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Posts Tagged ‘Battlestar Galactica’

Finally bringing Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander to life on film, after 23 years

outlanderBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

Diana Gabaldon is notoriously protective of her work. Her website asks amateur writers to refrain from producing any fan fiction based on her characters and it has taken decades for her to OK a screen adaptation of her best known novels, the eight-part Outlander series.

The former academic-turned-bestselling-author writes thick books that Entertainment Weekly describes as containing a “time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”

Since the publication of the first Outlander book in 1991, rumours of a film franchise have flitted about, with big names like Liam Neeson and Sean Connery attached. The mix of romance, time travel and adventure sounds tailor-made for the screen, but Gabaldon wanted to make sure the story was told properly.

“Outlander is a very big story,” she says. “The very intricate plot fits together like the pieces of a watch. You start pulling things out and the whole thing isn’t going to work. Consequently a two-hour movie cannot be made and reflect the integrity of the work.”

Enter Battlestar Galactica producer Ronald D. Moore who says he “read the book and was quite taken by it. It’s a page-turner in the truest sense of the word. I really liked the central character of Claire because she was intelligent and strong; very capable and interesting.”

He saw Outlander not as a movie, but a television series.

“There were surprises along the way, reversals of fortune I didn’t see coming,” he says, “which I thought would be really great for a television series. I got it. We’d do one season a book and there’s seven more books in the series.”

His take on the material won Gabaldon over. “I told Ron when I saw the pilot script, ‘This is the first thing I’ve seen based on my work that didn’t either make me turn white or burst into flame.’”

The show, which premieres Aug. 24 on Showcase, stars Irish model/actress Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a married Second World War combat nurse mysteriously transported back in time to 18th-century Scotland.

“We’re trying to keep the show grounded throughout,” says Moore. “You want to really believe that both those places exist. I’m a strong believer in the idea that if you’re going to take the audience on a fantastical journey, the more believable you make it, the better. That way the audience will go with you when something crazy, like time travel, happens.”

Gabaldon gives the show her stamp of approval, saying, “I feel very fortunate to be able to share with them in this production.”

Helix: Billy Campbell talks new sci-fi series about deadly pandemic

helixBy Richard Crouse Metro – Canada

“I’ve been reading film scripts for over 30 years,” says Helix star Billy Campbell, “and I could probably count on my hands and feet all the truly, truly great scripts I’ve read. The rest are, to various degrees, garbage.”

Campbell, a veteran of big screen features like The Rocketeer and Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, says, “the hour-and-a-half format of telling a story is unnatural. You either have to do like they do in Bollywood movies and have a four-hour movie tell a story or do like European films do. They tell small, intimate human stories. Moments in people’s lives. That’s more appropriate to the format.”

That opinion may explain why he’s been spending more and more time on the small screen on shows like Once and Once Again, The O.C. and The Killing.

His latest project, the sci-fi series Helix debuts on Showcase on Friday. Produced by Battlestar Galactica creator Ronald D. Moore, its sprawling story of a deadly disease outbreak couldn’t fit into a 90-minute film.

“Television is a place where you can tell a great story,” he says. “You have the time. AMC coined the phrase, Slow Burn Storytelling. You have the time to develop characters, develop storylines in a way that is not artificial. Or doesn’t seem to be artificial.”

The pilot script for the Montreal-shot series appealed to the ruggedly handsome actor because he’s a fan of science fiction, horror and speculative fiction.

“When I read the pilot script the first thing that popped into my head was The Andromeda Strain, then John Carpenter’s The Thing and a little bit of Walking Dead popped in there as well. We don’t have zombies. I think what we have is a great deal scarier than zombies. What we have are living human beings, terribly infected, who have a pathological compulsion to infect others.”

He describes the show as “intense, but still an escape.” But an escape from what?

“There seems to be an obsession with not just speculative fiction but stuff that is not our real life. I couldn’t say why, except to think that perhaps we’re so unhappy with our present lives. We might need to get away. Some people like to escape by being scared.”

As an actor on the show he says the most exciting part of the process is “to come to work and try to do the next outlandish thing they’ve written. That’s exciting.”