S2 DVD Extras 9/04: Producer Karen Wookey Interview
Karen Wookey: I think we felt that the first year of Mutant X, it was mainly a studio show. We had a very contained world. We had Sanctuary and Genomex and this sort of arch villain/hero dynamic and I think this year we wanted to open it up and take it to the street, have the characters interact with the rest of the world. It also becomes very limited when that universe is that small. And a couple of shows where we did go out, it looks great. You know, our guys interacting in the world. Like this particular show, we’re in the woods with the beast, very big departure from what we’ve done previously. But it gives the actors and characters way more places to go, and it opens up the world of Mutant X, which is what we really wanted to do. We have a new producer this year, Jonathan Hackett, who we adore, who came with his own ideas that we really liked. And we’ve just inch by inch opened the show up. And I think definitely for the better. Characters are much more accessible and interact with the real world a lot more. So it’s less of a place that you can’t access or go to. They’ve come to us now, which I think is a really good thing.
It’s the magic you can never design. It’s like you’ll get some script and you go, “Oh, it’s just...I can’t put it down, it’s great,” and then it’s executed and it’s good. And then you’ll get another script and you’ll go, “Okay, this needs...this is never gonna fly,”and then somehow between there and execution, it’s your favorite show of the whole series. It’s happened twice now, actually. And often cumulatively, where everyone will have these huge concerns about a script, and then by the time it’s executed, it’s one of the strongest shows. And then conversely, oh, this is a shoo-in. This one needs no work at all, and then you watch it and go...you know. And who knows, for a million different reasons that none of us really know for sure. And that’s why it’s so much fun to do what we do. Because those recipes are not carved in stone.
Well, it’s a funny thing. I often say on all the shows that eventually a lot of the characters become like the cast themselves. I mean, I think every actor probably injects a lot of themself into a character, and every cast member has certain ideas about what that character should be and how they see that character. Which is what informs the choices they make as an actor. So how much does the cast have to do with their character? A lot. If it departs too much from where we would like that character to be, or we see something that makes the character less accessible to an audience, obviously we will talk to the actor or the directors will work with the actors. But I think an actor makes a lot of choices that come from who they are as a person. I believe that’s probably true of all actors.
Shalimar is kind of easy. We’d like to take her more feral. You know, bring out more of her animalistic, give her more of a temper, make her fly off easier, faster. In keeping with her...have her live really close to her passion, and just a valve willing to blow. And in that shoot-from-the-hip, go straight from what she feels to what she says. She doesn’t do much thinking in between. I think that’s who her character is. Emma, I think Emma’s a really interesting character. We’ve tried to youth her down cause she’s in her early twenties, but she reads quite mature. I mean, the actor herself is very mature. So we’ve kind of brought it down. I thought, you know, if you were a teenager growing up, or you were a girl growing up, and you could feel everything that everyone else felt, you’d go out of your mind. Like how would you barricade against that? What would you do? You’d think you were losing your mind. We’ve kind of brought her there a little more, like just tried to go to what it would actually be like to feel what everyone else feels. I mean, it would be very busy. So we’ve sort of tried to take her there. Brennan, we kind of want to bring out the street more. We talked about his back story as basically a really good boy that lived the bad boy life. And a hustler and all of those things, but a hustler with a conscience. So we’ve brought him back to that, you know, taken him down to jeans and a tee-shirt and brought him closer to the street. So that’s sort of where he’s going this year. And you know, Jesse, Jesse’s back story which never has really come through, which is that he’s sort of a well-bred son of a wealthy family who kind of threw it all away and didn’t really want to have much to do with it. Brennan’s kind of the alpha male, so he finds his identity in there. And we played with it a little bit in “Blood Ties,” where he went back and dealt with his father. So we’d like to do that more with him and also develop his relationship with Adam. He’s a little more cerebral. You know, Brennan and Shalimar sort of shoot from the hip and Jesse’s the techno guy who’s comfortable that way. And Adam, actually, Adam’s the character we talk about where to take the most because he has, you know, unlimited...we could take him anywhere.
Eckhart, well...the actor, Tom McCamus, who is one of my favorite Canadian actors, really strong theater actor. Stratford had its 50th anniversary this year, and he had the opportunity to play in two big productions and literally walk onto the stage 50 years to the day that Alec Guinness walked on to do Shakespeare. So he chose to do that. We lost him. But he’s coming back. He’s not gone for good. He’s coming back. We’ll have him at the end of the year. And then, again, that story will completely open up because Genomex is gone. So where he’s been in the world, and what he’s been up to is anybody’s guess.
It’s a great cast, great crew, and it’s an opportunity to reinvent itself a little bit this year. Which you sort of do on every show, season to season, which is always great. And there probably isn’t a day go by I can’t believe we all get paid to do it. It’s a family, in essence. It’s a very intense process that requires a lot of give and take. And it’s a family in all the meanings of that word. I think through the hard, through the easy. The other day they got rained out at noon, you know, lost half a day. And I mean, every day it’s a miracle anything gets made when you think of all the things that have to come together to make a show, and make a show well. It’s a miracle in the end. And keeping that front and center in your mind and feeling lucky to actually have fun doing it is an important part of the process.
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