Aside from Turner’s association, Judge said several times that another key selling point for the project is the participation of Michael Shanks (Stargate SG-1’s Dr. Daniel Jackson) as Lucifer. “We’re walking into a network with two guys from the longest running scifi show in history whose show is still making product,” he pointed out.
[You are reading part two of this post. PART ONE IS HERE. CLICK TO READ Don’t shoot the messenger, please. I’m dealing with character limits on my blog.]
According to Judge, SG-1 still has several more seasons to air in some of those aforementioned 140 countries, "But now,” he said, “we’re bringing in a new product with two actors that already have recognition in those countries, so our only burden is to be good.”
(Although dumped by SCI FI Channel after a record-breaking ten seasons - Stargate SG-1 remains the longest running made-for-cable drama - the series always did a brisk business in iTunes and DVD sales. According to MGM’s Senior Executive Vice President Finance and Corporate Development Charlie Cohen, season ten boxed set sales are “already 50% better than the last season sold.” MGM is keeping the SG-1 series humming by producing at least two direct-to-DVD films penciling out at around $7 million each.)
Judge’s knows what he wants and he’s clear about his approach - it’s Touched by An Angel Meets 300. “We’re going to recreate the war of the heavens and it will probably be one of the bloodiest battles that’s ever been shown on television. I thought it needed to be shot very much the way 300 was shot,” said Judge, although he acknowledged that the undertaking is ambitious. “That’s never been attempted on TV. The perception is: it’s too costly, too time consuming.”
Judge credits Turner for moving the project forward and helping him realize his vision. “We sat down and did a rewrite and it’s basically a shooting script. He had specific ideas to tweak things,” Judge revealed, “And Brad walked into MGM and said this is what we want to do and here’s how we’re going to afford it. He dotted every i, crossed ever t. "
Gabriel will be no feel-good, tobacco-spitting Saving Grace angel. Judge grinned at the comparison. “There’s not going to be a lot of humor where Gabriel is involved,” he said.
Judge described the character as a "conflicted and tormented - very different from what a lot of people think that Gabriel should be."
"When you think about what Gabriel’s issues are," he elaborated, "he’s the wrath of god. Lucifer was God’s beloved, God’s favorite angel. Lucifer wanted to be a god himself, so he was cast out of heaven. Gabriel has to do all the dirty work knowing that God loves another more than him."
(Shanks joked in a recent interview that his Lucifer has "daddy issues.")
Judge said he’s always been “interested in the things that torment us as humans.”
"If you think about why humans want to be good people,” he continued, “it’s because many believe their souls go somewhere else after their bodies are done. But angels don’t have souls. So I asked myself, what motivates them? It’s choice."
"Whether they succumb to the pleasures of the flesh, or not - it’s a choice.” Then he said with a grin and a bit of a devil glint in his eye, “the behavior of the fallen angels or demons will really have people talking…”
Judge said he hopes the pilot will go into production “this fall after Stargate Atlantis wraps.”
Looking beyond to where the pilot might possibly touch down as a television series, Charlie Cohen sounded a cautionary note. "There’s one person we’re trying get attached who’s very interested as director who could also then become showrunner on a series,” said Cohen, “this person is our first choice and we’re trying to get this person involved but he has to deal with a certain network first. If he’s on board then that will determine where we’re likely to go."
Although Cohen declined to name names, it’s apparent that the person in question is Brad Turner.
Judge seems optimistic. He said the process so far has been “easy. It’s been enjoyable. For everything to come together in this business, this quickly - I’ve been blessed.”
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