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Exclusive Interview: Mike Sizemore – Writer of Slingers, the Oceans 11 in space TV show

Posted by LiveFor on December 10, 2009

Slingers is the sci-fi show that doesn’t exist yet. However, the sizzle reel for it was all over the internet a few days ago.

It stars Sean Pertwee, Adrian Bower, Tom Mison, Margo Stilley, Haruka Abe, GUN and JUNIOR.

Steve Barron directs and Mike Sizemore is the man who wrote it. Here is a quick synopsis.

Slingers is set in the year 2960 A.D., following mankind’s first interplanetary war. Humanity is now clustered into a finite, but still vast section of the universe known as Enclosed Space. Humanity won the war with an aggressive alien enemy, but at a cost. The way back to Earth is now cut off by an impassable barrier – a side effect of the blast that finally pushed the enemy back.

The show takes its name from a group of people thrown together on board an experimental spacecraft that is capable of Slinging itself to any point in space. In theory it’s the only craft capable of getting home. In reality the crew are using it to carry out a series of high tech heists and get even with those who are now exploiting their positions in the post war hierarchy.

Dominic ‘DM’ Monroe, a special ops war veteran becomes the de facto leader of this small team of thieves who rail against the decision by military command to just ‘stay where they are and make the best of it’. They’re determined to get home and if that means breaking a few rules and picking up a lot of enemies along the way then so be it.

Mike was nice enough to take the time to do an interview with me about the show and I want to see it more than ever after what he has to say. TV people give them money now!

Oceans 11 meets Firefly is the vibe I get from watching the promo – How have you been pitching it?

Almost exactly like that. As an elevator pitch its always been ‘Ocean’s 11 in space’. People just get that. When they ask us to expand we can talk them through what we hope amounts to three seasons of television. At the core it’s a heist show, but we’ve worked very hard to make sure the concept is not going to run out of steam anytime soon.

How did Sean Pertwee become involved?

We’d already secured Steve Barron as the director which was a huge deal in itself. When he asked me for casting ideas, Sean was at the top of the list. Steve got in touch, told him what we were up to and he was on board immediately. I then sent Sean a character profile for his character. When I met him for the first time he remarked at how surprised he’d been at the level of detail I’d gone into for Colonel Hall. Because he knew where we intended to take the character over at least three seasons he got more involved and once he’d read the first pilot script he was in love with the project. It helped that we’re both old-school 2000AD fans. I dropped some references in the script and he was the first to pick them out.

Slingers – Explain the name for the viewing public.

Originally, in the very first draft of the pilot script, the ship they
steal has sling-shot technology so it was a no-brainer. At this stage we’ve actually managed to find a far better way for the crew to get around, but now the name has stuck.

Give us a quick rundown on the characters we see in the promo.

Would love to. But here’s the thing about the video. It was shot so we could show what Slingers was capable of for MIPCOM in Cannes in October and the DVDs we took over had an accompanying promo booklet, so it was never meant to be seen ‘cold’ like this. That it’s had over 56,000 views since, means it seems to work without too much hand holding. Which is great, because I’d rather an audience worked something out and had fun. But here’s some detail.

DM played by Adrian Bower is the defacto leader. He’s the guy you see do the sleight of hand with the poker chip to lift the security guard’s badge.

Frank played by Tom Mison is the guy having a problem with his gun. He and DM are best friends, ex war buddies and have a certain skill set they decide to keep using now that peace time isn’t all it was promised to be. DM is the calm collected one who prefers to think his way out of situations. Frank is the lovable idiot who throws himself into situations he then has to fight his way out of. DM is kinda broken. Frank we try and break each and every week if we can.

Marti is the girl we see at the opening in the casino and later in the
space suit, played by Haruka Abe. She’s the youngest member of the
crew, but its also her ship. The military would disagree with that,
but her father built it and she’s decided its not a good idea for
anyone else to have it.

Junior is the robot we see with the BOOM. He plays himself. There’s a fair bit of CGI involved in the sizzle, but Junior is real. He’s a MECH 5 – basically a bad ass robot that should have been decommissioned. He has his own agenda for throwing in with the crew. There’s more to him than meets the eye but he doesn’t transform into Michael Bay or anything.

The woman who appears at the very end of the sizzle is Jeannie, played by Margo Stilley. She’s the holographic pilot of the ship and in the sizzle is rescued electronically by DM. He steals her back. He has a history with her, or at least the real person she was based on. It’s a complicated relationship.

The weapon that Frank is arguing with is GUN. She’s actually a very special weapon, but tends not to always agree with Frank. Again it’s a
complicated relationship.

The one thing you don’t see much of is the ship. We have some interesting plans for her.

And of course we have Sean Pertwee as Colonel Hall. He’s the military guy tasked with getting the ship back. He kinda takes it seriously. The poor bastard he’s not blaming for anything is played by Dalip Tahil. I feel sorry for what we did to him because he was brilliant on set.

What will happen in the first few episodes? Will there be an arc?

Yes indeedy. We have some interesting character arcs for each character and the show is plotted out for three seasons at the moment.

We have some big reveals, and surprises in store for the crew and hopefully the audience. We didn’t want to make this up as we went along so we know exactly how these characters got to the first scene of the pilot and how they all end up. But the first few episodes are concerned with getting the ship, learning what it can do and then deciding what to do with it.

How many episodes and series do you have planned out and are there any aliens in it?

Good question. 22 episodes a season, three seasons. With scope for a few side stories along the way. Aliens. Yes and no. Aliens are history by the time we get to the pilot. But they do play a huge part in the show one way or another. And we’ve got something worse too. Wait until you meet her.

Favourite science-fiction film and fave sci-fi TV show?

Jesus. Just one? Tough question. I may hack your blog and change the answer daily. Right now at almost 4am my favourite sci fi movie is Moon. I’ve been watching it over and over on Blu Ray trying to work out how Duncan Jones and Sam Rockwell pulled it off. Simply incredible film making. It taps into the films I’d love to have added if you’d have allowed it – like Alien, Silent Running and Bladerunner.

Favourite sci fi TV show? The Invaders. I caught it when I was a kid in that weird 6pm slot on BBC2. Being 12 or so and being able to watch Monkey, The Water Margin, old Republic serials like King of the Rocket Men, Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, not to mention Laurel & Hardy and Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies was life changing. And of course David Vincent knowing that the Invaders are here, that they have taken human form and that somehow he must convince a disbelieving world that the nightmare has already begun.

Judge Dredd is heading towards the big screen again. Who would you like to see playing Dredd and who or what should he be up against in the new film?

I wouldn’t like to see anyone play Dredd. We cast the jaw and then keep the poor bastard attached to it drugged up between takes. We find the right guy and we KEEP him. Then you forget about the film idea. You get HBO on board to do it like The Wire and you throw the entire Mega City against Dredd for seven years or so. I grew up watching him crack heads – he can take it.

Best film of 2009?

I’m gonna look like a fanboy if I saw Moon again, so let’s go with
Inglourious Basterds. Ballsy film making at its best. Or maybe The Road because it reminded me children can still act. You know what, fuck it. I’m a fanboy and it was Moon.

Favourite science fiction gadget?

Peter Davison’s fifth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. For exactly the same reason that I loathe the new one that seems to do every bloody thing under the sun – none of them memorable. The only thing I remember Peter Davison’s screwdriver doing is dying. I remember the line “I feel like you’ve just killed an old friend” and I still get a pang over it. I’m not sure what it says about me that I list that over the Buffy-bot.

If you were to be killed by a movie monster which one would it be and what would your final words be?

Brilliant question. I’m working with a friend on a side project where we get to kill another friend and we’re using a classic monster. But not that way.

I’m really trying *not* to think of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and it’s really hard.

I think it’d be an American Werewolf In London because I’m a messy bastard in life so it’d be good go out of it messily too. Last words: “See You Next Wednesday”

I particularly like the talking Gun. Was that inspired by Rogue Trooper’s Gunnar or do you just like talking weaponry?

I like any ‘thing’ that can be a really meaningful character in its own right. We live in a world with movies where they can’t get the fucking human beings right, so I have a soft spot for any writer who can make me fall in love with an object. Gonna mention Moon again so brace yourself. They made me tear up over what was basically an upside down photocopier. The drones in Silent Running I miss more than dead relatives. The trailing off of Daisy Daisy by HAL in 2001 haunts me. Hell, even the Alzheimer suffering Nell in Battle Beyond The Stars makes my lip tremble. And not because she looks like a sex toy.

Rouge Trooper and Gunnar? You bethca that was an inspiration. I wasn’t the only kid drawing biochips on my arm in school, right? Right?

What film do you first remember watching?

The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, and Basil Rathbone. My gran’s house and it was on the TV one afternoon. I think I fell in love there and then. With Olivia de Havilland. Not my gran. Although I guess the age difference was similar. I’ve loved old movies ever since. One of the best emails I got recently was from a production manager (Hi Kelli!) over at Turner Classic Movies. Well, that and a call from Sam Raimi’s office.

Best ever spaceship?

The Eagles from SPACE: 1999. I’ll fight anyone who says different.
Design classic.

If you got the chance to make a film or series based on an established comic book character which one would it be…apart from Dredd?

The Ballad of Halo Jones just to get Alan Moore on my back.

When I was a kid being blown away by all the fun stuff in 2000AD along came this story that just aimed higher. It trusted the 12 year old I was to understand something that wasn’t just guns and explosions. It was a girl with a real life and she wanted OUT. Reading 2000AD was an obvious way out I guess. But suddenly finding a character that wasn’t content and did something about it made me want to do EVERYTHING too.

Of course she had a talking robotic dog as well so that helped. But I read it again recently and it’s just fucking beautiful. I have a masters degree in literature so I’m pretty well read outside of the genre stuff and hand-on-heart I think Alan Moore gave us a masterpiece.

And that’s also the reason why I would never go near it.

I’d write the living fuck out of Doctor Who though.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Slingers – Oceans 11 in space?“, posted with vodpod

There you have it. A great interview for what looks like it could be a great show. Check out Mike’s blog for more info and he’s also on Twitter.

Check out some previous sci-fi related interviews on Live for Films:
David Sullivan – Star of Primer and Skateland
Duncan Jones – Director of Moon
Andrew Barker – Director of Straw Man
Michael Marshall Smith – Author of Only Forward, Spares, One of Us, Straw Man and many more
Alejandro Adams – Director of Canary
Neal Asher – Author of Gridlinked, Line of Polity, Shadow of the Scorpion, Orbus, Brass Man and many more

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Dollhouse has gone the way of Firefly

Posted by LiveFor on November 12, 2009

dollhouseDamn, another Joss Whedon show bites the dust.
The Hollywood Reporter has the breaking news that Fox has canceled “Dollhouse,” the Eliza Dushku-starring series created by Whedon.

The sci-fi series, which is filming episode 11, will finish its 13-episode order.

“Yes. Canceled. Sad but true,” tweeted Maurissa Tancharoen, a writer on “Dollhouse” who is married to Whedon’s brother Jed Whedon, also a writer on the show.

Beating the odds after a very slow start last spring, “Dollhouse” was renewed for a second season. But with a dismal performance this fall — and despite getting a ratings bump from DVR viewing — the show starring Eliza Dushku was benched for November sweeps after four episodes.

Fox plans to air all produced episodes of “Dollhouse,” which will return with originals Dec. 4 as planned. Whedon is working on giving the series a proper ending with a big finale.

“I feel the show is getting better pretty much every week, and I think you’ll agree in the coming months,” Whedon wrote on Whedonesque.com. “I’m grateful that we got to put it on, and then come back and put it on again.”

Sad that these cool shows which have a big fanbase just don’t hit the crossover appeal barrier until it is much too late.

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Joss Whedon will buy the Terminator franchise for $10000

Posted by LiveFor on November 2, 2009

joss-whedonRecently it was announced that the rights to the Terminator were going on sale. It will be by auction and it is rumoured that they will go for about $60 million dollars. Not a bad deal really.

Now a major mover and shaker in the film biz has put in an early bid acccording to an open letter Deadline Hollywood posted.

An Open Letter to the Terminator Owners. From a Very Important Hollywood Mogul

Dear Sirs/Ma’ams,

I am Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind Titan A.E., Parenthood (not the movie) (or the new series) (or the one where ‘hood’ was capitalized ’cause it was a pun), and myriad other legendary tales. I have heard through the ‘grapevine’ that the Terminator franchise is for sale, and I am prepared to make a pre-emptive bid RIGHT NOW to wrap this dealio up. This is not a joke, this is not a scam, this is not available on TV. I will write a check TODAY for $10,000, and viola! Terminator off your hands.

No, you didn’t miscount. That’s four — FOUR! — zeroes after that one. That’s to show you I mean business. And I mean show business. Nikki Finke says the Terminator concept is played. Well, here’s what I have to say to Nikki Finke: you are a fine journalist and please don’t ever notice me. The Terminator story is as formative and important in our culture — and my pretend play — as any I can think of. It’s far from over. And before you Terminator-Owners (I have trouble remembering names) rush to cash that sweet cheque, let me give you a taste of what I could do with that franchise:

1) Terminator… of the Rings! Yeah, what if he time-travelled TOO far… back to when there was dragons and wizards? (I think it was the Dark Ages.) Hasta La Vista, Boramir! Cool, huh? “Now you gonna be Gandalf the Red!” RRRRIP! But then he totally helps, because he’s a cyborg and he doesn’t give a s#&% about the ring — it has no power over him! And he can carry it AND Frodo AND Sam AND f@%& up some orcs while he’s doing it. This stuff just comes to me. I mean it. (I will also offer $10,000 for the Lord of the Rings franchise).

2) More Glau. Hey. There’s a reason they’re called “Summer” movies.

3) Can you say… musical? Well don’t. Even I know that’s an awful idea.

4) Christian Bale’s John Connor will get a throat lozenge. This will also help his Batwork (ten grand for that franchise too, btw.)

5) More porn. John Connor never told Kyle Reese this, but his main objective in going to the past was to get some. What if there’s a lot of future-babies that have to be made? Cue wah-wah pedal guitar — and dollar signs!

6) The movies will stop getting less cool.

Okay. There’s more — this brain don’t quit! (though it has occasionally been fired) — but I think you get my drift. I really believe the Terminator franchise has only begun to plumb the depths of questioning the human condition during awesome stunts, and I’d like to shepherd it through the next phase. The money is there, but more importantly, the heart is there. But more importantly, money. Think about it. End this bloody bidding war before it begins, and put the Terminator in the hands of someone who watched the first one more than any other movie in college, including “Song of Norway” (no current franchise offer).

Sincerely, Joss Whedon.

Imagine if Joss got the rights. What do you think he would do with the Terminator?

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Gorram! Mal Reynolds flies again in Castle

Posted by LiveFor on October 24, 2009

I posted a photo a while back of Nathan Fillion in his new show Castle as his old character Mal Reynolds from the gone before its time, Firefly.

Now Neil over at the excellent ScyfiLove found this clip of Castle/Reynolds in action.

Who else misses Firefly?

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Nathan Fillion in Castle as Mal Reynolds?

Posted by LiveFor on October 15, 2009

500x_castlepeek
Nathan Fillion played Mal Reynolds in the excellent Firefly. That got cancelled which still pains me.

However, he now stars in Castle as an author who helps out the police.

Apparantly, Richard Castle dresses up for Halloween as a certain Captain of Serenity. Castletv got the photo.

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Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods pushed back to 2011 so it can be 3Dified

Posted by LiveFor on October 10, 2009

the-cabin-in-the-woods-cutDrew Goddard is directing The Cabin in the Woods, but all people seem to be interested in is that it was co-written by Joss Whedon. That’s no bad thing as a horror movie with a Joss Whedon spin should be good (oh Firefly why were you cancelled), but I do feel a little bad that Drew Goddard is sort of skimmed over. Try and big up Drew if you can.

Anyway Joss’s new movie (doh!)…Drew’s new movie has been moved from 5th February 2010 to 14th January 2011. This has been confirmed by Collider.

The reason for this is not because the film sucks. Oh no. It is because they have decided to turn it 3D. That will take time and they also need space to show it in Cinemas that are 3D equipped – with films like Avatar, A Christmas Carol, Toy Story 3 and more heading our way the 3D screens are pretty much booked up for a while.

Now while I am a big fan of 3D I don’t particularly like it when they shoot a film in 2D and then decide to change it. They are doing the same for Iron Man 2. If it is not shot for 3D then it is not going to be a fully 3D experience – they often have a lack of depth in them.

Still technology marches on as it always does and the decision has been made. Just a pity we have to wait another year to see Cabin in the Woods by the amazingly brilliant Drew Goddard. Apparantly it was co-written by a bloke who has done a bit of TV.

What do you think about 2D films being converted into 3D?

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Christina Hendricks gets Life as We Know It

Posted by LiveFor on August 27, 2009

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I’ve moved to www.liveforfilms.com

“Mad Men” co-star Christina Hendricks is set to star alongside Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel in Warner Bros. romancer Life as We Know It (plus she’s recently worn a corset on the cover of NY Magazine) and is on the cover of Esquire magazine.

Hendricks was also in Firefly, but I always wonder which comic book character she should play – Power Girl maybe? Anyone else agree or have any other suggestions? Would she make a good Catwoman – go vote in our poll if you think she would.

Greg Berlanti will direct Life As We Know It and will start shooting in Autumn.

The film follows two unattached adults whose worlds are turned upside down when their mutual best friends die in an accident and name them as caregivers of their orphaned daughter. Hendricks will portray the best friend to Heigl’s and Duhamel’s characters.

Heigl and her mother Nancy Heigl are exec producing the film.

Hendricks will soon be seen alongside Emily Mortimer in the indie drama Leonie.

Update: Now it looks as if fellow Mad Man hottie, January Jones, is heading to the big screen – more here (she should really do her jacket up).

Source: Variety

Here is a pic of Hendricks at the 2010 Golden Globes. Check out the winners.

More pics over at Just Jared.

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Dollhouse Season 1 – Epitaph One Sneak Peek

Posted by LiveFor on July 8, 2009

Dollhouse is the Joss Whedon series where people have memories and skills downloaded into them and at the end of each mission they have their memory wiped. The Feds are after them and Eliza Dushku looks lovely. All well and good. Unlike Firefly, Dollhouse has been given a second series.

However, there was a final episode from the first series that is yet to be shown. It is called Epitaph One and is set in 2019 after some kind of apocalypse. Who knew! It stars Felicia Day and here is a sneak peek.

HOME

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The Random

Posted by LiveFor on August 21, 2008

Alex Proyas (Dark City) is to adapt Heinlein’s The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag”, which sounds a bit Dark Cityish to me. All about a bloke who cannot remember what he gets up to during the day.

Firefly is coming to Blu-Ray.

Firstshowing.net‘s Alex Billington has posted the European (i.e., German subtitled) trailer for Ron Howard’s Frost/Nixon.

Those Robert Harris-supervised restorations of The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II will be shown theatrically starting on 9.12 at New York’s Film Forum, with concurrent bookings in Los Angeles and San Francisco. It’s all a plug for the 9.23 DVD/Blu-ray release of these two.

Filming has commenced in L.A. on His Name Was Jason, a new documentary about the Friday the 13th franchise. It will air on Starz the first week of February 2009 (just in time for Platinum Dunes’ new film). A DVD release through Anchor Bay Entertainment will follow.

Discuss in the forum.

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Serenity to fly no more

Posted by LiveFor on August 18, 2008

Ah, Firefly, one of the greatest TV shows of all time. Cancelled before its time, but managed to live again in the movie Serenity. Joss Whedon sure can write a yarn. There have been the odd rumour here and there saying that there could be another Firefly movie. However, in an interview with MTV Mr Whedon closes the door on and sequel….at least for the moment.

“The rumors are there because people really wish it would happen,” Whedon said.

[It’s an “improbable fantasy,” Whedon said. Then again, “so was making ‘Serenity’ [given the cancellation of ‘Firefly’], and so is half my career, which is why I never write it off.”

“I’d do it in a heartbeat,” Whedon said, “because I love those people so much.” But that doesn’t change the fact that the rumors are not being circulated “by anyone who owns a studio,” and “nobody’s knocking on our door.”

“There’s been no movement,” he said. “Those rumors are just rumors, and I don’t think they’re going to stop, no matter how many times I say, ‘No, it’s not happening.’ Because somebody will say, ‘He said yes. His eyes said yes. His nose said yes. There was a yes-iness about him.’ Because people want it.”

Discuss in the forum.

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