Date of publishing: 25th
JOSH FRIEDMAN, Creator/Executive Producer of
TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES
Josh Friedman is an American screenwriter best known
as the writer of the 2005 film adaptation of H.G.
Wells' War of the Worlds. Friedman also publishes
the blog "I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing".
He is now executive producer and writer on The Sarah
Connor Chronicles, the sequel to the Terminator movies
(excluding T3). In his spare time, Friedman publishes
the popular blog, “I Find Your Lack of Faith
Disturbing.” Friedman lives in Los Angeles with
his wife and son.
you talk a little bit about what you went through
in terms of logistics and other things in order to
get the show paced up for a second season?
Josh Friedman: Sure, I think what
we did is pretty much what’s standard on all
shows. It’s an opportunity for the studio and
the network and the production team to sit down and
sort of talk about the show and kind of look at what
we did right, what we did wrong, and kind of how we
would keep doing the right things and stop doing the
wrong things. We went in and we made a presentation
to Kevin Reilly and his team. We kind of have a conversation
about the direction we want to go. And in this case
we actually, about six weeks ago, the writing team
was all brought back on to start working on episodes.
So even though we didn’t have the official pickup,
we were being paid to start working and generate stuff
so that when the pickup came we would be basically,
on schedule for a fall debut.
The question is regarding
the scope of the series for season two. There’s
been some talk that the show’s budget may have
given Fox some pause ... If so is it going to affect
how things go?
Josh Friedman: No, I don’t
think there was a ... Fox pause at all. I don’t
think, despite what a lot of people thought, I know
I guess in a weird way I’ll take it as a compliment.
I think people thought that we were spending more
money than we were. I think that the show was incredibly
responsible and stayed within the parameters that
Warner Brothers and Fox and we had agreed to from
the beginning. So if the show looked big, then it
was just because we’ve done our jobs well, I
think. But no, I think it was everyone just, it’s
a pretty standard kind of process, I think, by which
I don’t, I think everyone gets all anxious when
are we getting the pickup? When are we not getting
the pickup? But the renewal, it’s I mean Fox
hasn’t, it’s not like they’ve announced
their other shows. I mean I think they like to sort
of see what they have coming in and I think they felt
pretty good about the show. And so no, it wasn’t,
money definitely wasn’t a factor at all, I think
it’s just a process, it’s just there’s
corporations involved and ... they like to torture
other changes can we expect and see in terms of maybe
some of the cast or even some of the behind the scenes,
some of the crew ...
Josh Friedman: As everyone’s,
wondering, we are getting rid of Summer Glau, no I’m
kidding. You know better than that. Anyone who’s
worried we blew her up in the end and she’s
not coming back, I will reassure you, she is coming
back and eventually in full force. I will say, I brought
the entire writing staff back, every single person
from last year ... brought back. I was really happy
with what people did last year I think we were ...,
in a weird way it’s sort of like any other sports
team kind of thing, you’re just getting--consistency
and kind of continuity is a big part of it, so I think
we’re looking to make as few changes as we can.
And I think we feel pretty good where we ended up
and I think there’s wherever we’ve little
dropouts of people, some people go get other jobs
some of the crew because we’re not schedules
are different, but on the whole I think it’s
pretty much going to be the same group from last year.
People in terms of Brian, I think that character and
Brian’s portrayal of it was, I think, people
really responded to him last year and we have some
stuff we’re interested in doing with him this
year. And I think one of the kind of ironies is you
put someone on your show and they do a really good
job then all of a sudden everybody else wants to hire
them, so you sort of have to lock them up. And Brian
was becoming a little popular, I think, based on the
show. So we moved as quickly as possible to make sure
he was going to stay in Terminator land as long as
we needed him.
Was there ever a plan to
that ... did to kind of bring him on full-time when
you first thought about bringing his character in,
or was this something kind of evolved as you saw how
well the story was received?
Josh Friedman: It’s
sort of an evolution. I think, with characters that
are new, you just don’t know, you never know.
I mean I certainly don’t. I’m not experienced
enough to really be able to know right away. And I
don’t know that you can, so I think I had hopes
that that character would really work, but I also
knew that just in terms of expanding the sort of mythology
a little, it was a pretty, it was a somewhat risky
step and I think-- and Brian wasn’t like a—probably,
I mean he was a surprising choice I think for a lot
of people. So I was really hoping that would work
I try now to fuck things up.
McCreary, who did all the music for last season, is
he coming back as well?
Josh Friedman: Absolutely, absolutely,
100%. Bear’s awesome and I think because of
the strike I was gone for almost all the post-production
period. So I actually ended up spending very little
time with Bear spotting things and placing them and
James Middleton worked with him a lot, but I really
haven’t even had the pleasure, I worked with
him on the re-scoring of the pilot, and beyond that
I really didn’t get to spend a lot of time working
with him. So it’s one of the things I’m
excited about. Yes, I love that guy.
you kind of give us one thing you were really happy
with and one thing that you weren’t so happy
Josh Friedman: One thing that I was
really happy with, well, this is going to sound kind
of generic, but I love our cast. I really--you never
know what you’re going to get with people. You
audition them and you hope you’ve done the right
thing and I really was happy with the cast. I really
think that they really did what I needed them to do,
and they, and even took it to a different level. And
I love the people that we brought on, I love what
Dean did and even Sonia in her little parts, I’ve
spoken about Brian, Garrett Dillahunt is very close
to my heart. In terms of things we didn’t do
well, I don’t know, I think sometimes we might
have like gotten a little confusing a little more.
I think I want to write a show that’s complicated
and sophisticated and subtle. That’s at least,
everyone does I guess, but I tried to write something
that was--it’s very serialized, it’s not--there’s
definitely you have to do some thinking. And I definitely
that there were points where the story telling was
a little muddy, where I think we could probably do
a better job at least of not trying to keep 800 balls
in the air, maybe we can keep 500 balls in the air.
But I used to have this saying that I was like I instituted
a program last year called no plot point left behind,
where every single thing that I introduced I kept
trying to bring forward and pay off, and I didn’t
want to let anything drop. And I think we started
accumulating a lot of stuff, which most of it paid
off and some of it didn’t. And so I’m
going to try to make sure that everything that I need
communicated is communicated this year.
you, are you happier with the fall premier or when
... you kind of shot everything, and it was like just
to wait to see the audience reaction. Do you prefer
working on, I guess, the traditional September to
May schedule where maybe you can change things based
on audience or fan reaction, you have a little more
Josh Friedman: Well I’ve,
again, last year was my first year of television.
So that’s the only thing I’ve done. I
haven’t ever done it this way so it’ll
be interesting. I think that it’s nice to have
a bit of a dialogue back and forth. You’re sort
of, you do sort feel a little helpless when it’s
just all done. And I think it also, it lets people--everybody
is sort of guessing in a vacuum, you don’t really
know how people are going to respond. But I also think
there’s something to the fact that you don’t,
there’s something about having a vision for
your show, doing it the best you can, and not kind
of panicking like if one week things dip a little
bit and then you’re constantly trying to do
it. So I think there’s pluses and minuses to
it. I’m happy to be on the Fall because I’m
happy to be on, I’d rather be on sooner rather
than later and I’d like the opportunity to do
22 episodes So in that I’m glad, and we’ll
see about the whole other thing. I don’t know,
it could turn me into a neurotic crazy person.
So now in terms of when you
guys, when the writer strike happened and the show--did
things switch around, did stories have to get truncated
or dropped until the second season when you guys knew
that the series was going to be closing a little bit
sooner than you had anticipated?
Josh Friedman: Well, not really.
In a weird way, we worked up until the day of the
strike, so there was no--I didn’t know for sure
there was going to be a strike. We worked as if we
had a full season. We didn’t change anything
around. Then the strike happened and at that point,
there’s nothing I can do. So it sort of is what
it is. I mean, I think to the degree that things didn’t--there’s
two parts of it. I think that part of it is there
are things that we shot for storylines that were there
that just got cut out that we had. So there’s
things that seemed like they were just dropped, but
they were ultimately they were dropped for time or
whatever, clarity, but there was other material that
we shot and there was decisions made to take them
out. And then yes, there’s part of it is, we
had a plan for a whole season and I had certain incidents
paced out for the whole season and we lost them. And
I think coming back to season two, I think it’s--part
of the process coming back to season two is deciding
how many of those things are you going carry over,
how many of them aren’t that important. You
have all the fans and you’re also bringing in,
hopefully, new people. And you have to kind of pick
and choose; you have to sort of prioritize what’s
important, because you also want to move forward.
And that’s kind of been a lot of the discussions
in the last month and a half, sort of what--how many
of those plot point are, what do we carry over, what
do we don’t carry over or how much, how different
are things going to be?
been rumors of Fox talking to you guys about doing
a second series or a second Terminator series. Would
that be a series that runs in conjunction like the
two crossover or are you guys thinking more of a ...
Josh Friedman: There’s
been rumors of that?
Josh Friedman: I haven’t
Josh Friedman: I’m being
completely serious like I ...
just a rumor at this point.
Josh Friedman: ... I have
no idea what that would be. I think that’d be
really cool if someone would tell me what that’s
supposed to be, I’ll go write it. But at this
point I’m just working on the--I’ve just
got the one in front of me. But I think that they’re
excited about the possibility of cross promoting with
the movie. But there’s not necessarily any cross-pollination
with the movie. I think that’s kind of a hard
target to hit.
we going to be revisiting some of that through Reese
for season two?
Josh Friedman: I’m hoping
to revisit the Future War, I love the Future War.
I had plans last year to do a number of Future War
episodes. They’re expensive. They’re the
most expensive episodes we do and they’re the
most time consuming. And certainly the CGI--the hard
part is the CGI, not does it cost a lot of money,
but it takes time. And it just it takes ... production
time. And it’s hard to kind of turn those things
around on the schedule. I mean the Future episode
that Reese did last year was, it was shot as a last
episode even though there were three episodes after
it. But we pushed it until the end. And it was actually
the episode that we pushed and pushed until I had
left for the strike. I wasn’t on the set for
a single frame of the Future episode. I was gone.
So it was shot without me. But well we had to push
it because it just, we kept moving it because of the
amount of prep for it, and it’s a lot of post
too. I’m hoping for more. I love the future.
On the last conference call
with you for the season finale you said that the episode
ten, the one that you got kind of cut off with was
just a great episode but it would be a terrible premiere.
Is there any premiere for the second season, would
there be any way you can integrate that in the second
season at all?
Josh Friedman: Not likely. And someday
I’ll share what it was. I want to try to see
if I can integrate it in the slightest way. But no,
it’s really, it’s like the lost episode,
it’s just, not the show Lost, but it’s
like the episode that just had to go away, which is
unfortunate because I had a very cool idea, but, no.
you have any idea when the DVD for the season might
Josh Friedman: I think there’s
a date for the DVD but I don’t know what it
is. Hold on, I’m going to yell out to somebody,
Hey James, when’s the DVD coming out? James
Middleton says August. We did do a bunch of extras
for the DVD, there’s at least, is it three commentaries
out of the nine episodes including a pilot—one
on the pilot, one on the finale, one on the Future
episode, so we did a bunch of those. We did some mini-docs.
We got some good stuff. I think it’s going to
be really cool where we had every Summer and Thomas
and Lena and David Nutter and James, John Wirth and
I all did, and then some of the other writers and
oh, Brian also, we all did commentaries. So there’s
some good stuff on it. I like it.
there be any technical changes done to Cameron after
that car bomb? Like, I’m sure she’ll be
Josh Friedman: She’ll still
physically she’ll most likely be the same?
Josh Friedman: Eventually.
okay. All right. You scared me when you said Summer
wasn’t coming back too.
Josh Friedman: Oh, what are you kidding
me? Would I do that to you? Would I do that to me?
Josh Friedman: No. ... that’s
one of the hard things with her, it’s like to
beat her up but you can’t mangle her too much.
But I think that car bomb, it definitely will mess
mentioned during the first season that the series
would contain less action than like T2 because of
the smaller budget. I was just wondering now that
you’ve been picked up for a second season, is
the budget going to be a little different, like can
you incorporate more action now?
Josh Friedman: Yes. I think so. I
think we will be incorporating more action this year.
I think the show, that’s one of the things that
the network and the studio and I have been talking
about, as we were talking about the pickup is sort
of how much action versus drama versus ... facts.
And I think that everyone is excited to try to do
a bit more of everything. But it’s money, and
I think that’s always the issue, you have to
stay within the confines of what works economically
for everybody. But I think that we’re def—and
I think we did some nice stuff last year. I also think
you can’t, in a weird way if you do too much
I think people kind of get bored of it, I think people
like a balance. But I think this year we will try
to do a little bit more.
On being picked up. I was
wondering if now that you’re onto a second season,
is there going to be any sort of tie or link into
the planned Terminator movie? And if so, what sort
of bridge will there be? Story wise and marketing
Josh Friedman: I’m sure that
it’s a wonderful marketing—I mean I think
it is a wonderful marketing opportunity for both to
cross promote. It’s not something that I spend
a lot of time dealing with right now. I think, I know
McG a bit and we’ve had a couple talks about
it, but and we both think that it can benefit everybody.
Narratively I think it from my point of view, I think
it would be very complicated. And I also think, as
I said, as I’ve always said, I think the TV
show, the TV show and we try to be respectful of the
cannon as it relates to the first two movies, kind
of what’s come before us, but after that, I
think we’re sort of we do what we do. And I
would hate to try to hit-- I think for us to try to
hit the T4 target or for them to try to hit us is
really challenging. So it’s, and I don’t
think necessary. I think it’s, people can kind
of look at these two things and just think I’ve
got a lot of Terminator that I can absorb, and it
doesn’t have to all fit together. I think we
understand that there’s different things going
on in the TV and movie universe.
when we last saw the show, there were lots of balls
still in the air. Do you have a sense of which plot
lines you’re going to be working on first, and
can you sort of give us some sense of spoilers as
to what to expect when you come back in the Fall?
Josh Friedman: I’m not going
to give you any spoilers, just because I never do.
But I think, the show was about this family and I
think that kind of everything that concerns the family
is something that still concerns us. And it’s,
I think we were sort of lucky to end where we ended
in the sense that there was at least a cliff hanger
and it was sort of, it was dramatic and I’m
not going to ignore that cliff hanger and just pretend
it didn’t happen. So I think the ramifications
of the end of the season are something that I’m
really determined to explore, kind of the ramifications
of it. So I think the big ones are all stuff that’s
definitely fair game. I can’t promise that every
single plot line from last year will be resolved to
people’s satisfaction because there’s
so many, and I think at some point you just have to
season two, how far into it we have to, we need to
wait for underwater Terminator to come out if you’re
started working on that yet?
Josh Friedman: I do love Underwater
Terminator. I believe heavily in underwater Terminator.
Someone’s going to have to write me a big check
for me to be able to do Underwater Terminator. But
I have a weird infatuation with Underwater Terminator.
But I spend a lot of time, frankly, talking to people
about the buoyancy level of terminators and whether
I think they can swim, whether they sink, how they
propel themselves, and yet I’ve never written
anything about Underwater Terminators so it’s
just one of those weird hobbies that I have is trying
to figure out like what they do underwater and how
they look. It’s dear to my heart, it is Randy,
it’s dear to my heart.
Okay. Will the crew be at Comic Con this year?
Josh Friedman: I hope so. If we’re
get some more Star Wars legos.
Josh Friedman: Dude, I can’t
spend any more money on Star Wars legos, it’s
just, my son has moved on to Bionicle, which has a
mythology that is even more complicated that Terminator
or Star Wars. So I have a feeling I’ll be buying
weird Bionicle legos.
Even before last season,
what inspired you to make the series really about
such a strong woman? And what you think resonates
about that. And some other series don’t always
resonate with audiences or last that focus on these
Josh Friedman: Well, I mean
look I think that obviously, I’m cheating to
some degree because the Sarah Connor character existed
before me, and has always been sort of a big strong
inspirational female character. So it’s Jim
Cameron and it’s Linda Hamilton, first and foremost.
I think it’s, I’m sort of standing on
their shoulders and seeing what I can do. I’ve
spent a lot of time thinking about kind of what that
character means. And also, it’s also just trying
to make a show that’s actually about the emotional
aspects of it, and sort of what--I became a parent
right before I started working on the show, maybe
a year before and so a lot of the stuff is sort of
about my own feelings of parenthood, and kind of and
mothers and sons, and watching my wife deal with my
son. And so I think that there’s a lot of personal
stuff that finds it’s way into these storylines.
And I don’t know, maybe that’s why it
resonates. Again, I think it’s, she’s
a cool character and it’s trying to make a show
that’s really about people, and I think when
you do that it’s, I don’t know you have
a good shot at least, I don’t know, why do you
think it resonates?
a good question. I think it starts there. I think
that if there’s some aspect that people can
relate, to they can see themselves in it a little
Josh Friedman: Well, I think
that’s fair. I think you have to keep it I think
even though you have scary robots and time travel
and with the apocalypse, I think you really need to,
you just have to keep the show on a human level. You
really, which I think again, I think that’s
what Cameron, that first movie was a love story and
that’s like a movie as a mother/son story with
stepfather. They’re family stories and I think
that you can’t forget that about the franchise,
is at the core of them they’re very strong emotionally.
Sarah’s ex be back and will Agent Ellison, is
he much more amenable to joining their cause after
all the stuff in the last ep?
Josh Friedman: Yes to the first.
... is Agent Ellison more amenable, I think he’s
certainly seen some things that make him reconsider
all of his, everything that he’s done before.
I think that he’s certainly much less of a doubting
Thomas than he was. And you’ve pretty much almost
got him up to speed on what’s going on.
you have a full slate of a full season coming up now,
are you considering trying to get Michael Biehn back
to play Kyle’s dad again, or any other characters,
maybe just for cameos?
Josh Friedman: I’m not a big
fan of the cameo. I feel like it’s really distracting.
And I know that fans like it, but I feel, and I think
most of it just goes to the fact that we have a different
Sarah Connor and I think we’ve worked very hard
to have Lena be Lena and not be Linda Hamilton. And
I think that when you start bringing in characters
from the show, either from the movies, I just think
it becomes sort of this weird kind of ... where’s
Waldo thing, that makes people, it distracts people.
I think it’s like you want to have a world,
you want that world to be sort of self contained and
real, and I think when you start doing that it just
I don’t know, I find it distracting. But I love
Michael Biehn and I think he’s cool as hell.
I don’t know what I would do with him that wouldn’t
feel like I was just saying, hey look, it’s
Where does the family get
a lot of their supplies and such? Where do they get
the money to get their house? Where do they, and they
weren’t carrying cheap phones around either.
What are they tapping into to get some of their resources?
We‘ve had a question a couple times like well,
where’s this all coming from and ...
Josh Friedman: The first well, I
can try to, I could track it through, but it’s
they mug some frat guys in the beginning. I always
felt like when they mugged the frat guys, I always
felt like they got a couple thousand bucks, they maxed
out their credit cards, they got some cash, and they
got this cheap crappy little squatter’s house
with no furniture. And then they found diamonds in
the safe. And my theory has always been they’ve
just been cashing in those, hawking those diamonds
and buying stuff when they need to. It’s one
of those things that I’m--you either have a
show that’s all about process or you have a
show that’s takes certain things for granted.
And I kind of felt like we spent a couple episodes
on process and then I wanted to sort of move into
a place of, you know what, they can have some stuff.
Now, if you look they’ve got a pretty crappy
TV with a pretty crappy VHS player. They have a second
hand sofa most of their clothes are surplus army surplus
clothes or hand sewn. I do have a theory that Cameron
stays up all night making her own clothes, but I‘ve
never really gotten into that. So I think, and then
they went out and bought a car but look what that
did. But I figure they got about $300 000 in diamonds
sitting around. So they can buy a little stuff. And
I also think and I’ve never had to show it but
we’ve talked about it a lot, which is there’s
certainly, we’ve seen John previously rip off
ATMs and things like that. And I think they kind of,
they can get it when they need it. So they’re
not going to be knocking over any banks, but I think
they can get what they need when they need it. I think
it’s, they’re not living in the lap of
luxury I think that would be sort of abusing the setup.
you think and I know they didn’t really jump
too far in the future, we’re only talking what
maybe ten years or something but--
Josh Friedman: It was 10 years.
it still kind of a jump and are we going to ... at
all? It seemed like they adapted very quickly to,
it wasn’t a lot to adapt to but still, some
significant changes seem to adapt to pretty quickly
in the new timeline and such. Is there anything to
kind of explain that or is that more kind of a process,
Josh Friedman: There was a few things
that I felt like that were important to me and I think
that whereas I think maybe Cameron’s, part of
Cameron’s reversion to a more, I don’t
want to call it awkward way of dealing with life,
but a little less affected because maybe she had a
way, she knew how to deal with 1997. She’d been
there for three months, she’d been told by John
when John sent her back kind of what the world was
like when he was back there. They go forward I think
she’s sort of out of step with whatever 2007
is. So she’s sort of taking a step back and
started re-learning what the new world is. I think
John had to do a little bit ... computers, but at
the end of the day you don’t want it to be too
much a fish out of water technologically. And then
I think the one big thing that we dealt with in the
second episode was 9/11. We had a lot of discussion
about whether to even have a conversation about that,
whether we should ignore it. For me it was important
to kind of brig it up and realize that this is something
that they have to experience, and there is a voice
over Sarah kind of trying to process what that meant.
To me that seemed like the big thing that when you
jump over, you jump over 9/11 that’s, the world
has changed and that’s something that’s
worthy of at least spending a scene on. So I think
they’re very adaptable people. They’ve
moved around a lot through different time and space
and I can’t, I didn’t want to spend too
much time on it but I think that still we’ve
spent some, I certainly wanted to hit it, it’s
not something I wanted to ignore.
Now that you’ve had
a season under your belt, looking back, what do you
think were the successes of those first nine episodes
and what do you wish in retrospect you could change?
Josh Friedman: Well, earlier I mentioned
that I ... I was really happy with the cast, and I
thought that maybe I can make things, in terms of
things I would change I think that I wish things were
a little clearer in some places. But I was also really
happy that we did a show that was highly serialized,
that was not easy, that treated the audience like
they were smart, and that I think people really followed
along. I think it’s not just the sci fi audience,
I think we had a broader audience than that. And very
satisfied with the season finale, the ratings were
up; they were up every half hour. People really responded
to it. So I feel like we kind of we did a really,
I don’t know, I’m pretty pleased with
the way we told the story that we wanted to tell.
I think that this year again I think we’re going
probably try to broaden the scope of the show a little
bit, put a little bit more action into the show, the
show felt a little tight cramped at times I think
and I’d like to get outside a little more. But,
I don’t know, I felt pretty good. It’s
the first year of television I ever did and I learned
a lot, that’s for sure. I probably learned more
you say this coming season you’re going to probably
spend a little more time focusing on John’s
character and kind of how he becomes or grows up into
the leader who we all know helps like kind of save
the future or fight for the future?
Josh Friedman: Yes. I guess, I’d
like to think that we--I think yes, I guess the short
answer to that is yes. I think that that character
does have to grow and move. You sort of try to pace
that out. I think last year he was still sort of almost
in denial and didn’t really want to--there was
problems of being a hero that we was sort of like
facing. But I think that this year is sort of more,
I would say it’s kind of maybe his coming of
age year, maybe kind of becoming a man. I’m
saying that having not finished writing a single episode
yet. But yes, I think moving forward, and I think
hopefully, you move everybody forward, it’s
not just him. And as it relates to it kind of being
a mother/son story I think that you want to see growth
in the characters and maybe conflicts in their relationships
and certainly the more a boy grows into a man, the
less he needs his mother. So I think it’s certainly
stuff that we’re going to work on.
might leave behind from the first year that, the whole
high school mystery, there’s really interesting
but is that one of those things that there might not
be room for this season with the suicide and all that?
Josh Friedman: Yes. Yes. The high
school. ... the high school storyline is the one storyline
that sort of--we shot more of that stuff than we showed
and it ended up every time we had an episode that
was running a little long, it was like the high school
stuff always ended up on the cutting room floor. And
it’s unfortunate because I actually had a big
plan for it, and I think that it’s probably
at least in the short-term, yes, stuff that we’ll,
we’re not going to emphasize as much. It’s
just, and I liked it, but I think that it just every
time we ended up long, that what was ended up getting
so much debate about the teacher and the relationship
and what was going on. I guess we’ll never know,
Josh Friedman: Oh, maybe, maybe not.
But I’m not going to say right now just to,
I’m not going to box myself in.
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