10 questions with FUTURAMA's funnyman - Part Two - Mania.com

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10 questions with FUTURAMA's funnyman - Part Two

Co-creator David X. Cohen answers our questions about life in the 30th century

By Patrick Sauriol     August 18, 2003

© 2003 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Last week David X. Cohen answered the first five of my questions about his cancelled-but-not-forgotten animated TV series FUTURAMA and today I'm back with the final part of my talk with Cohen. If you haven't heard, Fox Home Video has just released Volume Two of FUTURAMA on DVD, offering us 19 more episodes of Fry, Bender and Leela on their misadventures in the 31st century. Although the final episode of FUTURAMA has come and gone on Fox, the series is finding a successful afterlife on Cartoon Network and TBS where it's been getting fantastic ratings. As well, the DVD sets seem to be a hit too, which leads to the question...just what was Fox thinking when they pulled the plug on this series?

Cohen has his own thoughts on what it may mean, as well as what life might be like if his head were pickled by technology, as well as something to offer to fans who want more FUTURAMA. Find out what David X. Cohen's answers were to my final five questions starting right...now!

Q6: What's inside David Cohen's DVD player right now?

COHEN: I literally have two different DVDs in two different DVD players right now because I watched one thing and half of another thing yesterday. I watched AMERICAN MOVIE on DVD which I had seen before in the theater but my girlfriend hadn't seen it and I wanted to show it to her. This is about a filmmaker somewhere in the north-center of the United States, it's this guy who's this unbelievable character who wants to make a horror movie but he has no resources at all and he's been working for years and years to make this short horror movie. His sidekick is this friend whose brain is just totally shot from years of drug use. It's unbelievable, I highly recommend it. It's fantastic, kind of sad but also hilarious.

In my other DVD player I was watching a Sherlock Holmes feature film collection starring Jeremy Brett who is this great actor. There was a series of Sherlock Holmes films that they did for British television about fifteen years ago, ten years ago, something like that. Anyway this guy is awesome this actor who plays Sherlock Holmes. They did all the stories and they did a bunch of feature movies also.

Q7: If you were a head in a jar on a shelf in the year 3000, which famous heads would you wish could be on either side of you?

COHEN: Oh lord. No matter who it is it's you know it's going to be a nightmare. Maybe I'll try and limit it to just heads that have appeared on FUTURAMA so I don't go crazy...

Q: Because you're just a head on a shelf...

COHEN: Yeah...you know I think I'd like to have one scientist to discuss science and one person who just knew a lot about everything, so maybe...yeah, maybe Bill Clinton, he was on FUTURAMA. He could be on one side as a kind of generally knowledgable guy.

Ah, I don't know about that. That's no good! That's a hard one.

Q: OK, it's alright. It's either something that would come in your head right away or you'll be thinking about it for months.

COHEN: Yeah. I feel like saying Stephen Hawking or something. Of course he didn't appear as a head, he appeared as his whole body I'm still going to count that! I'm going to say Stephen Hawking on one side because over the hundreds of years we'll be next to each other I might begin to understand what he has to say. So Stephen Hawing on one side and, oh, and then we could just put Pamela Anderson's head on the other side.

Q8: What can you tell us about the FUTURAMA video game?

COHEN: The video game comes out almost simultaneously with the DVD. It's pretty awesome. It's coming out August 15. It was written by Stuart Burns, one of our longtime writers for the show. He wrote the "Roswell" episode that won the Emmy last year. Matt Groening was heavily involved, I was involved and the original cast is doing the voices.

[The premise] is that supervillain Mom has tricked the Professor into selling her Planet Express. Worse yet, that has given her 51% control of the Earth's surface which makes her the grand tyrannical ruler of Earth. Life becomes pretty horrible immediately after that. The Planet Express crew goes on a desperate mission back in time to prevent Mom from becoming the dictator of Earth. It's coming out on Xbox, PlayStation 2 and Gamecube. There's a trailer of it on the DVD.

The coolest thing about it is that it's pretty much like getting an extra episode because there's literally 25 minutes of just footage of an episode of a show between levels of the game, the parts where you're establishing what's happening before the next level. It's literally more than a full episode's worth of material. Basically it's a lost episode of the show if you can play your way through it all.

Q9: What's the future hold for FUTURAMA? Could there be a crossover with THE SIMPSONS or even a FUTURAMA movie?

COHEN: I don't think the SIMPSONS crossover is going to happen just cause I don't think there's any way of doing it without infuriating every fan of both shows. Both of those shows have fans who are easily infuriated by anything that wrecks up their reality. I don't think that's going to happen.

For my personal wishes I would look at a movie. That's what I'm aiming for. I know it's kind of a longshot I guess at this point but on the other hand it, to me it seems like a no-brainer that it would be a success because it would be not that expensive as far as animated movies go. There's an audience already built-in worldwide for this thing because the movie could easily show in Europe, in Australia, the United States, Mexico. To me it seems that it would be very easy to make your money back on a FUTURAMA movie. And any movie executives reading this right now I recommend that you take out your calculators and look at what I'm saying because it's true!

I feel like that, while being a longshot, is not out of the question. Whenever I say we should do a movie Matt Groening always says 'A series of movies!' so I know he's into it. Nothing's out of the question. I think that because of the success on Cartoon Network the people are raising an eyebrow. So maybe there is something else that we can do with the show whereas a few months ago I would have said, ah, you know, we're done for.

Q10: So we're at the final question and the world's just got to know: just what does the X stand for in your name?

COHEN: If it's anything it's completely fraudulent. The story is my actual middle initial is S as in Samuel, which is my middle name. When I used to work for THE SIMPSONS my name always appeared as David S. Cohen, which is my real name. However right around when we started FUTURAMA there was somewhat coincidentally a move to get all of the primetime animated shows into coverage of the Writer's Guild, which is the union for TV and movie writers. Up to that point they hadn't represented writers of the animated shows. So right around when we started FUTURAMA we all had to join the Writer's Guild and the Writer's Guild had the policy that no two members could use the same name on their Guild list. Unfortunately some other David Cohen had the nerve to have my middle initial before me. There was already a David S. Cohen in the Writer's Guild. So I had to, just because of the union rules, I had to change some part of my name. So when I was working on FUTURAMA the X seemed to go somehow with the year 3000, a little more future-y or alien somehow. Thus the X.

I told my parents that I would tell people it stood for Xamuel, so that way there would be discord with the name they so carefully chose.

Q: Of course because they're the ones getting all the calls from people who know you watching the show. "What's up with the X?"

COHEN: "What is it? Xander?"

[Thanks to David X. Cohen for showing us how much fun the future will be. Have a Slurm Cola on us!]


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