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The Cape Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

The Cape

This is an interview with Show Creator/Executive Producer Tom Wheeler on December 16, 2010 about the show The Cape.

Question:
I want to ask you about The Cape universe. I know that you're trying a merger with the idea of a superhero concept for the cathedral. Could you tell me a little bit about that, some of the ideas behind that and how it's going to deviate and differ from other heroes?

Tom Wheeler:
Sure I mean I think one of the kind of fun challenges of - I mean I'm a lifelong comic book fan. The idea of sort of writing my own comic was always really appealing, you know, writing any comic. I just - I'm just a fan of, you know, I just have always been sort of attracted to those stories.

The opportunity when I thought about writing the Cape it was - it came sort of in stages. I knew I wanted to write a story about a father and son and a father who takes on the persona of his son's favorite comic book hero. But then it took a while for me to settle on who that hero should be. And I also wanted it if I was going to write it for TV I really wanted to kind of wrap my arms around something that felt like its own comic book universe, still grounded and emotionally grounded and sort of high-stakes but I sort of wanted to create my own kind of playground.

So the idea of creating a fictional city seemed to fit in a sort of kind of silver age fashion just sort of create, you know, a hero with some silver age sensibilities for even though it's set in the 21st Century and just larger than life characters but see if we could maintain a really sort of strong emotional thread throughout and kind of what's some of the great character driven superhero stuff we've seen.

I knew I wanted costumes. I knew that would be a challenge. But I also feel that that sort of in a sense what embodies a superhero or at least the ones I grew up with. And I've been sort of approaching it from a couple different places. I want it to have kind of a pulp sensibility. I wanted it to feel - I wanted Palm City to feel like it was - it had some timeless elements to it.

The nightlife I wanted to feel sort of old Hollywood. I wanted there to be some - I didn't - I wanted to have different - a feel of different worlds with in it and yet still be a relatable world. So I think you'll see kind of a mixture of both. But those were some of the - that was the genesis of some of it and how they ended up combining a little bit.

Question:
With the Cape universe, just how much do you actually know about it in terms of do you know the brands of beer people in Palm City use, =those sort of details and conditions that come up?

Tom Wheeler:
Well the brands of beer, there's actually someone who's threatening to poison some beer in a - in actually a script that's being written right now. But the - one of the great things about this was the pilot, you know, I was in - it was me in my room sort of coming up with this world. And I sort of - I would kind of throw stories down the lane. I didn't quite know how we'd get there but I knew sort of where I wanted to get to. And one of the things that I felt grew the most from pilot to Episode 2 was the character of Palm City.

For example we developed this world called Trolley Park which is this kind of blade runner-ish world that is - we imagine it almost like a kingdom with a sort of central Palm City, has the arc tower in the center of it and then it's sort of surrounded by these railroad tracks, these old trolley tracks. And we put the carnival of crime at the end of what is this sort of community of almost like a gypsy encampment community underneath what were the old trolley tunnels. And that's sort of where the sort of poorest, the sort of real squalor of Palm City is and it's where Vince Faraday hides.

And we named it Trolley Park because we needed to - we wanted to figure out where the carnival would sort of set it's, you know, be set. And Trolley Parks originally were - it's were carnivals were more or less invented. They were at the end of the trolley to sort of lure people to use the trolley. And coming up with kind of worlds within Palm City was one of the great aspects of it.

And what brand of beer they drink, well we should come up with a Palm City brand but they also, you know, I mean they also will enjoy, you know, a good Corona or whatever else that - it's a part of the United States. And sort of the further out we get from Palm City the more, you know, the more it is our world. You know, we'll hear them talking about the military stuff in Afghanistan. We hear, you know, that's so but I wanted a place that could feel contained enough because I do see this as a sort of costumed crime drama.

And so I wanted Palm City to really, you know, the issues are sort within this city it's gangsters. It's corrupt businessman, corrupt cops. It's a little bit of this police state within this city that I thought would help kind of contain it and give it the stories of sort of certain unique flavor.

Question:
In looking at the longevity of the superhero-based series like The Cape, where does the focus need to be beyond superpowers and saving the day?

Tom Wheeler:
Well I think that's kind of the - that's sort of the key. That's a key question. One of the things that I wanted to establish was even though, you know, our guy would wear a mask and it was going to - we were going to sort of tackle this whole idea of kind of costumed superheroes, I also didn't necessarily want it to be super powered.

Now The Cape does some extraordinary things and obviously we will push the envelope in kind of, you know, science and what is conceivable. But it's also, you know, it's also going to be sort of limited in what characters can actually do. I prefer that because I feel that will bring us deeper into our characters. And there's a fugitive aspect to this story about a guy trying to get home.

But we tackle it in a pretty realistic way. It's not sort of just we set up the premise and then he just goes and sort of punches bad guys in the head. I mean I kind of approach these things as a novelist. And I think - and the material that I'm most drawn to whether it's, you know, growing up with Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, I mean I tend to tackle these things with a sort of lot of ambition and scope. But I think they have to start from a very intimate emotional stakes place.

So what launches The Cape into existence is this struggle to get back to his family and to send a message to his son. What will keep him as The Cape as we go along will, you know, we'll approach very realistically. I mean his family is going through the loss of a father and husband. He's going through this struggle of this decision he's made to protect his family to keep his identity a secret. And we - that's a - it's brutal on them both. And we sort of deal with that and at the same time things will change in the course of the series.

And even though there is an adventure of the week aspect there is still for those who will tune in every week there are undercurrents of change and developments that will sometimes subtly and then sometimes quite suddenly change and reverse course. So I have big plans for, you know, The Cape, the character of The Cape who The Cape is, the mythology of The Cape, the mythology of these characters like Max Malini and Orwell. And I also, you know, love to sort of dig deeper into Palm City and the history of Palm City. For instance the digital comic that we're doing which Michael Gaydos is doing the art for and is just doing this beautiful job, that comic book is not just sort of drawing our characters like drawing our actors. That's actually the comic book that Trip, the son reads in the show. So it's sort of a second Cape mythology within the show for those who want to get a better feel for this world and the rules.

And so I think it's maintained to sort of, you know, give you a completely long-winded answer. I mean I just I think it's the emotional stakes that have to be constantly sort of serviced and then refreshed as we go along.

Question:
Are there any plans for like a parallel story line perhaps online to go along with The Cape?

Tom Wheeler:
Well it's one of the things we're trying to do with the comic. And I like - I really think this show in particular has a lot of opportunities in sort of the digital world in comic books. We're actually putting up Orwell is watching as an actual blog. So you can follow Orwell's blogs so, you know, there's a connection to what's going on. In those blogs will be clues to, you know, new bad guys and new villains and storylines that we're dealing with.

And I just think the - it's a really, you know, it's a learning - it's just a - one of the most fun and sort of challenging aspects is how many - you know, how can we tell these stories? And through which different venue just to give it that, you know, satisfying for the audience. But yes, we're pursuing all those sort of different ways to make it feel Palm City is a living breathing place and people can access it through different areas. I love that part of it. I'm totally into that and I'm very sort of, you know, we're actively dealing with it every day and how we can bring the audience further into this - into the show.

Question:
Which comic books have you enjoy reading in the past that may have helped form The Cape, like specific titles or creator runs on various comic books?

Tom Wheeler:
Sure I mean I'm, you know, current and former. I mean I grew up reading mostly Marvel stuff. I mean I would say Daredevil was my favorite character. But I was, you know, I was into X-Men. I mean the first X-Men I, you know, picked up was 136 where the whole Phoenix saga was kind of underway. And I was always really just, I was drawn into the Marvel characters. But over time Green Arrow was a favorite of mine, the Mike Grell Green Arrow was amazing.

The, you know, the Daredevil though was sort of the Frank Miller electric bulls eye run which was just I felt such a great - it was such a great kind of music between crime story and superhero. And it was all street level and it was - it had a really sprawling mythology but also, you know, but it was also still, you know, it was kind of an adventure in a comic book. So I loved that run.

I loved Brubaker's run on Captain AmErika more recently. The whole winner soldier thing I just thought was great. And I've - I'll read everything Grant Morrison writes. And I won't always understand it but I will read it. And he's just brilliant. I mean his ideas are just - just they go by in a panel too. He'll come - they'll just be something that sort of flies by and you're just - you're like wait what, what? Did he just say? I envy his imagination.

And so but I would say I favor, you know, I think I'm more drawn to, you know, the heroes who are - I think there's a certain wish fulfillment aspect of the regular guy sort of thrown into a situation or having to take on a responsibility. And I do like the - and even though I mean I love, you know, the sort of larger than life or space epics or whatever and I do kind of favor the more Green Arrow, Daredevil, Batman. I just I sort of relate to them best and I feel they were the most influential.

Although The Cape itself kind of has those - has aspects of even, you know, going further back like The Spirit or, you know, The Shadow, you know, something sort of torn out of that era. And the fact that The Cape itself is a sort of straightforward, there was something in its simplicity that I kind of loved and felt like it could sort of straddle both those worlds, the kind of heroes I grew up, you know, reading and then something that sort of harked back to an earlier age kind of. But I also - oh Power Man Iron Fist I was also way into. Iron Fist is a big favorite of mine. And that Matt Fraction run on Iron Fist recently was just outstanding. I just thought that (Dave Aja Ardin) and his - the stack contest and those - all those heroes he came up with, it was just a great run.

Question:
With so much crossover among writers in Hollywood and comic books do you envision working with any sort of known comic book talent on the show?

Tom Wheeler:
Oh I would love to, yes absolutely. And a lot of these guys that I mentioned are really damn busy, you know? I mean I'm - I think I, you know, was thrown out some calls to some of these guys, it was like they're doing quite well, you know, writing their ten books. But yes, anytime Ed Brubaker wants to give me a call or any of the other, there's some wonderful, wonderful writers and some of my favorite writers are writing comics right now. And I have a lot of respect for what they do And so yes definitely. And I think some of their agents were called earlier on in this process.

Question:
We've talked a lot about the comic influences. How are you going to bring in people who are not into comics?

Tom Wheeler:
It's - that's a great question and one that I think, you know, is sort of addressed within the show. And it also has to deal with the regular guy in extraordinary circumstances aspect to the story and the wish fulfillment aspects of the story. But more specifically, you know, there's a whole side of this story that yes, we'll have some larger than life villains and wonderful actors will play them, but there's a Palm City, you know, real people living their lives part of this story.

For instance Vince's wife Dana who is just played terrifically by Jennifer Ferrin, you know, she's a single mom now suddenly who has been forced to move to a scarier part of town who is now responsible, you know, the sole breadwinner for her family who is, you know, kind of now plunging into Palm City as a public defender and coming up face to face with sort of the corruption and the stuff that's going on. There is a really sort of romantic angle to, you know, this woman who sort of lost the love of her life and but The Cape is now in her life.

And I - it's we - you know, we're - she's wrestling with like how long, you know, how long do I mourn and what does that mean and when is it appropriate to move on with my life? I think all of these sort of aspects to this story just ground us and ground it all the more because I do - I think you can tell a story that embraces, you know, 7-years-olds and 70-year-olds and people that are fans of comics and people that are not into comics through stakes that are real and emotions that are real.

And so I I'm sensitive to that. And I think the story itself and my influences do, you know, they go beyond - I mean some of my favorites whether it's sort of Philip K. Dick or HP Lovecraft, I mean there's sort of - I mean what I love about The Cape is we're - you know, we tell one story that deals with something that is the cutting edge, mostly sort of high tech sort of dangers and things we fear in this world and sort of feels like a story that's sort of tipping into science fiction. And then the story we're telling now or shooting right now is a really sort of Gothic creepy sort of wonderfully scary kind of story. And I'm just continuing to sort of, you know, feel out like where we can go. And so I think there's influences and story influences that are pretty embracing to all audiences.

Question:
You've got a pretty extensive male cast, but then you also have two female characters, at least one of which looks like she's going to be very strong female lead. What is your inspiration and how do you approach writing a lead female character?

Tom Wheeler:
I have a wife who is very vocal about how I approach my characters and how I deal with them and how I write my woman characters. We have some wonderful writers on staff Tony Graphia from Battle Star and Sarah Connor and Christine Rohm and some really wonderful female voices and just some wonderful writers in general. And we I think, I mean one of my favorite storylines really is this Dana storyline. And she's going - and not I mean suffice to say we have huge plans for Summer Glau who plays Orwell.

But Dana has really sort of taken hold as a real, just when you see her you root for her. Her story is very heroic without having all the sort of superhero trappings. Her story is just as heroic and her journey in some ways is just as dangerous and just as compelling.

And I just look forward to really continuing to sort of complicate their lives in a very loving way. But it's I think you - I think people will be surprised where it goes. And but yes I think we have a really strong female villain. Mena Suvari comes in as this character Dice. So we're, you know, we're reaching out to female audiences. And I think our characters will - I think their stories will be really compelling.

Question:
You've geown up with all these superheroes and now you had the chance to create your own, and then you cast David Lyons. What was it about David that you saw in the superhero that you've obviously been dreaming of creating? And what can you tell us about David's betrayal and Vince himself?

Tom Wheeler:
Sure I'd be happy to. One of the real challenges I mean when we got into this was that real question was, you know, people - some actors come in and they, you know, they play the superhero. You know, they got the fists on the hips and they do the whole profile and you're kind of going oh geez, what have I done and this is going to be lame.

And there was something - we said David actually on tape because he was in Australia. And, you know, we had seen some good actors and but it was - but we had for certain not found Vince. And there was something about David who is not only really super, just compelling in his look, but beside that he was only one that - well he was the only one that convinced me. You know, he was the only one that his conviction and his sincerity immediately brought the scenes to a place where you can only sort of hope they go. And he continues to do that. I mean the awesome thing about him is his total commitment.

And through him we're able to go through these crazy worlds and these experiences and meet these characters but he never as an actor ever loses sight of what it's about, why he's doing this. And so I really think he's - we just couldn't have a better sort of just kind of hero to sort of put this on his shoulders. And his - and he's also just like physically - I mean this first day, you know, he was running around with the gun and doing all this detective stuff. And you were also like damn, he's like a really good action hero guy. I mean he just - that stuff just comes so naturally to him. I think we're slowly killing him with everything we're putting him through and beating - you know, having to fight (Vinnie Jones) on top of a train and everything else. I mean it's - I'm hoping he's okay at the end of this. But he is just like 1000%. And really you just again, there's a vulnerability and a conviction and a reality that just put him - that there was no question in our mind.

Question:
How far in advance have you planned the story?

Tom Wheeler:
I know - I do have - I mean I came in with a plan that has relatively - you know, it had held pretty well I got to say. Sometimes you end up getting to the same place through a totally different avenue which I kind of love. I love that sort of discovery part. And obviously the writers on staff here, you know, they have taken it on as their own of course. And so they, you know, we've all together come up with some great, you know, great stuff.

But yes I have a - I know where this season will end. Those scripts aren't written yet. But and as for season two I have some very strong ideas of the threads that would go through season two and a couple of options of how I want to end a season two. And then and it - what you always wrestle with are these sort of even longer term plans where you, you know, there's a kind of what if and you go well in three, you know, four years. And inevitably that stuff tends to move up. But there's some really exciting - there's some really exciting stuff and places that I would like it to go and that give it a little bit more of an epic scope.

But yes we'll see how this sort of initial run goes. But I would love, you know, I would love for it to go on and on because there's a lot of - there's a groove and a rhythm I would love to find that I just think would be terrific. And what I really initially want to do is just create this very, you know, rich, rogue gallery with these really cool actors so that people can in a very fun we anticipate who's coming back. And so I kind of will look forward to sort of revisiting some of these characters that we've already established.

Question:
Which episode that you've written or seen completed so far is your favorite, which one are you really excited for the audience to see?

Tom Wheeler:
I - oh that's a tough one but I'm really excited about episode -it's - well I guess it's - you - there's the second episode after the pilot and I guess it would be the second hour. And I think these - it was more or less the second episode that I wrote I think crystallizes a lot of the themes and there's some absolutely beautiful performances.

But that's becoming harder and harder. I'm really - I'm happy with where things are going. But I think that second hour in some ways, you know, even sort of resets like the pilot. It's sort of - it's kind of a pilot times two. And I'm really I - so Deran Serafian our director, producer and the director of that episode just - he did just an unbelievable job.

Question:
When you're dealing with a hero they're only as interesting as their villains. What can you tell us about some of the villains we might see this season on the show?

Tom Wheeler:
Well we are super fortunate to have a - kind of two regular villains. I mean I'd say they're sort of the - they're kind of polar opposites. But James Frain, you know, who plays this billionaire, Peter Fleming who is a - he's this corporate titan. He's this sort of industrialist who has chosen Palm City for these sort of charter private policing programs. But he's got his, you know, finger in a lot of pies all around the world. And he really seems to be using Palm City as a stepping stone for a real experiment. And that becomes sort of clear as things unfold. But he moonlights as this sort of psychopath terrorist. He's a real - he's this character of chess, this sort of dual identity that he has who is sort of a killer and a master strategist and really kind of - more embracing those kind of comic book, you know, comic book larger than life figures.

We have Vinny Jones who plays this mobster named Scales. I mean he doesn't like to be called Scales, the character doesn't. But he is this really brutal crime lord. He actually - he and Peter Fleming don't always get along so well but they're the two sort of initial kind of, you know, villain forces that The Cape has to contend with.

But we quickly start bringing in some other characters. For instance early into the series we meet this character from Max Malini's past as we tell a story that really has a lot to do with the history and the mythology of the physical Cape itself that the Cape uses. And we - it just suggests that they Cape has a darker history than we might realize. And this character played by Thomas Kretchman comes to town to reclaim what he feels is his. And he's a great villain. And like all the villains we try to give them a real drive and a real, you know, I think in some ways the best villains are the ones that are, you know, they're the heroes in their story these villains.

I mean I feel the best ones are motivated from a relatable place in some ways. So we tend to kind of - we've gotten in a little bit of a pattern sort of introducing our bad guy first. And, you know, we told Scales origin story in a recent episode. And there's like I said Mena Suvari will come in as a - this mysterious and dangerous woman called Dice who has a real grudge against Peter Fleming with good reason. And the Cape gets embroiled in this sort of almost romantic triangle, you know, as this woman sort of torn between these two very different figures.

So it's always just sort of character first and find the most interesting story. Although in Episode 2 this character Kane who is a poisoner for a - this group that we introduce called the Tarot. He's a pretty straightforward bad guy. He's just pretty awful. And he's really he's a great deal of fun. So that's just a sampling of what's to come.

Question:
Have you been involved in the fan community - attending conventions and that kind of thing?

Tom Wheeler:
Yes absolutely. I mean I went to the - I'm in LA and so, you know, Comic-Con before it became like the Super Bowl of genre and it was, you know, I loved going down there. And, you know, I'm - I feel I'm always having these sort of contests of like who knows more. I mean I'm - and I often lose amongst my own staff. And I've got some really hard-core, you know, they know their stuff.

But yes, I mean I have always sort of considered myself a part of the fan community. And I would go to Comic-Con and I'd wait in line and get signatures. And I loved looking at the artwork. And one of the most pinch me aspects of this has been, you know, we got really by just happenstance I managed to get in touch with John Cassidy who I just loved from like it, you know, his run on X-Men and Planetary and just as an artist he was just, you know, he was amazing. And I managed, I don't even it was just serendipity I guess, but he agreed to do a cover for The Cape which was, you know, our Comic-Con comic that we did this past summer. And just seeing him do a version of a character that I had created was ready extraordinary for me. I mean I like to meet actors and it's cool but I was really, that to me was a pretty awesome moment in the course of the show.

And so it feel - I'm - I am - I'm really despite - it's a big lift doing all these episodes but the playground is amazing. And I feel very fortunate and thankful because I'm doing - I mean I, whether we succeed or fail it's coming from a place of real affection for, you know, characters like this in this world. And when I was at Comic-Con this summer that was the first time I'd ever been there was something that I had created. And it was thrilling. It was just thrilling. It was an amazing ride. And having been in those audiences and then being on a panel was - it was great and I really enjoyed it. So knock on wood we're there next year. But yes, I've gone to Wizard World and all that stuff.

Question:
About the music for the series, I know that you are working with Bear McCreary. Could you talk a little bit about the tone of the music and what you're kind of aiming for with it?

Tom Wheeler:
Bear is a force of nature. He is just - he's awesome. And even from our first meeting I mean his enthusiasm and his mind, I mean it goes past music. I mean he really wants to organically figure out like what's the best relationship between the music and the show. And he has - his ideas are always terrific.

We've been talking to him a lot about our, you know, our main title sequence. And he has done a theme that just I - just rocks. And it's really our, you know, it's our big superhero theme, you know. We want to rival any of the best sort of Spiderman or Batman themes. I mean we're going for it. I mean it's a big full orchestra sound that I just think he manages to kind of ride this emotional wave through his music and through the show that is - that doesn't shy away from the emotion but it also doesn't spoon feed it.

He's a really gifted composer and musician. You know, the themes that he's come up with for the carnival he, you know, he loves to sort of, you know, he loves to kind of come up with themes for each character and then sort of dovetail them through the music. So I think it's going - I think the show is going to sound outstanding. And I'm - I mean he's to me is just a huge integral part of it. And I just love what he's doing so far.

Question:
Have you any people that you would love to guest star in the show as a villain maybe?

Tom Wheeler:
As yes, I mean there's a - I mean there's a lot of people who would be fantastic. You know, and we're lucky so far in, you know, I thought - I mean Vinny Jones was kind of a coupe for us because I, you know, I sort of threw out this name never thinking we were going to get Vinny.

And lo and behold he showed up in the office and he, you know, and he's just this - he's this larger than life guy himself. You know, he - Vinny alone could give The Cape a run for his money. So I mean it we, you know, I think we've set a really high bar and there are some - and so far we have been really, really fortunate with who we've managed to get. I mean you guys will see in an early episode we have, you know, Elliott Gould plays a character who has a little bit of, you know, has a certain amount of mystery around him.

And I'm a big fan of, you know, I - you know, I think there's so many actors. I mean I would love, you know, I'd love to sort of shoot for the moon and see who we can get. I mean there's roles for everybody from a Jack Black to a - I mean I could think of hundreds of people I'd love to see play villains. And over time we will see.

We're starting in a very, very good place. And so I'm hopeful. And also as - it's also sometimes just great to sort of make a discovery and you have someone who isn't as maybe well known who just knocks it out of the park. And that's great too because then when they come back in the series, you know, they're that character. It's not necessarily oh so and so as this but then it's also fun in sort of summer movie fashion to sort of have that, you know, that famous person kind of taking on the role. So, you know, we'll see. But we - were trying to get these scripts as fun and inventive as possible so that their parts that people want to play.

Question:
Could you tell me a little bit about Summer Glau who will be on the show and tell me a bit about Orwell?

Tom Wheeler:
She is wonderful and she is amazing. Well we - yes I was - it was another kind of moment where I was saying like I don't know, The Cape just seem to have this lucky energy around it because, you know, summer - we had been searching and searching for Orwell and just one day in like the casting office I didn't even realize I mean and Summer walked in.

And a friend of mine I was working on the show with, you know, from Berman, Braun, I mean we were both like that Summer Glau's here. What's - Summer Glau is here. So she was just great. She was fantastic and obviously perfect for the role. And we, you know, hired her immediately and she will not disappoint. She is just terrific. And the - and the character of Orwell is one of my favorites because she's sort of this mystery box. She's this - there's a lot in her background sort of to be revealed.

She is this almost an alias like character. She plays a lot of different characters. She's, uses a lot of different disguises. She's a woman that's been on the run for a long time and is really a pretty mercenary. I mean she sees herself as a, you know, a revolutionary in a police state. I mean she's really quite military in her thinking.

She's a sort of glamorous military person but she - she's pretty hard-core. And that creates a lot of tension with The Cape who was not a corrupt cop and was actually a pretty, you know, pretty straightforward kind of family guy and although there were aspects of his past that hinted some darkness as well. But she's a - Summer is just doing terrific. There's big plans for her character. She is - she's not just sort of behind the computer all the time. I mean we really, she's like I said, she's sort of out there and quite in the thick of it. And yes we're very lucky to have her.

Question:
When you were creating the universe did you always have in mind that you wanted to adopt it for television versus movies?

Tom Wheeler:
Actually I mean it was I thought originally when I was thinking about this sort of father and son story it was a - it was a feature in my head. And then as sometimes happens because I tend to go back and forth, this opportunity to write a pilot with Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun I was the, you know, we knew we we're going to work together on something. And it was what was that something going to be?

And I thought about it and I thought about in my - if I was going to do a series, you know, which is, you know, which is a - quite an undertaking, you know, what - it would have to be something that just material-wise would be just too, just too delicious and cool and what - like what - where - what would I want to do. Because you never know these things are - you always think these things are never going to get made or they're going to whatever.

So I just swung for the fences for my take. You know, I wanted to do a full comic book, you know, costumed hero, just kind of go for it. And then this, the idea of the father and son that felt like it brought it to Earth, kept its feet on the ground and was something that we could invested in a way that could sort of open the door to all audiences.

And then it was figuring out who the Cape himself was going to be. And it was and I - and there was something very sort of primal about the Cape itself and the fact that when you're a kid and you put the Cape on or you put your blanket around your neck and you're running around I mean there's - my 7-year-old, you know, he's like throwing out around whatever around his neck now. And I'm very cool around my house now that I'm doing like a superhero.

I mean he could, you know, he wasn't super interested in what I was doing before but he's, there's just something about the Cape itself that is both a very powerful symbol, you know, a kind of junigan mythological symbol and brings with it a lot of sort of symbolic energy. But then in a very childlike way it's our first introduction to the superhero. And I don't know, there was just something about that that I liked. So it was - it felt like at that point that I could tell a lot of stories in - and a lot of stories to me meant that it would be a good TV show.

Question:
NBC's put a lot of effort into promoting some of the season's most anticipated shows this season that ended up with lackluster ratings for various reasons. Does this add any pressure on you for the Cape to do well? And what is NBC doing specifically in terms of support to help turn The Cape into a hit?

Tom Wheeler:
Is there pressure? Yes, yes there's pressure. You know, I think with any - I mean look, any endeavor that costs this much and, you know, is such an undertaking, big, you know, a big show like this with effects and budgets and all that, I mean I can say this about - I mean sure I wanted to succeed and it, you know, on its own. I mean and launching any show is a challenge in this environment. Launching a show is a challenge.

I have to say in complete and total honesty NBC has been fantastic to me and the show. They've been really loyal creative partners. They've let me do my thing. They've supported the genre aspect of the show. And in the marketing of the show and the promotion of the show I think they're throwing everything at us in a good way. I mean they - I - they are really getting behind it. And what I love about what they're doing I really personally loved the promos because I feel like they are embracing what's different about this show. Like they're just having fun, you know, and they're inviting people to a new experience which I love because I think we are a new experience on TV.

And, you know, sink or swim I think everybody is collectively just going for it which is great, which is all you can ask. And I cannot, you know, there's no scapegoat for me in this. This is I feel the show has been supported. I think they're doing a great job. And, you know, and we're setting out to sort of tell the stories we want to tell. So, you know, knock on wood. But yes it's a big build up. It's really it's, you know, January 9 we'll see.

Question:
Who would you just give your left kidney to have as a guest director on the show if you could?

Tom Wheeler:
I, you know, I'm writing the Puss-n-Boots movie right now for DreamWorks. And Guillermo del Toro has come on as an Executive Producer. And I'm just working up the courage to, you know, say so Guillermo, you know, I mean I know you're not busy with 25 of the coolest projects in the world but, you know, in case you ever want to do some superhero stuff. I mean he's just a brilliant, brilliant guy.

There's so - I mean where would I begin? We - you know, it's one hopes we get that chance even though I feel enormously lucky to have Deran Serafian as our director producer who you'll see in - you'll see the look of the show, you know, in Episode One and Two, Two is the one Deran directed. You just - I just think it doesn't look like anything else on TV. He really has done a beautiful job. But I'm a big Guillermo fan so he would be fun.

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