The Nutter Files

Thanks to Mandy for sending this in from TheWB.com.

The Nutter Files

by Linda Lishings
Special to TheWB.com

Having directed The X-Files, Executive Producer David Nutter sheds light on his vision of Roswell

David Nutter knows the truth.

“Our job is to make the best show we can make,” says Nutter. “It’s to hopefully make Roswell a show that has to be seen – undeniably.”

Having directed some of the most popular X-Files episodes including the Emmy award winning Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose, and the feature film Disturbing Behavior, Nutter has an impressive record to back this promise.

Based on the Roswell High books by Melinda Metz, Roswell is the brainchild of Creator and Executive Producer Jason Katims (My So Called Life, Relativity) and Nutter.

Those expecting Roswell to have FBI Agents chasing little green men around the world will instead discover aliens who breathe and speak like your average American teenager. Roswell will focus on the lives of high school students struggling with issues like love, popularity and trying to find a place in life.

Roswell’s primary focus will center on the search for identity from the teenage point of view. Similarly, the teenage extraterrestrials must conceal their pasts while also struggling to find a place for themselves in their new world.

“It�s not just about teenagers contemplating their navel,” says Nutter, “It�s about kids, about life and death and making very important decisions. It�s those layers of a show that can make something very compelling, very mythical and mystical.”

Roswell stars Shiri Appleby as the very human Liz, and Jason Behr as the other-worldly Max. William Sadler (Die Hard 2, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey) also plays the strong-minded Sheriff determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.

After graduating from the University of Miami in 1984, Nutter directed the independent film Cease Fire which starred a relatively unknown Don Johnson. Since then, he has established himself as a respected television director having helmed episodes of 21 Jump Street, ER, The Commish and The X-Files. He returned to his cinema roots in 1998 when he directed Disturbing Behavior whose cast included Katie Holmes and Roswell’s Brendan Fehr and William Sadler.

If The X-Files is where he made his mark. Roswell has given Nutter the opportunity to take the genre to another level.

“Chris (Carter, creator of The X-Files) was very good at ending [a story] on a question mark, making the audience lean into the next episode. That�s something Roswell can actually do as well. That kind of sensibility would be very exciting.”

Nutter and Katims have also set Roswell in a culturally diverse state with strong Native American and Latino communities. Appropriately, they have cast actors from those communities. Majandra Delfino who is Maria De Luca, Liz’s best friend; and Michael Horse who plays Sheriff Valenti’s Deputy.

“Now that we have a platform on The WB, our challenge is to help build the diversity of the show,” says Nutter. “We have a real responsibility and challenge to examine diversity – branching out as much as we can – because I think it can be a very exciting show as far as that’s concerned.”

Nutter also relates diversity issues to the themes of the show.

“I used to say teenagers were the aliens among us. And I think all teenagers kind of feel that way in many respects sometimes�a lot of people feel that way�and I think that�s our challenge, to kind of embrace those feelings and get the very best people in the parts � and have a lot of fun with it.”

Jason Katims also adds “Diversity is something that’s really important to us – to have the show branch out and reflect a sense of place and such a rich sense of place that you find in the Southwest. There are plans to make sure that the cast represents the place.”

Another group that Nutter is sensitive about is the Internet audience.

“When I was at The X-Files, it was a situation where the Internet was really the world where the audience, who got on the Internet and really got into the show, made X-Files a cult hit. I think that’s a wonderful group of people to try and win over but it’s a very difficult group to win over as well.”

To that end, Nutter sees the Internet as an invaluable complement to Roswell.

“Our goal is to make a show that’s smart and compelling enough to have people become fans, get on the Internet and make it even better. It’s a wonderful fan base to really spend time and get involved with and it will open us up into a whole different world.”

It’s easy to recognize Nutter as a storyteller at heart with titanic vision.

“Roswell is a timeless story about unrequited love, and that�s something that emotionally will bring the audience into making them want to watch the show and get involved with these characters.”

“To me, everybody wants to fall in love, teenagers and adults. That�s something we all have in common and something that really brings this show to the emotional front for an audience. There�s something very special about it.”

There are many challenges in producing a successful television series. Given the high hopes and cutthroat competitive nature of network television, finding the successful formula is almost as difficult as locating aliens in the desert. David Nutter has already found the aliens.