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Q: The HBO series "Big Love" ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: The HBO series "Big Love"
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Television
Asked by: stancranley-ga
List Price: $3.50
Posted: 05 May 2006 10:02 PDT
Expires: 04 Jun 2006 10:02 PDT
Question ID: 725776
HBO is heavily promoting a drama series called "Big Love."

I would like to know:  who are the creators of this series and what
are their personal backgrounds?  Specifically, do any of their
biographies involve first-hand experience with Mormonism, Mormon
splinter-groups, polygamy or living in Utah?

Subject: Re: The HBO series "Big Love"
Answered By: juggler-ga on 05 May 2006 10:59 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

The creators of "Big Love" are Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer.  Tom
Hanks and Gary Goetzman are the executive producers of the series.

Tom Hanks had first-hand experience with Mormonism as a child while
Olsen and Scheffer claim to have spent three years researching the

"While he has no Mormon background, Olsen has done enormous research
and has a firm grasp of the culture. It's not just that the scripts
are sprinkled with LDS references, but they're in context. And he
speaks easily and knowledgeably about various polygamous groups
ranging from Bluffdale to Colorado City.",1249,635176322,00.html

From the New York Times:

"The creators of "Big Love," Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer (who
along with the actor Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are the executive
producers of the series), said in a telephone interview that they were
hearing all the criticisms and compliments. The show was conceived as
a prism through which to look at the "struggle for the common good
over the individual good" that exists in any family, Mr. Olsen said.
He and Mr. Scheffer are partners in real life.
"The pro-polygamists think it's too dark," Mr. Olsen said. "The
anti-polygamists don't think it's dark enough. I think we've split the
baby down the middle." The men said they spent almost three years
researching the show, talking to experts and reading everything from
sociological tracts to official Mormon records."

Here's background on the two creators:
 Will Scheffer
Mark V. Olsen

"The program, executive produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, was
created by Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer, who say they did two years
of research to ensure the program's authenticity."


""Big Love" executive producer Tom Hanks was himself a Mormon for less
than two years when he was a child, but he was part of the mainstream
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was not a
"fundamentalist Mormon" or part of polygamist culture. Hanks'
frequently-disrupted family life put him in a number of different
denominations while growing up. In high school, Tom Hanks joined a
Fundamentalist Christian (Protestant) denomination, but did not remain
active in it into his twenties. When Hanks married Rita Wilson, he
joined her denomination: the Greek Orthodox Church. It is not known
whether Hanks' background provided any impetus for his deciding to
produce "Big Love.""

"Winifred [Tom Hanks' stepmother] had become a Mormon while married to
Amos and that soon became a source of conflict with her new husband,
who was suspicious of religion in most forms. 'When we met his kids
were Catholic and mine were Protestant and that had its difficulties,'
said Winifred. 'Then I became enamoured of the Mormon Church and Mr
Hanks [Amos Hanks -- Tom Hanks' father] didn't.
In another interview, he said: 'My first stepmother was somewhat
flaky. Her love of the Mormon Church was just one of the reasons I
think dad left her. Dad did kind of rebel against it. She's not a
Mormon now. She's probably into astrology or something.'"

search strategy:
"Big love" creators mormon
"tom hanks" mormon stepmother, etc

I hope this helps.
stancranley-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.00
A very complete answer, especially for the low price.

Subject: Re: The HBO series "Big Love"
From: juggler-ga on 06 May 2006 13:23 PDT
Thank you for the tip.

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