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SDCC 2008: Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles Interviews
Brian Austin Green? Fox? Another Terminator Movie?
By Robert T. Trate
August 05, 2008
SDCC Terminator Sarah Connor Chronicles Panel
© Robert Trate
When Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles premiered many of us thought, why? Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was absent Linda Hamilton (the original Sarah Connor) and was really just a rehash of what had already been done in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. It did open the door for the war against the machines and put John Connor (then Nick Stahl) back on his inescapable destiny. So why not focus on that? They are, with Christian Bale (now John Connor) in Terminator Salvation. So why make a TV show? Many franchises have tried to cash in at the box office and on TV at the same time. Star Trek, South Park and The Simpsons have all proved it can indeed work.
Curiosity and the lack of any new shows, thanks to the writer strike, made many of us tune in and see Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I was pleasantly surprised how well those early episodes sucked me in. I didn’t realize the hold the show had over me until Derek Reese (Brian Austin Green) laid there bleeding to death and I started screaming at the TV, “You can’t kill him!” Knowing that Fox loves to cancel great shows (Firefly and Family Guy) I was constantly looking for those dreaded words: canceled. Thankfully it was not.
Arriving early to the hall at the San Diego Comic Con in which the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles panel would take place I figured there would be a few people there. I was wrong. The hall was packed to capacity and had to turn many fans away. Quick introductions of the entire cast and producers lead to the introduction of the newest cast member Shirley Mason (from the band Garbage). The Q and A was pretty standard but the revelation that one cast member would die sent not only the room into a hysteria but the cast as well.
Josh Friedman, the show’s Executive Producer, was quick to reveal that this season will be bigger in terms of story and action. Friedman wanted to make sure that the show will never become a Terminator of the week and it will keep its serialized episodes for the duration.
Robert Trate: Was there any fear being on Fox since they are notorious for canceling popular shows?
Josh Friedman (Executive Producer): It’s a different group than when the Firefly thing went down. What I like about Fox is they are actually a more disruptive network in terms of their taste. They will do things on their network to make a show for the audience. A lot of the other networks want people to watch their shows but they are a little more polite about it. I think Fox embraces the things we need to have in our show. No one ever says, is that a little dark or is that a little violent or that too edgy? The franchise needs to live out on that edge and that’s their reputation.
Robert Trate: Do you feel any pressure from Terminator Salvation?
Josh Friedman: I don’t feel the pressure. I am ignorant I guess and I don’t pay much attention to it. Part of that may be denial. McG (Terminator Salvation’s director) and I have talked a few times but I have never read the script for it. I have never asked him what happens in it and I don’t want to know. McG and I decided that I would do my thing and he would do his. It’s a 200 million dollar movie. Their trailers cost as much as our shows do. What TV does best is character. At the end of the day that is what we do best. We are incredibly ambitious because I believe that the franchise demands that, not necessarily because of the movie. I hope that the two of them help each other. The movie franchise post T3 was perceived as not that healthy. Maybe they need us as much as we need them.
John Wirth (Executive Producer) and James Middleton (Consulting Producer) were happy about adding the charismatic Shirley Mason to the cast and how (jokingly) you shouldn’t piss off writers. John Wirth stated that the future will almost be a character in the new season. There will be a an episode or two about the future but there will be snippets here and there in other episodes revealing what is happening. John Middleton also spoke of an episode that will reveal Cameron’s (Summer Glau) origin and where she came from.
Robert Trate: When Brian Austin Green was added to the cast I was at first apprehensive to him being on the show. However, when his character looked as if he was going to die I suddenly found myself upset that he and his character might not be on the show. What brought him to the project?
John Wirth: We saw about 100 hundred guys for the role. The casting process in Hollywood is tough. A lot of times actors are not allowed to come in an act. They just have to be and there are so many people that want those jobs. If you are in a position to hire somebody and you have the time and the fortitude you can sit there until the person walks into the room. We saw a lot of actors, he came in. We knew what his background was and we were curious to see him, because what was David Silver (Green’s character he played for 10 years on 90210) going to do in here? He looked fabulous, he had become a man and he had this haunted quality to his audition which has never left his performance. I mean he is a haunted and intense guy. We were thrilled and surprised at the same time. He really has been a wonderful addition to our cast.
James Middleton: One thing we talk about when we go through the casting process is to non stereotype and acknowledge the fact that people can reinvent themselves. Brian has absolutely done that. I’m really excited about what he has done. I think he has opened a whole new chapter in his career.
John Wirth: I should also say that Josh (Friedman) had the idea to try and find someone that he could re-invent. I think that is how Brian got on our list. Brian just filled the bill beautifully.
If the fear of Fox canceling the show or the writers strike kept you away from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles it will start its second season on September 8th. Repeats of the first season start Sunday August 10th on Fox and the complete first season will be released on DVD August 19th.