On July 30, 2016 in Los Angeles, HBO hosted a private screening of its hit series “The Night Of” with an exclusive panel discussion with stars Riz Ahmed (Naz Khan) and Michael K. Williams (Freddie), and Poorna Jagannathan (Safar Khan). Also joining the panel discussion was “The Night Of” Director Steven Zaillian and the series’ writer & creator Richard Price.
The Night Of is an eight-part limited series that delves into the intricate story of a fictitious murder case in New York City. The series follows the police investigation and legal proceedings, all the while examining the criminal justice system and the purgatory of Rikers Island, where the accused awaits his trial.
Attendees gathered inside the reception area, an interactive space which was transformed to replicate the crime scene from the series. Following the cocktail reception at the luxe London West Hollywood Hotel, VIP guests took popcorn and drinks inside the theater for an advanced viewing of episode four of the thrilling mini-series, as well as a recap of episodes 1-3.
With The Daily Show’s Senior Correspondent Hasan Minaj moderating, The film¹s cast and crew engaged in a lively discussion that served as an extension of the film¹s themes and how they tie-in to present day culture. The actors also touched on how they drew inspiration from their cultural upbringing, whether it be Poorna Jagannathan growing up in a conservative home, to Michael K. Williams witnessing friends and family members go “Up North” through the criminal justice system, to Riz Ahmed tapping into Southeast Asian & Queens NYC culture to bring his character to life.
Creators of the show, Zaillian and Price spoke on the relevance and continued timeliness of the series referencing several court cases, and narratives of those involved in the criminal justice system (District Attorneys, Judges, Prosecutors). They also spoke about how frequent visits to Rikers Island Correctional Center in New York provided inspiration and real life reference for the actors and themselves as writer & director respectively.
Panel discussion featured:
- Riz Ahmed – Actor (as Naz Khan)
- Michael K. Williams – Actor (as Freddy)
- Steven Zaillian – Creator, The Night Of – (Moderator) Actor, Comedian, The Daily Show Senior Correspondent
- Richard Price – Writer & Creator, The Night Of
- Poorna Jagannathan – Actress (Safar Khan)
Photo credit: Michael Angulo
The Night Of stars John Turturro and Riz Ahmed and was directed by Steven Zaillian and James Marsh. It is executive produced by Zaillian, Price, Jane Tranter, James Gandolfini, and Peter Moffat; co-executive produced by Garrett Basch, Nancy Sanders and Mark Armstrong. Filmed in and around Manhattan, the HBO series is based on the BBC’s “Criminal Justice,” created by Peter Moffat.
’The Night Of’ airs Sundays at 9PM. For more information, visit http://www.hbo.com/the-