Date of publishing: 30rd
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 Terminator:
The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Lena Headey is a British actress who is best known
for her appearances in The Brothers Grimm (2005),
Possession (2002), and 300 (2006), and playing Sarah
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
This is the full transcription of the press conference
call from August 28th.
the premiere airs, the water cooler conversation’s
going to be about the first appearance of the liquid
terminator, did you end up playing that a little bit
sooner than you had ever hoped, having that character
appear, and are we at a state in technology where
it’s cost efficient for you to try it out on
a regular basis?
Josh Friedman: Did we try it out
earlier than we wanted to? No. I mean, I think it’s
exactly when we wanted to. It sort of was serendipitous.
We were working on this character and wanted to introduce
somebody who was more of an antagonist, and I didn’t
want to do just the basic evil corporate type, so
it was a natural progression, and it’s done.
It’s expensive to do, but it’s not necessarily
anymore expensive to do than an endoskeleton. I mean,
morphing technology and GI is something that’s
been kind of streamline, I think, in terms of cost
over the years since it was first done. It’s
still time consuming. It’s more just sort of,
it’s just the art of it, just sort of getting
it right in terms of the rates of change and kind
of what it looks like and the texturing. We went back
and forth quite a bit in this first episode because
it was the first time that we’d done it.
In the beginning, you talked
about having somewhere to go with the character, so
could you talk about what the gradual progression
Sarah is on this year will be?
Lena Headey: It’s been an interesting season.
I feel that Sarah has taken a, kind of a backseat
in terms of being proactive and taking care of business.
I think that we’re going to see a lot more of
John taking control and then becoming, making steps
towards becoming the man he has to be to take on his
tasks. And I think this season for Sarah is kind of
her losing slight control over everything pretty much,
and my feeling is that I think there’s a slow
madness sort of happening in her because she feels
that everything’s kind of out of reach right
cool was that for you to play?
Lena Headey: It’s calming.
I mean, the stuff is calming, but will be more visceral
I think, but it’s been strange coming from such
a ferocious side of her to being, feeling very, like
all control has gone from her.
also revealed at Comic-Con that someone is going to
die. Do you feel pretty safe because it is the Sarah
Lena Headey: I don’t know. You can never feel
safe, to quote Sarah. I don’t take anything
in the first episode, Cameron sort of comes and goes.
Is that a red herring? Was that what you guys meant?
Josh Friedman: No. I mean, are you asking whether or
not that counts?
Does that count?
Josh Friedman: No. I don’t—
what can you tell us about what’s coming up?
Josh Friedman: In terms of who dies?
Well, about, you know, any,
yes. What can you tell me about the death? Someone
Josh Friedman: Well, I mean, you’ll know it when
you see it. It’s certainly not, it’s not,
you won’t have to ask about it. I definitely
don’t count, I mean, I do think there’s
obviously some stuff in the first episode kind of
thematically about dying and resurrection and reorientation
of all the relationships, but when the character dies,
I think we’ll know.
would you characterize Shirley’s character now
as a nemesis? Are we allowed to call her evil at this
Josh Friedman: Oh, I think evil’s a bit strong.
I don’t think of any of these characters as
evil. I think that they’re very focused. They
have a plan. It’s not personal, like there’s
some evil back story where there’s revenge necessary.
I think that there’s a plan that she has in
place to try to grow the Turk, but it’s not
necessarily that she’s, it’s like Jessica
we seen the last of John in high school? Because now
it looks like they’re on the run from that entire
Josh Friedman: We’ve seen just about the last
of John in high school. I think John and Sarah have
either wisely chose homeschooling for John at this
point. It doesn’t mean that we’ve seen
the last of John interacting with people from his
high school, but I think the days of seeing John sitting
in class, yes, are pretty numbered.
you going to develop the story line … from last
season of Sarah’s trying to deal with her cancer?
Josh Friedman: Well, you know, there
is some of it. I mean, thematically, we definitely
visit it again this year, and an early episode kind
of brings it back up, and I think it’s sort
of investigated. It’s sort of explored in a
kind of oblique way in one of the early episodes.
It’s definitely not something that we’ve
forgotten about, but I also don’t think you’re
going to see her in bed with chemo anytime soon.
Lena, there’s a little bit of a love triangle
seemingly brewing between your character and Reese
and your former fiancé. Have you any thoughts
on how you’d like to see that resolve?
Lena Headey: Well, I think that Derek and Sarah’s
relationship is more a little of already-divorced
parents. I think the fact that he’s John’s
uncle would be weird, seeing as his brother was the
love of her life, so I don’t think there’s
going to be any development there. I certainly wouldn’t
want it. I think it would be far too obvious.
Josh Friedman: I completely agree with her, by the way.
It’s not something that we’ve contemplated
Lena Headey: And as for Charley, who knows with Charley?
I think that’s always an open door at the moment.
As of the finale last year,
the FBI agent pretty much was thrown into this world
where terminators really do exist and we see them
in the pilot interacting a little with Cromartie.
How is he going to get to hook up with Sarah and the
rest of the troops, and what might that mean?
Josh Friedman: Well, you presume facts that aren’t
in evidence. I don’t know that he’s necessarily
going to hook up with them. I think that he is on
a quest to kind of figure out, now that he knows for
sure that they exist, I think he’s sort of determined
to figure out why he’s a part of this arrangement.
I think that Comartie’s particular suggestions
to him indicate that, and the fact that he’s
been left alive indicates that he may have a larger
part of the plan, so I think you’re going to
see Ellison kind of trying to figure out what his
part in the larger puzzle is.
return to something you said a little bit earlier
about the issues of faith and face, could you talk
about going in that direction and bringing the religious
aspects to the forefront?
Josh Friedman: Yes. I think you hit it on the head.
It’s something that’s always been in the
franchise. I think that Sarah as a very, very radicalized
Mary figure and John as sort of a Jesus figure has
always been in the franchise, and it’s stuff
that, thematically, is interesting to explore. And
I’ve kind of become fascinated with it through
the Ellison character, and part of it was just because
Richard T. Jones is quite religious and I’d
spent some time talking to him about it, and I figure
it seemed like a really natural place to sort of explore
some of those themes. And especially with him, regarding
whether or not his faith is either confirmed or challenged
by, you know, with the things he’s seen. I think
it’s easy to assume, oh, because there are terminators
in the universe that that means that God doesn’t
exist or something, but I don’t think that that’s
necessarily true. So it’s interesting just to
see people with particular ideologies have to try
to fit radical world views into it.
going back to something else that was discussed earlier,
you have one character who obviously is supposed to
eventually be the salvation of mankind, which makes
him obviously pretty central. But that being said,
the show is called The Sarah Connor Chronicles. What’s
the balance you have to be walking at all times, sort
of remembering what the name of the show is and who
the star is, but also looking to the future?
Josh Friedman: Well, it’s challenging. I think
that it’s very doable. The Sarah/John relationship
is the central, I would say that it’s the central
relationship in the show, and I think that, at different
times, there can be different shifts in terms of the
power dynamic or the proactivity. Lena talks a little
bit about her character taking a back seat to John.
I think that it’s a parent/child struggle, and
I think that, as a parent, I’ve kind of, well,
my child was a lot younger, but kind of watching the
push and pull of that dynamic, to me, is fascinating.
So I sort of look at them as a pair. Ultimately, yes,
it’s called The Sarah Connor Chronicles and
it’s about how does this parent of this special
child deal with that, and it’s challenging.
I think it’s challenging for any parent, and
it’s challenging for this particular parent
because of who he’s supposed to be, but I don’t
believe that she ever has to stop being Sarah Connor.
I think it’s just the challenge is kind of figuring
out who that is on a daily basis.
You talked about how the
finale of last season was a different finale than
you had originally intended because of the strike.
Could you talk about how that affected your decisions
in restarting the series at the start of this season
in the premiere?
Josh Friedman: Well, I think now, for people who have
seen the first episode, you can see that I certainly,
I was very interested in the aftermath of that episode,
and last year, we would have done a version of this
episode, but I had a whole different concept and one
that I couldn’t really do for a season premiere,
but it was certainly about the aftermath of the truck
explosion. And I think that we really have stayed
on track … goals of the show, storytelling-wise,
but episodically, things have changed pretty radically
from last year.
this something that kind of comes about in the terms
of storytelling where you feel that it’s time
to have a death like this, or is this kind of more
economically driven or things outside of the storyline?
What actually brings you to the point of saying, “Well,
it’s time to axe one of these guys?”
Josh Friedman: It’s usually their behavior on
the set. No, it’s pure storytelling. It’s
painful to say good-bye to actors. It’s painful,
especially this show. Everyone’s wonderful and
they’re all lovely people, and going to an actor
and saying, “Here’s the script and this
is what’s going to happen,” is extremely
difficult, and it’s never driven, at least so
far, for us, it’s never been driven by economics
or anything extracurricular. It’s … writer’s
room and you’re, all of a sudden you’re
having this dawning realization that you have a really
good idea for something story-wise, but it’s
going to end up costing somebody a job. And it’s
not easy. These are people, and most of them will,
they’ll go on and get other work, but it’s
not a fun thing to do really.
does the actor know yet?
Josh Friedman: Yes.
question is for Lena Headey. There’s a lot of
anger in your portrayal of Sarah Connor, could you
talk about that and whether she’s kind of partly
angry at John because he’s the reason she can’t
have a normal life.
Lena Headey: Yes, I think there’s some truth in
that. I think that Sarah’s pretty complex. You
take a normal girl who’s suddenly, thanks to
this conversation, gives birth to Jesus, and was in
love, I think was truly in love with this man and
he dies and leaves her with this legacy. And I absolutely
think that her anger is partly at her son and her
situation, obviously. And I think that’s what
it is, her frustration in dealing with that as she
can’t really throw down with her son. But I
think there’s a rooted anger also with everybody
that comes to advise her and say she should do this
and look at it this way, and I think she would love
to say, “… you all,” and she can’t
for various reasons. So yes, I think you’re
right. I think it’s in the mix. Well, I know
it’s in there somewhere.
Can you talk about finding
the balance between "great action and special
effects" and keeping the humanity going?
Josh Friedman: At this point, it’s sort of become
an organic thing for us. I think we sort of have a
sense of how much action to have in any given episode.
It does shift sometimes. Sometimes you, in terms of
the realities of production, you don’t have
the time or money to do big things all the time in
every episode, which I’m happy for. I kind of
like it when they say, the money people come to us
and say, “You know what? This episode’s
going to have to be a little smaller than the last
episode.” I kind of enjoy writing smaller, more
character-driven episodes, and I think that, at the
end of the day, well, I mean, I think there’s
sort of three audiences, I think, for the show. There’s
the people who really come for the action, there’s
people who really come for the characters, and then
there’s the large Venn diagram in the middle,
which is the people who want both. And I think those
are the ones that ultimately, I think, are the most
pleased consistently because they’ll get one
or the other during the week. To me, it’s a
drama. It’s still a family show, a family drama
that is in the science fiction world and has action
in it, but it’s still, I think, character first
talking about the death. I’m wondering about
Shirley Manson. What was the decision behind getting
her on board? Because this is her first acting job,
Josh Friedman: I’ve known
Shirley, I’ve known her well for a couple of
years, and I’ve known her off and on for many
years. She’s a friend of my wife’s. Personally,
I’ve always enjoyed her, and I’ve known
her as a performer, and last year, when we were doing
the show last year, whenever I’d see her, I
used to joke with her about coming on the show to
do one episode or something like that because she
never acted. And we’re like, “You know,
you should come, do one thing, come be a scary terminator
for an episode or do something like that,” and
she always said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re
never going to do that.” And then this year,
when we started casting, I actually wasn’t thinking
about her for this part. We’d just started casting
this part, and then somewhere about a week into casting,
I thought I want to bring Shirley in and see if she’s
up for it, see if she wants to do it, and she was
actually in Europe, I think, for a funeral. And I
e-mailed her and said, “Do you want to come
in and audition?” She said, “Well, yes,
I’m coming back in town on Sunday.” I
said, “Well, we need you in on Monday,”
and she came and she did it, and she’s just
got an incredible charisma. And also, she’s
just very professional. She’s always prepared,
and her learning curve in terms of the craft part
of it has been very high so far, so I don’t
know. It sort of just happened organically, but she
also had to go through the entire audition process
just like any other actor. She was given no extra
points for being Shirley Manson. I think, in some
ways, she was given minus points by people who thought
maybe she couldn’t do it.
she’s the CEO of Cyberdyne, right? So this isn’t
like a guest spot or anything, this is—
Josh Friedman: It’s not Cyberdyne, but she is
a CEO of a large tech—
What the plan was or why
was the choice made to add the Derek Reese character
as a series regular because he really worked out really
well, what gave you the idea to bring him on every
week this year.
Josh Friedman: Well, people really
liked him and we really liked him. I think he added,
he adds something to that dynamic. I think that John’s
always been looking for father figures, and I think
it’s interesting to have one around who is a
blood relative, but his back story is complicated.
I like the fact that Derek represents the human face
of the future war and kind of the cost, so he’s
sort of like a, to the extent that he’s sort
of this damaged war vet who is in the scenes. You
always have a sense of the stakes of what they’re
fighting and what you don’t want to see someone
become, which is Derek. And he was out doing lots
of auditions, so we thought we’d lock him up
so that no one else could take him.
of the big points in season one was seeing the future
and definitely, in “Dungeons & Dragons,”
Derek having the flashbacks or the flash forwards
really brought the episode together. Is that something
that we’re going to see more of in season two
and how will that take place?
Josh Friedman: Yes. We will, and I think it takes place
sort of the same way a lot of times that it does in
“Dungeons & Dragons.” I think, for
me, what works about “Dungeons & Dragons”
is that the future stuff really informs the things
that are going on in the present, and you end up,
to me, when I watch that episode, I see an amazing
emotional storyline with Sarah and with Charley and
with John. And I think combining those two and playing
those two worlds off against each other is something
that I think works very well for us, and so I think
we’re going to see it in certain flashes this
year, but it should always, and we try to always keep
it informing of the emotional back story of the show,
it doesn’t just become just pure eye candy,
despite the joyousness of that.
now that Brian Austin Green is on as a series regular,
has there been any talks to try to get Michael Biehn
in as a guest spot as his father?
Josh Friedman: Do you know they’re friends? Brian
and Michael Biehn are friends. I don’t know
if you’re asking seriously or not. I’m
really kind of anti bringing in people from The Terminator
movies in guest spots. I kind of feel like we’ve
worked really hard to try to make the reality of this
show with these actors be our universe, and I think
it would be weird.
are there any guest spots you can tell us that are
coming up for this season?
Josh Friedman: Busy Phillipps from
Freaks and Geeks and White Chicks and Dawson’s
Creek is going to come on for a few episodes. Most
of the guest stars die when they come on. I don’t
know. I can’t really say.
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