Wednesday, 06 August 2008 By Kenn Gold, Jim Iaccino & Jennifer Iaccino
Ed Quinn plays Nathan Stark in SCI FI Channel’s Eureka, the story about the town inhabited by geniuses. Nathan, who was brought in after the series pilot to run Global Dynamics has had an interesting change in his character during the first two seasons, and it looks like we will get to see more of his interactions with Sheriff Carter for season 3. The network has also shown it’s faith in the series by giving it a 21 episode order this year (Season 1 was 12 episodes and Season 2 was 13). Eight episodes will be shown first, then an additional 13 will air after a hiatus.
Ed recently stopped by “The Two Doctors” radio show to discuss the new direction that the show will be taking this season, as well as what it means for the cast and crew to have a longer season.
You’ve got more episodes this year right?
Ed Quinn> Yeah, I don’t know if it was strike related or just the idea to really increase the content. But yeah, we have a 21 total episode order, eight with a break and a back order of 13. It’s exciting, but I’m sure the writers are a little nervous. It’s a pretty big order for them. But I think they’re going to do a find job and rise to the challenge.
Whose idea was it to do the awesome ad based on Mr. Rogers neighborhood?
Ed Quinn> That is all 100% Sci Fi’s publicity department in New York. They do all of our press, and I’m telling you, they are as every bit innovative and genius as the creation of the show. I joke about this, but I think my favorite scene last year was the PSA. It was so fun and snarky and cynical, and such a great send up of all of those PSAs we’ve had to watch forever. Then this year, the great musical. They did such a great job. It’s just so much fun and I think captures the true spirit of the show.
Do you have a favorite invention from the show?
Ed Quinn> I like the ability that whatever you thought would come up on the computer screen; what your subconscious wanted it would actually search. I thought that would be kind of funny if we could all do that and learn exactly who we really are. We all go on the internet and Google things we should be looking at. But it would be interesting to know what our dark side really wants to look up. On the one hand, it’s very informative to who you are allows you to surf a whole bunch of stuff that might break through with your personality.
The 21 episode commitment is great news for all of us fans, but is the 21 episode order going to be a hardship on the actors who don’t live in Vancouver, and commute from LA?
Ed Quinn> It really is. I think the hardest actually is on the crew. The crew there is called to wrap everyday. I don’t think there is another crew that could shoot the show. We do a seven day episode, which means we shoot every episode in seven days. If you think of a show like Battlestar Galactica that really only shoots on set, they don’t really go on location very much; they do eight day episodes with a second unit. A show like Lost probably does eight to nine day episodes with several second units going. When we do an episode in seven days, our crew is just being ground down. The thing is, you don’t see it in the quality. There is no drop off in the way the show is being presented, filmed or shot. I think the most hardships for the crew, but also for Colin. He’s in 80 to 90% of the show. He’s the one that when it’s a grind like that, he’s already pretty exhausted. Right now, we’re closing up on these first eight episodes, and he’ll get a bit of a break. We’ve also never shot in the winter so that’s going to be really hard on people. We always come up in March and wrap in July. Sure it rains a bit, but it’s not winter. So it’s going to be interesting to see how all these kids from LA handle the dark cold.
Do you have a month break then between shooting the episodes?
Ed Quinn> Yeah, it will probably be about six weeks that we have off.
When you are committed to Eureka, is it possible to be doing other things? Like I saw Colin in Fear Itself awhile back.
Ed Quinn> Yeah, its two things. The first is schedule. Things just have to be going in just the right time. There were a couple of pretty big projects that I was up for that just pushed into the beginning of the season. Also, it’s a completely different medium for film and a completely different world for establishing yourself in it. Like the two movies I did last year, one is probably going to be released in August in a smaller release; LA and New York and stuff like that for The Neighbor. Then another film I did, The Rainbow Tribe, they’re in talks of doing a sequel and the movie hasn’t even been released. There are a lot of kids in the movie and they want to shoot a sequel before the kids grow up too much. So it’s a long process and a slow process and it’s timing. When you have a television series, it can be really difficult. The job you want may just not be shooting when you are available. Colin was able to sneak in Fear Itself right before we went back into production, which was great. Our supervising producer, Grant Rosenberg, who we absolutely love and missed a lot this year, he is actually producing that show. So he’s in Edmonton doing that show. He definitely wanted to get Colin on that series, and he was able to get one in, then we went back into production. Hopefully it will come back, and I’ll try to get on that show next year.
Eureka is such an amazing show and you have to be able to speak the technical lingo. But what is the genre that you are really into when it comes to acting?
Ed Quinn> The darker it can be, or the lighter. I’d really rather be doing dark comedy. I actually love broad comedy. Comedy is really fun because you are trying to tell a real story, but you have the added pressure of trying to do big jokes and get big reversals. The way you work with a cast, Colin and I do a pretty good job of setting each other up. If Stark has a great one line or Colin has a great one liner, it’s great to be able to hit the joke. But what you don’t realize sometimes as an audience member is that what set the joke up is the other guy. Stark ends up ends up getting a whole lot of great one liners on the show, and that’s because Colin Ferguson is such a talented comedian, he knows exactly how to set up. He throws me the softball and I can hit it out of the park. I really do love that, but besides that though, when I watch television I tend to like really, really dark complex dramas. My favorite shows from back in the day are Sopranos and West Wing. Right now Dexter is just such a phenomenal show. That first season of Friday Night Lights was just as good a first season of television as you could find. Those are the kind of shows that really get me excited. It sounds like both ends of the spectrum, but those are the two things that I really look for.
One thing that I think is clear is that Eureka is getting a lot of support from Sci Fi and the fan base is just growing, if anything. It’s probably a show that could easily last for another five or six years easily. Do you see yourself being a part of it for the long haul?
Ed Quinn> The network really does love the series. It felt like they found the tone in the second season that’s given them confidence to order the 21 episodes. Season 2 really found more of a procedural tone, while the serial aspects kind of took a back seat. It kind of became more of a calamity of week kind of thing, and Carter and I are running around trying to solve it. Of course you say, “Yeah, I’d like to be a part of it from beginning to end.” But shows change, shows evolve. And sometimes characters don’t evolve with them. So you just go in every day and every season and just try to do your best work and see where it goes. The show is kind of organic and depending on where it goes and some characters can evolve with the show and some can’t. I think you’ll see this season that there will definitely be some losses of some supporting characters, and an introduction to a bunch of new ones.
Do you have any spoilers that you can share?
Ed Quinn> I think the only ones that I’m allowed to talk about have already been released. Frances Fisher coming on to the set as part of the cast has been a lot of fun. The show has a much darker tone this year. The subject matter is much lighter, but when you look at the show it’s really dark. There’s a deep green to these new cameras, these Sony cameras. I think most of the big story lines we need to keep a wrap on. I don’t want to spoil it for everyone. But there is a big, big reveal this season that I think will make the first eight episodes kind of memorable, then really send the show off into a different direction.
Can you talk at all in general terms about where they are going to go with your character?
Ed Quinn> Yeah, it’s kind of a continuation of last year. In the first season, Stark was really brought in to carry the serial aspects of the show; the artifact, Kevin, the consortium. As all of those story lines have been put on to the back burner as the show moved off into a different direction, Stark seemed to be dabbling with the good side, where you see other people dabbling with the dark side. He was shedding those old skins of the character that created conflict among all the characters in Eureka, into one who ingratiates himself into the community and becomes more of a part of Alyson’s life and the scientific community in general.
Would you say you’ll be exploring the characters lighter side then?
Ed Quinn> Yeah, definitely we have a couple of kind of zany episodes right off the bat. It’s a lot of big high jinks and big special effects. So it’s a little less of the relationship super drama that we had last season. It’s kind of procedural sci fi; each week there’s a big scientific calamity and we solve the case.
The DVD set for season 2 just came out. Was there any sort of commentary or anything that you got to do for that?
Ed Quinn> Actually, last season went through a big shift. We had a completely new writer’s room. A lot of the episodes became really involved, so they also became a little bit long. The fact of the matter is, a TV show has to be 44 minutes. It can’t be 45 minutes and it can’t be 43 minutes. That’s because that’s the structure of it with the commercial breaks. Unfortunately, a lot of my material got deleted last year. Every episode I’d watch, and it wasn’t just a lot of whole scenes getting deleted. We’d shoot these big long scenes, and whole sections of scenes in which there was a lot of stuff with what Stark was doing, and why he was staying; his negotiations to stay and a lot of stuff that was cut out for the episode to make sense. They had to cut out a lot of the back-story stuff. What’s funny is Colin called and said, “Wow, you’ve got a lot of great scenes on the deleted scenes.” I think there are about three or four full scenes that kind of got clipped and set to the side. It’s actually too bad that’s there probably another two or three scenes of good material that were cut around within scenes that are lost forever. I actually think it will be nice for people who don’t watch the show live to watch those scenes that will fill in the story line better for them than the original audience. Then there’s the whole blooper reel as well. We have a pretty good time on the set. We laugh a lot and goof around a lot. Last season the show got pretty serious, and even though we’re trying to save the world from something that’s going to melt the universe, we’re all breaking down into laughter. I think that’s the vibe that comes through on camera, and why people are attracted to this show. They feel like it is just a bunch of people on the screen having fun.
Is Colin as funny in real life as he is on the show?
Ed Quinn> He’s ten times funnier. He is the biggest goof ball. All we do is rip all day, and come up with stuff that we should be doing. The crew is dying with laughter, and everyone behind the monitor is shaking their head, “Absolutely Not!” Colin and I just have a great time and just sort of push the envelope. Let’s put it this way, Sci Fi would need to be a pay channel for Colin and I to do half of what we would like to do. Being number one on the call sheet is an honor, but in a series like this, a procedural sci fi where you are in every scene and have to solve every case is brutal. There was one point where we were doing all the gallery shoots one weekend, and filming that musical commercial another weekend. We were in production 27 out of 28 days straight. There was one day we had off company wise. I probably had three days sprinkled in there and some half days where I was able to get a little sleep. Colin, not so much. He may have had one half day off. To do 14 hour days, hitting your mark, saying your line and with mountains of dialogue, it’s really tough. We laugh a lot to relieve the pressure. Colin is the first one to be running around looking for a joke.
In the finale last year, we got to see a little bit of a different of dynamic between Carter and Stark with them working together. Is that something that is going to continue through these first eight?
Ed Quinn> Absolutely. That was the main intention of taking Stark out of Global Dynamics. The creators thought that one of the funner relationships was the Carter/Stark relationship. The characters kind of work well together. Also because a lot of the story lines got resolved, the conflict got resolved. In season one, Carter and Stark were diametrically opposed. Carter and Stark just happened to have the competition of the love for the same lady. In season 2, Stark kind of didn’t have a dark agenda anymore. He wasn’t battling the consortium or trying to manipulate Global Dynamics. So all of a sudden Carter and Stark had the same objective, to solve the crime and save lives and figure out what was going wrong this week or that week. In the beginning of this season there is some more of that.
Is Kevin going to feature heavily in again this season?
Ed Quinn> I think the audience is going to have to get ready for a departure from a lot of the story lines from earlier. Like the Kevin story line, and a few characters that aren’t appearing in the first few episodes; Matt Frewer isn’t in the first few episodes, which I really miss. There’s a lot of the storylines that have been to put to rest. There was an original mythology to the show, and I think now the writers want to move towards a different mythology. That’s part of the introduction of new characters and new story lines. The audience should get ready to experience a whole new direction for the show.