Archive for March, 2010

Steven Moffat Talks About Doctor Who

March 31, 2010

Matt Smith as The Doctor in The Eleventh Hour, written by Steven Moffat. Photo copyright of the BBC

THE Doctor has regenerated into a brand-new man, but danger strikes before he can even recover, as Doctor Who returns for a new rebooted series from the BAFTA-winning writer Steven Moffat (Steven Spielberg’s upcoming Tintin, Jekyll, Coupling). With his time machine, the TARDIS, wrecked and the sonic screwdriver, his most crucial device, destroyed, the new Doctor has just 20 minutes to save the whole world, and only Amy Pond to help him. The new season opener of Doctor Who, entitled The Eleventh Hour (written my Moffat), premieres Saturday, April 17th @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST on BBC America. The opening episode will be an extended version with limited commercial interruption. 

This new era of the BAFTA-winning series, which delivered record ratings for BBC America earlier this year, continues the tradition of rebooting with new lead actors and creative team. Steven Moffat, creator of some of the most frightening and award-winning Doctor Who episodes to date – including the BAFTA-winning episode Blink, which starred Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan – takes over as lead writer and executive producer. 

For new audiences, Steven Moffat says, “Doctor Who is the adventures of an entirely mysterious stranger from outer space and with a time machine that can go absolutely anywhere. It’s literally a television show set in everyplace in the universe, every point in history and in every style and genre. It’s all the other shows in one. You don’t have to watch the rest of television – this is it.” 

The reboot series has the Doctor (Matt Smith) and his new travelling companion, the enigmatic Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), together exploring 16th century Venice, France during the 1890s and the United Kingdom in the far future, now an entire nation floating in space. But the Doctor’s enemies are never far behind, including old nemeses, the Daleks and Weeping Angels, along with new foes such as alien vampires, humanoid reptiles and a silent menace that follows the Doctor and Amy wherever they go. 

Fans will have a chance to see the premiere early as BBC America will present special screenings of the series at WonderCon in San Francisco on April 3rd, and C2E2 in Chicago on April 16th. Ahead of the U.S. premiere broadcast, the BBC America Original, Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide, delivers an all-access look inside the universe of the hit drama series. It airs Saturday, April 17th @ 8:00 p.m. EST/PST. 

The following is a BBC America Q &A with Steven Moffat, the first of four behind-the-scenes chats that SciFiAndTvTalk will be running over the next three weeks as we count down to the new season of episodes. Enjoy! 

Steven Moffat is a BAFTA-award winning writer whose career in television has spanned more than 20 years and produced some of the UK’s best-loved television dramas in that time. But more than that, he is a Doctor Who fan who has just been handed his dream job – in charge of this iconic drama series. 

“I supposed I could say the reason I started working in TV is because I was such a huge fan of Doctor Who,” explains Moffat. “I was absolutely fascinated and thrilled by the new show. I wanted to know how the TARDIS disappeared, how all the special effects worked and why the Doctor changed. As a viewer, you want to know why he looks different; it’s a show that compels you to look behind the scenes. In fact, over the years I think I’ve bought every single issue of Doctor Who Magazine since it launched” 

But there was a long period when Doctor Who was not on the screen; did Moffat ever worry that he wouldn’t get the opportunity to achieve his lifelong ambition and write for the show? 

“I tumbled through the door of children’s TV, became quite a cool children’s TV writer for about 48 seconds in 1989 and they basically axed Doctor Who that day!” says Moffat with a chuckle. “After 26 years, just when I thought I’d finally get to write for the show, I missed out by an afternoon.” 

What was the transition like to lead writer and executive producer? 

However, fate was obviously on Moffat’s side and in 2005, Doctor Who was resurrected and has become one of the biggest shows on UK television under the guidance of Russell T. Davies. “The transition has been strange and has lasted a long time for me, since I first got an e-mail from Russell about the job, in fact,” explains the Paisley, Scotland-born writer. “We’ve been saying goodbye to each other for two-and-a-half years now – we’d really better stop before one of us drops dead in a desperate bid for closure. I hugely enjoyed working with Russell and every time I came back to Doctor Who during those years it was an absolute treat. I knew this job was going to be difficult; I was never under any illusion about it. I could see that Russell was getting tired and he has acknowledged that he is a workaholic. I’ve managed to become a workaholic, but it never sits quite easy for me.” 

The actual moment of regeneration was, of course, the pinnacle of that transition, and Moffat’s first chance to write for the new Doctor. 

“It was Russell’s courtesy to allow me to write Matt’s first scene when the regeneration happened and he was adamant about that. He’s a fan like I am and he’ll always be motivated by that. He wouldn’t like to think as a member of the audience that the old writer had written the new Doctor. In our heads, that’s where the new era begins. That’s what matters to us. 

Doctor Who has already had multiple incarnations on television, so casting the perfect actor for the lead role presented some interesting debates. 

“I had a clear idea, which actually turned out to be the absolute opposite of what we ended up doing – which always happens when you get the casting right,” reveals Moffat. “I actually remember at the beginning of the process when I got a little bit cross while looking at the list of actors as it was full of people in their twenties. I said to everyone that we couldn’t have a Doctor who is 27. My idea was that the person was going to be between 30 – 40 years old, young enough to run but old enough to look wise. Then, of course, Matt Smith comes through the door and he’s odd, angular and strange looking. He doesn’t come across as being youthful at all, but in the most wonderful way.” 

Alongside the new Doctor is a brand new companion, played by Scottish actress Karen Gillan. What was it about her that made her perfect for the role? 

“The challenge was casting the companion is that there are only so many people that would actually go through those blue doors. It has to be someone who loves adventure and doesn’t quite feel at home with where they are,” explains Moffat. “They have to be a feisty, fun-loving and gusty person – and now we’ve got Karen Gillan. She was just exactly right for the role, despite inhabiting Amy Pond in a way that was quite different from how I originally wrote the part.” 

An inevitable question that will be asked of the new series is how it differs from those that have gone before. 

“I’ve never done anything differently, at least not deliberately,” says Moffat. “I just try to think of all the best and maddest Doctor Who stories I want to watch, and get them made – there are worse ways to make a living. You could say that I’m more into the clever plots; I like the big twists and the sleight of hand. I like playing around with time travel, but I don’t think it should be at the front of Doctor Who in every episode. However, I do think it should happen more often and reinforce the fact that he has an odd relationship with time. For example, no one is ever dead to him. He can’t say, ‘I knew Winston Churchill.’ He’d say, ‘I know Winston Churchill.’ Everyone in the whole universe is still alive to him and he has no sense of time passing. I find that all fascinating. If you look at the stories I’ve written so far, I suppose I might be slightly more at the fairytale and Tim Burton end of Doctor Who, whereas Russell is probably more at the blockbuster and Superman end of the show.” 

Despite the lengthy transition, there finally came the day when all of the hard work was realized; the first day of filming for the new series. 

“By accident it was the most magical beginning. We went down onto this perfect, white beach,” reveals Moffat. “The TARDIS and our two main characters were there and we could just see that blue rectangle facing us. It was like a stamp stuck on a picture, it was so perfect! I remember walking down to the beach and thinking this is properly magical; we’re not starting with some secondary characters that end up getting killed by an electric slug or something. We’re actually starting with the Doctor and his companion stepping out of the TARDIS talking to River Song [Alex Kingston].” 

Moffat has, in the past, described the TARDIS as the best storytelling and plot device that there is, but if he had his own, where would he choose to go? 

“I have no real desire to go anywhere else because I’m genuinely happy with my life the way it is at the moment. I’d probably like to go to the future but stay away from libraries in case I found out when I died; that would be a bit miserable. I’d like to see what the toys and gadgets are in the future and all the fun I’m going to miss out on. But most of all, I’d like to know who’s playing the Doctor!” 

As a lifelong Doctor Who fan, who is Moffat’s favorite Doctor? 

“The one with two hearts who travels in the TARDIS…and word on the street is he’s never looked finer.” 

As noted above, photo is copyright of the BBC, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

This Week On Survivors – 03 – 30 – 10

March 30, 2010

SPOILER ALERT!! – With Abby (Julie Graham) still missing, and Greg (Patterson Joseph) recovering from his injuries, the group is holed up in the city, scavenging for survival. While Naj (Chahak Patel) leaves graffiti messages across the crumbling landscape for Abby, Tom (Max Beesley) steals supplies from another group of survivors. The group learns that other people have been abducted in the same way as Abby, and the kidnappers bear the markings of PSJ, a pharmaceutical company with offices in the city. As Tom leads Al (Philip Rhys), Anya (Zoe Tapper) and Sarah (Robyn Addison) off on this trail, Greg and Naj find themselves confronted by the group Tom stole from. Meanwhile, in the lab, Abby is re-infected by Whittaker (Nicholas Gleaves), who will stop at nothing to find his miracle vaccine. Episode eight airs Tuesday, March 3oth @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST on BBC America.

Jonathan Silverman And Michael Rosenbaum Come To Syfy

March 29, 2010

THE Syfy Channel announced it has commissioned a script for a half-hour comedy pilot starring Jonathan Silverman (Weekend at Bernie’s) from Sony and Happy Madison Productions. Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville), who created the show, will co-star.

The single camera program follows the lives of two friends, former actors on a popular science fiction show, who have hit rock bottom and must work together to get their lives back on track. Happy Madison and Doug Robinson will serve as executive producers along with Adam Goldberg, Rose and Bomb Productions, and Untitled Entertainment.

Jonathan Silverman is known for his roles in the TV series Gimme a Break! as well as the feature films Brighton Beach Memoirs, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Caddyshack II, Little Big League, Weekend at Bernie’s and its sequel. Most recently, Michael Rosenbaum portrayed Lex Luthor on Smallville.

Jonathan Ross Welcomes New Doctor Who Matt Smith

March 29, 2010

Doctor Who's newest Time Lord, actor Matt Smith, chats with Jonathan Ross. Photo copyright of Hot Sauce

ON the April 2nd episode of Friday Night With Jonathan Ross (10:00 p.m. EST/PST on BBC America), Jonathan Ross welcomes the star of the new era of Doctor Who, Matt Smith, who discusses becoming the Doctor. “My Doctor is clumsy, a little reckless, but becomes more assured as the series develops.” Matt reveals that he had to keep the big news of landing the role a secret, “I couldn’t tell anyone for three months,” and says, “To my mind, it’s the best part in British TV history.” The actor also discusses the advice he took from David Tennant (The Tenth Doctor), “I spoke to David briefly and he said, ‘Enjoy the ride.'”

Matt also reveals exclusive details to Jonathan about the legendary TARDIS, “It’s bigger on the inside, has different levels, other rooms including a library, and is a different shade of blue outside.” And when asked about his Doctor Who experience, Matt says he’s here to stay – “I hope to do at least another year; it’s a wonderful part and I want to keep it up.” And there’s an exclusive sneak preview of the Doctor’s encounter with vampires.

To watch the new trailer of Doctor Who, which premieres April 17th on BBC America, visit –

As noted above, photo copyright of Hot Sauce, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

24: Day Eight Will Be The Award-Winning Series’ Swan Song

March 28, 2010

Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) saving the day once again this season on 24. Photo by Kelsey McNeal and copyright of Fox Television

IN a joint decision made by 24‘s star and executive producer Kiefer Sutherland, executive producer and showrunner Howard Gordon, Twentieth Century Fox Television, Imagine Entertainment and Fox Broadcasting Company, it was determined that the acclaimed series will end its remarkable eight-season run. Jack Bauer’s last day on Fox will conclude when the final two hours of “Day Eight” air Monday, May 24th from 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. EST/PST. As the countdown to the series’ climactic conclusion races on, the final 11 hours will air uninterrupted Mondays @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST on Fox.  

Multiple award-winning series star Kiefer Sutherland reflected on the show’s run, “This has been the role of a lifetime, and I will never be able to fully express my appreciation to everyone who made it possible. While the end of the series is bittersweet, we always wanted 24 to finish on a high note, so the decision to make the eighth season our last was one we all agreed upon. This feels like the culmination of all our efforts from the writers to the actors to our fantastic crew and everyone at Fox. Looking ahead to the future, Howard Gordon and I are excited about the opportunity to create the feature film version of 24. But when all is said and done, it is the loyal worldwide fan base that made it possible for me to have the experience of playing the role of Jack Bauer, and for that I am eternally grateful.”  

Executive producer and showrunner Howard Gordon said, “Kiefer and I have loved ever minute of making 24, but we al believe that now is the right time to call it a day. I echo his sentiments of gratitude towards the show’s amazing creative team, as well as the studio and network who have always believed in us and shown us unbelievable support.”  

24 is so much more than just a TV show – it has redefined the drama genre and created one of the most admired action icons in television history,” said Peter Rice, Chairman, Entertainment, Fox Networks Group. Kevin Reilly, President, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company added, “We are extremely proud of this groundbreaking series and will be forever thankful to Kiefer, the producers, the cast and crew for everything they’ve put into 24 over the years. It’s truly been an amazing and unforgettable eight days.”  

Commented Gary Newman and Dana Walden, Chairman, Twentieth Century Fox Television, “We are so grateful to Kiefer and Howard, who have really poured their hearts and souls into making this show over the past eight seasons. To everyone who contributed to this iconic series over its amazing run, we want to extend our heartfelt appreciation for your incredible work.”  

Added Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, “I’m so proud to have been a part of 24, which has become such a cultural phenomenon. And to Kiefer and Howard and everyone who has worked on the show, many thanks.”  

Now in its eighth season with Kiefer Sutherland starred as the heroic Jack Bauer, the inventive and suspenseful 24 has been nominated for a total of 68 Emmy Awards, winning for Outstanding Drama Series in 2006. Over the course of seven seasons, Sutherland garnered seven Emmy nominations and one win for Outstanding Lead Actor – Drama Series. While the series gained global recognition, Sutherland’s portrayal of the legendary character penetrated the American psyche like no other dramatic television character to become part of the English lexicon.  

Premiering November 6th, 2001, 24 employed a pioneering split-screen, fast-paced format with complex interweaving storylines as viewers followed anti-terrorism agent Jack Bauer through 24 pulse-pounding episodes, each covering one hour and presented in real time. Subsequent seasons combined the show’s unique and trend-setting format while delivering compelling new elements and attracting talented actors and guest-stars including the Emmy Award-winning Cherry Jones (President Allison Taylor). The series also currently stars Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe O’Brian), Anil Kapoor (Omar Hassan), Annie Wersching (Renee Walker), Katee Sackhoff (Dana Walsh), Mykelti Williamson (Brian Hastings), Freddie Prinze Jr. (Cole Ortiz), Chris Diamantopoulos (Rob Weiss) and John Boyd (Arlo Glass).  

The first six seasons were set in Los Angeles, and following the strike-induced delay of season seven, 24; Redemption, a two-hour film bridging seasons six and seven, was set in Africa. The nation’s capital, Washington D.C. was the setting for season seven, and the final year of 24 finds Jack Bauer thwarting a terrorist attack in New York. At the conclusion of season eight, 24 will have produced a total of 194 episodes (including 24: Redemption), making it one of the longest-running action television shows in history.  

Tune in Monday, March 29th @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST for the next all-new installment of 24 and Monday, April 5th @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST for a special two-hour episode. 

Created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, 24 is a production of 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television in association with Teakwood Lane Productions. Howard Gordon, Evan Katz, David Fury, Manny Coto, Brannon Braga, Brad Turner, Alex Gansa, Kiefer Sutherland and Brian Grazer and executive producers, while Chip Johannessen and Patrick Harbinson serve as co-executive producers. Brad Turner will direct the series finale. 

As noted above, photo by Kelsey McNeal and copyright of Fox Television, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

The Syfy Channel’s 2010-2011 Original Movie Line-Up

March 25, 2010

DURING the 2010-11 season, the Syfy Channel, one of television’s most prolific producers of original films, presents a talent-rich Original Movies line-up showcasing stars such as Hill Harper (CSI NY), Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight), Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings), Lauren Holly (NCIS), Colin Ferguson (Eureka), Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet), Jewel Staite (Stargate Atlantis), Alan Cumming (Tin Man), Felicia Day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Ryan Carnes (Desperate Housewives, Doctor Who), Lance Henriksen (Aliens) and Barry Williams (The Brady Bunch).

Movies include Riverworld (previously reported on SciFiAndTvTalk), starring Alan Cumming in an epic adventure based on the award-winning series of Philip Jose Farmer novels; The Phantom, and 24 of the popular Stargate Original Movies, including Red, a re-imagining of the Little Red Riding Hood story starring Felicia Day, Roger Corman’s Sharktopus, starring Eric Roberts (also previously reported along with Red on this blog) and Lake Placid 3 – sequel to the most watched Saturday Original Movie ever (Lake Placid 2). Below are some highlights of these upcoming projects.

The Phantom – Four hours, premieres in June – Ryan Carnes stars as The Phantom and his alter ego Chris Walker in this re-imagined version of the classic comic strip transported to present day. A favorite costumed hero for more than six decades, The Phantom relies on his wits, physical strength and skill with weapons instead of superhuman powers. Isabella Rossellini guest-stars in a villainous turn as Lithia, the head of an experimental mind control program. Also starring are Cameron Goodman as Chris Walker’s love interest, Renny, and Sandrine Holt (24, The L Word) as The Phantom’s trusted advisor, Guran. Director: Paolo Barzman (The Last Templar). The Phantom is produced by Muse Entertainment and RHI Entertainment.

Mega Piranha – Premieres Saturday, April 10th @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST. An unusual alliance tries to stop a mutant strain of giant ferocious piranhas that have escaped from the Amazon and are eating their way to Florida. Stars Barry Williams, Tiffany and Paul Logan.

Mothman – Premieres Saturday, April 24th @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST. The legendary West Virginia monster returns to exact revenge on five childhood friends who covered up an accidental killing. Stars Jewel Staite.

Mongolian Death Worm – Premieres Saturday, May 8th @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST. A treasure hunter who has been searching for a tomb containing Genghis Khan’s treasure teams up with an humanitarian UN health worker to stop the Mongolian Death Worms, awakened by experimental oil drilling in the Mongolian desert. Stars Patrick Flannery and Victoria Pratt.

Witchville – Premieres Saturday, May 22nd @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST. This first Syfy production in China is a sweeping fantasy tale of a kingdom besieged by witches who are sucking the very life out of the land. Only the new King can save his people, but his mysterious connection to the Red Queen of the witches may be his undoing. Stars Luke Goss.

Lake Placid 3 – In this sequel , a game warden, his wife and their young son move into their aunt’s cabin on Lake Placid, where the lonely boy stars feeding baby crocodiles he views as pets. Three years later, the crocs start looking at him and his family as their food. Stars Colin Ferguson.

Stonehenge Apocalypse – When the giant stones of Stonehenge begin to move and cataclysms occur all over the Earth, only a fringe radio talk show host who’s an expert in UFOlogy figures out that the ancient monument is really alien technology. Stars Hill Harper, Misha Collins and Peter Wingfield.

The Lost Future – In a post-apocalyptic world, both humans and animals have devolved back to the Stone Age. But a small group of wise men knows there is knowledge in the mysterious artifacts called books. Now they have found a young man who knows how to read. If they can defeat the warlord who rules the city where the books are kept, the young man can help them defeat the disease that decimated the world and restart the civilization. Stars Sean Bean.

Scream of the Banshee – An archeology professor unearths a dangerous relic, releasing a creature that can kill with her bone-splitting scream. Stars Lauren Holly and Lance Henriksen.

Morlocks – An experimental time machine opens a window into the future and mutated monsters (the Morlocks) use it to come back to the present and go on a murderous rampage. Stars David Hewlett (Stargate Atlantis).

8th Voyage of Sinbad – Sinbad searches for the golden head of the long lost Colossus of Rhodes and, instead, finds an island where the mythical Minotaur still rules, protecting a vast treasure. Sinbad and his crew have to battle the creature and its minions to get the treasure and save their own lives. Stars Manu Bennett.

Syfy Greenlights Three Inches Pilot

March 24, 2010

THE Syfy Channel has ordered the 90-minute pilot Three Inches from writer Harley Payton (Twin Peaks) it has been announced by Mark Stern, Executive Vice President of Development for Syfy. The action-adventure/fantasy will be produced by Fox Television Studios and Executive Producer Bob Cooper, whose Landscape Entertainment is producing. J.J. Jamieson heads up television for Landscape Entertainment. Peyton also serves as executive producer.

In Three Inches, Walter, a professional daydreamer and underachiever is struck by lightning and develops a unique “super” power – the ability to move any object using just his mind…but only a distance of three inches. He’s soon recruited by a covert team of superheroes each gifted with their own extraordinary abilities. Together, the unlikely band of heroes proves that “super” is simply a state of mind.

“Three Inches is a smart , off-beat spin on the superhero genre. It introduces a new group of crime fighters who possess some imaginative – if not all that super – powers,” said Stern. “We look forward to working with Harley, Bob, and Fox Television Studios on this project.”

David Madden, executive vice president, Fox Television Studios, said, “We felt there was something special and particularly twisted about this script, both in tone and in its sense of imagination. we could not be more thrilled to be working on it with Syfy.”

Harley Peyton was producer and/or writer of more than 20 episodes of David Lynch’s groundbreaking television hit Twin Peaks, for which he received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for Drama Series (1990). He also wrote the screenplay for Less Than Zero, based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis. He is currently working on a follow-up to the feature film The Thomas Crown Affair.

This Week on Survivors – 03 – 23 – 10

March 23, 2010

SPOILER ALERT!! – As season two of Survivors begins, Abby (Julie Graham) is being held by James Whitaker (Nicholas Gleaves) and Fiona Douglas (Geraldine Somerville) at the Lab. There, she learns that the scientists have avoided infection and are looking desperately for a vaccine that they believe her unique immune system alone will generate. Meanwhile, the group races to save Greg’s (Patterson Joseph) life as he lies dying from a gunshot wound. Drawn into a burning hospital in search of the necessary medical equipment, Al (Phillip Rhys) and Anya (Zoe Tapper) are caught in an avalanche of rubble as the building collapses around them. Tom (Max Beesley) is faced with the stark challenge of rescuing his friends from a seemingly insurmountable disaster, with only Sarah (Robyn Addison) and Naj (Chahak Patel) to help. Episode seven airs Tuesday, March 23rd @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST on  BBC America.

Human Target’s Mark Valley – Chance Encounter

March 22, 2010

Mark Valley as Christopher Chance in Human Target. Photo by David Gray and copyright of Fox Television

MARK Valley is a versatile film and TV actor who is known equally for his comedic, witty turns as he is for his dramatic, weighted performances. He is a familiar face to Fox viewers, having appeared as FBI Agent John Scott on the hit drama Fringe. His additional television credits include a three-year run as Brad Chase on Boston Legal, starring roles on Keen Eddie and Pasadena as well as recurring roles on Once and Again, ER, The 4400 and Swingtown. His film credits include John Schlesinger’s The Innocent, The Seige with Denzel Washington, John Frankenheimer’s George Wallace, The Next Best Thing with Madonna and Rupert Everett and Shrek III as the voice of Cyclops. Valley also wrote and performed in Walls, Wars and Whiskey, a one-man show about his experiences growing up in upstate New York and serving in the military.

Valley graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and began his acting career while serving overseas in the Army. The Gulf War veteran is a native of Ogdensburg, New York, and these days divides his time between Vancouver and Los Angeles. Currently, he stars as Christopher Chance in the Fox action TV series Human Target. On March 8th, I and other journalists had the pleasure of speaking with the actor on a conference call. The following is an edited version of that Q & A. Enjoy!

When did you realize that you had lightning in a bottle with the chemistry between you and Jackie Earle Haley (Guerrero) and Chi McBride (Winston)? When did they come into the project? I’m sure you got the script first and then they were added.

MARK VALLEY – Yes, I got the script first. I was the first one cast, I know that. I think we all realized that we had something pretty amazing when we were shooting the pilot in downtown Vancouver. I think it was at the very end of the episode. It wasn’t the end of shooting, but it was the end of the episode, and rarely are the three of us together in any episode, but in this instance we were. They were getting ready to set up a shot, and we were sitting around in our chairs and started talking, as actors do. Suddenly we just realized, my God, we all come from different places in terms of parts of the country and experience in the industry and so forth, and the three of us just kind of clicked. The thing I liked about Chi and Jackie is that I was just really kind of curious about them and wanted to get to know them better and thought they were both quite interesting. I think the three of us had that same feeling about each other, which is kind of cool and rare as well. And that kind of shows up on the screen and, perhaps, makes the viewer wonder how did these characters meet up, or come together, and what’s their history.

I know that you cannot possibly take risk taking and thrill seeking to the extreme that your character of Chance does, but how much of a daredevil do you allow yourself to be in real life? What are some of the more outrageous adventures that you might have taken? Have you ever jumped out of planes for  fun, or any of those things?

MV – Yes, I’ve done that. I’m a little more now into taking calculated risks. I like to mountain climb, and the better prepared you are, the safer it is. I don’t just run out and climb a mountain with a T-shirt on, you know? That would be kind of foolhardy. There are some inherent risks, you know, with mountaineering and stuff, but yes, I generally like to be well-prepared. I had parachuted. I did it in the Army and I also did it trying to get my certification to parachute down in Paris Island. I did it a few times, and that was pretty exciting, but for the most part, I’d say now the biggest risk I take is probably every once in a while I forget to put my seatbelt on. That’s about the limit of it these days.

How much has your military training helped you with acting, especially with Human Target?

MV – It’s funny, because they lay out all these weapons and talk about the ammunition and its effectiveness and so forth, and you know, we worked with weapons obviously in the Army. It’s actually something, though, that you can pick up pretty quickly. The hand-to-hand fighting, I learned a little bit of that in the Army, along with boxing as well as wrestling and those sorts of thing. But I think for the most part it’s working as a team under extreme circumstances with a limited amount of time to get something done. That’s probably the biggest experience I got from the Army that applies to this job because we’re really making a little movie in eight days, and that’s an awful lot of work that has to be done. So yes, it’s sort of that kind of teamwork and camaraderie that I experienced in the Army that seems to be showing up again here in this show.

So far your character has had cases in Los Angeles, Canada, the Russian Embassy, an airplane and South America. Is there anywhere in particular that you’d like to see Chance travel to?

MV – I would like to see Chance go to Paris. We do go to London in one episode. Where else? Africa, I think, would be kind of an interesting place. There are all kinds of places he could do. Somewhere down south, maybe Texas? I’d love to do an episode that is sort of a quasi-Western. That would be interesting. There’s Vietnam and all these other places in Asia that he could go, and there are things going on in China. You name it. We could even write an episode that takes place inside a contained area, like the airplane episode, for example. We really didn’t go anywhere for that. That all took place inside the fuselage of an airplane, so maybe we’ll be doing something like that as well.

What were some of the acting challenges you found first stepping into the role, and how have you seen the Chance character grow and develop in the episodes you’ve shot so far?

MV – When I first read the script, which is based on a comic book character, there are certain things that comic book characters can get away with that regular actors can’t really do, or at least do convincingly. One is to hold a pose for a long period of time, or to look concerned as if you’re in a comic book. So there was that. The show sort of had a feel of a comic book, so there was a challenge of trying to find a way to bring a real person into this. It wasn’t written in any sort of hyper-reality. I mean, there’s kind of a casual thing that can exist in John Steinberg’s [series creator/executive producer] writing, so it’s not that hard to kind of do it. It’s not complete melodrama or anything. That was the biggest challenge. Reading it and enjoying it like it could have been a comic book, and then thinking, “OK, wait a second, this is me now. How am I going to do this?” It’s kind of hard to explain, but that was the biggest challenge. And maybe picturing all the other actors who could do better at it and thinking, “OK, so I’m going to do this?”

As far as development, the way I’ve grown as an actor is that I’ve become much more comfortable with some of the action and fighting scenes, and the way Chance’s relationships with Jackie’s and Chi’s characters are starting to become a little bit clearer. And with Chance’s development, I’d say he’s beginning to come to terms with his past. He made a big change in his life about six or eight years prior to the present that we have now on the show. And I think the reality of why he made that choice and the repercussions that it’s going to have is starting to come back to him, so essentially his baggage is starting to arrive.

A lot of shows spend their first season throwing things against the wall to see what sticks. Do you feel like Human Target has found its groove and, if so, was there a particular moment for you when you felt like it really clicked?

MV – I think when it really clicked for me was probably the episode Rewind, where we didn’t have a lot of locations or big set pieces going on. It all took place in an airplane and you got an idea of, OK, very simply, this is something that has to get done in this plane. And it was broken down and all our characters were – well, Chi and I were in the same location shooting as well, which was kind of cool. Then I think it was the second or third episode in, and the pace that we came up with as well as the shorthand that we developed with the crew and the cameras was pretty amazing. We realized, “Oh, wow, this is what we can do. We’ve really got something here.”

Did you have a vision for what you expected the show to be when you first came onboard, and has it lived up to that?

MV – I didn’t have that clear a vision of how it would be. I’d been on shows before that have been new, and with this one, not only is it new, but I’m new to this genre, and Chi is kind of new to it as well, and even the show runners are sort of new to this. So I went into it with an open mind and thinking, “This is going to be exciting as to how it’s going to come together” And it has been. It is sort of a collaboration in some ways, where everyone’s influence is, if not heard, then it’s felt and reacted to, and the end product is something that everyone feels a part of.

How do you balance comedy and drama on the show? Particularly in your performance, you always seem to bring the humor to certain scenes where other  people wouldn’t, but then it doesn’t get too serious, either. How do you guys manage that?

MV – Something I really love to do is find the lighter moments. A lot of it depends on the scene and the person you’re working with and where the jokes can come in or seem appropriate. So there are a few elements that come into that. And, of course, there’s the way that the scene is written as well. Maybe it’s my soap opera background, where there were no jokes at all. It was all complete melodrama and I wanted parts of it to be funny, so I remember searching and combing through the material and saying, “Well, there’s this moment or that moment.” I was just so hungry for something to be funny, that I developed, perhaps, a perceptive eye for it.

What’s it like to play a lead character when you don’t have all the pieces of his background? Is that more difficult for you at all?

MV – Well, it’s definitely easier to have some of the pieces. It’s somewhat of an advantage to have a bit more of an idea because as actors, we create characters and create things in our imagination, but, ultimately, we’re interpretive artists and interpreting what the writers have created. Some people will say that doesn’t matter. If it’s not in the script, it really doesn’t exist, so don’t make a big deal about it, but I think in television, it’s different. Yes, it would be nice to know, but there are two sides to that. It would be nice to know ahead of time because then maybe I could plan a scene or have that in mind if this might have happened before. On the other hand, it’s pretty exciting to find it out as you go along with the rest of the viewers. So not only are you working on a show and acting in it, but it’s also fun to be experiencing it as a viewer as well and finding out things as they reveal themselves.

Is the master of disguise aspect of your character from the comic books ever going to make it into the TV series?

MV – Nobody’s ruled it out. I know John’s attitude was like, let’s start off the show where you get to know the central character before we begin dressing him up in disguises. Chance does have an aptitude for languages and my theory with that is he doesn’t use it more than is necessary. I mean, he doesn’t wear a mustache or glasses or anything if it’s not really necessary. or become that other person unless it’s absolutely necessary. So that was an adaptation for the TV show, I think, but, again, the disguise aspect hasn’t totally been ruled out.

So what’s in store for the season finale, and what other guest-stars can we expect to see in the second half of the season?

MV – Well, in the season finale, Baptiste, who is played by Jericho‘s Lennie James, comes back. His character is Chance’s nemesis and is probably the most talented assassin who’s still out there working for hire. He and Chance come to blows in an episode called Baptiste and then again in the season finale. Amy Acker shows up and plays a pivotal character from Chance’s past in that she was sort of the catalyst for his ultimate transformation into Christopher Chance. Lee Majors is in that episode, too. Armand Assante plays Chance’s old boss, and there’s a couple of major confrontations there. Emmanuelle Vaugier returns in another episode, too. She plays an FBI agent in Baptiste and Chance, Winston and Guerrero have to figure out a way to enlist her help. Autumn Reeser comes back as well. She sort of has a recurring role on our show. Grace Park is in an episode called Corner Man, and Leonor Varela is in Sanctuary. She’s a beautiful and talented Chilean actress who made this one episode look and feel like a movie. She just came in and completely took on this character of an ex-revolutionary who lives in South America and is an ex-lover of Chance’s. She was just fabulous.

As noted above, photo by David Gray and copyright of Fox Television, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

This Week On Survivors – 03 – 20 -10

March 21, 2010

SPOILER ALERT!! – Abby (Julie Graham) and her friends find themselves on the run from Samantha (Nikki Amuka-Bird) and Dexter (Anthony Flanagan), who have formed a dangerous alliance that threatens everyone’s freedom. Meanwhile, Sarah (Robyn Addison) is confronted by a face from the past which leads her to betray her new friends. When Naj (Chahak Patel) goes missing, the family is forced to face the dangers of the city in order to find him. Their food and water supplies have been stolen from their car by desperate urban survivors, so they know they may not be able to survive long enough to find Naj. The family is nearly torn apart when Greg (Patterson Joseph) and Abby find themselves on opposite sides of an argument.

Meanwhile, Naj is befriended by a feral boy named Darren (Anthony Hudson) who lives with the sinister Craig (Adam Kotz) and June (Katie Lyons). They look after a group of children who forage amid the ruins of the city, in return for shelter and protection. Naj soon sees that Craig is ruthlessly exploiting Darren and the others, but without Abby, he faces a struggle to save himself. With his adopted family searching for him in the deserted city, time is rapidly running out and Dexter is only a step behind them all…Episode six (Season One finale) airs Saturday, March 20th @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST on BBC America.