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Bruce Boxleitner Set to Star in GENESIS.
Planned remake of Gene Roddenberry's failed pilot is in development.
By Frank Garcia
February 29, 2000
The secret identity of the lead actor for an upcoming Gene Roddenberry television series titled GENESIS can now be revealed. BABYLON 5's Bruce Boxleitner is the actor who has been signed to star in a remake of Gene Roddenberry's 1973 movie of the week GENESIS II.
'I'm signed for the series!' laughs Bruce Boxleitner in Vancouver, Canada, where he was filming an episode of THE OUTER LIMITS. 'They made GENESIS II, and it was not successful. Maybe it will work better in today's climate.' The deal with Tribune Entertainment, the production company supporting the project, was completed over the holidays last year he says.
There's some irony attached to choosing Boxleitner as the 'new' Dylan Hunt: Alex Cord, the actor who originated the role, is actually a friend. GENESIS II, the 1973 film written and produced by Roddenberry, starred Cord as the 20th Century scientist who was accidentally frozen in an underground cavern and revived in the year 2133, where he joined a peaceful society of scientists and teachers whose goal was to help rebuild the fragmented, post-nuclear world. In 1974 Roddenberry tried the idea again at ABC, called PLANET EARTH, with John Saxon in the lead role.
Don't expect to see GENESIS's main title theme on your TV screens any time soon. The property is presently unsold and looking for a cable outlet just as another series, Gene Roddenberry's ANDROMEDA starring Kevin Sorbo, prepares for filming in Vancouver, British Columbia this summer for a Fall 2000 premiere in syndication. GENESIS was originally envisioned as one half of a two-hour block of Roddenberry programming in syndication, together with ANDROMEDA. But that ideal may take some time to bring to life. Boxleitner says that Tribune has opted instead to place Earth's rebirth on the development burner.
'They want to do it right,' says Boxleitner. 'If you try to rush something on, sometimes that's not the way. It's not gonna work. I want it to be good.'
Boxleitner has a very pragmatic attitude towards the slow development process. 'I'm not anxious to jump right in. I'm not sweating it. It might be too close.' What he means, of course, is that BABYLON 5 completed its successful five-year run just two years ago, and he wants opportunities to do other things between one science fiction project and another. 'I'm still very much on BABYLON 5 everywhere! It's still very much alive. Maybe it's too soon,' he says. 'I'm glad they backed off for a while. Next year would be a better time--just to get a little distance between series.'
But Boxleitner is also experienced enough about the Hollywood business to realize that GENESIS might never get off the ground. 'You know what? If it doesn't happen, that's fine too.'
Because GENESIS' series premise is currently being reworked and updated from its original presentation, Boxleitner is looking forward to seeing the final details. In fact, two integral elements the name Dylan Hunt and the fact that he had been, like Buck Rogers, frozen for hundreds of years have been now taken by ANDROMEDA. 'I saw Dylan Alexander,' says Boxleitner. 'They weren't happy with the original script. They should just change the whole thing. If it resembles even slightly the Alex Cord thing fine. But I think they want to rework the whole thing,'
Contractually, Boxleitner was given a choice where the series could be filmed. He was offered Australia, Toronto and Vancouver. 'They won't shoot in the States,' says Boxleitner. 'I would love to but they just can't make it financially. I said Vancouver. It's in the same time zone as California. I can get home on Friday night, if I have to and if I can. It's close to the family,' he grins.
The proven success of EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT, which is renewed up to its fourth year, is opening the door for more Roddenberry projects. Can THE QUESTOR TAPES be far behind?