The series, narrated by Peter Coyote, features music by jazz great Wynton Marsalis, as well as the voices of actors Tom Hanks, Jeremy Irons, Paul Giamatti, Oliver Platt, John Lithgow, Samuel L. Jackson, Patricia Clarkson, Sam Waterston, and others.
Below is more of what Burns had to say, edited and condensed.
How did the project come about?
I bumped into Dan Okrent on the Brooklyn Bridge. You know, [the bridge] was the subject of my first film. I was pushing, then, a newborn baby, my little gal, over the Brooklyn Bridge, and I bumped into Dan and he said, “I know what your next film is going to be....”
He’s also friends with Lynn Novick, who is my co-director and coproducer on this, a longtime collaborator. And they’d been conspiring, so it was all fortuitous. He was embarking on a book project [about prohibition], and we were happy to share our research with him and he shared his with us.
Did Daniel Okrent write a companion book about prohibition for your series?
He did a book called “Last Call.” It’s not a companion book.