Written by: David Weddle & Bradley Thompson
Directed by: Olatunde Osuname
Straight up: THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD.
Straight up: THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD.
We killed a few of our characters last night.
Who exactly died? And who could still survive?
Seychelle Gabriell who plays Lourdes is the actress and character who has been here the longest... Since the pilot. And Seychelle is a team favorite behind-the-scenes, sweet and funny and an all-around positive influence. Moon Bloodgood and she were particularly close. It was very sad for us to see her go - and, when I tell actors that they're dying, sometimes I have only the cold comfort of telling them that "At least you're going in a really cool way." I don't know how it felt for you, watching at home - but as I read the first outline for this episode, I was certainly surprised by the suddenness of the way Lourdes goes and the blood running out of her eyes - melting from the inside - was, well - cool.
Ryan Robbins was next. Ryan and I first worked together on a SMALLVILLE epsiode entitled "Exile". It was, I think the Season 3 premiere, and Ryan played a character that Lex encountered on a desert island, who ultimately turned out to be a figment of Lex's imagination. Ryan is one of the hardest working, most talented and most-frequently employed actors based in Vancouver Canada.
He's been great as Tector, a part originally intended to be a very small side-character, part of Pope's gang. But Ryan made the character his own and his part grew and expanded as the writer's saw what he could do.
As for Robert Sean Leonard - he was originally recommended by Noah when the part of Dr. Kadar first appeared. He and Noah are friends and had worked together long ago on a movie called SWING KIDS.
Besides his immense craft, Robert brought with him a playful cynicism and all-around good humor, which was quite welcome on the long cold Vancouver nights. Besides Noah, he became good friends with Connor Jessup (Probably because they both share a near-genius intelligence.)
Tonight's writer's Brad and David invented Kadar, so I guess it's fitting that they, now, do away with him.
And finally - Sarah Carter... Well, the question is - is she dead? I don't think we know yet - but there were a lot of casualties tonight... So the more the merrier. As I've well documented, Sarah Carter and I go way back and I have a special fondness for her. We have worked well together, again since SMALLVILLE, where she played Alicia Baker. I was the one who originally recommended her to Dreamworks and TNT in the very second episode of this series - I just had this feeling that, even though she had never exactly played a badass character like "Maggie" before - that she could do the job. In tonight's episode, Maggie disappears during the mad scramble after the explosion, and we find her buried under a collapsed building in the final montage. If it's for real, then... Her death makes me very, very sad
Finally a few words about tonight's director Olatunde Osuname. Olatunde was recommended to me by Will Patton. (Notice the pattern - almost everyone ends up having been recommended by someone.) They had worked together on a small movie called THE FOURTH KIND. Olatunde wrote directed and produced that movie, and when I watched it - although I was strongly taking into consideration that he had directed exactly zero hours of TV - I saw immense promise and cleverness in that film - both conceptually and directorially.
I had a SKYPE interview with Olatunde, and he was a charming and very enthusiastic young man. He won many bonus points for being a legit fan of Falling Skies, which he proved by being able to talk about the whole series. (Many pretend to be fans when applying for a job here, but it doesn't take much investigation to find out if they've really just watched a couple of episodes and read the Wikipedia page.) I think Olatunde was actually a bit shocked he was even being considered. He has a small resume and he had just started trying to get into TV via his agency. But, Will Patton doesn't recommend people lightly. And, truthfully, I had a good gut feeling about him. We needed fresh blood, and it's always great to discover someone new. I've done it once or twice in the past - and I've found that, if I'm right, it pays dividends in two ways (a) it takes a while for the rest of the industry to learn about the your discovery - so I can "hang onto them" for awhile and (b) loyalty. People tend to stay loyal when you've given them a big break.
Olatunde came up to Vancouver early to observe, which both he and I wanted him to do. It was good because he was there during the prep of episode 4 and the shooting of episode 3 and some of episode 2. I emphasized to him from the beginning that Falling Skies is like the NFL linebacker of TV shows. "It's big, it's fast moving and if you don't keep a close eye on it's every move it'll knock you on your ass." Luckily my words were quickly proven to Mr. Osuname as he observed the scale and scope of the work we were doing.
But... You know what, Olatunde came through with flying colors. The cast, especially Noah, were very impressed with him constant enthusiasm and his depth of good ideas.
He is, what I call, a "real" director. Which means that he wants to be involved in and make decisions on every aspect of the show. He also sees beyond the script, and wants to add to and enhance the story beyond what is, merely, on the page. A good example of this is the final montage that takes place in the episode - where the camera floats over all of the fallen... Lourdes... Kadar... Tector... Maggie... and the same look and style brings us to the final moment of the show with Tom. These moments did not appear in the script - it was Olatunde's idea to create this montage, which he felt, with music would be very emotionally powerful. He was right - and that kind of instinct resulted in him being invited back right away. (More on that in a future blog.)
As he went to the floor (i.e. shooting) I impressed upon him my Joe Montana philosophy. (An old NFL reference I know - but one that has always motivated me.) The job of a TV director, like an NFL quarterback is to win the game - in regulation time. By which I mean - it's not enough to just shoot great film - the job requirements is that you do it in the allotted time (12 shooting hours per day!). The Joe Montana part comes in if you can also do it with flair, while inspiring the team, and pull out a few last second victories.
That's it. More another day.
|Seychelle prepares for her final curtain|
Olatunde Osuname our director - a welcome addition to the team
Will stares me down - guys, just don't mess with Will Patton
It's been a bad night for Tom Mason
|Team Byrne and Carter|
|A pile of bodies prepare for the day ahead|
|Pope - when you're right you're right - he never trusted Lexi and - now look!|
|Ms. Sarah Carter - will death come sweet or painfully to ye'?|
|Ryan Robbins -- Even his own Wikipedia page could not prevent his heroic death|
|Robert Sean Leanard was a favorite as soon as he appeared on our set|
Watch the first look we ever had at the full overlord
|In which I heckle Curt Miller, Our VFX Producer to "Get over there and get some sh*t done!"|
|Then I show him, by example, exactly what I mean|
|Later, Curt stands riveted by my every word and action!|
|Ah, Pope - what is your fate? Will you be next?|
|The above moment is, literally, one of my favorite moments I've ever directed - the first time I directed Ms. Carter... I really hope she's not dead|
|And you, sweet Mira - you just got here - it would be inconcievable to kill you off so soon - and yet, fate is a cruel dance partner?!|
|Olatunde at his first meeting, contemplating all that is in store for him|