Roswell Press Tour – Transcript Part 2

A big thanks to Mandy for typing this up, and submitting it!

Roswell Press Tour
July 1999

(Part 2)

QUESTION: Amblin filmed “Earth 2” entirely on location in New Mexico. Was any consideration given to doing your show on location instead of locally?

NUTTER: I’m sorry. I didn’t hear a lot of that.

KATIMS: Was there any thought about actually shooting in Roswell?

NUTTER: Well, in the pilot situation, of course, it’s all about-these days-budgetary constraints and things you can’t do. So we found that shooting it in this area and hopefully being as diverse as possibly with the landscape that we do have availability to show things that can make one think we’re there. And we’ll do our very best to keep that going, as far as that’s concerned.

And I think when you mentioned about the network situation, you know, our job is to make the best show we can make. Our job is to make a show that hopefully is at a point that it’s undeniable that someone has to see it. And fortunately, you know, the best thing happened for us. And the bottom line is, no one knows what goes on behind closed doors upstairs, that’s for sure.

QUESTION: Mr. Katims, what did FOX tell you about why this show wasn’t a good fit for them? Did you get kind of caught in the transition between Peter Roth and Doug Herzog, or weren’t you edgy enough for them?

KATIMS: I don’t know if “edgy” is the right word. I think there might have been concerns from FOX that they felt the show skewed young for their audience. Again, it’s not that-the way that the information came to me-it’s not that FOX said, “No, we don’t want the show” and WB said yes, we do. You know, FOX had never turned the show down. It was just them trying to find a fit for their fall lineup. And that seemed to be the most difficult thing for them.

QUESTION: What’s the deal with the hot sauce?

KATIMS: The hot sauce?

FEHR: The Tabasco.

HEIGL: Oh!

QUESTION: That and I was wondering if there were any other sort of powers or abilities these kids are going to manifest as the show develops? But, the hot sauce, I though, was a neat gimmick and it wasn’t really explained why in the pilot.

KATIMS: Right, why there are certain dietary quirks that these aliens have.

HEIGL: Strange digestive tracts.

KATIMS: It’s digestive-we should ask them, actually. Believe me, it’s not comfortable for me either. They have weird dietary things. In terms of their powers, though, I think that the-again I go to the fact that they’re teenagers to describe and to sort of understand their powers, in that they are teenagers. They don’t fully know, like all teenagers, what they’re capable of and what they’re not capable of.

Again, I think part of the fun of this will be the audience discovering their powers with them and, as we go into these first few episodes, there are sort of more specifics that we’ll understand about each of their powers and what they can do and what they can’t do.

QUESTION: I have a question for anybody on the panel. In the last few years, we’ve had more and more shows about dealing with aliens, about what may be out there. Art Bell’s radio show is just growing and growing in popularity. Would this show have been possible, do you think, a couple of years ago. Is it just the turn of the millennium that’s making our interest focused in this kind of area?

KATIMS: David.

NUTTER: Well, I guess the bottom line when it comes to any kind of show. Of course, it’s about, sometimes, is it the right time? Is it cool enough? Is it whatever? The bottom line is that this is a love story and to me, everybody wants to fall in love, teenagers and adults. That’s something we all have in common and something that, I think, really brings this show to the emotional front for an audience. And I think that’s something that’s very, very special about it.

I also feel that it’s the kind of show that could be done at any time, but what’s nice about this situation, is the fact that it’s not just about teenagers contemplating their navel. It’s about kids, about life and death and making very important decisions and those layers of a show that, I think, can make sometimes very compelling and mythical and mystical and all those kinds of things that, I think, can be brought to the forefront.

And most important, I think it’s very, very funny as well. I think that’s something we’re very, very much aiming for as well, but, I think it’s a very timeless story about unrequited love and so forth and, I think, that’s something that emotionally will bring the audience into making them want to watch the show and get involved in these characters.

QUESTION: You’ve tapped into something that’s beyond-I mean, you have the love story that’s wrapped up in something that’s seeming to grow up in popularity or awareness around the country. It’s not just simply a love story.

NUTTER: Well, very much so. I think that we’re kind of using that as the center of the show and I think this wonderful world that we’re created around it, I think, is something that I think is going to involve the audience and make the audience think, you know. When you mentioned Chris Carter before, one thing Chris was so very good at was being able to end on question mark and make the audience lean into this next episode and the next whatever and, I think, that there’s something that this show can actually take as well and have that kind of sensibility that, I think, would be very exciting.

QUESTION: About that hot sauce, I’d like to ask kind of a silly question. Did they only drink one brand of hot sauce? [laughter]

FEHR: Product Tie-in.

QUESTION: Tabasco or what? The one that we saw there.

KATIMS: Is it a-

QUESTION: You may hear from some of the others.

NUTTER: Well, right now it’s Tabasco, but you know, it’s all about corporate sponsorship and we’re right up there with-

KATIMS: Do you have another hot sauce you’d like to recommend? We’re open.

QUESTION: If I did, you might hear from me.

NUTTER: We’re going to actually have a chili-eating contest on the show. We’re testing all those things.

QUESTION: How much relationship does this “Roswell” have to the real Roswell? I’ve never really been there, but does it look anything like it or have any local landmarks or is there any real relationship to the town?

KATIMS: Well, it’s sort of based roughly on the town itself. I mean, it’s a little bit of the Roswell of our imagination but there is a-what’s cool about Roswell is that it’s kind of this desert town in the middle of nowhere where this thing happened. And so, what you see when you go to Roswell is a very, sort of normal, one-strip small town, but built over that is the UFO Museum and built over it is all thesr alien gift shops and built over, on top of that are all of these things and it is a kind of a little bit of a Mecca for people who are interested in that stuff, who come there, who are gathered there.

The thing that we did, at the end of the pilot. Of having the big festival celebrating the anniversary of the crash, you know, they have those events and events like that in Roswell. So I think that, even though we’re not sort of limiting ourselves to painting a portrait exactly like Roswell, it’s very much inspired by the real place.

QUESTION: To follow up with the actors on that thought, have any of you done research, since you’ve got the show, or knew a lot about Roswell and what happened? Or, if you didn’t know or didn’t really care, has your interest perked about it?

HEIGL: Well, my father actually sent me the official government records on Roswell and whatnot and they’re about this big, but I started and it’s actually very interesting. They still have all their-it’s all based about the weather balloon, but, supposedly now, people that were involved in the supposed crash and whatnot, are able to speak freely, that they don’t have any restraints and they still just say it was a weather balloon crash, but I don’t know. I think there’s still that mystery there.

QUESTION: Shiri, can you explain a little bit about where your name comes from? And also, are you a full-time student at USC or is that now over forever?

SHIRI APPLEBY: Well, not over forever. I’m taking a leave of absence and, hopefully, I’m going to be able to go back and definitely want to finish my education. And my name is Israeli.

QUESTION: How often will we see other parents? And, will the adults be the villains?

KATIMS: Will the adults be the villains in the show?

QUESTION: Right.

KATIMS: Oh no. I think, first of all, in terms of being able to branch out the show from what we could do in the pilot, there was an awful lot of story to tell in the pilot and we had very little time for exposition of the families of the characters in the show and, also the teachers and such, the people that surround the main cast.

That’s something that we definitely want to do early on in the show, is to sort of ground the characters that we’ve established, help to ground them in a reality by showing their parents, so that’s something that we definitely want to do. And I think it’s not the kind of thing that all adults are the bad guys. That’s not what we’re aiming for.

NUTTER: It’s too easy.

KATIMS: It’s too easy.

QUESTION: This is for Jason. You’ve appeared on three-Jason Behr-you’ve appeared on three of WB’s most successful shows. What, as an actor, have you learned from those experiences?

BEHR: Well, first off, on all shows they’ve been distinctly different characters. I learned from The WB that they’re very supportive, they have a lot of young actors and they tell great stories, so I think that we’re all looking forward to working on this because, I think, we have the opportunity to tell a very good story.

QUESTION: I have a question for Mr. Katims. I notice in the notes that the series is based on a series of books by Melinda Metz. How much are you drawing from that series of books and what was it about those books that said, “Yeah, I’ve got to develop this as a TV series?”

KATIMS: Right. I think that when I read the novel that the series is based on, there were a lot of things that were appealing about it. The thing that was most appealing to me was that it was a love story with a real obstacle to it and I think that, you know, as a writer, I think a lot of writers are really continually drawn to wanting to write a Romeo and Juliet-type love story, a story with a real obstacle.

And I think, if you want to do a contemporary story about young people, it’s hard to find a real obstacle. It’s hard to find something that you really think, “Why can’t they get together? What’s the big deal?”

And I think that the fact that they are different life forms really gives you a real obstacle. So that’s what sort of drew me to the thing more than anything else.

Yeah, I thought that the premise was just wonderfully intriguing to me. I thought that the metaphor of, what David was saying, that, as teenagers, we’re all aliens. And I think it’s not just true about teenagers. In certain ways, we all feel like aliens in the world, so I think the metaphor of the book was something that really appealed to me.

And I think, you know, frankly, there was an incredibly commercial premise that, even I, maybe, couldn’t make un-commercial, so that was-

QUESTION: And how closely are you going to follow the events of the book in the series? According to this, it’s a series, so I don’t know much about it.

KATIMS: It is a series of books. I read the first one and took a lot of what was in the pilot and used it in the first episode. At this point, I feel like we have to sort of go on our way and I think that’s more because things happen so fast in television, in terms of creating story, that I feel like the smartest and best way for us to go about it is to take these characters and make these our own.

QUESTION: Jason, could you talk a little bit about your personal taste in movies, books, shows of this genre? Do you believe in aliens? And your personal taste-

KATIMS: Wait. Which Jason are you asking?

QUESTION: Jason.

KATIMS: Which Jason: Katims or Behr?

QUESTION: Our young star?

BEHR: Oh, okay. I’m sorry. Could you repeat the question? I thought you were talking to Mr. Katims.

KATIMS: So he wasn’t listening.

BEHR: I’m sorry, could you repeat it real quick?

QUESTION: Yeah, your personal tastes in movies, books, shows of this genre? And do you believe in aliens?

BEHR: As far as the genre is concerned, I think “ET” had a profound impact on me when I was a child. I really enjoyed movies with this subject matter. I think that the fantasy and the discovery of it all and the idea behind the fact that there could be other intelligent life forms out there is fascinating. For me to sit up here and tell you that we are the only intelligent life form that ever existed would be very arrogant of me.

QUESTION: I’d like to go back real quickly, if I could, of the idea that there was so much about young performers this year. What was it that drew you to “Roswell” specifically? And when you read for it, was it the role of Liz that you were going after?

APPLEBY: Well, I actually auditioned for all three of the girl parts numerous times [panel laughter] I think what really drew me was the writing, It really spoke to me and it is written in a really realistic way, so for people my age,, it’s easy to understand. And I got really lucky in working with a really good group of talented young people and so we’re able to work together and bounce ideas off of each other. I think that’s what really appealed me to the entire show.

QUESTION: Now that you’re cast as Liz, do you think you’ll be happier as human than an alien?

APPLEBY: Pardon me?

QUESTION: Now that you’re cast as Liz, are you happier doing that than playing an alien person?

ABBLEBY: Oh yeah, definitely.

QUESTION: For the producers, how much are you going to get involved in the alien technology use of the Internet computers and how much of that plays into the increasing knowledge of computers in pop culture?

KATIMS: I’m sorry. In the stories or are you asking about-I didn’t really get the question. I’m sorry.

QUESTION: Right now, it seems to be just about the social interaction. Are you going to use the premise of the show to get into the technological advancement of the cultures? How much are computers and the Internet and technological gadgetry are going to play in the series?

KATIMS: How, are you saying, are we going to use the Internet and stuff like as story points in the show itself?

QUESTION: Yes, Yes.

KATIMS: Oh, I don’t know.

QUESTION: And other kinds of technology.

KATIMS: I think that’s actually a fascinating world to get into, a fascinating part of the show. Right now, we don’t have any specific plans to use that, sort of the Internet or the technology in that way. We’re not using that specifically right now in story lines but it’s something I would definitely be open to.

NUTTER: And as far as they say, cyberspace is concerned, when I was at “The X-Files” it was a situation where the Internet was really the world that the audience, who got on the Internet and people who really got into the show, made “X-Files” a cult hit. And I think that’s a wonderful group of people to try to win over. And it’s a very difficult group to win over with respect to that as well.

So, our goal is to make a show that’s smart enough and is compelling enough to have people become fans of the show and get on the Internet and make it even better, because it’s a wonder fan base and I think that, when you’re able to win people over that really are so into shows like that, you’ve got a great base there. And I think it’s a wonderful group to really spend time with and get involved with and open us up into a whole different world.

QUESTION: Just to follow that, will you have a Web component to the show, beyond just the promotional aspect?

NUTTER: We will. I’m sure there will be several Web components, not just of the show, but of course, each of the actors will develop fan clubs and all those kinds of things. We’ll want to extend and expand upon it. It could be a lot of fun.

TURELL: Terrific. Thank you very much to the cast and the executive producers of “Roswell” Are you joining us for the party tonight? You’ll be able to do one-on-ones tonight at the party with the entire cast and the executive producers. Thank you very much. You’ll be seeing a lot of “Roswell” over the next months.

Squanto

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