Monday, 4 January 2010

New interview with Jane Espenson

IF Magazine has a new interview with Jane Espenson. She discusses her role as executive producer, continuity with Battlestar Galactica, the casting of James Marsters, and other things. A few snippets below, for the full article, go here.

JANE ESPENSON: I’m still executive producer. Really the only thing that’s changed is Kevin is running the room now, as we’re breaking the last couple episodes of the season, so that I can go write on the last couple episodes. It’s really pretty much a procedural change, as much as an organizational one. Running the room and doing all the show runner stuff and all the production stuff was taking a lot of my time and it wasn’t the stuff that most interested me and I was really, really suffering from missing the writing, and I wanted to be able to get in for at least these finale episodes and not be distracted by production and actor issues and be able to genuinely do a lot of the writing. So this was initiated by me and Kevin is fantastic. Kevin has this amazing decisive equanimity that is allowing him to see it through, get stuff done, get everything lined up, so that I don’t have to be in the room, I can be at my computer, writing like a fiend. I’ve done more writing in the last couple weeks – I just couldn’t be happier. It was a matter of me asking for what I needed and getting it and it’s really a good change for the show and for everyone involved.

iF: How involved are Ron Moore and David Eick?

ESPENSON: They’re both very involved, thank the Gods. They’re fantastic. They’ve worked together for so long, they’ve got a wonderful shorthand and I’m just learning, because a lot of the producer things are things I [had] never done before, so I [was] trotting alongside them going, “Wait, what do you do when something’s way over budget? When do you cast a role in Canada and when do you cast a role in the U.S.? How much should I be listening to notes from the director, versus notes from production? How much should I be delegating to my writers versus handling myself?”’

iF: Were there things you enjoyed about hands-on producing/being the show runner?

ESPENSON: Oh, absolutely. I [enjoyed] the interaction in the room very much, because whenever there is one of those debates where everyone is all with their hearts in their throats because they really want the decision to be made in favor of the story that they think best serves the characters, and they’re going to be a little disappointed when it doesn’t come down their way and they have to embrace this other path. I never [had] to be the one who’s disappointed, because I got to say, “Oh, no, we’re going on that path.” And that’s wonderful. And I [liked] that if I read something in a writer’s script that I didn’t feel was right for our world, I had the authority to say, “No, no, this feels a little too earthbound, this doesn’t feel like …” for whatever reason, I [could] give the note. I liked having that much say.

iF: With CAPRICA, are you finding it hard or easy to write into the BATTLESTAR narrative that already exists?

ESPENSON: Actually, shockingly easy, because of this wonderful fifty-eight-year cushion between our events and those events. BATTLESTAR was my last home before [CAPRICA] and I still feel very much a part of that. Really, BATTLESTAR’s the mother ship. You don’t feel the need to set up stuff. I mean, we’re setting up stuff in this big wonderful broad-stroke palette that we have to work with, which is, we have the war coming up, then we know the skin jobs are going to arrive, then they’re going to help the Centurions make more skin jobs and we’re off and running. All we have to do is make sure we don’t contradict anything that’s been said about that road to that first war, and not a lot’s been said. We’re inferring things that seem natural to us, which is a lot of fun, because you go, "Before these twelve colonies were unified under one government, they would have certainly had separate national anthems, national creeds, national identities. Maybe they would still use some [different] languages, they would still use cultural markers like the Tauran tattoos that we’ve seen. All we have to do is backtrack what we know and create a livable, reasonable, interesting culture." For sci-fi writers, that’s a dream – that’s not a chore, that’s fun.

iF: James Marsters has a recurring role on CAPRICA as a terrorist. How instrumental were you in getting him hired?

ESPENSON: I was very instrumental in the hiring of James Marsters. I knew he was right for our show, creatively, and [wanted him on] for the joy of the BUFFY-meets-BATTLESTAR, which just gave me personal delight. I knew he was perfect and I pushed very, very hard for him.
iF: Given the fact that you presumably are showing the prototypes of the Cylons, will we be seeing actors we recognize as the Twelve?

ESPENSON: The thing about the prototypes of the Cylons is that it is a bit down the road. What we’ve got right now is one girl and one robot. I don’t know that you would see the actors [who played Cylons on BATTLESTAR]. You would see – well, I’m not going to answer. It’ll be fun to watch it unfold.

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