CBFC Interview with Clancy Brown
“Carnivale” Shooting Schedule
Postponed til January 2003
Interviewed by Beth Blighton • 11-21-02
[WARNING: CONTAINS POSSIBLE SPOILERS! Do not read this article if you do not want to hear possible plot points! Answers stated within the context of this interview are solely the opinion of the interviewee.]
CBFC: What can you tell us about the postponement of the shooting schedule for your new HBO series "Carnivale"?
Clancy: Now, I'm not really "in the loop," and I sorta insinuated myself in because I was getting a little annoyed... The first postponement of it was because the one actor in it had a big job doing "Terminator 3," so he wasn't going to be available til Fall. So they held us over til the Fall, and that was okay... Then they saw the pilot, after they'd sort of committed to making it. They saw the pilot and they decided, well, the way it's set up now, it won't be sustainable over a period of time -- over thirteen episodes, many years, or whatever they have planned for it. The narrative wasn't sustainable and it would have become a dumb sort of a chase thing, like that chase show... "The Fugitive." They would run out of stories after a while. Plus HBO doesn't do stuff like that. They want it to be a little bit more interesting.
And the main complaint was actually my character -- not what I had done with him, cuz I did the script. But then they realized that this character was kinda stuck. And they hired this guy, Henry Bromell, who said, "Ya know, what you do is you... One line of the story is this guy who is the Good Guy and is discovering his power and that it's from God. And the other line of the story is this Bad Guy, who already knows he's a Bad Guy and knows his powers and stuff... So what we should do is make him unaware that he's a Bad Guy, and have him discover what his destiny is. Have him be a real man of God and watch him grow into this megalomaniac, this avatar of evil, which he's gonna be."
CBFC: So we get to watch him turn then... watch the whole process.
Clancy: Right! And I thought (laughing), well, that's great! Fine with me. I'll just keep my mouth shut! So that's what they're working on now. They're trying to develop this new line, which means they're probably gonna have to reshoot a couple things.
CBFC: Will they keep most of the pilot but reshoot scenes from your part then?
Clancy: They'll probably keep most of the circus part of it, and then they'll reshoot probably everything I did.
CBFC: Wow! That makes a lot of extra work for you suddenly!
Clancy: Right. But that's okay... as long as it's in that direction. It's a much more interesting role now. I mean, it was interesting before, but now it's even more interesting. And I talked to Dan Knauf, who had created it, and he said, "Look, I've never worked in TV that much, and so this is my forte. I'm used to telling a story in two hours and moving on. But they wanna have something that goes on over the course of a few years. Yours was the simple character. You were the force that was gonna doom our hero, and I didn't need to explain much more than that."
Now we'll get to see how it all develops, how that whole thing develops. And that's why these guys have brought on some other writers. And I guess it's a pretty high-powered group of writers. I really don't know who they are. I can't even tell you the names right now, but apparently it's the gang that everybody wanted. They got the cream of the crop. They're all writing like madmen. My bet is it's kinda like that "X-Files" group...
CBFC: Not that you'd be able to tell this early in the game, but if we get to see your character slowly being turned, is there then a possibility he could also, at some point, be turned back? Be saved and realize that he doesn't really want to be the evil that he's become?
Clancy: Ya know, I don't really know what's gonna happen! It's such a different role for my character. Honestly, I wasn't hired to play this character. And if this was the character that was being auditioned, they probably wouldn't have gotten me. But they're stickin' with me, which I just love. I just sorta walked into -- if this thing turns out to be everything that they want it to be -- I may have walked into one of the greatest roles of my life! It's gonna be awesome! But we'll see...
Maybe I'll get some great stuff... like this clergyman who's actually doing good works and struggling against this impulse of evil he's felt since he was a little kid, and coming to the realization that it's more than an impulse. It's an actual destiny. That would be great. We'll see what happens...
CBFC: Did you ever get the chance to see the pilot the way it was?
Clancy: No! I haven't seen it. Which is weird... I've gotta ask for it. I know they released it around to other people for other purposes, like I got stopped at a restaurant by some lady who is a game developer. And she had seen the pilot, and she was gonna apparently start writing some kind of online or computer game. They don't really even have the scripts written yet... But they're already exploring the ancillary markets.
CBFC: That would seem to bespeak a certain dedication the project...
Clancy: You would think that, but I don't know. Maybe that was somebody's idea early on.
CBFC: One thing you can count on, if the series is a hit and there's an "original" unaired pilot floating around out there on tape, it will become the Holy Grail of any potential fandom.
Clancy: Right. Sure! Unfortunately, it won't be that good. The one thing that I keep hearing about HBO, the guys who are involved with HBO, is that they really are smarter and trying to do something different. And everybody I've heard of really loves working with them because of that. They take chances, and they know how to tell a story, and they know what they want from a story. And they're not afraid of making it a little more highbrow than you get at the regular networks. So that's kind of exciting. Cuz that's my main complaint, all this stupid stuff that you have to deal with on network...
CBFC: That you have to be careful, and politically correct, and always have an eye on who you might offend...
Clancy: Right, be careful, and you can't use "big words." And you can't talk about this subject or that... It's all just silly. I mean, how dumb do they think people are who watch this stuff?
CBFC: Pretty dumb, it would seem, judging by the wonderful fare we're being offered currently.
Clancy: It's just so bizarre, when they're really the dumb ones!
CBFC: It's the ones who can't figure out that you have to give a show enough time to actually grow an audience... Those guys are the dumb ones, at least to me. They seem to throw away an awful lot of good shows that way.
Clancy: Yeah, maybe because they can't figure out how to make it dumb!
CBFC: That could be.
Clancy: That's sort of my theory as to what happened with "Earth 2." They really tried to figure out how to dumb it up. It had already generated its own momentum and had a narrative going on... Cuz UPN was looking at it real hard, as I recall. And the Universal guys came in and gave them the "new" pitch, and they said, "That's not what we wanted!"
CFBC: Of course not! They wanted the other show!
Clancy: "No... Give us the other show. We want to see the next season of the show you already shot!" But then, what do I know?
CBFC: Isn't that basically what they did to "SeaQuest," too? Dumb it down beyond recognition?
Clancy: Well, I think "SeaQuest" always had problems because nobody really knew what they wanted to do.
CBFC: Speaking of "SeaQuest," here's your chance to debunk a big online/fan rumor... Were you really in line to take on the Captain part on "SeaQuest" when Roy Scheider left?
CBFC: Well, there was some big "SeaQuest" fan write-in campaign online at the end of "Earth 2" where it was rumored that you were the guy who would be replacing Scheider as the Captain. This had the "SeaQuest" fans all up in arms cuz they wanted Scheider back, despite the fact that Scheider didn't wanna be back!
Clancy: No, Scheider didn't want to come back.
CBFC: So, according to this report, you were in line for the part... (laughing) and you didn't even know you had it!
Clancy: No! No, I had no idea! (laughs) Mike Ironside ended up being the new Captain, didn't he?
CBFC: Yeah, he did. And I imagine from the emails out there, he probably got about as much guff as you would have gotten -- had the rumor been true. Cuz the fans seemed very married to the idea that it had to be Roy Scheider.
Clancy: Roy Scheider just didn't wanna do it, he was really getting tired of it. And I don't blame him. It had really gotten kinda stupid. It had gotten into stupid teeny-bopper stuff with that... Jonathan Brandis, was it? Actually, I thought that kid was pretty good, and he could have developed into something real interesting, but the TV powers wanted him to stay 13 years old forever.
CBFC: Yes, Rule #1 on network TV: Change is Bad.
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Tuesday, June 03, 2003
CBFC Interview with Clancy Brown