Bryan Fuller interview: Pushing Daisies, High Moon, Star Trek, Dead Like Me & more…
Bryan Fuller on bringing back Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me, new pilot High Moon, Kickstarter, rebooting Star Trek, and TV zombies…
Bryan Fuller is one of us. He’s a fan and a bonafide TV geek, albeit one considerably better connected and heeled than you or I. Fuller’s also a real delight to talk to, articulate, generous with his time, and brimming with love for his and other people’s work. He doesn’t even mind when idiotic interviewers forget to press record on their Dictaphone, or liken him to a shark.
We met Fuller to talk about Hannibal, his stylish and captivating take on the early relationship between Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). Talk Hannibal we did, a wide-ranging chat that took in elegant horror, vegetarianism, emulsifying eyeballs, Lucifer, the show’s extraordinary cast, and a bit more.
In addition to that, here’s what the writer/producer had to say about new Syfy project High Moon, his Kickstarter plan for a Pushing Daisies film, returning to Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls, and his vision for Star Trek's return to television…
You said you were heartbroken about NBC not picking up Mockingbird Lane [Fuller and Bryan Singer’s reboot of The Munsters], but then practically the next day in the trade press it was ‘Bryan Fuller’s new project pushes ahead’. You strike me as somebody who’s able to pick yourself up and move right on to the next thing, always going forward, like a… shark.
I like working, and my brain sort of keeps going whether I like it or not. I think in this industry, probably because I’ve had a lot of shows burn brightly and go away, and burn brightly and go away, that I’m kind of going like, ‘Okay, I want to make sure I have something in my back pocket should this one go away’.
With High Moon [an adaptation of John Christopher's 1969 novel, The Lotus Caves], which is the show I’m doing with Syfy, it was about working with another writer and collaborating and allowing them to write the script while we craft the story together and shepherding a younger writer that my experience might be able to help. I can help them produce and give the benefit of my experience and also tell a different story that I haven’t told before.
Yeah, on the moon, and with this, ‘If 2001: A Space Odyssey were a Spielbergian romp adventure’. I’m very excited about that show and to see where that goes.
Is that at the pilot stage?
That’s the pilot stage.
So we’re [I cross my fingers]
[Crosses fingers and nods] Yeah. We’ll film the pilot in August and we’re going to start casting shortly. As soon as the pilots have all been announced we’ll know who’s available and who might have fallen out if their pilot didn’t get picked up, so that’s when we’ll start casting that.
And that’s when us lot will start feverishly typing up all the casting announcements
Yeah, yeah. I love actors and I love the casting process. It’s funny, like, some writers don’t like actors, because I think they are the faces of the show and so you feel sort of secondary but I love actors because they elevate the material, they make it better.
With all the talk of moving on to the next thing though, you also wouldn’t be averse to going back to the likes of Dead Like Me or Pushing Daisies?
I would love to. Dead Like Me’s almost ten years ago [Whispers] So weird.
Don’t tell me that.
Don’t tell me that! [Laughing] I would love to reinvent that because you know, I left the show after the fourth episode so I would love to do the show as I originally saw it.
Still as a series?
As a series. There’s much more of the fantastical that I wanted to include in the show that I wasn’t able to do because I left after four episodes to go and do Wonderfalls. I would also love to revisit Wonderfalls, that’s why I have Gretchen Speck-Horowitz (Chelan Simmons) in an episode of Hannibal because it is a form of mourning I think, kind of not wanting to let those things go.
Recasting the same actors you mean?
Do you think that’s why Joss Whedon does it?
I think he probably just loves the actors. I love the actors too, but there is something kind of fun about hiring Chelan Simmons to play the same character with the same name from Wonderfalls, and hiring Ellen Muth to play the same character - she plays a character named Georgia Madchen in Hannibal and she was Georgia Lass in Dead Like Me. Both Madchen and Lass mean ‘girl’ so she’s kind of the same character in both. It’s a re-examination of the character and also a re-examination of that work, and also a way to keep it alive in some way.
On the subject of reanimation, what can you tell us about your Kickstarter plan to resurrect Pushing Daisies as a zombie movie?
If we were able to pull off the Kickstarter, there’s a very fun zombie film that starts with a flash-flood in a cemetery and basically is about those denizens of that cemetery having to kill Ned before he can kill them, so it’s a different kind of zombie movie.
Fast or slow zombies?
I think fast, I think because it’s the Pushing Daisies rules so Chuck is, you know, alive. Are you a fast zombie or a slow zombie person?
Both have their place. Zombies are enjoying a resurgence at the moment aren’t they? Existentially anxious zombies in particular…
Right! What’s the new series about that?
There was a BBC series in England this year called In the Flesh.
Oh, I heard that was good!
And there’s a French one called Les Revenants so it’s The Returned in English.
I think they’re doing The Returned on CBS now.
As an English-language remake.
I wonder if they’re going to pick that up.
It’s similar in premise to – sorry, we’re going off-topic again – to the failed CBS pilot, Babylon Fields.
Which I liked!
Yeah, me too. I watched a bit of the pilot - I probably shouldn’t say this - on Youtube.
I did! I watched it on YouTube as well and I was intrigued, that was fascinating.
I don’t know why it wasn’t picked up, perhaps a bit ahead of the zombie curve back in 2007?
I would have watched that show every week.
Finally then, I'd be fired if I didn't ask you what the status is on your Star Trek TV series idea? Bryan Singer had one concept, you had another…
That’s basically wishful thinking. We both would love to do a Star Trek series, and I think Star Trek is in J.J. Abrams’ purview as it should be, because I loved Star Trek, the movie, and I’m looking forward to the next one. Once again, I would love to revisit that world because I found it so creatively fulfilling but I think that’s under his guard, and if it ever came up I would jump on the opportunity.
You wouldn’t set it on the Enterprise though?
Yeah, I think let that be the movies and let that be their story. I would love to do something on the Reliant. I want Angela Lansbury…Not Lansbury! I want Angela Bassett to be the captain, that’s who I would love to have, you know Captain Angela Bassett and First Officer Rosario Dawson. I would love to do that version of the show and but that’s in the future to be told.
Bryan Fuller, thank you very much!
Read our Hannibal interview with Bryan Fuller, here.
Hannibal starts on 7 May at 10pm on Sky Living & is available from 1 May via Sky On Demand.
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