If you aren’t amped for the Psycho prequel series Bates Motel from Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights), you should be. Today at the launch of the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour, the showrunners and some of the cast talked about A&E’s upcoming psychological thriller.
First and foremost, Cuse made it a point to say that Bates Motel is inspired by but does not serve as an homage to Hitchcock’s classic film. “We did not want to do an homage to Psycho, we wanted to take these characters and setup as inspiration,” Cuse said specifically. “We don’t really view any of [the original movie] as canon,” he added. “The idea of an homage was just not going to be engaging to me. Making the fundamental decision to make it contemporary gave us the freedom to take these characters wherever we wanted. There’s a certain amount of baggage that comes with taking on ‘Psycho’ … making it contemporary made it become liberated from the original movie.”
Mystery and intrigue line the modernized story of Norman Bates (Freddy Highmore) and his mother Norma (Vera Farmiga). “The mythology that you think is what dictates the relationship between Norma and Norman is not what it’s going to turn out to be,” tantalized Cuse. The former Lost showrunner mentioned that his new series will not feature out-of-this-world characters or scenarios. “No polar bears, no smoke monsters — just say no right off the top. There’s no supernatural elements in play. We view this as a psychological thriller.” He confirmed that the show is in fact of the serialized sort, and it will tell a contained story with a defined beginning, middle, and end. “There is an endpoint to this narrative, absolutely. … In some general form we are going to catch up with a version of [Norman] from the movie.” Additionally: “Like all the best serialized shows, whether Breaking Bad or Homeland, it’s a kind of a story that takes ten episodes to unfold. And there’s some hooks that will hopefully carry us into a second season. We’re not just solving one particular crime. There’s a number of mysteries.” (Click here for more…)
Are you ready to check into Bates Motel? Well get ready because A&E is skipping over the pilot stage and ordering a ten episode first season of the Psycho prequel series from Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights). Traditionally networks will decide if a series is worth producing in full after they’ve watched a pilot episode; in this case, however, the cable execs jumped the gun because they believe in the concept that much.
A&E released a statement saying, “We are proud to be partnering with Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin on their thrilling reinvention of one of the most compelling characters in cinematic history. It’s a provocative project from two of the best storytellers in the business, and we’re looking forward to getting started.”
The press release provides an updated synopsis: “Bates Motel, inspired by Hitchcock’s genre-defining film, Psycho, is a contemporary exploration of the formative years of Norman Bates’ relationship with his mother, Norma, and the world they inhabit. Viewers will have access to the dark, twisted backstory and learn firsthand how Norma helped forge the most famous serial killer of them all.”
Pre-production and casting are already underway (who do you think will fill the shoes originally worn by Anthony Perkins?) and A&E promises a series premiere in 2013.
Earlier this year A&E announced that they are working on a Psycho prequel TV series based on the classic 1960 Alfred Hitchcock thriller. This week THR reveals that former Lost executive producer and showrunner Carlton Cuse is attached to this buzz-worthy project that’s being described as Twin Peaks meets Smallville. Bates Motel will tell the dark back story of how Norman Bates’ mother twisted her son’s psyche, molding him into a serial killing motel owner. Cuse will serve as executive producer and oversee the writing and production of the series. THR also reports that A&E plans to hype the show with an initial six-episode “event” which will eventually lead into a standard 13 or 20-something episode first season and beyond. Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights) will exec produce with Cuse, Mark Wolper and Roy Lee also share producing titles, and Anthony Cipriano is developing the script. Next up: find a suitable actor to play the historic lead role of Norman Bates. This delicate decision will likely determine the success of the show.
The connective tissue tying together these two TV news bites: the pedigree behind the new respective projects come from a show you probably heard of…Lost.
First let’s see what’s up with the creator of the Island. J.J. Abrams has much on his plate already. This TV season he has three shows airing: Fringe (FOX), Person of Interest (CBS), and Alcatraz (FOX) premieres in midseason. He’s also working on the Star Trek movie sequel. But all of this isn’t enough for the mastermind behind some of the greatest shows produced for TV. He’s ready to dip his wand in a new Warner Bros. TV/Bad Robot project and it’s called Revolution. According to Deadline, the show is being described as “an epic adventure thriller.” Since it’s an Abrams project, don’t expect the plot to leak until the man behind the curtain allows that to happen. Abrams has teamed with Supernatural creator and executive producer Eric Kripke for Revolution; Kripke will pen the pilot script which recently got pilot production commitment from NBC. More as the story develops…
In other news, Lost showrunner Carlton Cuse has a new project up his sleeve too. His is titled Stronger and Deadline describes it as “a drama project with spiritual overtones.” Cuse’s partner in crime is author/pastor Rob Bell, and he will serve as co-writer and executive producer. Bell is leaving Michigan’s Mars Hill Bible Church (which he created) to develop the series which was recently sold to ABC. Deadline reports that the show “revolves around Tom Stronger, a musician and teacher, and his spiritual journey as he becomes a benefactor and guide to others.” Stronger won’t hide its autobiographical roots; Bell is in fact a former musician and he will likely incorporate his experiences into the script. Now don’t forget–like his former Lost cohort Cuse is keeping busy with multiple projects in consideration, too. Look out for his ABC civil war drama Point of Honor on the horizon.
In this Funny or Die clip, Lost executive producer Carlton Cuse helps Texas Rangers starting pitching CJ Wilson with his cardio workout. Little does CJ know, all cardio involves chores.
See that gift at 2:10 that Cuse doesn’t feel like gifting? That’s the LOST: Complete Collection detailed extensively right here!
With fellow Lost collaborators J.J. Abrams (Odd Jobs, Alcatraz, M:I3) and Damon Lindelof (Cowboys & Aliens) having found work post-Island duty, it was only a matter of time before Lost co-showrunner Carton Cuse spilled plans about his next exciting project. In a simple tweet today Cuse pointed his followers to a Variety news article that details his upcoming ABC series Point of Honor. According to Variety, ABC is “eyeing it as a major event series”, so this is definitely something to get pumped about. Cuse has teamed up with Randall Wallace (Secretariat) to write and executive produce this Civil War-based drama. ”The two are keeping mum on details other than to say it will be a story focusing more on fictional characters than on historical figures,” says Variety. Cuse confirms it will be a serialized show with a clear-cut “beginning, middle and end.” Cuse describes it as “very different from anything on TV right now.” Both Cuse and Wallace share a deep interest in Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era; Cuse admits that he and Wallace “just clicked” during early meetings about conceptualizing the show. Time will tell if this new partnership can live up to the Cuse/Lindelof success story that came out of Lost. With Cuse’s knack for smart, engaging storytelling and Wallace’s past experience working on Braveheart (there he proved he could use “historical events and connect them to fictional characters”, Cuse points out), I have little doubt Point of Honor will impress when it airs at an undisclosed time on ABC. Cuse and Wallace are currently writing the script.
While we’re here talking about Carlton Cuse, do yourself a nice favor and read this fantastic interview that takes you on a journey through his interesting and fascinating career thus far. It’s a great read!
I just got back from the LOST Live: The Final Celebration event. It took place at UCLA’s Royce Hall and featured live performances by composer Michael Guichinno, surprise guest appearances, and a private screening of the penultimate episode,”What They Died For.” Note that cell phones and cameras were not allowed inside the Hall, so letters and words are all I got to offer. So let’s dive right into the details, shall we?
Introductions: Things started off with an ABC executive reading a letter to a packed audience. The letter was addressed to Lostexecutive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof (together known as “Darlton”) and spoke very highly of the groundbreaking series and how it related to the Star Wars franchise and how the creatives behind those films also did not know exactly where they were going during the making of the first film (big laughs!). The letter was penned by George Lucas. Then Darlton came out to share kind words about thankful they are for the rabid fanbase, for without them Lost simply wouldn’t be, well, Lost. They described all those in attendance at Royce Hall special members of the Lostfamily. They were excited to have the opportunity to end the series by sharing an event with the show’s most loyal fans.
The cast: Next, Darlton announced, one by one, many cast members to join them on stage. According to the press statement, we knew Lost characters Richard, Ben, and Hurley would make an appearance, but everyone was surprised to see a ton more jump on stage. Darlton welcome the following Lostcast members on stage: Young Ben (Sterling Beaumon), Cassidy (Kim Dickens), Arzt (Daniel Roebuck), Ethan (William Mapother), Abaddon (Lance Reddick), Boone (Ian Somerhalder), Rose (L. Scott Caldwell), Dr. Pierre Chang (François Chau), Walt (Malcom David Kelley), Michael (Harold Perrineau), Charlotte (Rebecca Mader), Faraday (Jeremy Davies), The Man in Black (Titus Welliver), Penny (Sonya Walger), Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick), Richard (Nestor Carbonell), Ben (Michael Emerson), Hurley (Jorge Garcia), and Sawyer (Josh Holloway). The takeaways? Abaddon, Chang, Faraday, Desmond, Richard, Hurley, and Ben got the loudest applause, no surprise there. And Walt got taller. Seeing all these amazing actors standing together on stage (with Darlton nearby) was quite a sight. A whole lot of talent was right there in front of all of us, and you couldn’t help but smile and cheer for your favorite characters you’ve come to know and love over the past six years. (I gave a loud shout-out to Faraday, which I’m sure he heard.) Yeah, it was a bummer main cast members Jack, Kate, Sayid, Locke, Claire, and Charlie were no-shows, but it was still a great moment to see all of these guys come together in one space for the final hurrah. Before each cast member walked onto the stage, Darlton would describe key attributes of their characters so as to keep the audience guessing who’ll come out next. Lotta cheering and name calling resulted. And after the cast took a long bow, they left the stage to take seats in the crowd. (In fact, a bunch of Lostpeople were in attendence, including producers and writers, but I’ll get to that later.)
With just two episodes left until the series finale of Lost, executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse find themselves getting bombarded with lingering questions from Rizzo the Rat and a bear of Muppets fame.
On Tuesday the creators (Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse) and cast (Terry O’Quinn (Locke), Michael Emerson (Ben), Josh Holloway (Sawyer), Evangeline Lilly (Kate), Jorge Garcia (Hurley), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin) and Emilie de Ravin (Claire) of Lost talked about the show at the TCA (Television Critics Association) Press Tour.
The most important bit of news that came out of this sitdown is that Harold Perrineau (Michael) and Cynthia Watros (Libby) will return this season.
On Season 6 Cuse said, “Obviously not every question’s going to be answered, so obviously, some people are going to be upset that those particular questions don’t get resolved. We felt if we tried to just answer questions, it would be very pedantic.” Lindelof added, “Now there is certainly a hope on all our parts that everybody sort of universally loves the ending that we put forward. (But) I don’t think it would be Lost if there wasn’t sort of an ongoing and active debate amongst the people who watch the show as to whether or not it was a good ending.” Cuse envisions the season to include a ”healthy cocktail of answers, mystery character resolution, and some surprises.”
Lindelof added that this season will harken back to Season 1 in many ways in order to compare and contrast how the characters have changed since the beginning. Cuse said that he and Lindelof had the final image of the series in their heads way back in the beginning; it’s the character development and closure they have to work on. “We kind of knew what the end point was, but as you move towards the end point, you add elements. And obviously, the end is not yet written, and there are certain sort of mythological, architectural elements that are intact for that ending, but a lot of character stuff will get worked out as we go along.” Cuse added, ”We are doing something different narratively which doesn’t require sort of deep-and-vast knowledge for you to get, and we also just feel like the stories that we’re telling this season kind of really do harken back to the first season of the show. I think if you watched the first season of the show, that’s probably the most important thing leading into the final season. We do feel that there’s some accessibility there.”
The cast members shared their favorite moments from the show. Michael Emerson: “I have lots of fond memories of breathless confrontations in small rooms” – referring to scenes from Jacob’s cabin, The Hatch, and Widmore’s bedroom. Jorge Garcia: “Running away from an exploding plane wing” and ”when the comet hits Mr. Clucks…laying there and they’re throwing raw chicken parts at me.” Evangeline Lilly: her favorite episode was the one “Do No Harm,” the one where Claire gives birth and Boone dies. “I’ll never forget watching that episode because for me it just culminated everything we were talking about on the show. I don’t often cry while watching my own show, but I watched that episode and I cried and I thought this is something that I’m proud to be a part of.” Terry O’Quinn: “Just coming to work with these people and working the way through a scene and just collaborating with them.” O’Quinn also talked about how he had no idea that his character had died and he was playing “not-Locke Locke” at the end of last season until the audience found out. O’Quinn’s script only said that “something about Locke is different,” so that’s all he had to work with. Emerson added, “It’s actually better on this show to be in the dark – sort of groping around a bit.”
So what’s in store for the Season 6 premiere? Lindelof said, “Get ready to scratch your heads, America!” Holloway added that the premiere episode plays out like a finale in scale and scope. I. Can’t. Wait.
Lost: The Final Season premieres February 2 at 9PM on ABC. Speaking of the premiere date, did you hear that President Obama almost scheduled to have his State of the Union Address at the same date and time, potentially pushing the Lost premiere to a later date? Well rest assured, Losties. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs confirms that the Address will air on a different date. Cuse added to the confirmation with this tweet: “No State of the Union conflict with LOST! We go Feb. 2!”
Look after the break for an exerpt of an IGN interview with Lost creator J. J. Abrams, hot off the presses!
On July 3rd, Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, Jack Bender talked about Lost Season 6 at Curzon Cinema. It’s a short Q&A transcript, but it is a great read for all Lost fans. There are no spoilers about Season 6, sorry. Click here for the transcript and start reading!