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Mutant X Interviews: John Shea (8/01 - 3/13 Mutant X)



Comics Continuum 8/28/01, Cinescape & Mania.com 10/6/01: John Shea


JOHN SHEA ON LOIS AND CLARK REUNION

Shea was addressing a question during the Mutant X panel at the Canadian National Expo in Toronto over the weekend.
....
With Mutant X, Shea said he's noticed a big leap in television special effects since Lois and Clark ended. "The stuff that we can do on this show couldn't be done on a television show, even when we were shooting Lois and Clark," said Shea, who plays Mutant X leader Adam. "Because in the last seven years, technology has allowed us to do astounding things on a weekly basis that seven years ago, you could only do on a feature film. So it looks astonishing."

© Comics Continuum


Comics Continuum 9/17/01: John Shea

MUTANT X'S JOHN SHEA

John Shea, who stars in the upcoming Mutant X syndicated television series, said he was particular about his return to a television series after Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. "After being part of that team that created Lois & Clark and been involved in that creative team for a period of over four years and having seen it go global, and become a global phenomenon, I waited five years," said Shea, who played Lex Luthor in Lois & Clark. "I retreated into the independent film world, to the New York theater world, and I didn't want to come back into the mainstream television world until I knew that I could come onto something that was equally good and not be embarrassing. I knew I wanted to do something different and that was going to be a hit.
"I read a lot of pilots. I was offered lots of TV series, and I waited until Mutant X came along. It was the perfect place, it was the perfect series at the perfect time in my life."

This time around Shea's the good guy. He plays Adam, the leader of Mutant X whose last name is shrouded in mystery and who just might be the smartest man alive. "He was a scientist, a 19-year-old prodigy at Stanford University, a bio-geneticist, hired away to go work for a company called Genomex," Shea said. "He started working doing agricultural cross-fertilization using cross-gene work, thinking that this work was going to be for Alberta, for Saskatchewan, for Kansas and Nebraska. Then, of course, it turns out that the things that he was developing agriculturally, maybe even for animals in terms of genetic engineering and cloning, was being secretly being by the darker side of this corporation for human genetic engineering.
"He discovers that the Genomex is actually a cover corporation for a wing of the CIA - the American Industrial Complex - and that they're using the genetic research to develop these powers in human embryos. So, he's disgusted by this, and he downloads everything he can before he can be captured. And then what happens in the course of the series is that the embryos that were experimented upon are now coming into maturity and people are discovering, much to their surprise, that they have these astonishing powers.
"They also find out they are being pursued by this branch of the government called the GSA - or the Genetics Security Agency - which is now trying to track us down, hunt us down, to exploit the powers for their own dark purposes. You can imagine how they could use guys like this in espionage and the military espionage and in mind control. Or they will kill us if we don't play their game.
"What Adam, my character has done, is he's used the money that he has made the money in the Internet - before it all went south, like last December - and invested his many millions in an underground sanctuary."

While Shea said it's fun to be a hero, he considers Adam to be more of an anti-hero. "It's complex, a very human being, not a one-dimensional super-hero by any stretch," Shea said. "The guy is a scientist, and that's already a weird thing to be, and a complicated thing to be. Secondly, he is on the run, so he's a fugitive scientist. He's being hunted down by the GSA, but actually part of the government, and that's the law, so he's an outlaw scientist. So that becomes complicated for me emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. And it makes him much more interesting to play."

Shea said that Mutant X does differ from X-Men, taking a more realistic look at the possibility of mutants. "The beauty of the way this show is created is that anybody in the audience could be one of these new mutants. It's not like you look so different from somebody else," Shea said. "There's an episode where a young boy is being kidnapped. And he gets really angry at one point and suddenly fire erupts from his hands and he burns something accidentally. He doesn't even know that he's got the power. It just manifests itself. He looks like a normal kid in seventh or eighth or 10th grade. Suddenly, it just erupts.
"This stuff has been genetically implanted and it all manifests at different points at the maturation of the person, and then the person has to figure out how to deal with it. Oftentimes, they're embarrassed by it. Oftentimes, along with the power, comes a chagrin and a responsibility. They're feeling like outcasts.
"Our job is to try to find them before the other guys find them and try to deal with that kind of power however it's manifesting."

With 44 episodes ordered, Shea said there will be lots of room to explore the Mutant X members and discover other new mutants. "One of the best things about Lois & Clark is that we tried to make those comic-book characters human and bring to them all kinds of emotions you might not read in a one-dimensional or two-dimensional comic-book style," Shea said. "We're creating a drama here."

Having been involved with a comic-book show before, Shea knows the importance of visuals. He said Mutant X is raising the bar for TV. "The stuff that we can do on this show couldn't be done on a television show, even when we were shooting Lois & Clark," Shea said. "Because in the last seven years, the technology has allowed us to do astounding things on a weekly basis that seven years ago, you could only do on a feature film. So it looks astonishing."

Mutant X begins in syndication the week of Oct. 1. Look for more from The Continuum's visit to the set in Toronto soon.

© Comics Continuum


John Shea: Cinescape 10/6/01

Shea's X-rated return: Veteran genre actor John Shea returns to television with this season's MUTANT X
By: ROB ALLSTETTER Dateline: Saturday, October 6, 2001

After a brief self-imposed hiatus from the small screen, actor John Shea, perhaps better known as Lex Luthor from LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, is returning to television in another series with comic-book roots: MUTANT X. Beginning in syndication the week of Oct. 1, MUTANT X tells the story of a corrupt government agency genetically engineering "super" humans. A number of these "New Mutants," as the human guinea pigs have been dubbed, have escaped from the program and are living life on the run - the organization's top agent ?? ?? is after them. However, they do have a place to turn. Shea plays Adam Xero, the leader of Mutant X - a group organized to find and protect fellow New Mutants from the agency that created them. While litigation continues between Tribune Entertainment, Marvel Entertainment and 20th Century Fox over the show's alleged X-MEN rights violations, MUTANT X continues production and will debut as scheduled. And while Shea stresses that his series is not X-MEN, it's sure to draw followers of the comic book property and summer 2000 blockbuster, as well as fans from the actor's LOIS & CLARK days. Legal issues aside, Shea feels that MUTANT X is "the perfect series at the perfect time" in his career. "After being part of the team that created LOIS & CLARK for a period of over four years and having seen it become a global phenomenon, I [decided to] wait five years," says Shea. "I retreated into the independent film world, to the New York theater world, and I didn't want to come back into the mainstream television world until I knew that I could come onto something that was equally good and not be embarrassing. I knew I wanted to do something different and that was going to be a hit. I read a lot of pilots. I was offered lots of TV series, and I waited until MUTANT X came along."

In this go around, Shea plays the good guy, the moral core of the series. Adam is the leader of MUTANT X whose last name is shrouded in mystery and who just might be the smartest man alive. "He was a scientist, a 19-year-old prodigy at Stanford University, a bio-geneticist, hired away to go work for a company called Genomex," Shea says. "He started working doing agricultural cross-fertilization using cross-gene work, thinking this work was going to be for Alberta, for Saskatchewan, for Kansas and Nebraska. Then, of course, it turns out that the things he was developing agriculturally, maybe even for animals in terms of genetic engineering and cloning, was secretly being used by the darker side of this corporation for human genetic engineering."

Going deeper into the roots of the series, Shea outlines a story based on corruption, conspiracy and, of course, super-powers. Think of it as the SUPERFRIENDS meets DARK ANGEL. "[My character] discovers that Genomex is actually a cover corporation for a wing of the CIA - the American Industrial Complex - and that they're using the genetic research to develop these powers in human embryos. He's disgusted by this and he downloads everything he can before he can be captured. And then what happens in the course of the series is that the embryos that were experimented upon are now coming into maturity and people are discovering, much to their surprise, that they have these astonishing powers. They also find out they are being pursued by this branch of the government called the GSA - or the Genetics Security Agency - which is now trying to track us down, hunt us down, to exploit the powers for their own dark purposes. You can imagine how they could use guys like this in espionage and in mind control. Or they will kill us if we don't play their game."

So Adam takes the millions he made on the Internet and builds an underground sanctuary, full of peaceful-looking plants and waterfalls, but also very high-tech computer gadgetry and a VTOL vehicle. There, he is joined by four young New Mutants - Shalimar (Victoria Pratt), Jesse (Forbes March), Brennan (Victor Webster) and Emma (Lauren Lee Smith) - in his mission. While Shea acknowledges that it's fun to play a hero, he considers Adam to be more of an anti-hero. "He's complex, a very human being, not a one-dimensional super-hero by any stretch," Shea says. "The guy is a scientist, and that's already a weird and a complicated thing to be. Secondly, he is on the run, so he's a fugitive scientist. He's being hunted down by the GSA, which is actually part of the government, and that's the law, so he's an outlaw scientist. So that becomes complicated for him emotionally, intellectually and spiritually and it makes him much more interesting to play."

Having been involved in a comic book based series once before, Shea understands the importance of visuals. To that end, he insists that MUTANT X is raising the bar for TV.

"This show is being produced by this top-notch team," Shea says. "Jamie Paul Rock and his team created LA FEMME NIKITA. And if anybody saw that, you know that it looked really good. It was shot like a feature film, like ours is, shot like a feature film. It's all done with state-of-the-art CGI. The stuff that we can do on this show couldn't be done on a television show, even when we were shooting LOIS & CLARK. Because in the last seven years, the technology has allowed us to do astounding things on a weekly basis that seven years ago, you could only do on a feature film. So it looks astonishing."
....
Besides, with 44 episodes of MUTANT X ordered, Shea will be pretty active over the next two years. "It gives us a future to evolve this for the next two seasons," Shea says. "That's a real luxury for the writers and the actors and the directors and the production team, so we can plan these stories out over a long period of time."

© Cinescape


[Also excerpted on Comics 2 Film 10/10/01]

John Shea Extols Mutant X

John Shea, star of the new syndicated SF series Mutant X, told SCI FI Wire that he signed because, after several years of work in stage plays and independent features, it was time to find a high-profile job. "In the cycle of my life, what I've done over the last 25 years is go in and out of commercial work," the actor said in an interview. "When Mutant X was offered to me, it seemed like the natural evolution of the cycle, back to the commercial end, back to where I'd been with Lois & Clark."

Genre fans will remember that Shea co-starred as Lex Luthor on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. After that, he spent five years appearing in Broadway and off-Broadway shows, as well as in numerous independent films—among them the drama Southie, which he co-wrote, directed and acted in opposite Charmed's Rose McGowan. Shea's other genre credits include Tales from the Crypt, The Man from Atlantis, Freejack, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid and the upcoming indie film The Empath. Now he's on board for Mutant X, a series with a guaranteed run of 44 episodes. On Mutant X, Shea plays Adam, a wealthy scientist who unwittingly partook in experiments that resulted in the creation of 1,000 genetically enhanced mutants. Seeking to right the situation, Adam oversees Mutant X, a group that operates in secret, attempting to recruit mutants to its cause; save mutants from the clutches of the Genetic Security Agency and its malevolent security chief, Mason Eckhart (Tom McManus), who is determined to eliminate all mutants before society takes note of them; and, in the process, protect mankind from renegade mutants. "I didn't want to repeat myself and play another villain" like Luthor, Shea said. "What I like about Adam is that he's sort of an antihero. He's a wounded idealist, which is something I could relate to. And he's clearly the hero of the piece, or one of the heroes. He's on the run from the government and hiding underground. I liked that he's a complicated modern hero who's not so clearly black and white. I also met with [producer] Jamie Paul Rock and Howard Chaykin, the head writer, and I liked their take on what they promised would come. They said Mutant X would become an ensemble piece that would deal with some fairly serious issues and, at the same time, be enormously entertaining and broadly popular. I thought if I was going to be back in the world of television, I wanted to be in something that would be a hit, and this will be on the air for at least two years."

Shea added, "That also gave them the luxury of planning the evolution of my character and the show. So it wasn't a normal TV series situation. You weren't making a pilot and hoping it would get picked up for six episodes or 13 episodes and then another nine. This was an extraordinary opportunity: to know that you'd get to go out and shoot 44 shows, that there was an extraordinary production behind it that would allow the material to develop. So, everything considered, it made sense to me." Mutant X airs its second episode the week of Oct. 8.

© SciFi.com


Excerpt from Mania TV 10/20/01

The Next Evolution of Mutant Kind: MUTANT X brings the concept of super-powered mutants to the real world
By: Rob Allstetter, Correspondent Date: Saturday, October 20, 2001

One of them shoots electricity out of his hands. Another can change his mass at will. One manipulates and reads emotions. And still another has strange cat-like abilities. No, they're not the X-Men, but rather they're the next best thing the characters of MUTANT X, the latest weekly television series to tackle the syndicated genre market. Not coincidentally, one of the show's producers is Marvel Studios, home of the aforementioned mutant team. And while the characters might sound like the comic book band of super-heroes (so much so, in fact, that 20th Century Fox has filed suit alleging violations against its movie rights), MUTANT X puts a new spin on the concept of super-powered mutants. Instead of being born with their abilities, the characters of MUTANT X are engineered the results of genome splicing some 15 to 20 years earlier. Look at it as stem cell research gone awry. "This is based on potentially real issues," says Marvel's Avi Arad, creator of MUTANT X. "I thought it was time to develop another universe that is sort of into the next millennium that in some way does exist."

John Shea, who played Lex Luthor in LOIS & CLARK: THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, stars as Adam, the man inadvertently responsible for the mutant outbreak. He is a brilliant geneticist utilizing his research for a company called Genomex. However, the company is actually a front for a corrupt government agency using the research on human embryos in the hopes of developing "super-soldiers." "Now, there is a product recall," Arad says. "These babies are now 18, 20, 25 and so on. They know they are different. They were born different. Many of them were changed in the embryo stage or even pre-embryo. So it's definitely not the X-Men. It's about genome technology. It's a whole new universe of mutants."

As established in the series' first two episodes, Adam tries to safeguard the emerging "New Mutants" from his old Genomex rival, Mason Eckhart, and the villain's newly formed Genetic Security Agency. The scientist goes underground, builds a huge sanctuary and forms the Mutant X team to help find and protect others like themselves. "It's like THE FUGITIVE," Arad says. "But it's not like the world is against them; the world is really unaware that they exist."

Like so many of Marvel's other comic book characters, from Spider-Man to the Incredible Hulk, MUTANT X plays into the adolescent theme of alienation. "The beauty of this show is that anybody in the audience could be one of these New Mutants," Shea says. "It's not like you look different from somebody else. There's an episode where a young boy is being kidnapped and he gets really angry at one point. Suddenly, fire erupts from his hands and he burns something accidentally. He doesn't even know that he's got the power. It just manifests itself. He looks like a normal kid in seventh or eighth or 10th grade. Suddenly, it just erupts. This stuff has been genetically implanted and it all manifests at different points of maturation. Then the person has to figure out how to deal with it.
"Oftentimes, they're embarrassed by it," he continues. "Oftentimes, along with the power, comes a chagrin and a responsibility. They're feeling like outcasts. [Mutant X's] job is to try to find them before the other guys find them and try to deal with that kind of power however it's manifesting."

© Mania TV


Excerpt from SFX 1/02: John Shea, on John Shea Fans

SFX January 2002 interview

He was the other Lex Luthor that wasn't Gene Hackman. What is it about the letter X for John Shea? You're a delectable stud muffin or a gorgeous babe. You wake up one morning and you've suddenly developed superpowers. So, who do you turn to? If you're one of the unfeasibly attractive members of Mutant X, chances are you'd seek out Adam, leader of a rebel organisation that harbours mutants and sends them out to fight evil. Because, as John Shea puts it, he's their new dad. "It's fun for me because I am a father in real life, so I understand that parental thing," he tells us, proudly. "Adam's a director, a coach on a team, because I have to direct their energies into a positive realm rather than a negative."

Adam's presence provides the show with a weighty central character to balance out the bevy of male and female beauties, many of whom have only just entered this old business called "show". "For some of them, this is their first major piece of work; they're really just beginning," he confirms. "And I do feel more like a veteran here: 40 feature films; this is my third television series, and I've been in 20 plays in New York. I've done films all over the world, including England.... "So, anyway, I feel now as I meet all these younger actors, that I'm an old pro who's been out there and done all this other stuff."
....
Shea is especially philosophical about Mutant X after the events of September 11. "We're at war; I'm from New York, I've got friends down there in Ground Zero and firemen are losing their lives... I thought, God, what a silly thing I do for a living! Then I thought, no: we're providing a world that people can travel to. They can forget about all the events outside and feel good about themselves." He pauses to think. "Mutant X was to me a potentially interesting world. It seemed to be original; I'd never seen a world in which people had been created through genetic mutation that gave them these cool powers."

Obviously he hasn't seen the X-Men movie, but he has gone out of his way to paw through some old X-Men and Mutant X comic books. "There are parallels, but there are also vast differences. Our characters are trying to create three-dimensional human beings. What we discovered on Lois & Clark, which I think is true for Mutant X, is that the audience tire very quickly of characters that they cannot relate to. If these characters are just larger than life, and don't feel sadness and pain then it's gonna get very boring."

So what of Adam? He's surrounded by fanciable young 'uns, but will he ever get to have some fun himself? "We just shot an episode where an old lover comes back into my life," he says, wryly. "I won't tell you what happens, but it was a really interesting episode!" Any rampant sex, a la Helen Mirren in Hussy? "No, but she had stealth abilities," he admits. "That's a very sexy thing to have!"

© SFX


SciFi 6/02: Forbes March, John Shea, and executive producer Howard Chaykin, on Ground Control

The DNA-Team: Go behind the scenes to learn the ABCs on the syndicated superheroes of Mutant X
By Kathie Huddleston Scifi: The Official Magazine of the SCI FI Channel June 2002

By utilising the production team behind La Femme Nikita, casting a group of young, talented actors, backing them up with established actors Shea and Tom McCamus (who plays the evil Eckhart), and taking the material seriously, Mutant X has created a unique style and tone that make it unlike anything else on air.
....
The biggest change will be caused by the temporary departure of McCamus, whose character, Eckhart, fuels the conspiracy to hunt down every new mutant he can find. “Tom McCamus is an astonishing actor. He’s basically going off to do Richard III. He’s wonderful, and frankly he didn’t want to expend himself. But he definitely comes back, there’s not a question of that,” said Chaykin.

Losing an outstanding villain like Eckhart as a regular presence has the potential to hurt a series, especially one that’s just starting to establish itself. However, Shea believes the writers are up to the challenge. “It’s been my experience that that which is at first seemingly really negative and horrible, like the thought of losing Tom, turns into a positive thing, because it allows new ideas and new creativity to enter the picture. So Tom is willingly stepping away from the role so he can pursue other opportunities. I’m very happy for him and I would do the same thing if I were in his position. What that will do is allow the writers to introduce new people from Genomex into the mix, and I already know it’s going to be fantastic because we’re going to introduce them in the last episode of the season.”

© Scifi.com


Comics Continuum 7/5/02: John Shea

MUTANT X'S JOHN SHEA
By Rob Allstetter/The Comics Continuum

TORONTO -- "Welcome to Mutant X." John Shea gets up from behind a desk, smiles and extends his hand in greeting. It's a busy Monday on the set of Mutant X, and Shea's Adam -- leader of the Marvel-created team -- is in almost every scene for the "Meaning of Death" episode.

"Something, isn't it?" Shea asks rhetorically, letting go of the handshake and turning his head. Behind him and through an archway, two dozen extras dressed as medical attendants mill about the set, a high-tech lab where Adam is forced to work with agents of the enemy Genomex to try to save new mutants infected with a virus. Twenty-seven patient beds, attached to scifi-ish monitoring devices, neatly line up in three rows, with airbag-like canvas walls against red and yellow tarp backdrops. You would never guess it's really an indoor soccer practice field on an old air base in northern Toronto.

Dressed in a silver lab coat and looking very much the doctor, Shea excuses himself. He's called in for the scene, a heated exchange with Genomex associate Marlowe, played by Anthony Lemke, an invulnerable new mutant who saw his family die and struggles with his seeming immortality. As an infected new mutant goes into cardiac arrest, Marlowe leans over her, sickly fascinated by her imminent demise. "What's it like? Tell me," he pleads, grabbing her face. Alerted by a flatline signal, Adam races to her bed, and confronts Marlowe. The two shout each other, raising their voices with each line. "You get outta here!" Adam finally screams. As Marlowe leaves, Adam looks down at the mutant, now dead, and pulls a blanket over her head. Another death on his hands, and his steely-eyed rage turns to sorrow. Adam hangs his head in grief and guilt, and the director cuts the shot.

Guilt. It's not a feeling Shea had to display much as the suave, deadly Lex Luthor in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, the television role for which he is probably best known. But that was five years ago. This is a different world and a different character. And it also raises the question: Where has Shea been and how'd he return to the comic-book world with Mutant X? We'll let him explain.

"After being part of that team that created Lois and Clark and having been involved in that creative team for a period of over four years and having seen it go global, and become a global phenomenon, I waited five years," Shea says. "I retreated into the independent film world, to the New York theater world, and I didn't want to come back into the mainstream television world until I knew that I could come onto something that was equally good and not be embarrassing. I knew I wanted to do something different and that was going to be a hit.
"I read a lot of pilots. I was offered lots of TV series, and I waited until Mutant X came along. It was the perfect place, it was the perfect series, at the perfect time in my life."

Seth Howard of Tribune Entertainment, which produces the syndicated Mutant X in association with Marvel Studios, agrees. "Everyone involved had their own opinions as to who should play Adam, and we were submitted every actor that was out there," Howard says. "This was the hardest part to cast because no one was sure how to see this character. When John's name came up, everyone's eyes lit up. His stage work, movie roles, and of course his unforgettable -- and definitive -- portrayal of Lex Luthor in Lois and Clark, made him the perfect choice. From how well the series has been received, you have to agree."

Shea says he was struck by concept of Mutant X, where genetic tampering, based on Adam's research, has created thousands of emerging new mutants. Disgusted with where his work has gone, Adam heads underground to form Mutant X. His mission is simple: locate mutants, help them and protect them from Genomex and its government guise, the Genetic Security Agency. "This show should not be really confused with the X-Men, which is a very different kind of show," Shea says. "The writing here is making these characters very different and very human. One of the best things about Lois and Clark is that we tried to make those comic-book characters human and bring to them all kinds of emotions you might not read in a one-dimensional or two-dimensional comic-book style. We're creating a drama here."

While Shea says it's fun to be a hero, he considers Adam to be more of an anti-hero. "It's complex, a very human being, not a one-dimensional superhero by any stretch," Shea says. "The guy is a scientist, and that's already a weird thing to be, and a complicated thing to be. Secondly, he is on the run, so he's a fugitive scientist. He's being hunted down by the GSA, but that's actually part of the government, and that's the law, so he's an outlaw scientist. So that becomes complicated for me emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. And it makes him much more interesting to play."

"Adam is a tortured soul," Howard says. "This is a character that feels so much guilt and responsibility, his actions become a direct reaction to those feelings. Not every actor can bring that much to the table and still be able to kick some ass. There are so many guys out there that could have been cast but there are only a handful of actors. John is one of those actors. We are lucky to have him on the team."

Having been involved with a comic-book show before, Shea knows the importance of visuals. He says Mutant X has raised the bar for TV, with flashy camera angles and cuts, lots of wire-work action and special effects. "The stuff that we can do on this show couldn't be done on a television show, even when we were shooting Lois and Clark," Shea says. "Because in the last seven years, the technology has allowed us to do astounding things on a weekly basis that seven years ago, you could only do on a feature film. So it looks astonishing."

Despite the popularity of Mutant X, some people will always associate Shea with Lex Luthor, a character first brought to life by Gene Hackman in the Superman movie series and now being continued by Michael Rosenbaum in Smallville. Even as production of Mutant X started, rumors swirled about a possible Lois and Clark reunion -- the show remains a fixture on TNT these days. At a comics convention the previous weekend, fans approached Shea about returning as Luthor. "There are no Lois and Clark projects that I know about that are planned," Shea says. "If there were to be, I would probably be part of them. Teri Hatcher, who played Lois, was just in town shooting a film. She and I stay in touch all the time. We talk about doing something maybe down the line, but at the moment there is nothing planned."

Besides, with 44 episodes of Mutant X ordered and a second season on the way, Shea will be plenty busy. "It gives us a future to evolve this for two seasons," Shea says. "That's a real luxury for the writers and the actors and the directors and the production team, so we can plan these stories out over a long period of time."

© Comics Continuum


Comics Continuum 8/15/02: John Shea

John Shea Talks Mutant X's Season 2

Season 2 of the syndicated Mutant X television series promises to be more realistic and full of surprises, star John Shea said. Shea, who plays Adam, appeared at the recent Comic-Con International in San Diego with castmates Forbes March (Jesse), Victoria Pratt (Shalimar) and Lauren Lee Smith (Emma), as well as Tribune Entertainment's Seth Howard. "We're having fun," Shea said. "My favorite poet, Wallace Stevens said, 'We climb to heaven on a stairway of surprise.' The only thing I can tell you is that there are all kinds of surprises in store for you in Season 2.
"One of the best things about the Mutant X world is that it's changing, it's mutating, it is evolving. The Sanctuary, where we all hang out, is transformed. I won't tell you exactly how. But stuff is gone. The world that was so completely clean-surfaced is now littered with real life.
"The world of Genomex that you know is no longer that much of a threat. So what happened in the time between Season 1 and Season 2 is that we were able to rethink our environment. We redesigned everything. We've changed things around to make it much more like real life."

Shea said that the changes will involve his character as well. "What you discover about Adam is that things are not what they seem," Shea said. "This guy who is always sort of noble and heroic and always this kind of purer-than-life, charismatic leader, has some hidden sides as well. It turns out that he wasn't just in genetics, but he also had his fingers in all kinds of parts of the military industrial complex. He's working with the government, he's working with CIA, he's working with Interpol.
"He's a genius, and he's really rich. The question is: How did he make that money and what did he do with his brains? And we're going to find that stuff out as Season 2 goes by."

The first season ended with Gabriel Ashlocke, the first New Mutant, taking over Genomex. Played by Michael Easton, Gabriel will be featured in three episodes of the second season. "Gabriel Ashlocke, Patient Zero, who is endowed with all those powers in one human being, turns out to be a fairly formidable rival," Shea said. "But he's the first of many to come as people come out of the woodwork and Adam's past comes back to haunt him."

© Comics Continuum


Excerpt from SciFi Stream 8/18/02: Forbes March, Victoria Pratt, and John Shea

MUTANT X :: Meet the cast

We travelled out to the set of Mutant X, the new action drama about human mutants posessing extraordinary powers as a result of genetic experimentation gone awry, to get the scoop from the inside! Sci-fi veteran John Shea stars in the eagerly anticipated action hour, and he, along with co-stars Victoria Pratt and Forbes March, gives us a guided tour of their brand new lair, "The Sanctuary!"
....
John Shea: The character of Adam is a complicated character. One of the reasons I liked him was that he wasn't just a pure straight all-American hero. I mean, he was much more of a complicated modern anti-hero, in the sense that he's a scientist on the run from the law. He's an outlaw scientist. And I like that about him. There's also something of the wounded idealist about him that I relate to. His back story is that he was a scientist, sort of a prodigy, a scientific prodigy coming out of Stanford with a PhD at the age of 19. Was hired by a private corporation called Genomex to start doing genetic research and thought he was doing it in agriculture, and he was coming up with all kinds of interesting hybridization ideas. And then found his ideas being coopted and being used in human genetic experiments that were going on within this corporation that he didn't know about. And so then when he found out that he was party to the creation of a whole series of human genetic experiments, he was aghast and downloaded as much of the information as he could to wipe out the programs that he had created and take the list of all of the embryos which had been experimented on and sort of went into hiding. And as the series is picked up, we see him on the run and underground from the government, who has created the GSA, the Genetic Security Agency, to try hunt him down. And all of the mutant embryos that are now maturing and developing and manifesting these extraordinary powers. In the first couple of episodes, even before the series begins, he's gotten two people. One is the character of Shalimar, who has her human abilities have been cross bred with those of a cat. So she's a feral. And she has cat-like abilities. So she can jump, move, do astounding physical things.
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John: The other one is a character called Jesse Kilmartin, who is somebody who has the ability to materialize and dematerialize, or to mass and mass out. To create a solid impermeable structure and then to equally create something that energy can pass through. So it's an astonishing ability and it comes in, obviously, really useful through the course of the episodes.
....
John: One of the things that drew me to the series was that these were not being treated as one-dimensional kind of cardboard comic book characters. One of the brilliant things about "Lois & Clark" was that we tried to make those characters as real as possible. They had both strengths and weaknesses. They had flaws. They were very human. And certainly, Clark was human. Lois was human. Lex Luthor was human. You know, we all had our vulnerabilities. And that's what we're trying to create here as well. One of the things when I read this that drew me to it, was that I saw that possibility. That the characters make mistakes. That they're human. But they're humans with extraordinary abilities. And with those abilities come all kinds of problems.
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John: I think it's set like 5 minutes in the future. I don't see it as happening, you know. This is a very stylized world. It's a very different kind of world, I don't know if you saw the film Gattaca. There's a kind of simplicity to it. There's a stylization to the set designs, the designs that you're looking around here. The wardrobe, the makeup, and the writing, and the acting, it's all supernaturalistic. But at the same time it's set slightly in the future. And I'd say like 5 minutes in the future. So in a way, it's a cautionary tale as well.
....
John: I believe that there's genetic research going on right now. I believe that here in Toronto, or in New York City, or in Los Angeles, or in any major city. We know that it's going on in Paris. We know that it's going on around the world right now, that people are trying to genetically engineer embryos. And who knows what's going to happen as people start to take animal genes and transplant them with human genes, and take some human things and try to augment them. And 100 years from now, even ten years from now, we may be finding that this show that we're doing is not so far-fetched.
....
John: I believe that the show is going to be enormously entertaining for those who want to enter into this world. I think people are gonna find that it's gonna be satisfying on a lot of different levels. There's great action; there's great adventure. The dramas are interesting, the characters are interesting. There's some humor involved. You know...

© SciFi.com and Tribune Entertainment


Sci Fi Wire 12/20/02: John Shea

Mutant X Speeds Up

John Shea, who stars as Adam on the hit syndicated SF series Mutant X, told SCI FI Wire that producers have addressed complaints about the show's preponderance of slow-motion shots. "That's already been changed," said the former co-star of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. The changes will be evident in episodes airing in January. "Every once in a while, there's a moment where you need to slow it down, because something will happen so quickly you can't see it," Shea said in an interview. "But what we've done is bring someone in from Jackie Chan's organization to work with us here as one of our stuntmen. Our fight coordinator works with Jet Li and comes from Hong Kong. So what we've decided is that when we shoot a fight scene, we're going to devote much more time to it. We just had a huge fight sequence I was involved in a couple of weeks ago, in an [upcoming] episode called 'A Whiter Shade of Pale.' We devoted an entire day, 10 hours, to shooting this one sequence. It's really cool, and there's no slow motion. In the first few episodes, [the slow motion] was like a new tool the editors had. I think they overplayed their hand. And I think we've got a new style of action that's evolving."

© Sci Fi Wire


Excerpt from Zap 2 It 4/6/04: John Shea | Sun Sentinel 4/10/04

'Mutant X's' John Shea Goes West
By Kate O'Hare (Tuesday, April 06 03:38 PM)

HOLLYWOOD (Zap2it.com) - - After apparently returning from the dead on the syndicated science-fiction series "Mutant X," actor John Shea is experiencing a resurrection of sorts in other areas of his life. The long-time New York resident temporarily has left Gotham behind for the golden shores of Southern California. "Over the years, I've lived in L.A. many, many times," he says. "But this is the first time I've lived in Venice. I'm right on the Boardwalk. It's so cool.

"There's this great world outside the windows. As I talk to you, I'm looking out over the ocean. Then there's this parade of characters that marches below on the Boardwalk. It reminds me of New York.
"I've just been on the East Coast. From the stage in New York, I went to Toronto to do 'Mutant X.' Now, with 'Mutant X' finishing up its third season, I thought it was time to return to L.A. I'm feeling like I'm being reborn here."

Shea spent two seasons as a regular in "Mutant X," playing Adam Kane, a genetic scientist protecting a group of his mutant creations from his former employer, now determined to hunt them down. The original cast included Victoria Pratt, Victor Webster, Forbes March and Lauren Lee Smith. At the end of season two, the destruction of a genetic lab left Smith's character, telepathic mutant Emma DeLauro, dead, and Kane missing. "I was very sad," Shea says about Smith being dropped from the cast. "I loved her. On the other hand, in the world of 'Mutant X,' anything can happen. It's like in real life -- now you see them, now you don't. That shock that everyone felt when that happened reflects what happens in real life, when people in your life suddenly disappear and there's no good reason why. They're just not there anymore.
"They've been killed; they've disappeared; they've run away. Whatever it might be, they're just not there, and they leave a hole in your life, a wound. I feel that her loss was a kind of wound that's still felt by me and the audience."

It was well into the third season before the Mutant X team learned that Kane was not dead, but in hiding. "When producer Peter Mohan and I talked about how I might come back and how interesting it might be, the idea was to have disappeared for a good reason," Shea explains. "That is, I had been underground, doing investigations about the threats that were out there for all of us.
"The only way to do that was to fake my own death. In doing that, I've gone into deep cover. I discovered things that I will now reveal over the next six episodes. The show has this paranoid world view that reflects the paranoid world we live in, where there's secret cells of al-Qaida in your corner grocery."

Adam's disappearance coincided with the arrival of new team member Lexa Pierce (Karen Cliche), a mutant who can bend light, and who has her own personal history with Adam. The team hardly welcomed her with open arms. "What Peter is reflecting in the writing," Shea says, "is the fact that it's very difficult to know who to trust in this day and age. That's one of the things Peter and I talked about. There's this new team member, Lexa Pierce. They don't know if they can trust her or not; she doesn't know if she can trust him.
"With Adam gone, there's no kind of moral compass. They're on their own. When he does come back, it's 'Why was he gone? Can we trust what he's saying? Why did he abandon us?' It's all the feelings of betrayal that people have."
....
"The last episode of 'Mutant X' we shot, the last 20 minutes of the film were all CGI, so it's sort of like shooting 'Lord of the Rings.' We're acting in sets that aren't really there and talking to people that aren't really there. I feel like I'm plugged into where the future of film and television is going."
....
It's unsure whether he'll return to 'Mutant X' for its fourth season. "That remains to be seen," he says. "Let's put it this way, I would like to go back, because season three ends on another very cool cliffhanger.
"I'm not under contract with them, but I feel like I'm under contract with the audience. I wouldn't want to be left at the altar. So I would like to go back and shoot some episodes that would resolve that character arc, do it in an artistic and intelligent fashion, so that people weren't just left hanging."

CYBERSPATIAL ANOMALIES: "Mutant-Xtreme" at cetara.tripod.com/mutantx/main.html offers series info and "Rumors." Meanwhile, the show's official site can be found at mutantx.com.

© Zap 2 It


Excerpt from The Epoch Times 2/6/07: John Shea & Times Square 3/22/07

Broadway After Dark: X-Man Returns From LA
By Ward Morehouse III Feb 06, 2007

After 25 years in Manhattan, Shea left six years ago to star in a series called Mutant X for the WB, now the CW network. It proved to be a success and was co-produced by Marvel Comics because it was based on their X-Men comic book series. Shea played the scientist, Adam Kane, who created the mutants and, like the Patrick Stewart character in the movie version, led a small group of them underground in their heroic vigilante action adventures. Shea said, after many years working off-Broadway, Mutant X was a welcome return to mainstream entertainment. The series played in 120 counties around the world and Shea was nominated for a Genie Award (a Canadian Emmy) for Best Actor.

© The Epoch Times


Excerpt from Comicbook Movie 3/26/13: John Shea

Interview with former (possibly future) Lex Luthor John Shea!
By NextHero08 - 3/26/2013

Me: “Mutant X was a very successful show with high ratings. Um, just for your fans, what were your feelings when the show was cancelled?”
John: “Disappointment! Because, it was a global success, it was playing in 150 countries around the world, it was created by Marvel Comics because they had created the Mutant X/X-Men mythology many years before Warner Brothers, I think, owns Marvel Comics…and then they approached the Tribune entertainment (company), which is the company in Chicago that owns the Chicago Cubs and the um, Chicago newspapers, right?...And then those two companies went into partnership with a company in Canada called Fireworks, which is in partnership with a much larger company, and I forget the name of that company, but it was a big comedian conglomerate that had lumber, and mining, and hotels and shipping and airlines and they were worth billions of dollars so the television business was just one arrow in their quiver and after three years of doing Mutant X, they got tired of, of that part of the business. They realize, ya know, it’s more trouble than it’s worth then for whatever reason and they said,” Were gonna close our television investment branch down” and that meant Mutant X was out of luck and there was really nothing we could do about it because of the tax advantages and the exchange of the Canadian-US dollar they were, that Warner Brothers was enjoying in Canada and the whole thing got shut down and so we had to find a way to end it very quickly so that our fans would be satisfied because I was really angry for our fans. Because why would it suddenly end? When it was a success? And so the answer was things we could never really explain to our fans, financial pressures we were under. So we then tried to find a way to gracefully end it. But they also, this Canadian company, you can look it up online, they broke my contract. I was guaranteed 22 episodes in that final season and they said, and I agreed to the contract, and…and they broke it. They said “Were not going to pick up your contract at all” and I said “What?” and they said “Yea, well we wanna save money and so screw you” and I said “Really?” So I hire the best lawyer in Los Angeles and we threaten to sue them and knowing we were in the right, um they…we made a deal with them which was that I would come back in the third season of Mutant X, I think, like 12 instead of 22 episodes and the deal for me was that I could live with the writers and find a way to end the series gracefully and bring it to a logical conclusion for the fans around the world and that’s what we tried to do…They were horrible. Horrible. Greedy. Didn’t care at all about the series and um, well anyway, the actors really did (want the series back) and Warner Brothers really did, Marvel obviously did so we fought to bring it to a conclusion.”

Me: “As far as both Mutant X and Lois & Clark…would you, either by yourself or with Dean come back for, say like a tv movie a where is Superman and Lex is now or with Mutant X for…where the team is now or would you consider doing a web show?...Would you be willing to do that, is that something you might do in the future?”
John: “I write and direct films as well and I’m about to direct my next film, I’m in pre-production for it right now, a film called Grey Lady ok. It’s a thriller and, but, let me just say because I’m writing and I already have my next film that I wanna direct…after that, so I don’t have time to write something like this. So I would need someone to write it and then bring it to me or to my agents, my managers, and figure out a way to do it but yes…I’m open to anything. I work anywhere, anytime, all over the world and I work in the theatre, I work in film, I work in television, I write, I direct and I act and so I feel like, um, if somebody came up to me with a good idea about doing a webisode, let’s say with Luthor, now here we are 25 years later, 20 years later ya know? And what Luthor’s like as an older guy and ya know, what’s happened to his life. It might be really interesting. Uh, I would be happy to do it, it just has to be well written, and then bring it to me…and I’d try to make it happen.”

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