'Sleepy Hollow' promises naked Ben Franklin

"Sleepy Hollow" stars Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison discuss the upcoming season at the Television Critics Association confab.
"Sleepy Hollow" stars Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison discuss the upcoming season at the Television Critics Association confab.
Posted: July 22, 2014

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Philadelphians are accustomed to seeing Benjamin Franklin - or his 21st-century interpreters - out and about in the historic district.

But maybe not so out and about as Franklin will be in the Sept. 22 season premiere of Fox's "Sleepy Hollow," where he'll apparently be naked.

"That's my favorite part so far, I think, because the nice thing about Crane is that he was mates with the Founding Fathers," said Tom Mison, who stars as a version of Washington Irving's Ichabod Crane, who finds himself thrust into the 21st century.

"The only thing I knew about Benjamin Franklin was that he never used to bathe," he said. "He used to, every morning, go into his study and open the study doors and just stand there naked in front of the window. And they were his air baths.

"And so . . . we might see his Franklin."

Mison wasn't entirely joking.

Franklin, who'll be played by Timothy Busfield, "shows up [in the] first episode back, and you see how he informs us more about the secret war that was happening, tied to the Masonic culture, and putting even a twist on, you know, the famous moments of the striking of the key and what that was really for and how that ties into the overall plan," co-creator Len Wiseman told me afterward.

Busfield had "a very interesting take on Benjamin Franklin that I think that I've never seen - very weird, extremely eccentric and a very fun character," he said. "So, I think people will be surprised in terms of how he's portrayed compared to what we've seen before."

(For those who didn't follow "Sleepy Hollow" in its first season, let's just say that once a show's brought George Washington back from the dead, it's set a tone.)

And, yes, Busfield went "full Monty," Wiseman said.

"Because our flashbacks are . . . shot with portrait lenses, that blurs out the edges," the portion of Ben's anatomy that wouldn't meet broadcast standards won't be seen.

Wiseman did warn that fans shouldn't necessarily believe what they see in Fox promos for the show's return.

He's seen some, "and the network's really lying in terms of the direction it goes. It's so not like that."

"There's a lot of friction" between Crane and Abbie [Nicole Beharie, who plays a police lieutenant] and there's a lot of really disturbing family issues going on between all the parties related," Wiseman said.

This season, Crane will be pulled between "doing the right thing" and saving his wife, Katrina [Katia Winter, whose character had been trapped between worlds], and will learn things about her that will make him start to question the relationship.

The goals of "save my wife and stop the apocalypse, they may be getting further and further apart," he said.

More 'Fargo' on way

FX is taking us back to "Fargo."

The Emmy-nominated miniseries is now officially an example of TV's newest genre - what some are calling the "renewable serial" - with a second, 10-episode season in the works featuring a new cast and a story set in a new time period, the network announced yesterday during its portion of the Television Critics Association's summer meetings.

"Fargo" executive producer Noah Hawley, who adapted the TV version from the Coen brothers' movie, also will return.

The first installment of "Fargo" is nominated for 18 Emmys, including outstanding movie or miniseries and writing, as well as lead actor for stars Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman, and supporting actor and actress for Colin Hanks and Allison Tolman.

The scripts are already in progress and the earliest the new "Fargo" will launch will be fall 2015, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said.

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