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Adrian Paul: Talking TRACKER Part Two

The actor and executive producer offers more insight into his new sci-fi show, TRACKER, and the otherworldly characters found therein

By Abbie Bernstein     October 17, 2001


Leanne Wilson, Adrian Paul and Amy Price-Francis of TRACKER
© 2001 Chum Television

Yesterday, former HIGHLANDER star Adrian Paul discussed his new television series, TRACKER, which he stars in and executive produces. Today, in the second part of CINESCAPE's interview with Paul, the actor offers his perspective on the development of his new character, an extraterrestrial sent to Earth to track down interstellar criminals, as well as what else viewers can expect to see from the show.


As for TRACKER's lead character Cole, he's designed to be different from and funnier than other characters Paul has tackled previously. "I wanted him to be much more of a mimic, be able to pick up on other accents, other languages I hadn't really done that so much in other roles and to develop somebody from being a baby, in a way. It's an interesting challenge, to see where the line is that you can stop [showing him learning] and when you become something. It was fun to find that. And with that, obviously, you find the humor."


Cole tends to question, and

Adrian Paul and one of his beautiful co-stars, Amy Price-Francis, in TRACKER

sometimes misinterpret, the meaning of many human activities. "He learns everything from square one," Paul points out. "All the information he's gotten is from the TV or computers. What we're trying to do here is create a show that looks at human idiosyncrasies. You can say 'ass.'  Well, 'ass' can mean a four-legged animal or somebody's behind. Depending on how you look at things what he hears and what he sees, we [may] find totally normal, but for him it would be a little bit, 'Why are you doing that?'"


Fellow aliens on the show are less of a mystery to Cole. Paul delineates the basic species for earthbound viewers: "We have six alien planets [in] the Migar alliance. One is Cirron, where [Cole] comes from. [Cirronians are] a higher species of being. Then there are the Vardians who are [very aggressive and] have very intelligent scientists. [They] have also created a subspecies of fighting machine who are the big, blundering type of alien. Then you have the Enixians. Enix is a dark planet. They're more bat-like in their movements and the things that they're able to do. The Orsians are from Orsus, which is a planet where they burrow underground and come up and attack their foes from below. The Nodulians live in water. I wouldn't say they're fishlike, but they use very subtle movements. If we do wire work, we'd utilize it to create [a specific alien] look, so everybody knows these are Vardians, these are Nodulians, these are Enixians, these are Orsians, etc. And then you have one chameleon type of alien, called Dessarians. There are very few of those. They are able to blend into things, so they're very hard to track."


The unfriendly aliens have the bad habit of killing humans and taking over their bodies, Paul explains. "They are within the human body they've basically taken over the person's soul and replaced it with theirs. When I remove that with what we call the Collector, it comes out of the body and you see in a visual effect some movement of the alien as it goes into the Collector. So for a brief moment, you see what these things really look like."


There won't be heavy-duty

From space, to a TV near you - Adrian Paul is TRACKER.

alien makeup effects on TRACKER, Paul reveals. "It's more subtle than having huge effects and monsters and that kind of thing. We're creating visual effects from camera work and ramping and wire work and things like that that give regular [looking actors] a slight strangeness, if you like, in the characters that they play."


This means that the aliens' otherworldly qualities have to be reinforced with performance rather than prosthetics. "Some of the guys we've had [on the show] can physically do it," Paul observes. "However, you're not [always] going to be able to get somebody that can do all these physical moves as well as act, so we have to sometimes figure out who can do what and adapt for what they are [able to do]."


Action clearly plays a part in TRACKER. "It's not as much as HIGHLANDER was, at the moment," Paul says. "What we're trying to do is to create action that is not about hitting anybody, it's about creating interesting moves that come from some other place. In other words, an alien move is a movement that you wouldn't really expect somebody to be able to do, and [the idea is] to be able to see that camera-wise and have it affect you in a different way. It's kind of difficult to explain it's like when you're in a fight, you don't really see what happened, but you know something really bizarre happened when you get hit. We want to try and create the same [feeling] with the camera, to actually create the different speeds that happen in a fight the [kinetics] of it, the abilities of the different aliens."


One of the advantages of being an executive producer is the ability to explore the possibilities in all the characters, alien and human. "I really work with [fellow executive producer Gil Grant] and the writers," Paul explains. "I give them an idea, and then they go away and write it, and then I'll come back and say, 'Okay, now I want to rewrite it like this.' In fact, we do a lot of ad-libbing on the set. We sit down, whoever the actors are in the scene, and we will work it to death. 'What do we want to achieve in the scene? How do we want to do it?'"


Paul's fellow cast members like

Adrian Paul stars as an extraterrestrial hunter in TRACKER.

the added time to develop their roles, he reports. "They're like, 'Wow, we've never really had the chance to do that [on other shows]. We're just given the lines and we say them.' And I say, 'No, I want to develop characters that have backgrounds and something interesting to say.' So we work on that all the time. We really like this stuff. In a way, we're playing all the time. We figure the scenes out and go with it and see what happens, which allows you to become very spontaneous sometimes."


TRACKER has a 22-episode commitment. Meanwhile, Paul is in talks with Lions Gate to direct a feature film called HIROKIN next year and may make two other movies as well. How will this work out with his TRACKER duties? Cole can alter his appearance, Paul reminds us. "TRACKER is going to be something I think I'll be able to come and go from, hopefully. The way [Cole] gets his face is from a billboard, so it allows me to be able to actually change [his] look and use another actor [as the character] if I really need to for an episode or two, so I can go off and shoot something else."


For now, though, TRACKER is the focal point of Paul's professional universe. He's hoping the show, like his character, will be unconventional. "What I wanted to do with this show as did Gil was to create a syndicated genre [series] that was a little bit different than the norm a little bit different than the normal hero, a little bit different than what's seen on syndicated TV. It's just a question of having the time and effort to achieve that. It's really hard in a syndicated show to have the humor, to have the sci-fi, to have the drama the look is important to have all those elements and make them be all very evenly weighted. I want to do something that might not have been done before."

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