”

Well, there were
also some close calls, Ryan said, with projects that almost happened.
Then, 13 years after the movie, two FX Australia executives pushed
the idea of turning it into a series.

All six half-hours
are directed by Edgerton and written and star Ryan ... putting him in
fresh turf. “This is the first time I'd ever acted ... with
professional actors and with a crew and all that sort of stuff.”

Even less
experienced is Chiki Yasumura, who plays his daughter. She's
Edgerton's daughter ... and inspired a dandy scene in the second
episode.

In real life, her
dad shattered all the myths – from Santa to the Easter Bunny – in
one conversation. Ryan adapted that for the series, adding a twist:
After spoiling everything else, he couldn't get himself to debunk
unicorns.

The result was slow,
sweet and funny. The the dad was back to beating and/or killing
people. He's sort of an in-between guy.

 

-- “Mr Inbetween,”
Tuesdays on FX, after “Mayans MC”; that's 11:32 p.m. Oct. 2,
11:30 p.m. Oct. 9

-- Six half-hour
episodes, with two per week; started Sept. 25