Last November Fox TV announced that had ordered a series pilot based on Michael Oeming's original graphic novel 'Six'. The series, retitled 'Them', is currently targeted for midseason 2008.
Recently I spoke with David Engel, Manager and Co-Executive Producer of the upcoming show.
Leslie Morgan for Comics2film (C2F): Can you tell me a bit about the process in transforming the graphic novel into a television show? What was your involvement in that process as an Executive Producer on the show?
David Engel: It was difficult to translate SIX into a television series so we ended up just following whatever path the core concept of the book lead us down. Conceptually, the show is about an alien who discovers what it means to be human and fall in love.
C2F: What sort of hurdles did you come up against and was there ever a push and pull with FOX over content?
Engel: Fox has been a great place to develop a show; they believe in the creative team and the source material and have been a supportive partner.
C2F: Who is writing the television show? Did they have a lot of input from Michael Oeming (the writer of SIX)? Also with regards to this, the show is based on the graphic novel, do you feel it has stayed pretty true to Michael's original SIX?
Engel: John McNamara (The Fugitive) and David Eick (BattleStar Gallactica) wrote the show. Mike Oeming, and co-creator Dan Berman, have been in communication with John, David and Jonathan Mostow, the director, during the entire process. The DNA of the TV series remains true to the graphic novel. Any changes were as a result of translating from one media to another.
C2F: Who is starring in the show? Can you talk a bit about the casting process you went through? Also who directed the pilot episode?
Engel: The lead, who plays alien agent Cain, is James D'Arcy, an incredibly well trained British actor who appeared alongside Russell Crow in Master and Commander. Jonathan Mostow directed the pilot. Jonathan directed such features as Terminator 3, U-571, and Breakdown. We got lucky that he decided to direct television. He is a breathtakingly intelligent man.
C2F: Obviously with television (unlike a 2 hour film) a series could go 1 season or 8. First how many episodes has FOX committed to? Second when developing this show how far along do you see this going; in other words do you have to as a collective team plan the show going a full season or more?
Engel: The core concept of the show is so textured that it lends itself to years worth of material.
C2F: As an Executive Producer on the show what would you like an audience to come away with after seeing the pilot?
Engel: The show is really an affirmation of humanity through the eyes of an outsider who comes to appreciate what we take for granted here on earth.
C2F: Are there any other graphic novels either from Oeming that you are trying to develop into television or films or in general any projects for you in the pipeline?
Engel: Well I love Oeming's Bastard Samurai, which I envision as a feature, and I think Ed Brubaker's Scene of the Crime would make a terrific procedural TV series. Brian Bendis and Oeming have a great book, Powers, which is essentially CSI meets Heroes. Lastly I've been obsessed with James Hudnall's graphic novel Chiller. Jim already had one series on the air, Harsh Realm, in 1998.
C2F: Is there a premiere date set yet? Time and day?
Engel: There is nothing set. Networks generally don't make series determinations until May.
C2F: Thanks so much David is there anything you want to add regarding adapting graphic novels into TV and film?
Engel:In a larger sense it's great that graphic novels and comic books continue to become more engrained and accepted as part of the mainstream and independent films and television.
Tune in for more about 'Them' as the series develops.