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Morena BaccarinElizabeth Mitchell

If aliens were to land on earth, most of us would probably expect them to look- well, alien. But this is not the case in ABC’s upcoming dramatic series V, as the beautiful Morena Baccarin plays Anna, leader and spokesperson for the unexpected Visitors.

 

V is a re-imagining of the 1980's two-part miniseries about our world's first encounter with an alien race. When 29 frightening space ships simultaneously appear over every major city, the entire world’s population panics, but the Visitors (or V's) promote a message of peace. Through their generous offer to share advanced technology, the V's build a following that may actually hide a more malevolent agenda. 

 

But those of us who watched V in its original form, the hit 1983 two-part mini-series with the same name, and its sequels, will not be fooled by these strangers. We know that these pretty things are really lizard-like aliens who take human form to invade earth. But hey, it was exciting then, and with new computer generated CGI and special effects created by Zoinc, will surely be more so now. 

 

“None of us would be here without Ken Johnson, who did the original V miniseries, which was obviously a phenomenal success, so we owe a lot to him,” Executive Producer Scott Peters explained when Dish caught up with him and several members of

 the cast in LA recently. “In that vein, we wanted to make sure as we moved forward, that we honored and respected the characters and the themes that that show envisioned, but introduce brand new characters and brand new themes that would make sense in a post-9/11 world.”

 

“I think there was an obvious huge awareness of the original.  There are a lot of people who haven't seen it, but by the time we get to air, we feel like this (the lizards) is not the big surprise that everyone is going to gasp over. We really want to tell that story that is sort of already known out there, so that we can leap forward in a very quick manner and we don't sort of build and build to something that people already know. Hopefully, we do it in an artful way and in a twist-filled way that will make folks who haven't seen the show before jump a little bit.”  He added, “Our cast jumped, which was awesome.”

 

Peters continued, “We are sort of on the cutting edge of some really interesting technology in terms of how we present the entry of the spaceship, for instance,” “We are able to actually shoot all of that on a green screen. And the spaceship is built in a virtual world, and it allows us to collect assets. In other words, we can build these enormous-looking sets in a computer.  We can go back to them. We can reconfigure them. We can pop a camera into the virtual set and turn it a different direction and see something that looks like a very different place that we've never seen before.  We aren't leaving everybody in the dark in terms of really wowing everyone on a weekly basis, and that's really what we are striving for.”

 

Anna is the leader of the Vs, a woman with an agenda, and a beautiful face to forward it. She’s the epitome of exactly what earthlings want to see in a woman. 

 

Baccarin (Firefly) explained, “I have big shoes to fill as being, I guess, the face of what people want to see, and there's kind of no way to prepare on how to play an alien.  I did some research, but there's not a lot out there.  So, you know, I think I am trying my best to seem as trustworthy as I can be and to pretend to be what I would like somebody to be like if they were to come down to Earth. You need to embody what everybody of every nationality and need wants to see and at the same time have your own agenda.”

 

Needless to say, anyone who’s seen the original, including this writer, wants to know- will Morena as Anna be eating a – rat?

 

Co-executive Producer Jeffrey Bell chimed in, “Whenever we talk to people who saw

the original, and they go, ‘Oh, my God.  I love the original.’ We go, ‘What do you love?’  And they mention about four or five things, and the rat, guinea pig, bunny….’”

 

Co-star Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost), who plays FBI agent Erica Evans and mother of Visitors fan Tyler on the show, asked incredulously, “You found the prettiest girl you could possibly find, and you're going to make her eat a rodent?”

Joel Gretch

Peters replied, “We asked her if she had any problems with rodents, and she said, ‘No’.  That was her fault.”

 

Baccarin had the final word. “I don't mind holding them,” she replied ruefully.

 

Of course, any V fan or soon-to-be one wants to know what sort of plans are afoot storywise?

 

Peters described what’s coming, “We've set up the first season so by the end you know what the Visitors' agenda is and sort of where the characters end up, on which side of the line they will be…… 

 

“And so -- and so that would be our first chunk,” Bell added.  And then the second season, beginning there, we have a whole different arc again. We are very much interested in keeping our characters in their own lives.  He's (Joel Gretch as Father Landry) going to stay at the church.  She's (Mitchell) going to stay with the FBI.  Chad (Scott Wolf) is going to be a journalist, you know. Ryan (Morris Chestnut) is going to be the finance guy he is.  And Val (Lourdes de Benedicto) is a therapist.  And everybody is going to stay in their lives because we think 

(Lourdes de Benedicto, Morris Chestnut

it's more interesting for people watching the show to see someone more like themselves, versus we are now on the run from an 

invading army. 

 

Peters continued, “When we originally conceived the show, I opened up and broadened the theme to be about blind devotion.  What happens when you don't ask questions about the things you believe in?  And I think that can be applied across the board whether you are talking about a political issue or a religious issue or a relationship issue, any number of things.  And so, to me, that was really an interesting 

place to look into to deal with themes across many different storylines.”

 

“And honestly,” he continued, “I'm fascinated by stories where there's a huge over-arching event, that there's a huge universal something that has touched everybody, and how does that affect a priest and an FBI agent and a teenager and a financier and all these sorts of – these common -- this common thread that runs through. And they all start with very different storylines, which gives us the chance to allow these characters to cross paths in really unexpected ways and come together, pull apart, and those are just really interesting stories to tell, I think.”

 

Bell concluded, “There is no single threat. It's terrorists, and it's the guy across the street or the woman next door, and who do you trust. And I think one of the things we're trying to do is, we have humans, and we have humans who are traitors, and we have Visitors who have a nefarious agenda, and we have Visitors who are heroes.  And so not knowing who or what someone is and playing the paranoia that we all experience living in a world where we wake up every day and everything is at orange alert.” 

 

“We're not a country at war the way we have been in the past, but we are a country very much fractured and struggling with all these issues.  I think we've tried to tell stories in which regular people – moms and FBI agents and teenagers -- have to figure out what they're supposed to do.

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 102 - September 1566
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