Sunday, May 31, 2009

Alien reboot, a prequel, is confirmed!

Producer Tony Scott confirmed to that he and brother Ridley Scott are developing a prequel film to Ridley's original Alien movie, with Carl Rinsch directing.
The news confirms the rumor first reported by Bloody-Disgusting that an Alien remake was in the works for 20th Century Fox.

"Carl Rinsch is going to do the prequel to Alien," Scott told Collider while promoting The Taking of Pelham 123. "He's one of our directors at our company."

Tony Scott added: "I'm excited because Ridley created the original, and Carl Rinsch is one of the family."

Scott said that he hopes to get the movie before cameras ""hopefully [by] the end of the year" for a summer 2011 release.
sci-fi wire...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Atlantis' Joe Flanigan, BSG stars to guest on Warehouse 13

Stargate Atlantis star Joe Flanigan will appear in SCI FI Channel's upcoming Warehouse 13, as will former Battlestar Galactica cast members Tricia Helfer, Michael Hogan and Mark Sheppard, SCI FI announced.

Other guest stars include Gossip Girl's James Naughton; Roger Rees of Cheers; Eureka's Joe Morton, Erica Cerra and Niall Matter; and Ivan Sergei from Crossing Jordan.

In the show, two Secret Service agents (Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly) find themselves abruptly transferred to Warehouse 13, a massive, top-secret storage facility in windswept South Dakota that houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government.

The Warehouse's caretaker, Artie (Saul Rubinek), charges Pete (McClintock) and Myka (Kelly) with chasing down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity in search of new objects to cache at the Warehouse, as well as helping him to control the warehouse itself.
Following is a rundown of the guest spots

♦Sergei will play Ross, an EMT from Unionville, N.Y. Ross and some of the other townspeople begin to display bizarre behavioral symptoms—involuntary (and potentially dangerous) expressions of their subconscious desires.

♦Helfer stars as FBI agent Bonnie Belski, who clashes with Pete and Myka when they interfere with a case on her Chicago turf. But after the third inexplicable bank takeover, she finds herself willing to make use of their expertise.

♦Flanigan portrays the handsome and wealthy Jeff Weaver, whose charm captures Myka's interest. But he finds himself under Pete and Myka's scrutiny when a sculpture on which he bid vanishes in an impossible heist.
♦Naughton is Gilbert Radburn, a well-tailored, high-profile entrepreneur. When a competitor threatens his intended acquisition, Radburn's suspicious behavior brings him under Pete and Myka's scrutiny.
♦Rees is MacPherson, one of Artie's former Warehouse colleagues who has gone rogue and is now competing with the team to gather dangerous and powerful objects for his own use.

♦Cerra and Matter portray Jillian and Gary Whitman, small-time thieves on the Las Vegas strip whose fortunes, twisted by the strange power of a luck-inducing artifact, take a fantastic turn.

♦Morton stars as John Hill, a charismatic inmate and extremist religious leader in a Florida prison.

♦Sheppard is Mr. Valda, the enigmatic representative of the Regents, the mysterious organization that controls Warehouse 13. He disapproves of Artie's methods as the team leader of the Warehouse and isn't afraid to let him know it.

♦Hogan portrays Myka's father, Warren Bering, who receives a dangerous object anonymously in the mail that puts his life in jeopardy. Hogan's real-life wife, Susan, will play Myka's mother.

CCH Pounder, who appears in the pilot, returns in a guest-starring role as Artie's boss, Mrs. Frederic. Warehouse 13 will premiere July 7 with a two-hour pilot at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
sci-fi wire...

New video trailer for Guillermo del Toro's vampire novel The Strain

Here's how describes the first book:
"Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

"In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing ...

"So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city—a city that includes his wife and son—before it is too late."
sci-fi wire...

Will Summer Glau enter Joss Whedon's Dollhouse?

Joss Whedon told Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello that he's trying to get his former Firefly star Summer Glau on Fox's Dollhouse in its second season, but not in a role you might expect.

"Summer would be perfect to play an active, but she's done that [type of role] a lot," Whedon told Ausiello. "I'd rather see her play someone who talks too much. The most fun I have is when I get somebody who's good and comfortable at doing something, and then I make them do something else. Summer said to me, 'I would like to play a normal girl before I die of extreme old age.'"
Whedon has wanted to bring Glau into the fold since before her last series, Fox's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, was canceled. "If anybody thinks [bringing Summer onto Dollhouse] hasn't occurred to me already, then they have not met me," he says. "I mentioned it to her before [SCC] was canceled. I was like, 'You know, we should get you in the 'house.' But first we have to come up with something that works." Dollhouse returns in the fall.
sci-fi wire...

Freddie Prinze Jr. joins cast of 24: Is he the next Jack Bauer?

Freddie Prinze Jr. is joining the cast of Fox's 24 as a regular, playing Davis Cole, a recently returned Marine who runs CTU Field Ops and wants to follow in Jack Bauer's (Kiefer Sutherland) footsteps, sources told The Hollywood Reporter.
On the real-time drama, whose upcoming eighth season started production Wednesday, Prinze joins fellow new cast additions Anil Kapoor, who plays a Middle East leader; Chris Diamantopoulos, as the president's new chief of staff; and John Boyd as a CTU systems analyst. All of them are regulars, while Jennifer Westfeldt has come aboard as a recurring cast member, playing a journalist.

Also cast as a recurring character on the 20th TV/Imagine series is Nazneen Contractor as Kapoor's daughter.
sci-fi wire...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New images featuring Denzel Washington in post-apocalyptic Book of Eli

USA Today has posted a few new images from the upcoming post-apocalyptic Book of Eli movie, which you can view after the jump.
The film stars Denzel Washington as a warrior traveling alone through a ravaged America. The movie, directed by the Hughes brothers and also starring Gary Oldman, opens Jan. 15.
sci-fi wire...

Vampires, werewolves, ghosts: Being Human debuts on BBC America

Being Human—about the secret lives of three twentysomethings as a werewolf, a vampire and a ghost—debuts on BBC America on July 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Russell Tovey, Lenora Crichlow and Aidan Turner star as housemates trying to live normal lives, despite their strange and dark secrets.

George (Tovey) and Mitchell (Turner) work in anonymous drudgery as hospital porters. They lead lives of quiet desperation under the burden of a terrible secret: Mitchell's a vampire and George a werewolf. Deciding to start life afresh and leave behind the dark side, they move into a house, only to find that Annie, the ghost of a woman killed in mysterious circumstances, haunts it.
sci-fi wire....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why NBC's Merlin is the Smallville of Camelot

Anthony Stewart Head, who plays King Uther in the BBC/NBC retelling of Merlin, told SCI FI Wire that the series is like a Smallville version of the King Arthur story. Head plays the monarch in the story of Merlin and Arthur when they are teenagers.

"It's what would have happened if Merlin actually met Arthur when they were both young," Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) said in an exclusive interview last month in Pasadena, Calif. "[He has] all this extraordinary talent as a young sorcerer in a Camelot that's ruled over by pretty much a fascist who has outlawed sorcery, has outlawed magic, has basically ethnically cleansed all sorcerers and anybody who has anything to do with magic. It is the king's hypothesis that magic always leads people to the dark side. Whatever way you want to look at it, it ultimately is evil, so it should be wiped out."
The BBC production is already in production for a second season; season one premieres June 21 at 8 p.m. on NBC.

Merlin is a 13-part drama series that updates the story of the sorcerer of Arthurian legend for a new audience. Merlin is a young man with extraordinary magical powers who arrives in the kingdom and quickly makes enemies, including the heir to Uther's crown, the headstrong Prince Arthur. But guided by Uther's wise physician, Gaius, Merlin is soon using his talents not just to survive but also to unlock Camelot's mystical secrets.

The series also stars Colin Morgan as Merlin, Bradley James as Prince Arthur, Richard Wilson as Gaius, Katie McGrath as Morgana and Angel Coulby as Gwen. The following Q&A features edited excerpts of SCI FI Wire's interview with Head. (Spoilers ahead!)

Is there humor or is it a straight historical drama?

Head: The writing is light. They've managed to find a modern style, which doesn't intrude. Having said that, it's not been easy. There have been times when there have been a few sort of anachronisms that just jarred, and we've lost them. The humor comes from the relationship between Merlin and Arthur, because there's a lot of banter and a lot of stuff that teenagers will identify with and youngsters, and also adults understand it because they watch their own teenagers. There's a relationship between Merlin and Gaius, who's played by Richard Wilson, which also has a lot of humor in it. There's a lot of humor in it, and, at the same time, there's a bit of darkness, there's a big of angst, bit of mystery, a lot of suspense. It's one of those gigs that you just go, "Why didn't somebody make this before?"

But you're not speaking old English?

Head: No, not at all, and it's difficult. Uther is a little bit wordier than the others, but that's because he represents the old school and the old way of doing things. He rules with an iron fist or whatever it is. Consequently, that works. Gaius I guess speaks a little bit more modernistically. I'm not sure but it's light enough to be palatable, but it's not so light that you dismiss. You believe the world.

And this is the BBC model of a short 13 episodes?

Head: To us, 13 episodes ain't short. To us, nowadays, there's a director friend of mine who pitched a story to the BBC, they did it in threes. They did two episodes together, and then they did a third, and he's still waiting to find out if they're picking it up for another three. For God's sake, commit yourself, will you? For me, for the BBC to make the commitment of 13 eps was a big thumbs up, right at the beginning. The fact that [producer] Julie Gardner was involved in it is somebody that I'm very fond of, and I think she's one of the leading lights that we have, and she's coming here. I think she's going to set up a lot of stuff. She's coming in to work with BBC worldwide, and I think they'll start to do a lot more co-production.
Is this designed to be ongoing or are two seasons the limit?

Head: They've always talked about at least five, the story arcs. The bottom line is, if it's not successful, it won't go, but judging from the success so far, it's straight out of the box. It's been sold worldwide. There are only three territories, I think, that haven't picked it up. One's Iceland, one's Ireland for some strange reason, and somewhere like Uzbekistan. They're obviously not turned on by Arthur and Merlin.

We know the history, so what's the journey of Uther until Arthur ascends the throne?

Head: There's a couple of episodes early on in the season two when I was going, "Oh, is this the line we're going down?" It's basically, "No, don't go after the servant." Stuff that we've heard from him before, but it's very brief. Then I start to get some meat. They're very open. For instance, in the first episode of season two—we're doing that now—and there's a couple of things that should be addressed. I said, "We should address them," and they've gone, "OK." They're open to stuff.

But where does Uther go? I don't know. We've talked about a couple of ideas. I've pitched something, which I think they might go with, which would be fun to play and would be interesting. He only is useful in as much as while he is around, Arthur can't be king. But, as I say, I only want to do it as long as it's challenging and interesting. So there will be some sort of crossover point where it'll be like, "OK, I've done it now. I've had enough." Where that will be, I don't know.

How does the visual spectacle compare to the ones you saw on Buffy? [The series shot on location in France, England and Wales.]

Head: Amazingly well. It's a place called The Mill that cut their teeth on stuff like Harry Potter, Doctor Who. ... What used to be true was if you threw a lot of money at it, you had good CGI. Then you look at dodgy effects in things that had a lot of money thrown at them. Then you look at something like this, which hasn't got a huge budget, but it's obviously got enough because I think the CGI is brilliant. From the composite shots, a lot of people think the castle is CGI. It ain't. It's real. They only think it's CGI because these days, you're just not used to that kind of production value. You're not used to something being that big, because if it is that big, it's got to be CGI. It can't be real.

You don't have a throne room that's the length of a football pitch. There's a shot in the first ep, you'll see it. It's only a tiny little [thing], but I saw the whole shot. Eve Myles is a witch, and she turns herself into something rather attractive, obviously. She goes from a very good prosthetic makeup into this. She's with this beautiful silk dress, and [we] go down on a tracking shot with her down this corridor, this throne room, with me at the end and all these guards along the windows and shafts of light.
I said to the director, "No one's going to believe that's real because you just don't see it these days." You don't see it unless it's on a huge film, and even then, it's probably going to be CGI because it's easier. But it's a stunning, stunning environment. It's just an amazing location, and we never fail to find bits and pieces. Even returning to the same corridors, we've got corridors everywhere that are, like, 20-30 yards long, which you couldn't build in an interior. You'd have to put a green screen, or it used to be a mirror. You'd put a mirror on one end so it looks like a long corridor. These are real, and the light coming in is just gorgeous. It's better light than we have in England. It's that sort of really clean light that you're very used to in L.A., but it's lovely.

sci-fi wire...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The CW schedule: 'Thursdays go Goth,' pairing Supernatural, Vampire

The CW's hot new Twilight-tinged series The Vampire Diaries is kicking longtime resident Smallville off of Thursdays while pairing up with Supernatural, the network announced in the upfront presentation of its 2009-'10 schedule on Thursday. Meanwhile, the network canceled Reaper, as expected, though it's unclear whether the show will live on in first-run syndication.

"Thursdays go Goth" is one of The CW's new taglines. The Smallville/Supernatural pairing on Thursdays has been a staple on The CW for years, with the DC Comics-inspired Smallville doing fairly well and Supernatural building its ratings despite the worst competition on TV (it airs opposite Grey's Anatomy and CSI). Both shows had already gotten pickups from the network.

The strategic move to pair The Vampire Diaries with Supernatural aims at a younger-skewing audience by drawing in the teenage Twilight fangirls who are hungry for more vampire angst. Meanwhile, Smallville certainly can't hurt The CW on Fridays, and it will have a chance to play out its ninth and final season.

The Vampire Dairies centers on a teenage girl named Elena who falls for a new, handsome and mysterious student, Stefan, who turns out to be a vampire. Unfortunately, Stefan, a good vampire, has a brother named Damon, who's not so good, and he's very interested in Elena. The series is based on the L.J. Smith book series (which predates Stephenie Meyers' Twilight books) and is from Kevin Williamson (Dawson's Creek) and Julie Plec (Kyle XY). The Vampire Dairies stars Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder (Lost).

As for Reaper's cancellation, there has been some buzz about the series moving to syndication. But Reaper star Tyler Labine is moving on to the Fox comedy Sons of Tucson, while the show's creators Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas just signed a production deal with rival studio 20th Century Fox TV and won't be back.

sci-fi wire....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Green Lantern helmer's wife will have a role in the movie

Sol Romero, an actress and wife of Green Lantern director Martin Campbell, told SCI FI Wire that she will have a role in her husband's movie, based on the DC Comics series of the same name.

"We're still in the casting process," revealed the actress at the Hollywood premiere last weekend of Disney/Pixar's Up. "So I really can't talk about who I'm playing yet. But I personally think the movie is going to be bigger than any other comic movies, like Spider-Man."

Romero previously appeared in a small role in Casino Royale and will be seen next in Campbell's upcoming Edge of Darkness, based on the British TV miniseries.
Rumored to have a $150 million budget, The Green Lantern will shoot in Australia and is expected in theaters on June 17, 2011.

"There is really going to be a lot of action and entertainment" in Green Lantern, Romero said. "I think that is what we need now: a lot of action, entertainment and happy movies where we can have a good time."
The Green Lantern first appeared in All-American Comics number 16 in July 1940 and later became a DC staple. "In the comic book, he is a regular guy who is a little bit afraid of his dad's shadow, and so he is piloting a jet plane [to prove himself]," Romero said. "But then he gets involved with this Green Lantern and is protecting the Earth, so he dies and becomes the next Green Lantern. He is a fearless character."

sci-fi wire...

CBS schedule: Medium lives, Ghost Whisperer gets season 5

After a sniping match between NBC and CBS executives about Medium, CBS added the Patricia Arquette supernatural drama to its Friday nights, following Ghost Whisperer, in the upfront announcement of its fall schedule on Wednesday in New York.
As expected, CBS canceled the sci-fi series Eleventh Hour.
The buzz had been that CBS would pick up Medium, which is produced by CBS TV Studios, if NBC decided to cancel it, which
it did on Tuesday.

NBC co-chairman Ben Silverman had said Medium was "an aging franchise, without a single fan letter, with no passion" after the show's cancellation.

CBS TV Studios shot back in a statement: "NBC's cancellation of Medium is inexplicable to us. The ratings don't lie: Medium outperforms many of NBC's renewed shows."

Since it's unlikely Silverman would diss the show that had served them well for no reason, his statement likely reflected the knowledge that CBS would pick up the show.

The series, about a psychic mom who helps solve crimes for the district attorney's office in Phoenix, had served NBC over the last five years, filling in for other canceled series and getting consistent ratings that did indeed beat both Heroes and Chuck.
The move gives CBS the opportunity to pair Medium with its other supernatural drama, Ghost Whisperer, about a woman who sees dead people. Ironically, the two shows began the same year on the different networks, although Medium began earlier, during midseason, giving it five seasons, while Ghost Whisperer is in its fourth.

Ghost Whisperer, which stars Jennifer Love Hewitt, has done well on the low-rated Friday nights for CBS, and the pickup was expected. The addition of Medium offers a "hauntingly compatible two-hour block," the network said in a statement.
The Mentalist, the top-rated new series and the one true freshman hit of the 2008-'09 season, will move to Thursdays at 10 p.m., after CSI.

No other new sci-fi or fantasy shows were picked up for fall or midseason by CBS.

sci-fi wire...

Got Fringe questions? We've got season-two answers

Fringe has barely wrapped for the year, but Fox has already renewed the intriguing series, and writers/executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci told SCI FI Wire that the surprising events of the season finale set up season two.
Orci and Kurtzman, the writing team behind Star Trek and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, spoke exclusively with us on Friday about what's in store for Fringe next season.
Following is an edited version of our conversation. (Spoilers ahead!)
Looking at the finale, what were some of the things you wanted to set up for season two?

Orci: Before setting things up, we wanted to give some answers. If you look at the Internet, you'd see various levels of awareness of what's going on and with what we were thinking. You saw Walter [John Noble] find the grave of his son, Peter [Joshua Jackson]. You saw Olivia [Anna Torv] essentially step into another world and meet William Bell [Leonard Nimoy].
You have a gigantic clue to what has been a potential organizing principle or source of the Pattern and what these weird events are. In some way, two worlds are colliding, so that sets up the potential for a wonderful exploration of how these things interact, who William Bell is, is he good or bad and is Nina [Blair Brown] friend or foe? You are going to see the Fringe division come under more intense scrutiny and therefore have to operate more clandestinely. You are going to see Peter become more engaged as he discovers some of the things the audience has found out.

Will you be resolving what Walter did to Olivia?

Kurtzman: Geologically, it will be handled in the very near future.
Is Walter ever going to fully regain his memory?

Kurtzman: We always think he's going to take a couple of steps forward and a step back, which is common with all kinds of recovery. You always try to imagine the lifespan of the show and as that becomes clearer, we will decide how far he will get in his quest to remember exactly what he is responsible for or who he is.
The Observer (Michael Cerveris) has become the "Where's Waldo?" of Fringe. Is he going to continue being an ongoing presence, and are you planning on exploring where he fits into the grand scheme of things?

Kurtzman: Absolutely. The Observer has turned into one of our favorite elements. If you are a fan of the show, it's one of the things you can follow like a true serial. If you don't, you don't have to think about it. But that is such a great clue into the overall mystery of the show, and we are exploring ways to reveal his role without giving it away completely.

Did casting Leonard Nimoy as William Bell evolve out of your Star Trek experience?

Orci: Absolutely. We all had such a great time and were literally in this whirlwind of having enjoyed working with each other so much. [Executive producer] Bryan Burk was actually the one who suggested Leonard for William Bell. We thought it would be embarrassing to ask him for another amazing favor, but we did. [Fringe co-creator and Star Trek director] J.J. Abrams e-mailed him, and he was interested.
sci-fi wire....

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fox execs explain why they kept Dollhouse and Killed Sarah Connor

Why did Fox pick up Dollhouse and not Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles for the fall television season? Network executives discussed their decisions on those shows, as well as reasons for moving Fringe to Thursdays and other scheduling moves, during a conference call with journalists before today's upfront fall television presentation.

Kevin Reilly, Fox's president of entertainment, said that ratings were not the only factor when it came to deciding whether the low-rated Dollhouse would get a second season and remain on Friday nights.

"First, it's a bet on creatively and that's something that has never changed," Reilly said. "And I'm happy to say we're doing that. You know how inspired Joss Whedon is. It's a bet on Joss. The DVR numbers are a marker for us, so it is a factor, and we did see an uptick in the ratings from a 1.5 to a 2. That was a pattern for us that we liked, betting on Joss, and I think you're going to see it grow next season."

But is it the factor of "the devil you know," as opposed to the bringing in a new unproven series? "Absolutely," Reilly added. "In fact, I venture to say that if we had put new shows on Friday night in particular there'd probably be a lot of cynicism about, 'Well, wait, ... you're creating an entire new night of television?' Not to mention if we'd canceled Joss's show I'd probably have 110 million e-mails this morning from the fans," he said with a laugh. "So that's exactly right. Bet on something that has a core that you believe can work."

But that doesn't mean Fox will accept low numbers on Friday nights, said Peter Rice, Fox's chairman of entertainment. "We think that we can grow the show," he said, adding: "The show became much stronger creatively during the course of the season. Joss feels very energized about it. And we believe in him as a creator. We've had a lot of success in the past, and we feel that he can build the show, and it can grow in the new season ... and that Friday is a good place for it to do that."

As for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Fox executives viewed that series quite differently. "Terminator has completed its run," Reilly said flatly. "And I think it had a nice little run. It was a good show. It was not an either/or [with Dollhouse]. We did see it tailing off a bit. It had a nice creative core, but ultimately we made the bet on Dollhouse for the night. We had some other shows we thought would make a better profile for the night. So that's it for Terminator." Dollhouse will follow two comedies, the new series Brothers and the returning Til Death.

According to Reilly, Terminator "was not an inexpensive show," and Fox had to "make some choices on the night. But, ultimately, we looked at the ratings track on Monday, where it had a pretty consistent run, and then on Friday, where it moved to. And that trend line was not pointing in the right direction. ... But we make no apologies for that show. We had a huge launch for that show, as you remember. We gave it a lot of support and some consistent scheduling. We tried, and felt it was time to move on."
The other big bit of programming news was Fox's decision to move Fringe to Thursdays opposite the enormous hits CSI on CBS and Grey's Anatomy on ABC—that is, assuming those series remain on Thursdays after CBS and ABC announce their schedules this week. Reilly does expect the two networks to keep both shows on Thursdays. "Who knows?" he said. "But that would feel like a very, very risky move. Particularly with CSI, which has had quite a bit of decline this year. A move at that point in a show's cycle tends to accelerate decline."

Reilly added: "I think if you look at Thursday night, ... the door's more open on this night than it's been in a long, long time. Eight o'clock is a soft time period. Bones went in there and did a job that beat the other scripted shows consistently. I think it will continue to do that. And at 9 o'clock, [CSI and Grey's Anatomy] are two still terrific, appointment shows, but they're down. They are not consuming all the oxygen at 9 o'clock. You saw Fringe do a very consistent ratings, about a 4.1, maybe 4.2, week in and week [out] every week of the season. Whether it holds a 4, I don't know. But if you watched that show, it finished strong. We've got a huge amount of buzz coming out of the last batch of episodes. People talking about it like it is now the Fox classic. I think that audience is going to move, and it's a real alternative to both of those shows. It's not an overlapping audience."

One other big move during midseason will be the launch of Past Lives and Human Target after American Idol, Reilly said. "On Tuesdays, Past Life, which is a fast paced thriller," he said. "It's a mystery that needs to be solved in both the past and the present. And on Wednesdays, Idol is going to platform another drama, which really feels like it's got a lot of great Fox DNA. It stars Mark Valley, the guy who did terrific work, ... a great arc for us, on Fringe last season. And this show finds its roots in the fun action dramas of the '70s and '80s. But it's updated with modern production values."

And just to make sure you don't miss the premiere of Human Target, the series will kick off between the NFC Divisional Playoff Game and the two-hour season premiere of 24 on Jan. 17, before moving to its regular Wednesday night slot after the American Idol results show.
In one other midseason note, Fox picked up the Tyler Labine comedy, Sons of Tucson, for Sundays, which can't be a good sign for The CW's Reaper when it comes to a renewal for that series, ... unless Labine has figured out a way to be in two shows at once (he's currently committed to Reaper as his first priority).
sci-fi wire....

ABC beefs up sci-fi schedule with V, Eastwick

ABC has given series orders to Eastwick, based on The Witches of Eastwick, from scribe Maggie Friedman, and for V, a re-imagining of the 1980s miniseries about an alien invasion, from Scott Peters (The 4400), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
V is expected to be presented as a 13-episode limited-series event, the trade paper reported.
Previously, it was reported that ABC had ordered
Flash Forward, a sci-fi series based on Robert J. Sawyer's novel.
sci-fi wire...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rules for Time Travelers

With the new Star Trek out, it’s long past time (as it were) that we laid out the rules for would-be fictional time-travelers. (Spoiler: Spock travels to the past and gets a sex change and becomes Kirk’s grandfather lover.*) Not that we expect these rules to be obeyed; the dramatic demands of a work of fiction will always trump the desire to get things scientifically accurate, and Star Trek all by itself has foisted half a dozen mutually-inconsistent theories of time travel on us. But time travel isn’t magic; it may or may not be allowed by the laws of physics — we don’t know them well enough to be sure — but we do know enough to say that if time travel were possible, certain rules would have to be obeyed. And sometimes it’s more interesting to play by the rules. So if you wanted to create a fictional world involving travel through time, here are 10+1 rules by which you should try to play.

0. There are no paradoxes.

This is the overarching rule, to which all other rules are subservient. It’s not a statement about physics; it’s simply a statement about logic. In the actual world, true paradoxes — events requiring decidable propositions to be simultaneously true and false — do not occur. Anything that looks like it would be a paradox if it happened indicates either that it won’t happen, or our understanding of the laws of nature is incomplete. Whatever laws of nature the builder of fictional worlds decides to abide by, they must not allow for true paradoxes.

1. Traveling into the future is easy.

We travel into the future all the time, at a fixed rate: one second per second. Stick around, you’ll be in the future soon enough. You can even get there faster than usual, by decreasing the amount of time you experience elapsing with respect to the rest of the world — either by low-tech ways like freezing yourself, or by taking advantage of the laws of special relativity and zipping around near the speed of light. (Remember we’re talking about what is possible according to the laws of physics here, not what is plausible or technologically feasible.) It’s coming back that’s hard.

2. Traveling into the past is hard — but maybe not impossible.

If Isaac Newton’s absolute space and time had been the correct picture of nature, we could simply say that traveling backwards in time was impossible, and that would be the end of it. But in Einstein’s curved-spacetime universe, things are more flexible. From your own personal, subjective point of view, you always more forward in time — more technically, you move on a timelike curve through spacetime. But the large-scale curvature of spacetime caused by gravity could, conceivably, cause timelike curves to loop back on themselves — that is to say, become closed timelike curves — such that anyone traveling on such a path would meet themselves in the past. That’s what respectable, Einstein-approved time travel would really be like. Of course, there’s still the little difficulty of warping spacetime so severely that you actually create closed timelike curves; nobody knows a foolproof way of doing that, or even whether it’s possible, although ideas involving wormholes and cosmic strings and spinning universes have been bandied about.
3. Traveling through time is like traveling through space.

I’m only going to say this onece: there would be no flashing lights. At least, there would only be flashing lights if you brought along some strobes, and decided to start them flashing as you traveled along your closed timelike curve. Likewise, there is no disappearance in a puff of smoke and re-appearing at some other time. Traveling through time is just like traveling through space: you move along a certain path, which (we are presuming) the universe has helpfully arranged so that your travels bring you to an earlier moment in time. But a time machine wouldn’t look like a booth with spinning wheels that dematerializes now and rematerializes some other time; it would look like a rocket ship. Or possibly a DeLorean, in the unlikely event that your closed timelike curve started right here on Earth and never left the road.

Think of it this way: imagine there were a race of super-intelligent trees, who could communicate with each other using abstract concepts but didn’t have the ability to walk. They might fantasize about moving through space, and in their fantasies “space travel” would resemble teleportation, with the adventurous tree disappearing in a puff of smoke and reappearing across the forest. But we know better; real travel from one point to another through space is a continuous process. Time travel would be like that.

4. Things that travel together, age together.

If you travel through time, and you bring along with you some clocks or other objects, all those things experience time in exactly the same way that you do. In particular, both you and the clocks march resolutely forward in time, from your own perspective. You don’t see clocks spinning wildly backwards, nor do you yourself “age” backwards, and you certainly don’t end up wearing the clothes you favored back in high school. Your personal experience of time is governed by clocks in your brain and body — the predictable beating of rhythmic pulses of chemical and biological processes. Whatever flow of time is being experienced by those processes — and thus by your conscious perception — is also being experienced by whatever accompanies you on your journey.

5. Black holes are not time machines.

Sadly, if you fell into a black hole, it would not spit you out at some other time. It wouldn’t spit you out at all — it would gobble you up and grow slightly more corpulent in the process. If the black hole were big enough, you might not even notice when you crossed the point of no return defined by the event horizon. But once you got close to the center of the hole, tidal forces would tug at you — gently at first, but eventually tearing you apart. The technical term is spaghettification. Not a recommended strategy for would-be time adventurers.

Wormholes — tunnels through spacetime, which in principle can connect widely-separated events — are a more promising alternative. Wormholes are to black holes as elevators are to deep wells filled with snakes and poisoned spikes. The problem is, unlike black holes, we don’t know whether wormholes exist, or even whether they can exist, or how to make them, or how to preserve them once they are made. Wormholes want to collapse and disappear, and keeping them open requires a form of negative energies. Nobody knows how to make negative energies, although they occasionally slap the name “exotic matter” on the concept and pretend it might exist.

6. If something happened, it happened.

What people want to do with time machines is to go into the past and change it. You can’t. The past already happened, and it can’t un-happen. You might wonder what’s to stop you from jumping in your time machine, finding your high-school self, and convincing them that they really shouldn’t go to the senior prom after all, thereby saving yourself all sorts of humiliation. But if you really did go to the prom, then that can’t happen. The simple way out, of course, is to suppose that travel into the past is simply impossible. But even if it’s not, you can’t change what already happened; every event in spacetime is characterized by certain things occurring, and those things are fixed once and for all once they happen. If you did manage to go back in time to your years in high school, something would prevent you from dissuading your younger self from doing anything other than what they actually did. Even if you tried really hard.

7. There is no meta-time.

The least realistic time-travel movie of all time might be Back to the Future. When Marty McFly changes the past (violating Rule 6), the future “instantaneously” changes. What the hell is that supposed to mean? Time measures the temporal interval between different events in spacetime, and can be quantified by clocks. There is no set of clocks outside the universe, with respect to which you can go muck around in the past and have effects propagate into the future “at the same time.” Likewise, your brain is not going to change to remember things differently, nor will any other record-keeping device such as diaries or photographs or embarrassing sex tapes. Sorry about that.

8. You can’t travel back to before the time machine was built.

Right now, at the particular place you are sitting, at the time when you are sitting there, one of two things is true: either there is a closed timelike curve passing through that point in spacetime, or there is not. And that situation will never change — no matter what clever engineers may do in the future, if they create closed timelike curves they cannot pass through events in spacetime through which closed timelike curves did not pass (corollary of Rule 6). Or in plain English: if you build a time machine where there wasn’t one before, it may be possible for future travelers to come back to that time, but nothing can help you go back to times before the machine was built.

9. Unless you go to a parallel universe.

Parallel universes — the kind we contemplate in the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics (MWI) — provide potential loopholes for some of the above rules. According to the MWI, there exist different “branches” of the wave function of the universe, distinguished by different observed outcomes for the measurement of quantum events. In the celebrated Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment, there is a “universe” where the cat is alive, and one where it is dead. Some imaginative (but respectable) physicists, especially David Deutsch, have speculated that we could combine this idea with the possibility of closed timelike curves to contemplate travel into the past of a different universe. If time travel is unlikely, this idea is (unlikely)2, but it’s not inherently paradoxical.
If you could travel to the past in a different branch of the wave function, then we are allowed to contemplate changing that past in a self-consistent way, because it’s no longer really “your” past. So almost all cinematic invocations of time travel — where they are constantly mucking about, changing the past in crucial ways — would have to appeal to something along these lines to make any sense. But even if you can change what you thought was the past, all of the rules of continuity and sensibility still apply — no flashing lights, no disappearing, no sudden changes in the future, no re-writing of your memories, etc.

10. And even then, your old universe is still there.

Remember Rule 0: no paradoxes. If you have reliable records of having made some unwise decisions regarding your social life in high school, then those decisions were made, and can’t be un-made. Even if you go into a different branch of the wave function, where you bestow some wisdom-of-experience on your younger self, you would only be changing the history of that universe. There is still the universe you left behind, with all of your bad decisions still intact. That’s life in the multiverse for you. It remains for future scholars to write Ph.D. theses along the lines of Utility Functions and Moral Dilemmas in an Ensemble of Multiple Interacting Universes. But it’s just a matter of time.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

How McG made that T-800 at the end of Terminator Salvation

One of the big surprises at the end of McG's Terminator Salvation has been well reported, but if you haven't heard and don't want to be spoiled, don't read any further. But if you want to know how McG created the scene, click through.

At the end of the upcoming prequel/sequel film, a T-800 model Terminator appears, looking just like Arnold Schwarzenegger from James Cameron's original 1984 The Terminator, as naked as the first time we see him.

McG told reporters that he used computer graphics to make the T-800 look just like Schwarzenegger from the first movie. But wherever else he could, McG wanted to use practical effects.

For the T-800 scene, in which John Connor (Christian Bale) confronts the old nemesis, Austrian bodybuilder Roland Kickinger played the Terminator so that Bale would have someone to act opposite. Schwarzenegger's face was superimposed on Kickinger's head in post-production.

"Most particularly, you really get the performance you're looking for when you're not stuck telling an actor, 'Oh, the tennis ball is the robot. Be afraid,'" McG said. "That's terrible. I want a 7-foot piece of Soviet tank machinery where if you punch up against that thing, it's going to hurt your hand. And when the red eyes glow, and the puppeteers from Winston Studios do this and smack you, it brings a better performance out of Sam Worthington and out of Christian Bale and everybody else who's interacting in the film. So it was absolutely critical to build as much as was humanly possible, and then when you have to extend in a CG capacity, sure, go for it. But films that take place purely in a CG environment, I find they just feel animated and I detach as a viewer, so I'm less interested in that respect."

McG used as many practical robots and physical effects as possible during the making of the movie, he added. "It's a very militant philosophy when it comes to that," McG said in a group interview last week in Beverly Hills, Calif. "I'm very passionate about that. I think we can all smell the CG component in these films, and you immediately are taken out of the picture. So we wanted to go to great lengths to go to the one and only Stan Winston—who passed in the making of this picture, and we've dedicated it to his memory—to build all the robots and all the machines of Skynet to the best of our ability. We wanted to do as much as possible in camera, so you get that level of physics and that level of response."

If Schwarzenegger had not agreed to allow the use of his face and likeness for the T-800, McG had a backup plan. "You'll notice the door flies off, and Connor goes down on his back, and he shoots the machine gun up the chest of the T-800," McG said. "If we were unsuccessful in getting the likeness of Schwarzenegger, we were just going to have the machine gun having blown his face off. It would have been the endoskeleton, the skull idea, and it wouldn't have been nearly as satisfactory. In the end, I think the governor's very pleased with what we did and the manner in which it was handled. So I think that's a nice moment in the movie, when that shows up."

Terminator Salvation opens May 21.
sci-fi wire.....

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Warner to adapt British TV's Primeval for the U.S. big screen

Warner Brothers has acquired screen rights to Primeval, the British ITV TV series that airs in the United States on BBC America and SCI FI Channel, Variety reported.

Akiva Goldsman (I Am Legend) and Kerry Foster will produce through Goldsman's WB-based Weed Road banner. Emily Cummins will also be involved in a producing capacity.
Goldsman, who scripted the Ron Howard-directed Angels & Demons with David Koepp, will hire a writer to draft Primeval.
In the series, ferocious prehistoric and futuristic creatures appear through wormhole time portals, and a covert team headed by an evolutionary scientist tries to close the doors and quietly thwart the creatures.The series, which has run three seasons, was co-created by Tim Haines and Adrian Hodges and produced by Haines' shingle, Impossible Pictures.

Warner and Goldsman will transplant the action to the United States and ramp up the spectacle.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Caprica's 'Zoe' offers a sneak peek at her human/Cylon role

Alessandra Torresani, who plays Zoe Graystone in SCI FI's Battlestar Galactica prequel series Caprica, told SCI FI Wire that she wasn't worried when she read that her character dies in the opening minutes of the series pilot. (Spoilers ahead!)

"I took it as, 'OK, it's just going to be a miniseries; I die in the first half, and that's OK,'" Torresani said in an exclusive telephone interview last Friday in Pasadena, Calif. "Then I come back as a Cylon, and it's not really me, and that will be the end of the show. So it was a huge surprise when we got picked up for the 20 episodes, and now I'm really scared to see where my character goes."

Torresani plays Zoe, the daughter of a technology mogul (Eric Stoltz), who transfers Zoe's spirit into what becomes the first sentient Cylon. Torresani said that in the upcoming series she will play multiple versions of Zoe, including the Cylon. "I talked to Jane [Espenson], one of our writers, and I found out there's going to be a bunch of flashback scenes, and I am going to be a Cylon, and I'm having to take miming classes, because they want me to wear the little dots on my face and actually be miming as a Cylon."

Torresani spoke exclusively to SCI FI Wire about Caprica via telephone in conjunction with an ongoing charity auction in which paraphernalia and props from Battlestar Galactica are on sale. The following is an edited version of that interview. The two-hour pilot of Caprica is now available on DVD and the Web; Caprica kicks off on SCI FI next year.

How tough was it to define Zoe in just a few scenes and then go back and present her as a "version" of herself that isn't quite complete?
Torresani: I took it as twins. That's how I kind of [saw] the characters, as Zoe and Zoe-A. They are basically the same person, but they are also completely opposite. That's how I feel twins are: People look at them and think they are the same, but they always have different personalities. I took Zoe as just a hardass: She's a brat, she knows who she is, and she doesn't understand why no one else believes in her except for her best friend and her boyfriend. She doesn't understand why her mother and father don't get her.

But she takes life for granted because she has all of this money, and she can do whatever she wants, so she basically says, "F--k you guys, I'm going to do my own thing." Then I took Zoe-A, or avatar Zoe, as the sweet child or innocent [version] of what the original Zoe was earlier in her life. She is more naïve, because thinking is brand-new to her, so she's a brand-new, newborn baby. So her eyes just light up when she sees certain things, but she's deeply, deeply scared, and she is the innocent of the original Zoe. So the two of them, they make a perfect whole.
It seems like that bratty, kind of rebellious attitude is essentially the foundation for the Cylons. When you shot the pilot, were you thinking at all about the fact that your character is the nucleus for what the Cylons become?

Torresani: I kind of took it as my own character, so I took it as completely different. I'd never seen Battlestar before, and I know that a lot of Battlestar fans are kind of mad at me about that. I had no idea what Battlestar was; I thought it was a '70s TV show before I was born. I knew it existed in the years prior [to Caprica], but I didn't know anything about it. So to me, Caprica is a completely different show, because we're 57 years before, so a Cylon is what I create in 50 years after that, and it doesn't reflect my character.

I created a form of me acting rebellious and all this, but it had nothing to do with what I thought it was going to be in the future. Some people, I'm sure, are going to disagree with me, thinking this is how the Cylons originally were, so they must have been rebellious from the beginning and they must have known they were going to hate humans. But I think it's just a lost girl who is rebelling and wants her point to come across, and it happens to come across that there's a Cylon that her father created, and it's her only way to escape, because it's her only reality.

When I first read the script, I didn't relate it in any way to what's happening now, but it's open to interpretation, what people believe. That's not how I originally played the character, but now, watching Battlestar and being familiar with it, I kind of see that I unintentionally related it in some sense. ...

Is there anything you're most looking forward to sinking your teeth into?
Torresani: Well, it's great, because I'm playing the original Zoe in flashbacks. I'm playing avatar Zoe, and we're going to have a few more avatar Zoes in the club. I know I'm going to be blond in one of them, maybe I'll have pink hair in another one, and then I'm also going to be playing the Cylon. So who knows when the Cylon's going to come through? The Cylon could magically turn into a human-form Cylon. I mean, that's me hoping that's where it's going to come to—I don't know about that—but that's the way I think it would eventually turn out to become. I'm just hoping to play as many people as I possibly can, and I'm up for the challenge—the emotional and comedic challenge behind it.

sci-fi wire...

Battlestar's Grace Park reveals her part in The Plan

Grace Park, who played Boomer and Athena on SCI FI's Battlestar Galactica, told SCI FI that the upcoming prequel film The Plan combines familiar footage from earlier seasons with all-new material.

"What we did was we took scenes that we already shot, that you're going to recognize, and then either add another angle, or add some dialogue," Park said in an exclusive interview last Thursday in Pasadena, Calif. "So if someone whispered something in someone's ear, which you never heard, we're actually adding that dialogue. So it's going to inform things on so many different levels. So it's tricky."

The events in The Plan take place between seasons one and two of Battlestar Galactica. Park spoke exclusively to SCI FI Wire about The Plan and the forthcoming prequel series Caprica at the ongoing charity auction in which paraphernalia and props are on sale. The following is an edited version of that interview. The two-hour pilot of Caprica is now available on DVD and the Web; Caprica kicks off on SCI FI next year. Battlestar Galactica: The Plan is due in November.

Are there aspects of your characters you would like to explore in Caprica if given the chance?

Park: That's a good point. There's a lot still to be mined in these characters in the parts preceding the attack. Perhaps we get a little into that in The Plan, but there is so much there, and reading the [series] bible and talking to [executive producer] Ron Moore, I've always made it enough that I knew what their background was. But if we were ever to have an episode with that, I would have jumped at the chance to do it. It would be really, really wonderful.

Lately people have asked, "If there's a big feature movie, would you do it?" It's always, like, there's not going to be a movie, or if there is, we're not going to do it. But what is funny is that when we finished the show and we had to do a few pickup shots a couple of months later, a few of the people who were coming back said it's like seeing an ex-girlfriend all over again. It's like all of the stuff that you thought was buried and gone kind of comes back, and you love it, and it hurts. I'd really have to think about that, but if the story was there and the people were there, I would do it again. But before I always thought, no.

How tough was it to go back and take away some of the experiences your characters accumulated during the series when you came back for The Plan?
Park: It was kind of confusing, because I already had prepped before that. Because when we shot "Someone to Watch Over Me," maybe the third-to-last episode, we already had all of these flashbacks; well, not necessarily flashbacks, but we had to go back into who Boomer was back when she was with chief and she had to fabricate their whole home all over again and how much of that true and how much of it was made up. I think the feelings were definitely there, but that was an interesting part, because I wanted it to still be Boomer who we all knew from the very beginning, but Boomer with all of those layers on top of her of heartache and hardship and isolation and confusion. So that was already kind of weird.

So The Plan was almost like the flip side: Let's [go] back to the beginning without any of those layers, but now knowing where she is going to go. The important thing was I always wanted to differentiate Boomer from Athena, and doing some of the flashbacks in "Daybreak," when Tigh and Adama are saying, "You're washed up," we all know who Boomer is now, but having to go back and remember that she wasn't always that way and to kind of go back to her innocence. Her at the beginning was different than Athena at the beginning; Athena was way more knowing, and she was, like, lying right off the top, because she didn't care.

Did your own preparation for these characters conflict with what they came up with or retrofitted onto the mythology of Battlestar?

Park: What was more confusing in The Plan, because whenever they go back they always want to make something kind of interesting, and put a new piece there ... Oh, I almost said it out loud! They had this little piece that was a little prop which would [help] you sort of [see] the mechanism how Boomer went in and out of her sleeper [mode], and since it was never discussed before or revealed to us, I had my own thing all made up, and then when that started happening, that's when it really screwed it up. It's like Back to the Future, like, Marty McFly went back, and then he started messing with the past, and I was like, "Isn't that going to have repercussions?" I think that was more confusing, to make that make sense after all of the stuff that I put on top already.
sci-fi wire...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Possible UFO retrieved in Japan

Reports have been coming in of an unidentified craft that allegedly crashed in Japan last year, numerous witnesses claim to have seen the object descend. According to locals the event was hushed up and blacked out by the media."By all accounts in the early evening of July 16 last year a small technological object or UFO was seen losing control and hurtling to earth. On impacting earth a loud explosion was heard and smoke and fire were seen coming from the spot of impact. Numerous witnesses, both on the ground and in nearby planes, saw the craft descend."

all news web...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Battlestar's Michael Trucco teases The Plan, Caprica

Michael Trucco, who played Samuel Anders in SCI FI's Battlestar Galactica, told SCI FI Wire a bit about the upcoming DVD movie The Plan and added that he wouldn't be surprised if his character turned up in the forthcoming prequel series Caprica.

"I mean, because it's possible, right?" Trucco said in an exclusive interview Thursday in Pasadena, Calif. "The Cylons, once we saw them in Battlestar, we realized, 'Oh, they've been around for a long time.' So it's certainly possible, and it would be kind of cool."

Caprica takes place more than 50 years before the beginning of Battlestar Galactica and examines the origins of both characters and storylines later explored in the acclaimed series.

Trucco said that there are no plans to revive his character or reintroduce him on the show, but that he would be interested to see how they marry the mythologies of the two series. "I don't know if they would ever do it, like, as just a cameo," he speculated. "Like maybe a walk-by in the background—'Wait, wasn't that ... ?' But, no, no discussions. Nothing has been discussed in terms of if we want to bring some of the Cylons from Battlestar back into Caprica. But who knows? The show still has yet to be aired and take off, and if they decide that's a storyline then we'll do it."
Trucco spoke exclusively to SCI FI Wire at the site of an ongoing charity auction in which paraphernalia and props from Battlestar Galactica are on sale. The following is an edited version of that interview. The two-hour pilot of Caprica is now available on DVD and the Web; Caprica kicks off on SCI FI next year. Battlestar Galactica: The Plan is due in November.
Are events such as the Battlestar auctions sort of a stopgap for the show, since it seems to live on with Caprica and The Plan, the upcoming DVD movie?

Trucco: It does sort of hammer it home that it's over. The alternative [with the props] would have been to store them, which is costly: It's time-consuming, it's space-consuming and financially consuming. I think [executive producer] Ron [Moore] was pretty adamant about not resurrecting the series, one of those "We're going off the air. No, we're not! We're coming back. Oh, no we're not!" He didn't want to play like that, so he said this was the end of the show. So as far as I know, this is the end of the show. That's not to say they couldn't revive it; I think they could. From a fan standpoint, I think they could, and it would be viable. We're done with this version as it is. Caprica will take on as, a prequel, the themes of Battlestar Galactica, and I think it's going to do a great job. I saw the pilot, and I thought it was fascinating.

How would you describe The Plan? Is the film a coda for the series?
Trucco: Whereas Caprica is a true prequel, 50 years before the beginning of Battlestar Galactica, The Plan is less a coda: It doesn't extend the story beyond what we saw in the finale. It actually picks up the story between season one and season two. It's actually prequel to the entrance of Anders, my character, and Cavil, Dean Stockwell's character. The movie is told from that perspective.

But the thrust of it is what happened before season two, when suddenly on this planet, Caprica, Starbuck finds this guy Anders and his band of resistance fighters, former teammates of the Caprica Buccaneers. Then, later in the season, we find this mysterious Brother Cavil, and this movie is going to answer questions [about] the moments before that, where we came from and how we came to get integrated into the story. It's going to weave its way in through storylines that we've already seen, [and] it's going to make you want to go back and go, "Oh! I want to watch that episode in season two again. Wait, Cavil was standing there the whole time?" We're going to use footage from stuff that's already been shot, but then they'll integrate it with a shot that will tie in [the fact] that Cavil was just around the corner hiding behind a tree in the forest, long before we even met him.

Was it tough to retrofit either your character or what the performance would be, since this pre-dates experiences the character has later in the series?

Trucco: Retrofit is a good word, because we're going back in time. They even had to rebuild sets that we had since long destroyed. From season two, we had exteriors we shot on the forest, and they re-created these sets that we had shot a year and a half or two years earlier, and here we are back on the same set. They hired almost virtually the same background actors; they got a lot of the same day-player actors; we're all wearing the same thing. We cut our hair back to what it was like [then], and it was like being in a time machine; it was amazing. It was like, we did this in season two, and here we are going back to that moment in time, and it was a really interesting experience. That was when I first started on the show, so, yeah, you had to kind of erase all the baggage that came with Anders through the finale and start to put myself in the space of Anders the human that I started with, this character that I thought I knew before this big reveal that he's a Cylon. I had to put myself back in that frame of mind.
sci-fi wire....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The mysterious Alpha reveals Dollhouse finale secrets

In last week's penultimate episode of Fox's sci-fi series Dollhouse, the face of the mysterious and murderous Alpha was revealed, and SCI FI Wire spoke with the well-known Joss Whedon actor who played him about what's coming up in this Friday's season-one (and possibly series) finale. (Spoilers ahead if you don't know who Alpha is!)

Alan Tudyk, who starred in Whedon's Firefly and Serenity, was revealed to be Alpha. He told a group of reports on Monday that the season finale features Alpha and Echo (Eliza Dushku) on a crime spree, a la Mickey and Mallory from Natural Born Killers. Last Friday's episode, "Briar Rose," ended with Alpha taking Echo out of the Dollhouse, with their personalities connecting romantically.

"We take it on the road," Tudyk said in a conference call. "There may be a kidnapping or two in the episode, but for Alpha it's about fulfilling his plan, which is just the last step. Getting Echo was the second-to-the-last step of his ultimate plan. He's got one more thing in place before they can really go on their worldwide-domination killing spree, ruling-the-world spree. It's about making her in his own image, really, as far as he's a god. In his mind, he's a god, and he wants to bring her up to his level of multiple personalities."

The following Q&A features edited excerpts of the conference call with Tudyk. The season finale of Dollhouse airs Fridayat 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox. (There are season-ending spoilers ahead as well!)

So Alpha and Echo rode off into the sunset. Will they live happily ever after?

Tudyk: [Laughs.] I think that's Alpha's plan, sure. You know, everything that Alpha's done has been to get Echo. Whenever you see Alpha, he's screwing with the Dollhouse, and it's always around Echo and his obsession with Echo. It was his plan all along to come get Echo, and that's what it was all about. Now he has her, and he gets to fulfill his plan now, which is to make her like him. What Alpha is is this composite of people. We understand that he's a bunch of people crammed into one. He's 43 people in one, and he's ascended in his mind to a godlike place.
Could one of those 43 be Steve the Pirate from Dodgeball?

Tudyk: [Laughs.] We'll have to tune in and see. Maybe there's a "garr," but it's very subtle. Actually, there's a great dodgeball player in there. He was just never given a shot. He just doesn't get a chance to do that. If he survives this episode and there's a new season, maybe we can flesh that out.

What does playing 43 personalities give you as an actor?

Tudyk: A rash. No, in this coming episode, you see the effect of what 43 people is on one person. Alpha has a little bit of difficulty controlling them. We all have inner monologues, different voices that sort of chime in throughout our day, different opinions on situations. He's a little less in control of his opinions. They are full people who all want voices, so it takes effort to maintain order in the brain. It was fun, it was a challenge, it was a little crazy-making. Playing with that in your head, having to have different voices and try to sort them out, give them a voice and then also having to fight them, create them and fight them. He can contradict himself, because he's different people. He'll say one thing, and then say the opposite, and then say something similar to it because everybody's chiming in at once. So it was a bit crazy-making trying to wrap your head around those lines, make them real for yourself when you're saying them, even though you're saying the exact opposite of what you just said and meaning it just as much. ...
sci-fi wire.....

Saturday, May 2, 2009

'Skull' spotted on Mars

UFO spotters are claiming they have spotted an alien skull on Mars after NASA beamed back satellite images from the planet.
At first glance it looks like a rocky desert - but this image of the Mars
landscape has got space-gazers talking.

An oddly shaped space boulder appears to show eye sockets and a nose leading to speculation it might be a Martian skull.
Internet forums are full of chatter about the picture, taken by a panoramic NASA camera known as Spirit.

One alien-spotter speculated: "The skull is 15 cm with binocular eyes 5 cm apart. The cranial capacity is approximately 1400 cc.

"There appears to be a narrow pointed small mouth, so this creature most likely is a carnivore."

Another joked: "The coronal ridge shows ample structure to support the musculature of antennae, although none are visible in this view.
"The nose area is broad and blunted as you would expect to see in a cold and windy landscape. Is he decapitated or is he buried up to his neck?"
Previous images of a skull spotted on Mars in 2006 were believed to have been the result of tampering.

The famous Face on Mars, snapped by the Viking 1 spacecraft in 1976, which showed the shadowy likeness of a human face was late, was found to be a trick of the light when the area was re-photographed in 1998.
unexplained mysteries.......

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lucasfilm shooting new Star Wars? It's not what you think ...

Slashfilm reports that Lucasfilm has been secretly shooting new footage in West Hollywood, Calif., for Star Tours, the Disneyland/Disney World Star Wars-themed ride.

The site reports that the shoot—designed for the motion-simulator attraction at the Disney theme parks—will feature familiar Star Wars characters and creatures such as Boba Fett, Admiral Ackbar, a Tusken Raider and even some Jawas. C-3PO himself, Anthony Daniels, will be filming later this week.

Citing anonymous sources, the site also reports that the new footage may incorporate prequel creatures, such as Naboo citizens and Geonosians, along with aliens from the original film trilogy.

In the action sequence, the Star Tours vehicle is now going to be chased by Boba Fett. C-3PO and R2-D2 are still the hosts, and Daniels will reportedly record his parts this week.

The ride, which opened in 1987 in California, is part of Disneyland in California, Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland in Japan and Disneyland Park in Paris.
sci-fi wire.....