Date of publishing: 18th
RHI Entertainment, a leading developer, producer and
distributor of made-for-television movies, miniseries,
and other television programming, announced that two
of its most popular productions (Flash
Gordon, a 22-hour adventure series, and The
10th Kingdom, a 10-hour fantasy saga)
will be seen on the ION Television Network’s
RHI Movie Weekend beginning Friday, August 1 (7/6c).
This August, Eric Johnson will star in the title role
of SCI FI Channel’s original action-adventure
series, FLASH GORDON, a modern day retelling of the
classic comic strip franchise. This was the occasion
to ask a few question to Peter Hume, the show runner!
For more information about Flash Gordon and RHI Entertainment,
how did you get into writing for television?
Peter Hume: Like everyone, I wanted
to direct. I wrote my first script in film school
because I couldn’t find anything to direct that
I liked. So I read Syd Field’s book, "Screenplay",
wrote a short comedy, and shot the movie. It played
at some festivals, was seen by a producer, and he
hired me to write a feature (I still planned to become
a director.) The script caused some excitement in
Hollywood, there was even a little blurb about it
in the trades, and it lead to an introduction to Dan
Petrie Jr. (Beverly Hills Cop, The Big Easy.) Dan
had a deal at Disney, and they hired me to write a
T.V. Movie. The movie later became a Television called
"Stick With Me Kid." The series shot in
London and suddenly I was a TV writer. That was fifteen
years ago. I’m still planning on becoming a
Gilles Nuytens: I
think before Flash Gordon, one of your biggest jobs
was on Charmed, what did you learn from your years
on that show?
Peter Hume: Creatively, I don’t
think I took a lot from Charmed. But Brad Kern was
a very good show runner. And apart from the fact that
all of us lived in fear of getting fired (he fired
people a lot) he taught me how to run a tight ship.
He was very organized and knew how to get the job
Gilles Nuytens: What
is the "genesis" of this new version of
Flash Gordon and how did you get involved in it? How
did it all begin?
Peter Hume: Flash was a gift really.
There had been another pilot script developed but
it was not received well (I never read it, but I hear
it was good.) The network had an air date, and the
Flash Gordon title and nothing else. They called me
in to pitch, and I gave them a take on the show that
fit the network mandate of having the series take
place both on earth and on Mongo. The network liked
my take, and I went to script. We were shooting a
few months later. It was a crazy scramble in the beginning,
with dangerously little development time, and I think
our initial episodes suffered because of this, but
somehow we pulled it off.
Gilles Nuytens: My
friend Andee Frizzell played the Omadrian woman "Cleric"
on last week episode, what did you like in her performance?
Peter Hume: What’s not to love?
I’ve seen that show about 50 times and she still
makes me laugh. Not an easy task during a castration.
"Assassin" is coming on ION Television this
Friday, give us some insights and comments about this
Peter Hume: We wanted to keep the
emotional story of Flash's search for his father alive.
We also wanted to show how the Rift generator posed
a threat to earth. The story was designed set up the
idea that Flash's quest to find his father, might
very well not end well. I think James Thorpe, who
wrote the episode did a great job. I really like Baylin
in this episode. The scene where she swallows the
bomb is great.
Gilles Nuytens: So,
the main plot of this episode involves the bio-cloaker
and the use of a 'mindtap'... how did you get the
idea for this episode?
Peter Hume: We wanted to find a way
to play Flash coming into contact with a doppelganger
of his father. The bio croaker allowed us to play
this mystery, and amp up the emotional stakes for
Flash. I like the final scene, where the assassin
dies, and cycles though all his incarnations, the
last one being Flash's father, Dr. Gordon. That final
scene then, becomes a sort good by to his father.
Gilles Nuytens: You
all got a wonderful time doing this show, is there
a particular moment that you will remember more than
something else? One of your best memory?
Peter Hume: There are too many good
memories to recount. I was working with a fantastic
cast (Eric Johnson IS Flash Gordon) a great team of
writers and producers, we had no time, no money, no
special effects budget, but we had spirit, and all
of us loved making that show. It was an extraordinary
group of people and we had the time of our lives doing
Gilles Nuytens: As
a classic in my interviews, do you have any "blooper",
anecdotes, funny moments you'd like to share about
Peter Hume: There was a shot where
Karen Cliche, who plays Baylin, was to swing though
a plate glass window on a rope, shattering it. She
swung down on the rope, and smacked into the glass,
but it didn’t break. Ouch.
Nuytens: Now that
the show has been cancelled, how would you review
the whole season?
Peter Hume: This is a tough one.
I think our first seven episodes were not what they
could have been. We rushed them into production to
meet our air date and it shows. The look is weak,
and the stories play too much on earth. Then, at episode
seven “Alliances” we turned a corner.
The shows became more Mongo based, and complex.
Gilles Nuytens: What
was your favorite episode and why?
Peter Hume: There are two I like.
First episode 13 “The Sorrow” because
it tells us the history of Mongo, and lets us know
how Ming uses the circumstances of his world to control
his people and his family. I also like episode 16
“Thicker Than Water” because it introduces
Terek – and begins to sew the seeds of revolution.
Gilles Nuytens: As
many shows lately, it doesn't have a proper ending,
so do you think there would be any chance to close
the story, with a TV movie for example??
Peter Hume: I have been trying. Please
write letters to Sci Fi. A TV movie would make me
Gilles Nuytens: When
you wrote the final episode, did you write it knowing
that the show could never get a second season? Has
this influenced the writing of that episode?
Peter Hume: Actually, our ratings
had been getting better, so I thought that we had
a good chance of coming back. The last four episodes
of the show were actually written in just five days,
because of the impending writers strike – a
nearly impossible task. Gillian Horvath wrote the
Frigian episode (another favorite of mine,) in just
18 hours. We sent the scripts in at 11:53 on the night
before the strike. Then we opened a bottle of champagne,
and passed out from exhaustion.
Nuytens: What are
the things that you think you put in Flash Gordon
that are totally unique to your vision?
Peter Hume: I liked the way we built
on Alex Raymond’s mythology, and tried to give
logic to this planet with all these warring tribes.
I think we found a way to take a premise from the
1930’s and updtate it so it would resonate with
our world, and what we see happening today. I also
liked Baylin, who was a new character, and I think
brought a lot the series.
Gilles Nuytens: Is
the show going to get its DVD release anytime soon?
Peter Hume: I think so, but I don’t
have a date.
Gilles Nuytens: What
did you like the most about being the "show runner",
even if of course everyone is important, how is it
to be THE most important guy on a show?
Peter Hume: It was a privilege to
work with such wonderful people every day. To be leading
a team of amazing and dedicated creative professionals.
And it was an honor to be allowed to add to the Flash
Gordon cannon. There are some that hated the show
(I’ve read the posts,) but many more that loved
it. I am proud of the work we did. I will always be
indebted to RHI and The Sci Fi Channel for giving
me the opportunity.
Gilles Nuytens: I
think you are working on a TV series called "The
Wild Roses". What can you tell us about this
Peter Hume: It’s very different,
and I did not create it. I was just brought on to
run it. It’s a big splashy soap set in oil country.
A new take on Dallas if you will. And Lord I hope
they let us change the title. Who is going to watch
a show called Wild Roses?
But what I am really excited about is my new pilot.
An adventure comedy about jewel thieves. I’ll
keep you posted.
Gilles Nuytens: Thank
you very much for having entertained us with Flash
about this interview on the forum