GateWorld: I know you guys have heard this a lot lately, especially on Twitter, because I know a lot of fans have been approaching some of the cast and crew that way in regards to it. Season Four aired and finished airing, basically right before the end of the year last year. And since then, there really has been no announcement, future-wise …
Martin Wood: Ugh …
GW: Do you see it returning? I know the Season Four finale could function as a series finale if it needs to.
Amanda Tapping: It totally could.
Do we see it returning? I’d love to see it return. It was never an intention to end the show after Season Four. And in all honesty, we’re not going to be on TV screens in the fall. We know that. It’s really just been a logistical [nightmare] and a heartbreaking, soul crushing play-out of events. But the truth of the matter is Syfy was not able to make a decision in a timely fashion as to whether or not we were coming back for the fall. They had their whole crunch going on with Comcast taking over at NBC. So they weren’t able to give us a decision.
Our financiers were getting really nervous about whether or not the show was coming back. And even though Syfy doesn’t have to tell us until July, telling us in July means the show is not coming back in the fall because we can’t possibly do it. In that time period where the financiers were getting nervous and Syfy wasn’t giving us a decision, our studio came up for lease. And our studio is very expensive. They wanted us to sign a year-long lease and pay three months in advance. And our financiers were like “Why would we do that? We don’t even know if the show’s [returning].” So they released the studio.
All of our assets are currently sitting in a massive storeroom. Everything Sanctuary. Except for our sets which have been sold. Which is fine …
MW: We blew it up! [laughs]
AT: We blew it up anyway, so it’s not a big deal. Damian and I went down to the network and pitched a mini-series that we thought was really cool. And the network bit. They loved it. So now we’re in this weird position of trying to convince the financiers that there is still a legitimacy to the franchise, and to the series. And that there is still money to be made, in some fashion. And trying to convince the network that …
We have to get them to talk to each other. And that’s the hard part right now. If the fans want the show back, they can talk to Syfy all they want, but Syfy will say “Not until the financiers say yes.” And I suppose you could go after our financiers and they’d say “Well, not until Syfy says they are going to pick it up.” So we are caught in this awkward, political, business Catch-22.
MW: We’re at the point of where art and business collide. When we get a call from the head of the network, Mark Stern, from the president of the network. He called to say “I have to admit that Season Four was your best season ever. It was amazing. We loved what Season Four was doing.” But his hands were tied at that point. He couldn’t make a decision on it. Because he wasn’t available to do that. Or rather, the decision-making capability wasn’t available to him. I think given their feelings about the show, they certainly would have brought it back. But again, that’s the point where art and business collide.
AT: You’ve got Syfy dealing with Comcast, and you’ve got Syfy dealing with our financiers, The Beedie Group, which own the show. And we’re just a couple of creative producers who just want to make the show. I can’t [talk about it] without sitting here and bawling my eyes out. It has been the most heart-crushing, soul destroying experience. Because it’s a really good show and we love it. And we are stuck between these two really opposing forces.
MW: There is a really good plan for what is another season. There’s a really good plan for a mini-series. And there is the beginning of a plan for what would be a really amazing movie. So, everything is there, from our standpoint.
AT: Yep … we’re good to go.
MW: Helen Magnus is staying in fighting form. I saw her actually kick the stuffing out of one of the kung-fu dummies the other day. It was scary, actually.
AT: It’s tough. It’s hard to keep that broad down. [laughs]
GW: You guys are both involved in a brand-new production called Primeval: New World. Martin, you’re executive producing on it and Amanda, you’re directing a handful of episodes.
AT: I’m a hired gun, man. I’m just coming in to harass on a few episodes, and then I’m walking out! [laughs]
GW: I’m a big fan of the original UK version. What excited you about this project, and what can new viewers and fans of the original expect?
MW: Well, we’ve changed it slightly. It’s now a cop drama. And it has a really bad sheriff who is a dinosaur. [laughs]
AT: He’s lying.
MW: I’m just thinking of what will draw the viewers in. [To Amanda] You know it better than I do!
AT: I don’t! It’s not my show!
From what I understand, from the scripts that I’ve read and from the one I’m about to start directing …
MW: We’ve given Amanda the hardest show this year so far. I did the pilot and that was easy compared to what she has got to do.
AT: Yeah, thanks for that. Toss me into the fire … sink or swim, sweetheart!
MW: You don’t have to act! Come on! Direct!
AT: It’s not supposed to be the British series. It is in fact a continuation of the British series. It’s not a re-creation, it’s a step forward for that franchise. Where the anomalies now start appearing in North America. We make no bones about the fact that we are in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. And that that is where the anomalies are showing up. Which is actually a phenomenal, beautiful setting to bring dinosaurs into. The middle of Stanley Park. That’s great! Or in my case, a Canadian Tire store, which is wonderful in its own right, too! [laughs]
But it’s the same idea of a team … and we’ve actually had the British lead come …
MW: Yes, the best worst-kept secret is that Andrew Lee-Potts is here for the beginning — and may be back again.
AT: It was a big hush-hush and now everyone knows. They brought him back. They brought him here. Which was nice, it was very cool. So there’s a lot of connective tissue. It’s the same studio in England, Impossible Pictures. As much as it is different in that it’s off on its own, it’s very connected.
[To Martin, high-fiving him] I just found out, gosh darn it, you got Andrew Lockington to compose for you guys! That’s a major coup, dude!
MW: Andrew Lockington is now, on hiatus from Sanctuary, doing the music for Primeval!
MW: The handshake that Andrew Lee-Potts gave us when he came here. Which was getting our two leads together, the original UK Primeval and Primeval: New World, into a scene where, essentially, Andrew Lee-Potts comes in and says “We’re here. I understand what’s going on, but see ya!” What’s interesting about that is Primeval: New World doesn’t have everything that Primeval UK has. So it’s not like we pick it up from where they finished, and we continue on. It’s us having to discover things on our own. And make some of the mistakes they made and make new mistakes that they never made.
What the fans can look forward to is an understanding that these anomalies are here. An understanding that dinosaurs come through. But without the understanding that we’ve watched all the episodes that came out earlier. We don’t have giant reports that we can read from the ARC. We don’t have the understanding of who Phillip was, or anything like that. We are poised to make a lot of the same kind of errors. But because of who we’ve got leading our team, they will be different and a very much different story.
So the similarity is: Anomaly. Dinosaur. And the word “Primeval.” But from that point on, it’s going to be new. It’s a little bit darker. It’s a little bit sexier. I mean, come on, you don’t get much sexier than Canadian Tire! [laughs]
AT: I’m telling you, right?
MW: What’s funny is that Amanda had a show — it certainly wasn’t easy — but it was a much different show than what she has now.
AT: It was shooting up on Grass Mountain. It was potentially shooting, maybe, at the old Jack O’Neill cabin. It would have been cool.
MW: Beautiful Canadiana.
AT: And then two days before I started prep, the episode was scrapped. And I’d done all this prep. And then it was ‘You’ll get your script’ and I got it hours before the production concept meeting.
MW: So she came into it, and all the way through the concept meeting …
It’s funny. Because I know Amanda’s looks and I know her demeanor well enough. We’d be reading along and there’d be something that she hadn’t seen the night before when she was reading this. And her foot would swing out. And she can pendulum this foot. Like a high kick in kung-fu. And hit me in the ankle where nobody knows it has happened. But my ankle has been shattered. She did it four times. Four times.
AT: It’s a gift. That’s why he put me here, near this solid thing, so I can’t get you guys.
Interview and transcript by Chad Colvin
NEXT: The interview may be over, but the questions and answers continue! Amanda and Martin answer questions from fans at GateWorld Forum!