Posts Tagged ‘Primeval’

Alice’s Andrew-Lee Potts – Hat Trick

December 5, 2009

Andrew-Lee Potts as Hatter in Alice. Photo copyright of The Syfy Channel

When you are in a strange place it helps to make friends, and not many places are stranger than the setting for the new Syfy Channel miniseries Alice. Innocent people from our world are being taken and brought to a parallel universe known as Wonderland. Once there, their memories are forcibly erased and they become prisoners in a casino where people never lose. The resulting emotional “high” helps sustain Wonderland’s residents, most importantly its ruler, The Queen of Hearts, and her husband, The King of Hearts. 

When Alice Hamilton arrives there in search of her kidnapped fiance Jack, she turns to come of the locals for help, including a slightly shady character called Hatter. Having not long finished his third season battling dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures as Connor Temple in the hit British TV series Primeval, actor Andrew-Lee Potts was excited about the idea of a potential trip across the pond to work in Wonderland and play Hatter. 

“When I first got a call from my agent to go in and read for Alice I thought, ‘Oh, wicked! That sounds fantastic and right up my alley,” enthuses Potts. “Then I found out that it was for the character of the Hatter, and straightaway everything felt right for me, and even more so when I eventually received the script and discovered it was written using the type of humor that I often use in my work. 

“So I taped my audition with the British casting director and I just did my thing. [Director/writer] Nick Willing wasn’t there in the room; it was just me and the casting director. And sometimes with that type of situation, especially when you’re doing overseas casting, things can get lost in the translation – i.e. how you should be playing the part. 

Alice (Caterina Scorsone) and Hatter (Andrew-Lee Potts). Photo copyright of The Syfy Channel

“And it’s funny because I went into the audition and played the role as I thought it appeared to me, and was more sarcastically comedic as well as a bit eccentric. Hatter is a hero of sorts in the story, and the casting lady suggested, ‘Maybe you should try being a little more sexy?’ and I [jokingly] said to her, ‘What do you mean? Am I not being sexy?’ So I tried that, and later on when I met Nick, he told me, ‘Your first reading of the role was perfect, but then you did something really strange and went all serious.’ So although I’m glad I did it both ways so that he could see either interpretation, I’m really pleased that my initial take was what Nick was looking for and that I eventually got the job.” 

A week after Potts received word that he had been cast, he was on his way to Vancouver, British Columbia to start shooting Alice. “We actually had a few days rehearsal before filming began, and that was really interesting for me,” recalls the actor. “I haven’t done that many plays and things of that nature, so I’ve tended not to rehearse a lot of the parts I’ve played in the past. I like to keep my performance as fresh as possible because I never quite know what I’m going to do with the material. That’s something I began doing during Primeval, and as a result they [the producers] allowed me to be a lot freer with the dialogue and to try, I suppose, to get the humour and keep things really lively. 

“On my first day of work on Alice, I actually shot my final scene as Hatter, and then went on to do my first scene, which was something like seven or eight pages long. It was just me being the Hatter in his teashop, so I had to gt into the swing of things straightaway. I was a bit nervous, but at the same time really excited. I was playing the character the way I wanted to, and it was a relief to see that Nick looked happy when he came out from behind the monitor after the first few takes. 

“I suppose as an actor you always think, ‘I hope I’m doing the right thing and they’re not going to recast me.’ I remember we started out filming in this abandoned mental institution up in Kamloops. It was hot and the Hatter wears a leather jacket throughout the whole story. Being British, I’m not used to the heat,” he says with a chuckle, “but I survived and it was a lot of fun. Both Nick and I hit the ground running with the character and we carried on having a good time with it.” 

A brief moment of respite for Hatter. Photo copyright of The Syfy Channel

In this telling of Alice, the Hatter is part of a resistence force led by Dodo (Tim Curry) and The White Knight (Matt Frewer), whose goal is to overthrow the Queen’s (Kathy Bates) tyrannical reign. While eager to take on his character’s re-imagined role, Potts also wanted to imbue his performance with some of The Mad Hatter’s original personality. 

“In the back of your mind you’ve got the original story where you know The Mad Hatter as being eccentric, crazy and all that kind of stuff,” explains the actor. “However, in Alice, we don’t have The Mad Hatter, we have the Mad March [Geoff Redknap], who was originally The [Mad] March Hare. So my character is supposed to be the sane one, but what I tried to do the first time you see the Hatter is go with a little bit of his eccentricity because I thought that might be enjoyable to the audience. 

“We tip our hat to every single character in Alice in Wonderland. With Hatter I wanted to keep an element of fun and spontaneity of the original. You never quite know what’s going on with him. Sometimes he goes really fast and other times he slows down and tries to take control. The first time Hatter meets Alice [Caterina Scorsone] it’s an assault of information on her, and from there he tries to take control. He’s a hustler and a very conniving one, and I wanted to play him slightly dangerous at the start as well. We have no idea what Hatter is capable of, and as the story unfolds, he does things that constantly surprise you. 

“At one point I had to do a hat trick, so I had to have a lesson and learn a bunch of tricks. That was cool, but, unfortunately, the hat I wore was really lightweight and the guy who came in to teach me the tricks was struggling because of that. They usually use a weighted hat, so I had to try to work around that. My character uses his hat as a bit of a distraction tool, especially in fight situations, which was quite fun and interesting. I’m quite handy with my fists in this, as opposed to Connor in Primeval, who couldn’t throw a punch to save his life, but Hatter is the complete opposite. 

The Hatter and Alice discover their budding friendship. Photo copyright of The Syfy Channel

“The stunts were neat to do, too, and quite challenging as well because I did nearly everything myself. That included learning how to ride a horse, which I had never done before. I’d never even sat on a horse before. So I went to horse training, which was brilliant. I loved galloping as fast as I could on top of a ridge in the middle of nowhere and thinking, ‘I hope I can stop,'” he says with a laugh. 

Although Hatter’s relationship with Alice starts out as a purely selfish one, it becomes more of a friendship as the story unfolds. “In the beginning, he sees her as a money-making tool,” says Potts. “Alice is initially useful to the Hatter in very different ways to the ways that she’s useful to him at the end. I think my character finds her absolutely fascinating because she is very headstrong and sure of herself. Even though she’s been flung into this incredibly strange world of Wonderland, where the things she sees would instantly blow away most peoples’ minds, she manages to keep her feet on the ground and continue searching for what she’s come to Wonderland for. 

“Again, Hatter finds that attractive in a way, but I don’t think he understands exactly why. Like I said, he’s a player. He’s used to having many women in his life, but not really connecting with any of them. In a weird kind of way, his and Alice’s heads work in a very similar fashion. They’re equally matched intelligence-wise, which furthers his challenges with her, and they spend a great deal of their time arguing, which leads to some very amusing situations for us to play. Alice has a lot of trust issues and she finds it incredibly hard to trust anybody. At the start, I don’t think anyone would trust Hatter, and that’s something else I tried to explore with the character. I wanted to make the audience go, ‘He’s just plain mean,’ and that’s the fun with Hatter. You’re supposed to expect the unexpected with how I played him.” 

Potts relished the opportunity to work with Nick Willing in developing the many levels of the Hatter that viewers are introduced to. “One of the brilliant things about Nick is that, yes, he has his own ideas, but he doesn’t trap you inside them,” notes the actor. “He likes to throw everything up in the air and see where it lands. I always feel that that’s what makes a better show. Going back to Primeval, I think one of the reasons why my character worked so well is that the producers had the same way of working as Nick does. Connor was supposed to be your typical nerd who liked Star Wars and that sort of thing. He’s quite cliché in the original script, but then we did something completely different with him, which was to make him eccentric and more of an accidental hero as well. 

Hatter and Alice try to talk themselves out of a tight spot. Photo copyright of The Syfy Channel

“So they were very open-minded in Alice with how I delivered a lot of the dialogue, and also with making it suit my voice as well, being that I have such a strong Northern accent. At first they wanted an English accent, but Nick said he really liked the Yorkshire in my voice, and also up in the north of England we always enjoy a cup of tea, so it’s kind of fitting that my character should run a teashop. I love that the first time we see the Hatter, he’s drinking a cup of tea. I’m so pleased with the way he’s been written. You don’t expect Hatter to be such a strong force in the story. I know it’s Alice’s journey, but she catapults him into his own journey as well within hers. 

“Hatter has been living in Wonderland for years, unhappy with his life as well as with the system and the way things were going. He had a lot of resentment built up towards the Resistence and the Queen’s side of things. So he’d kind of been living in a no-man’s land until Alice came into his life. She opens my character’s eyes and suddenly Hatter has something to fight for, a girl, and he doesn’t even realize it, which is lovely. Hatter is a little slow on the uptake with things like that,” he jokes. “He thinks he’s fighting for himself. Up to this point, Hatter has lived his life very selfishly. One of his lines is something like, ‘I’ve lived life playing both sides of the court and trying to keep everyone happy.’ But in this story he actually does good by himself and Alice, which is terrific.” 

While there is no sign of prehistoric wildlife in Alice, Potts feels that his work on Primeval was excellent preparation for this project. “Having done a big CGI [computer-generated image] show, I actually feel qualified for the first time in my life,” says the actor. “I thought, ‘This is easy. I’ve been doing this for the past three years. I can run away from these monsters.’ So that was a blast but in a different way because it’s less about monsters in Alice and more about the CGI world that we’re in. There are a lot of extended CGI sets, which was something I wasn’t used to, and far more green screen work, too. We didn’t do much green screen on Primeval

“So every day has been fascinating and I feel extremely fortunate to have been given this role. I felt ready for it as well, though, if that makes any sense, and I don’t know if I would have had the same confidence before Primeval. A lot of the stuff I’d previously done were one-off films and projects like that where you only have a short period of time with a character. With a TV series, though, when it progresses, you have the chance to explore all these different angles of your character. And during the four hours on Alice, Hatter shows every side of himself and way of behaving. So hopefully playing Connor on Primeval has helped me in portraying Hatter.” 

The first two hours of Alice airs Sunday, December 6th from 9:00-11:-00 p.m. EST on The Syfy Channel and concludes Monday, December 7th @ 9:oo p.m. 

Steve Eramo 

As noted above, all photos copyright of The Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

Primeval’s Andrew-Lee Potts – Boy Genius

November 7, 2009
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Andrew-Lee Potts as Primeval's boy genius, Connor Temple. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Unless you’re a psychic or have some other way of seeing into the future, you have no idea what it may hold, and that is especially true for actors. A few years ago, Andrew-Lee Potts was experiencing a bit of a lull in acting work, and in-between auditions was pouring all his energy into making a short film of his own as well as developing a feature film project with a friend. “It was about vampires living on a council estate, and way before Twilight and all that sort of stuff,” says the actor. “I should have gone ahead and done it; it could have been a big hit.”

The actor spent an entire weekend shooting his short film, and on the following Monday morning he had an audition for the role of Connor Temple in a brand new TV series called Primeval. “I went in and shot out words at about a thousand miles an hour,” he recalls. “I told loads of jokes and was just excited about my film, so much so that I wasn’t even really paying attention to what audition I was doing. In the character breakdown, Connor was described as being a real geek, but he’s a genius, too. I thought, ‘They’re not going to buy that from me. I don’t sound like a genius.’

“So I kind of figured it wouldn’t work out, but apparently my excitement for my film and the energy to do what I was talking about impressed them. They [the producers] got in touch after the audition and said, ‘We really liked Andrew’s energy and enthusiasm, but we didn’t believe a word he said about the dinosaurs.’ I couldn’t even pronounce any of the dinosaurs’ names. I hadn’t done any research because I didn’t think I’d get the part.

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Just another day on the job for Connor. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

“Thank God I was energetic on that audition because that’s why they brought me back. Obviously, once I knew they were interested in me, I knuckled down, did my homework and learnt how to properly pronounce the names of the dinosaurs. I went back for a second audition and got the job. At the time, though, we had no idea how big the series was going to be. I didn’t even know it was for primetime Saturday night. They didn’t tell us that. So I was reading the first script and thinking, ‘They can’t pull these effects off on British TV.’ Doctor Who had just come out and they were trying their [visual] effects, but nothing like this.

“Then, however, we found out that Primeval was being made by the same people who did [the BBC documentary miniseries] Walking With Dinosaurs and all the CGI [computer-generated image] dinosaurs. We [the cast] were then taken to Framestore, the company that does the visual effects for the Harry Potter films. They showed us a rough video of what our show was going to look like, and the five of us came out of there so excited and saying, ‘This is going to be wicked!'”

In Primeval, evolutionary zoologist Professor Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall) is recruited by the British government to investigate the appearance of anomalies, rips in time that are allowing creatures from the past as well as future to roam in our modern world. Operating out of the ARC (Anomaly Research Centre), his team consists of Abby Maitland (Hannah Spearritt), a zoologist and reptile expert, Stephen Hart (James Murray), Cutter’s lab technician and “bodyguard,” and Connor Temple, one of Cutter’s paleontology students at Central Metropolitan University. Besides locating these anomalies and trying to figure out how to close them down, Cutter’s team must also contain any creatures that come through into our world. Despite being experts in their respective fields, wrangling dinosaurs took some getting used to, and the same was true for the show’s cast.

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The season one Primeval team (l to r) - Abby Maitland (Hannah Spearritt), Connor Temple (Andrew-Lee Potts), Dr. Nick Cutter (Douglas Henshall), Claudia Brown (Lucy Brown), Stephen Hart (James Murray) and Captain Ryan (Mark Wakeling). Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

“None of us had ever done CGI before, so we all felt a little bit out of our depth,” explains Potts. “We thought, ‘What if we’re laughed off the screen? What if people hate us?’ At first, we were all looking in different directions when it came to doing the CGI. The thing is, though, even though the [visual effects] guys had done CGI before, they had only done documentaries. They hadn’t done stuff with actors mixing with the CGI, so it was new to them as well. We were all learning together, and starting out, we had a traffic cone on a stick with a face drawn on it and someone yelling, ‘Roar!’ That was supposed to represent our dinosaur or whatever. Of course, we were all laughing and thought, ‘This is ridiculous.’

“Over time, though, this became second nature to us. We didn’t realize just how comfortable we were getting with it, and when we came back for our second season, there were new actors who came onto the show and were petrified. They didn’t know what to do, whereas it had become natural to all of us. In the season two opener, these Raptors [Deinonuchus] are running loose in a shopping centre, and there’s a scene with me, James Murray and Douglas Henshall where we corner one of these creatures. It starts coming towards us and I shoot it with a tranquilizer gun.

“We had no eye-line whatsoever with this thing, and if you saw the episode you might remember that the Raptor kind of wobbles and falls down. Of course, none of that actually happened, but if you watch all three of our faces, we all have the same expression. Again, it became quite instinctive. Although we didn’t have that eye-line, we knew what was going on. We began to trust the CGI guys and they began to trust us as well, and as the series went on, everyone got braver and braver. When we first started, we weren’t allowed any physical contact with the CGI creatures. We could ‘hit’ them with things, but that was it. However, in later episodes, the were grabbing us and vice versa. Again, the type of CGI stuff we were doing was getting braver and braver.

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Abby, Connor, Nick and Stephen attract some unwanted attention. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

“I’m still excited about it now,” enthuses the actor. “I’m a fan of the show and always have been. I guess that comes from being involved with something from the very beginning. When Doctor Who came back, that was something that had been revived. It had worked before, so it already had that going for it. Primeval, on the other hand, was completely made up from scratch, and I’m so proud of everyone because we pulled it off.”

When it comes to favorite moments in seasons one and two of Primeval, Potts especially likes his character’s relationships with both Abby and Cutter. “My [real-life] fiancee is Hannah Spearritt, and I always enjoyed doing scenes with her,” he says. “The thing is, Abby and Connor were never supposed to get together. When we started the series, it was going to be Abby and Stephen, and Connor was always meant to be in the background. Something happened, though, when they put Abby and Connor together in episode two of season one. Hannah and I didn’t even read together during the audition process, but the onscreen banter between us was just so natural. They [the writers] then began having fun with Abby and Connor, and Hannah and I did, too. Each season they gave us an Abby/Connor episode, including the one in year two where Abby is dragged into the future by these big seal creatures [Mar], and Connor goes through the anomaly to save her. That was a cool one to do.

“I also loved working with Douglas Henshall because he’s such a brilliant actor,” continues Potts. “Our relationship onscreen was very similar to the one we had off-screen. There was a great deal of respect there. Dougie was ‘boss’ and I didn’t mess around with that. There are plenty of things that worked about the show, but I think the big one was the fact that they didn’t go with your cliche leading man. Instead, they went with someone who you could actually buy and whose character knew what he was talking about and was obsessed with Darwin and all that sort of stuff. A lot of the show’s elements are so fantastical and you have to really use your imagination to go, ‘OK, I have to try to buy that.’ It’s Dougie’s solid performance that anchored the series and made it believable. Hannah and I always said, ‘If Dougie believes it, we believe it.’ If he’s chasing a future predator with a gun and looking like it’s the last thing he’s going to do, then we’ll be right behind him doing the same thing. So we all stuck together like that.”

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Connor and Abby check for signs of any unwelcome "visitors" that may have come through an anomaly. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Early on in Primeval‘s third season, Nick Cutter’s estranged wife Helen (Juliet Aubrey) uses a clone of Nick that she has created to infiltrate the ARC, allowing her and a small army of Cleaner Replica troops to take over the facility. She believes that her husband’s work with the ARC is what leads to the eventual rise of future predators and, ultimately, the fall of humankind. Helen detonates an explosive device that destroys the ARC, but she is caught in the blast. When Nick tries to rescue her, Helen shoots him, making sure he cannot carry on with his work. Connor discovers a dying Nick in the rubble and carries his body out of what remains of the ARC.

“I was really nervous about that scene because I wanted to do it right, and I really wanted to do it right for Dougie,” notes Potts. “I was so sad that he was leaving the show as well. During the cast read-through for this episode, we got to this particular scene and I got such a lump in my throat that when we finished the read-through I just left without talking to anyone. I didn’t want to show people that I was upset. I was really going to miss Dougie, both personally and for the show as well.

“On the day we shot that scene, I told Dougie how nervous I was, but we had such a good relationship and he had so much belief and trust in me as well, which was brilliant. I don’t think there are very many people who Douglas Henshall would let carry him like a baby. He’s not that kind of man, so the fact that he agreed to that was a big deal. Dougie thought it was very fitting that they chose to put Connor and Cutter together for his last conversation, and when I got the script and read it, I was honored that they chose me to be with him. I suppose it showed the growth in the relationship between our two characters, even though from day one, Cutter looked at Connor as if my character was a complete idiot,” jokes the actor. “So in this episode he passes the baton on to me, and I’m so glad I was given that opportunity.”

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A somber Connor carries Nick Cutter's body from what remains of the ARC. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

With Cutter’s death, ex-police officer Danny Quinn (Jason Flemyng), whose brother was killed years earlier by a camouflaging creature, is appointed as the team’s new leader. Season three of Primeval also sees the addition to the team of Dr. Sarah Page (Laila Rouass), an Egyptologist, whose job is to investigate ancient myths and legends involving creatures to see if any can be linked to anomalies. Also making his debut in year three is Captain Becker (Ben Mansfield), a Special Forces agent who is assigned to protect the team from potential danger.

“I’m really pleased that they brought the military back into it,” says Potts. “After we lost Captain Ryan [Mark Wakeling] and the SAS [at the end of season one], I think the program became a little less believable because our characters weren’t escorted to places. At the end of the day, they’re just a bunch of scientists, you know? We hardly had any military presence in season two at all, so I’m glad that they brought the Becker character in.

“Also, with the handsome one, Stephen, gone [he sacrificed himself to save the team at the end of season two], they needed someone for the ladies. I thought they could have used me, but apparently not,” he says with a chuckle. “I remember meeting Ben Mansfield for the first time and couldn’t believe how massive he is. He’s huge, and four or so years younger than me. I [jokingly] said to him, ‘Dude, you’re like Superman. I hate you.’ Ben is such a nice guy, though. He was straight out of drama school and booked one of the coolest jobs ever on TV. Ben was so excited to be doing this. You can probably see by the way that he handles a gun that he loves being the action man.

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Connor and Dr. Sarah Page (Laila Rouass) try to decipher symbols on a strange artifact. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

“Bringing Laila in as well was a great idea. They [the producers/writers] knew when Dougie was leaving that they had to switch things up and they put a lot more of the technical aspects of the stories onto Connor. I needed support with that, and I think that’s why Sarah Page was brought in, so that she and Connor could work together as a team. And the Danny Quinn character was more of a renegade in that he liked to act first and think later. He was very different from Cutter, but that was the plan. I thought the dynamic in year three was wonderful. We got to do more action sequences, too. Some people like that side of Primeval, while others like the theoretical and science side of it, and to me it’s important to play both because that’s what the show is.

“Of course, they were planning season four as well. They were going to introduce another new character that was supposed to kind of finish off the team dynamic. As you know, though, we never got to do that because the program wasn’t renewed for a fourth season. At least it wasn’t because of ratings, but because of finances as it’s quite an expensive show to make. It’s still sad, though, especially as all our characters were lost in time at the end of season three. That’s how much we thought we were going to be carrying on, but at least Abby and Connor are together, otherwise it would have been really sad. All I know is that they’re trying to keep Primeval alive in other ways, so never say never.”

Born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, Potts has been a professional actor since the age of seven. Having started out doing a variety of small TV roles, he booked his first series in 1995, The Biz, which was set in an English drama school and advertised as the Fame of the 90s. “I was a terrible actor when I was younger,” he jokingly admits. “I wasn’t one of those wonder kids who could do it straightaway. I definitely learnt on the job, and you learn pretty quickly because your mistakes are right there in front of you on TV or film, and you think, ‘I’m not doing that again.’

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Danny Quinn (Jason Flemyng) and Connor have an uneasy first meeting. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

“One of the reasons I was cast in this particular show is that I play the drums in real life and they needed an actor/drummer for this part. It was my first time traveling to London and being away from home and having a bit of freedom from my parents. That’s when I began to realize, ‘Hang on, I could turn this [acting] into a proper job.’

“I never went to drama school, but I was very, very lucky. I met Pete Postlethwaite and he was doing his own stage production of Macbeth. Being a fellow Northerner and a down-to-earth guy, we really got on, and he cast me in his tour of Macbeth as one of the witches. I played the part as a male witch, or more like a child psychopath. That was the first time anyone had shown massive belief in my and that I could play something totally different from myself.

“We toured all around Britain, including Ireland, and the production went down really well. And because of Pete Postlethwaite, a lot of casting people came to see the show, and they saw me playing the psychopath. Suddenly, I fell into a pattern of playing really young psychotic characters and other very serious roles. I was 18 when I did my first movie, New Year’s Day, which went to the Sundance Film Festival. We shot it right after I did  Macbeth and I played a guy who makes a suicide pact with his best mate and at the end of the film he tries to kill himself. Following that I did a movie [The Bunker] playing a Hitler youth, and then I did Band of Brothers as well as a lot of other TV and film dramas.

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Connor and Abby. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures.

“It wasn’t until I was cast in an independent U.S. film called Caffeine with Katherine Heigl that I played a comedic role. I had never done anything like that before, so I was really nervous, but I enjoyed it so much. Then I came back to England and all of a sudden I began getting all these comedy auditions. I did a TV series called Ideal, which is full of comedians, and then Primeval, which allowed me to play another lighter character. So my career kind of turned on its head, really, when I found I could do something new and have fun doing it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve since played some serious roles, but I also enjoy the ones with a bit of humor. You can keep things light and lively on-set as opposed to playing a serious character where you often have to go quite deep inside yourself, concentrate and maintain a certain mindset.”

When he is not in front of the camera, Potts continues to pursue his passion for directing. “I’ve directed five short films so far, and because of those films, I actually got to shoot The Making of Primeval for the show’s producers after the second season,” says the actor. “Directing is always something that’s fascinated me. In fact, every set I’m on, I always end up sticking close to the director, like a little shadow, trying to pick up as much as I can because everyone has their own particular style. I’ve got a small production company called Keystone Productions that I work with very closely to do my short films. We’re not really answerable to anyone but ourselves, so you can have a lot more fun and creative freedom.”

A few months back, Potts finished filming the Syfy Channel miniseries Alice, in which he plays Hatter. It was also recently announced that an international financing deal has brought Primeval back from the TV graveyard. Main cast members, including Potts, Hannah Spearritt and Jason Flemyng, will soon be shooting season four in Ireland for broadcast in 2011. With many more years and roles hopefully still ahead of him, Potts is on the right track with his career and intends on keeping his nose to the proverbial grindstone.

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Connor finds himself in yet another tight spot. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

“As actors, we get paid to dress up and pretend to be someone else, travel the world and see fantastic things, which I think a lot of people would appreciate,” he says. “Sure, there are some acting jobs I regret doing, but I’ve tried to do my best throughout my career. I want to keep developing myself as an actor and never stop learning. It’s important to come away from each job thinking, ‘I feel like a more well-rounded actor now.’

“I’m grateful for all of this. I’m this guy from a small town in England who’s being given these gifts of characters to play, so I’m going to keep working hard and never take that for granted.”

Keep your eyes peeled for a second brand-new interview with Andrew and his work on Alice that will be posted around December 6th, which is when the miniseries is scheduled to air over two nights on the Syfy Channel.

Steve Eramo

As noted above, all photos copyright of Impossible Pictures, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

Alice – The Syfy Channel’s Winter Wonderland

October 8, 2009

THE Syfy Channel’s contemporary re-imagined spin on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland will premiere on Sunday, December 6th @ 9-11 p.m. EST/PST and air over two consecutive nights. In this modern day spin on the classic stories by Lewis Carroll, Academy Award-winner Kathy Bates (Misery) stars as the Queen of Hearts and Caterina Scorsone (Crash television series) as Alice.

Kathy Bates (as the Queen of Hearts) and Colm Meaney (as the King of Hearts) in The Syfy Channel's Alice. Photo by James Dittiger and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Kathy Bates (as the Queen of Hearts) and Colm Meaney (as the King of Hearts) in The Syfy Channel's Alice. Photo by James Dittiger and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Rounding out the stellar cast are Tim Curry (Rocky Horror Picture Show) as Dodo, Colm Meaney (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) as the King of Hearts, Philip Winchester (Crusoe) as Jack Chase, Matt Frewer (Watchmen) as the White Knight, Andrew Lee Potts (Primeval) as Hatter, Harry Dean Stanton (Big Love) as the Caterpillar, Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica) as 9 of Clubs, Timothy Webber (Taken) as Carpenter, Alex Diakun (Sanctuary) as Ratcatcher, Zak Santiago (Kingdom Hospital) as 10 of Clubs, and Eugene Lipinski (Animorphs) as Doctors Dee and Dum,

For this re-imagined adaptation, writer/director Nick Willing mines the bizarre ingenuity and twisted logic of Lewis Carroll’s work to create a daringly different, boldly colorful and delightfully skewed dreamscape of his own. Willing also directed the record-breaking, Emmy-winning miniseries Tin Man for Syfy in 2007. Serving as Executive Producers for this ambitious new event are Matthew O’Connor and Lisa Richardson from Reunion Pictures, Jamie Brown from Studio Eight and RHI Entertainment’s Robert Halmi and Robert Halmi, Jr.

Danger and adventure await The White Knight (Matt Frewer), Alice (Caterina Scorsone) and The Hatter (Andrew Lee Potts) in Wonderland. Photo by James Dittiger and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Danger and adventure await The White Knight (Matt Frewer), Alice (Caterina Scorsone) and The Hatter (Andrew Lee Potts) in Wonderland. Photo by James Dittiger and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Using the classic Lewis Carroll books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass as a jumping off point, writer/director Nick Willing has created the modern-day story of Alice Hamilton, a fiercely independent twenty-something who suddenly finds herself on the other side of a looking glass. She is a stranger in an outlandish city of twisted towers and casinos built out of playing cards, all under the rule of a deliciously devilish Queen who’s not very happy about Alice’s arrival.

As noted above, photos by James Dittiger and copyright of The Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

The Hit British TV Series Primeval Returns From Extinction

September 29, 2009
Abby (Hannah Spearritt), Danny (Jason Flemyng) and Connor (Andrew Lee Potts) will be back for more adventures on Primeval. Photo copyright of Touchstone Pictures

Abby (Hannah Spearritt), Danny (Jason Flemyng) and Connor (Andrew Lee Potts) will be back for more adventures on Primeval. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures Limited

IT was announced this morning by BBC America that a unique collaboration has guaranteed the return of the hit ITV series Primeval to BBC America and TV screens across the globe. The groundbreaking deal between Impossible Pictures Limited (IPL), BBC Worldwide (BBCW) and ITV will deliver 13 new episodes n 2011. It will also ensure that the spectacular effects that have made Primeval such a huge success will continue throughout the new season.

Original co-production partners ITV, ProSieben and BBC Worldwide return to co-fund the new series, with BBC Worldwide becoming the majority funding partner. BBC America takes on a full co-production credit for the first time and UKTV becomes a first-time investor. Jonathan Drake, Managing Director of Impossible Pictures Limited says, “The dramatic changes in the business of broadcasting in the last 12 months have meant we have had to completely rethink how we put the funding together for a top-end series like Primeval. The fact that the series is so well-established and loved both in the UK and overseas has meant that everyone has been willing to do their best to give us the backing we needed. With the continued enthusiasm of co-producers such as ProSieben and the fantastic support of the team at BBC Worldwide we have stitched together a ground-breaking clutch of deals that will guarantee Primeval‘s ongoing success.

Helen Jackson, BBC Worldwide’s Director of Independents added, “There was a real desire between Impossible Pictures, ITV, ProSieben and BBC Worldwide to make this project succeed and to bring Primeval back from the brink of extinction. Our increased investment in the title is a reflection of our belief in the quality of the whole production and its international appeal.”

Richard de Croce, SVP Programming at BBC America adds, “Primeval is one of BBC America’s all-time top 10 shows and we’re thrilled to be co-producing the new season. It’s an innovative deal securing the future of an innovative show – and we can’t wait to bring it back to U.S. fans.”

The new series will be show run once again by Adrian Hodges and will feature the return of stars from the previous series, including Hannah Spearritt, Andrew Lee Potts and Jason Flemyng, alongside special effects created by the award-winning team at Framestore CFC. Primeval is one of BBC Worldwide’s most successful drama exports and has been sold to over 45 counties, including Australia, America, Singapore and South Korea. In the UK, the show, which broadcast on ITV1, reached audiences of over 5.5 millon every week.

This Week On Primeval – 07 – 25 – 09

July 24, 2009

SPOILER ALERT!! – Helen Cutter decides the only way to stop the destruction of life on Earth is to stop humans from ever evolving. So she goes back in time to the Pliocene period, intent on poisoning the very first humans that evolved in the Rift Valley in Africa. The team is determined to go back to the future and stop her before she can hurt anyone else. Moments before they are about to head through the anomaly, however, their hand-held detectors go off. The team splits – half will battle three vicious Megopterans (which first appeared in episode eight) that have come through another anomaly, and the rest will head to the future to take on their human nemesis, Helen. One of the team will also come face-to-face with the earliest humans, Hominids, in an encounter that will change their life forever. The deranged Helen succeeds in killing one Hominid family, but soon receives a very unpleasant surprise. Episode ten of season three airs Saturday, July 25th at the special time of 8 p.m. EST/PST on BBC America.

Test

The Primeval team - Abby (Hannah Spearritt), Connor, (Andrew Lee-Potts), Sarah (Laila Rouass), Danny (Jason Flemyng) and Captain Becker (Ben Mansfield). Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

 

Helen Cutter (Juliet Aubrey) attempts to manipulate the future by destroying past events in Primevals's season/series finale. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Helen Cutter (Juliet Aubrey) attempts to manipulate the future by destroying past events in Primevals's season/series finale. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

THE CREATURES OF PRIMEVAL Hominids, the ape man depicted in this episode is based on the skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis, which was discovered in Ethiopia in 1974 and famously called Lucy, after the Beatles’ song Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. The episode mentions site 333, which was discovered in the same year and contains the remains of 13 individuals, all of whom seem to have died at the same time and not from predators.

As noted above, all photos copyright of Impossible Pictures, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

Primeval-A-Thon

July 21, 2009
The cast of Primeval - Hannah Spearitt (Abby), Connor (Andrew-Lee Potts), Lucy Brown (Claudia), Douglas Henshall (Nick Cutter), Ben Mansfield (Captain Becker) and Laila Rouass (Sarah Page). Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

The cast of Primeval - Hannah Spearritt (Abby), Connor (Andrew-Lee Potts), Lucy Brown (Jenny Lewis), Douglas Henshall (Nick Cutter), Ben Mansfield (Captain Becker) and Laila Rouass (Sarah Page). Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Jason Flemyng's character of Danny Quinn joins the team early on in the show's third season. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Jason Flemyng's character of Danny Quinn joins the team early on in the show's third season. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Juliet Aubrey plays Helen Cutter, a proverbial thorn in the team's side. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Juliet Aubrey plays Helen Cutter, a proverbial thorn in the team's side. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

MONSTER hit Primeval brings more dinosaurs, anomalies and time travel to BBC America with the Primeval marathon. The team known for traveling back to the prehistoric past and forward to the distant future may finally run out of time. Danny (Jason Flemyng), Connor (Andrew-Lee Potts, Abby (Hannah Spearritt) and the rest of Professor Nick Cutter’s (Douglas Henshall) team have a huge challenge to stop Helen Cutter (Juliet Aubrey) and save humankind. Will the team succeed and defeat Helen for good? The explosive third season finale of Primeval follows the marathon.

The Primeval marathon airs Saturday, July 25th starting @ 11 a.m. EST/8 a.m. PST on BBC America.

As noted above, all photos copyright of Impossible Pictures, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!

This Week On Primeval – 07 – 18 – 09

July 18, 2009

SPOILER ALERT!! – The team tries to tame a herd of Embolotherium when it comes through an anomaly, but these seven -ton rhinoceros-type beasts from the Eocene era don’t budge easily. To make matters worse, Abby realizes someone is trapped in a tent and for some reason one of the Embolotherium seems intent on trampling it. Abby and Sarah try to rescue the trapped civilian, while Connor attempts to lure the lumbering creatures back into the anomaly without causing a stampede or being crushed in the process. Danny finally arrives, late. With him is Eve, a mysterious woman from the future. Things get out of control when the anomaly suddenly snaps shut and the herd starts to stampede. Episode nine of season three airs Saturday, July 18th @ 9 p.m. EST/PST on BBC America.

Danny (Jason Flemyng, center) arrives on the scene to lend Connor (Andrew Lee-Potts) and Abby (Hannah Spearritt) a hand. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Danny (Jason Flemyng, center) arrives on the scene to lend Connor (Andrew Lee-Potts) and Abby (Hannah Spearritt) a hand. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Eve (Kate Magowan), the mystery woman from the future is, not surprisingly, not who she appears to be. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Eve (Kate Magowan), the mystery woman from the future is, not surprisingly, not who she appears to be. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

THE CREATURES OF PRIMEVAL – Embolotherium (meaning “battering-ram beast” or “wedge beast”) is an extinct genus of Bronthothere that lived in Mongolia during the late Eocene period. It’s most easily recognized by a large bony protuberance emanating from the anterior (front) end of the skull. The animal is known from about 12 remaining skulls, several jaws, and a variety of other skeletal elements from the Ulan Gochu formation of Inner Mongolia and the Irgilin Dzo of Outer Mongolia. Although they may look like modern rhinos, Embolotherium are not related and were somewhat larger, at 2 tons.

As noted above, all photos copyright of Impossible Pictures, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!

This Week On Primeval – 07 – 11 – 09

July 10, 2009

SPOILER ALERT!! – When an anomaly opens at a race car test-track, the team must draw on all its skills to capture a lethal Megopteran, a giant carnivorous insect from the future. As they attempt to send it back home and lock the anomaly, they are unaware that there are two creatures on the loose, and one is still at the track when they leave. Meanwhile, at Abby’s apartment, her brother Jack steals her hand-held detector and sets out to uncover the truth about his sister’s job. As a result, he comes under attack at the test track from the remaining Megopteran. Trying to escape from the creature, Jack enters the anomaly and the team have to go after him in the slim chance that they can rescue him. Episode eight of season three airs Saturday, July 11th @ 9 p.m. EST/PST on BBC America.

Just another day at work for Abby (Hannah Spearritt), Connor (Andrew Lee-Potts) and Danny (Jason Flemyng). Photo

Just another day at the office for Abby (Hannah Spearritt), Connor (Andrew Lee-Potts) and Danny (Jason Flemyng). Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

 

Abby and Connor sense that something is not quite right. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Abby and Connor sense that something is not quite right. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

 

The Megopteran has our heroes cornered! Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

The Megopteran has our heroes cornered! Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

THE CREATURES OF PRIMEVAL Giant Insect (Megopteran) was created by a Primeval fan. Here’s how the creator, Carim Nahaboo, describes his design: “This monster is a highly adapted predator which has evolved from carnivorous beetles, such as the tiger beetle. It grows to around six foot tall, and uses large compound eyes to detect prey in future jungles. When it has found suitable prey, it uses its large mantis-like legs to catch birds or other giant insects, whilst the razor-sharp jaws make short work of the meal. This monster is also a very fast runner, and uses its speed to hunt prey over large distances, although it can only use its wings to fly short distances.”

As noted above, all photos copyright of Impossible Pictures, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!

This Week On Primeval – 06 – 27 – 09

June 26, 2009

SPOILER ALERT!! – An anomaly opens in the middle of a huge junkyard and a dinosaur from the Cretaceous era comes through. The Dracorex is wounded, which only makes it more aggressive. The team is trying to force it back when, suddenly, a medieval knight on horseback gallops through the anomaly, chasing what he thinks is a dragon. The knight decides the modern world must be hell and his only chance to make it to heaven is by slaying the creature – this is his quest. The team finds itself in the unusual position of dealing with not only a dinosaur on the loose, but also a deranged medieval knight who is convinced that he is a latter-day St. George. Episode seven of season three airs Saturday, June 27th @ 8 p.m. EST/PST on BBC America.

St. George and the Dragon - Primeval style! Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

St. George and the Dragon - Primeval style! Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Sarah (Laila Rouass) goes all Medieval! Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Sarah (Laila Rouass) goes all Medieval! Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

THE CREATURES OF PRIMEVAL – Dracorex is a dinosaur from the late Cretaceous era of North America. Only a skull and a few vertebrae have ever been found and named Dracorex hogwartsia, meaning “dragon king of Hogwarts.” They were discovered in the Hell Creek Formation in South Dakota. It belongs to the larger group of herbivorous or omnivorous Pachycephalosauridae, which are known for their thickened, domed skulls. There is much debate about why they had ornate skulls; one theory is that they used them to head-butt each other during mating rituals.

As noted above, all photos copyright of Impossible Pictures, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!

This Week On Primeval – 06 – 20 – 09

June 19, 2009

SPOILER ALERT!! – When the military invades the A.R.C. in search of a mysterious artifact, the team escapes to a mysterious old hut in the woods. They think they’re safe, until an anomaly opens nearby and 10-foot killer birds from the Pliocene era attack them. Phorusrhacids may look like armored ostriches, but they are infinitely more dangerous. The team has to use all its ingenuity to keep the rapacious birds at bay – especially since, for once, they have no technology at their disposal. They have to rely on nothing more than their bare hands and whatever they can find in the hut in the woods, which has not been used until the 1930s. Episode six of season three airs Saturday, June 20th @ 9 p.m. EST/PST on BBC America

Sir James Lester (Ben Miller) and Christine Johnson (Belinda Stewart-Wilson) exchange more barbs. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Sir James Lester (Ben Miller) and Christine Johnson (Belinda Stewart-Wilson) exchange more barbs. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

 

Always at the ready - Captain Becker (Ben Mansfield). Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Always at the ready - Captain Becker (Ben Mansfield). Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Connor (Andrew-Lee Potts) and Sarah Page (Laila Rouass) try to decipher the meaning behind the mysterious "artifact." Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Connor (Andrew-Lee Potts) and Sarah Page (Laila Rouass) try to decipher the meaning behind the mysterious "artifact." Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

All dressed up and walking into danger - Abby (Hannah Spearritt) and Sarah (Laila Rouass). Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

All dressed up and walking into danger - Abby (Hannah Spearritt) and Sarah (Laila Rouass). Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Danny Quinn (Jason Flemyng) tries to fight off the unwanted advances of a pair of Phorusrhacids. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

Danny Quinn (Jason Flemyng) tries to fight off the unwanted advances of a pair of Phorusrhacids. Photo copyright of Impossible Pictures

THE CREATURES OF PRIMEVAL – Terror birds (Phorusrhacids) – The creature is a fairly accurate representation of an extraordinary group of animals that took over as top predators in South America after the dinosaurs died out. Titanis walleri , one of the largest species, has been found in North America, making it one of the comparatively rare examples of animals that evolved in South America but which managed to spread North after the Isthmus of Panama land-bridge formed. Their wings had evolved into meat hook-like structures that likely could be outstretched like arms to perform a hacking motion, which theoretically was helpful in bringing down prey. Most of the smaller and some of the larger species are believed to have been fast runners.

As noted above, all photos copyright of Impossible Pictures, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!