[07/28/09 - 06:07 PM]
Live at the San Diego Comic-Con: "Human Target"
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

Highlights from the "Human Target" press room:

Mark Valley on who Christopher Chance is: "He's a bodyguard, security agent, kind of a nefarious bastard more or less that has something to do with Guerrero and the crew. Basically he doesn't believe anybody should be killed, no matter what. And he sets out to kill people who are trying to kill people."

Mark Valley on what attracted him to the show: "What I haven't done before, what really attracted me to this was [it's] a pure action show, there's just a lot of action going on. And working with a relatively small quality cast I think is something's that kind of new."

Jackie Earle Haley on who Guerrero is: "I kind of like to say if someone's trying to kill ya and you know about it, and you can't get help anywhere else, Chance is the guy that you hire. When Chance needs some corporate information or some information out there, Guerrero's the guy he hires."

Jackie Earle Haley on how he'll balance his feature and TV commitments: "Yeah, I think that was definitely a question, that was my main concern, kind of like, 'Wow, should I do this?' Everything about it was kind of exciting. You know, the more I kind of thought about it, it's like if I'm working on this and it's going to take me out of this for a while or at least part of the year while I'm working on it, but then I thought, but I'm working. [Laughs.] So it's like, hey, that makes a lot of sense. I'm really excited about the notion of developing the character over time. I love that this show is kind of action-packed. It's a procedural show, that's neat, but I love the fact that it's also a small cast [which] I think is really going to, what I kind of want to help, what I thought Guerrero could help is to kind of give, apply some of that serial quality to it, not to bog it down with it but their connection in the past I think is kind of what starts to give it its season throughline. And I think that's going to be an awesome development to work on that, work with these guys."

Chi McBride on who Winston is: "Winston is a rather smooth and oaky cigarette that the American tobacco companies made. Remember the old slogan, Winston tastes good like a cigarette should? Yeah, that was their tagline in the '60s. Oh, you mean Winston on 'Human Target?' Oohhhh, well, you've got to make that distinction because otherwise you'll get the history of Winston cigarettes... Winston is a guy who is partners with Christopher Chance and Winston is basically the face of the security company. Chance keeps a much, much lower profile. And Winston is an ex-law enforcement guy who is now running this security company with Christopher Chance and with Guerrero who's sort of a freelancer that we all have a love/hate relationship with. He's the guy that's basically trying to get Chance to quit throwing himself at a Cuisinart every week and help him pursue the means of protection through other means, other than throwing himself in the path of a bullet every week."

Chi McBride on the differences between Winston and Emerson Cod: "Emerson primarily just cared about himself and his money. Winston actually does care about Chance but they're a dysfunctional family. There's not going to be anybody giving each other a hug. It's not going to be that. He definitely has a little bit more of a selfless attitude than Emerson did."

Chi McBride on his character's backstory: "It's going to be revealed throughout the course of the season. You're going to find out a lot more about the relationship and how it began and, you know, I think those things will be revealed slowly but the great part about this show is that it does have a procedural element that allows you as a viewer to follow along [at your own pace]."

Chi McBride on why he took the role: "I had a lot of gambling debts and in order to get out of them... you know, people are going to think that shit is true, let me quit playing. I just liked, I thought it was exciting. When I first read it I didn't think there was anything in there for me. Winston was a British character and I mean I guess I could have done that but I thought it was, but it was just that for the sake of being that, you know what I mean? But then the producers called my agent and wanted to meet with me and they said they had kind of closed the door on that particular aspect of the character."

Brad Kern on Carmine, Chance's dog: "I'm not even sure Carmine's going to still be around. One of the first things I said to Jon when I was hired was, 'You have a dog in this show?' We have to pay for the wrangler, the money, to answer your question really, the money is scarce and we have to be clever about where you put the money to be able to maximize the production value. Is the dog worth the production value? Or can we take the wrangler money and dog money and all that stuff and maybe have one more stunt."

Brad Kern on the show's writing staff: "We have Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia from 'Warehouse 13' and 'Fringe.' We have Robert Levine who's also [from] 'Jericho,' kind of a good 'Jericho' group that is part of the show... We have Sonny Postiglione who did 'Life on Mars' and 'Law & Order' to kind of keep us on the procedural elements, side of things. And Kalinda Vasquez who was on 'Prison Break.' And Mike Ostrowski who was also on 'Jericho.' But we kind of have a mostly middle to lower level staff because I think what works best is... to find the rising stars and have them build, teach them the show, have them learn the show and have them grow up in the show."

Brad Kern on if [executive producer] McG will direct an episode: "I think it would be great if he did, it would be great obviously. To get him to do it in eight days though and on budget, I'm not sure I have the power to be able to say you're over budget and over schedule. I mean I think if he does... a season finale would be perfect because then if we go over we're not [bumping] up against the next episode. Wouldn't that be huge? Come on."

Len Wein on any fears over having Jon Steinberg reimagine the comic book character he created: "Not at all. I've been doing this for so long, I've done that to other people's babies so it's really not right or fair for me to have any kind of proprietary interest [like] - 'How dare you touch mine! - after I've done to screw up yours. And also they've done nothing but make it better. And when someone can improve what you've started with you sit there jealously going, 'I wish I'd thought of that.' So no I'm thrilled, I'm actually thrilled."

Peter Johnson on the show's genesis: "It was like an old, not old, kind of a dormant comic book character from the '70s that seemed to us to be kind of an ideal, slightly retro, slightly kind of like hear and now kind of action hero. It could be kind of an entree into like all the favorite action movies Jon and I had over the past 30 or 40 years."

Jon Steinberg on reimaging the Christopher Chance character: "It's interesting because it really isn't one property. It's already a character that's been reimagined so many times that for us this just kind of felt like the next iteration of a character that seems to be organically, constantly evolving. In terms of specifics obviously the big difference between the show and the comic franchise is the mask, we took him out of the mask. I think it works great. I love the [Peter] Milligan run, I love the original stuff. I feel like it's really well suited to that medium but as soon as you have Mark pulling a rubber thing over his face, it's like, it's just, there's something in the back of your mind I think that [trips], that you realize you're being messed with as an audience member. And so I think that's the biggest piece we went away from. But I think the tone of it, some the Milligan run, some of the early stuff about a guy who is a little bit running away from himself by being that entrenched in other people's lives was something we really wanted to be true to and something that I think is a big part of at least the beginning of the first run of the series."

Jon Steinberg on if we'll see any other DC properties in the show: "Right now we're just trying to get the show to stand on its own two feet. And down the road, who knows. Never say never."

Jon Steinberg on the show's production commitment: "We're doing 11 up front in addition to the pilot. So a pilot plus 11 [episodes]."

Jon Steinberg on if the mysterious woman featured in the original script will turn up onscreen: "It's interesting that everybody assumes it was his wife... Yeah, I think that it is a piece of a bigger mythology that we didn't throw away. We sort of pulled it up into the series. So it is as far as we're concerned now canon and it's just part of a much bigger story."

  [july 2009]  


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