On July 3rd, 2013, Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman went ‘face to face’ via the Internet with several dozen fans in a Spreecast set up by Extra. For me, it was a lot of fun to watch these two men answer questions covering topics from advice to young filmmakers, what were your first big breaks, NSA and whistleblowers, and, of course, what’s next on Person of Interest.
The event lasted about 40 minutes in length, which hardly seemed enough time since there were over three dozen questions/comments submitted, of which maybe ten were addressed – although I was thrilled as my question was answered – and the event was marred by some technical difficulties. Since the difficulties cropped up notably during discussions of recent NSA revelations, there was much joking that the government was interfering. Then again, those nasty technical issues also cropped up during questions regarding Season 3 of Person of Interest, me thinks CBS was also ‘watching’.
All in all, it was pretty interesting listening to Jonathan and Greg answer questions, see their excitement about remembering how they got started as well as realizing that these two pay close attention to current events, as well as have done their research regarding technology and what is and what is not possible. Below I’ll bring you, in mostly bullet point fashion, the highlights.
Person of Interest moments:
· Boker (Bear) has a bit of a relationship with Jim and Michael now, so his interactions with them are a bit easier; however, there is a trainer always with him. Apparently some members of the writing staff and crew ‘cuddle’ him too much, there have been limits imposed. [Hah! The guard dog needs a bodyguard!]
· In summing up Sarah Shahi’s character: Jonah offered that Shah was a ‘blunt instrument’ in Season 2. She is a fun character, just as lethal as Reese but a different character. Coming in Season 3 for Shahi, more guns, kicking a** and driving fast cars.
· Carrie Preston is loved on the show; however she has limited availability. No mention on whether Grace would return.
· When questioned on spoilers, both men were reluctant to give much away – Jonah indicated there were Bad Robot ninjas ready to pounce if they said too much. Greg indicated that they were coming out of the gate with a bang.
There were some technical issues that cropped up while they were answering questions about what direction the show would take in Season 3, if we’d find out the identity of the man in the tub from “Blue Code,” would we find out more about Reese’s time on the streets, his injury at the beginning of Many Happy Returns and his time post-Ordos and pre-New Rochelle, and about Finch’s time just after he was injured and what led him to search out Reese in particular. Darn those technical issues. I got the idea that there was a plan to address many of these questions as well as introduce some new characters that hard-core fans would really like/appreciate.
· A fan really stumped the producers with this question: What three episodes would you suggest to someone to watch to get caught up – only three.
- Both men struggled with that as Jonah indicated there were writers right outside the door who would take them to task.
- Greg valiantly took up the task and suggested that season finales are great because they answer questions and open up new avenues, also there was a certain episode written and directed by Jonathan Nolan that should be seen.
- In the end, Greg gave up, basically admitting that he (laughingly) wasn’t up to the task of providing the lazy man’s idiot guide to Person of Interest.
- The moderator suggested “Baby Blue” which further got both men chuckling as they remembered that episode (which remains a favorite of mine!).
· Jonah gave a shout out to Comic Con, indicating there would be some interesting information revealed there.
· Reese’s fighting style came up. Jonah said that Jim came fully prepared to do much of his own fight sequences with his extensive training with SEALS and Special Forces personnel in his background. Jonah summed up Jim by saying he is a nice, gentle man – who is very dangerous. Greg teased that they fight all their actors, and no one beats Michael Emerson.
· Jonah discussed how Batman has certainly influenced the idea behind Reese.
- Apparently there are some rules about when Reese is to take a life and when not to.
- They realize that over time Reese has been less willing to take a life, but that that has led to complications, Elias and Root notably.
- The theme in the show is about redemption, and they believe that Reese should be quite philosophical about taking a life.
· There were lengthy discussions on Prism and Snowden and Google and, of course, The Machine. Clearly they have paid attention to Snowden and the NSA leaks.
- Jonah admits that the ‘bluejacking’ in PoI is fabricated; although there is some truth to it. Apparently when Bluetooth technology was first introduced it was vulnerable to people accessing your contacts. Now there are safeguards in place.
- He also discussed the idea that Google is actually watching what you write and search. Somewhere there is an engineer watching all of that and then the moral decisions need to be made: what to do with the information that someone is searching ways to commit suicide? It’s clear to see that had an impact on their premise for the Machine.
· Jonah reminded us that the show’s jumping off point was all the surveillance he grew up with in England and then watched proliferate post-9/11. He discussed how the FBI would wiretap hundreds of people in crime families trying to get information on criminal activities; in so doing, they would hear all kinds of things going on, affairs, and smaller criminal dealings. Decisions needed to be made about what to do with the information.
· Greg commented that Michael Emerson recently said that in the beginning everyone thought the show was science fiction; apparently it’s come to fruition.
Advice to young filmmakers:
· Jonah advised that talent is important, but persistence more so. Good quality digital cameras are very accessible, and with YouTube available, there is no stopping someone who has the desire to make films and generate their own buzz.
· Greg talked about how he knew he always wanted to be a writer. Also, there are very few barriers to being a writer: sit down and write. Anybody can do it, not everyone can do it well. His best advice mirrored Jonah’s: persist, and you will get better.
So there you are, fellow PoI fans, a synopsis of the Spreecast with Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman. Next up, Comic Con. Cross fingers and toes that Alice gets access to the panels. Also, I’ll give thanks now to those who are able to go – or who make themselves able to go – and then send back, via YouTube and other means information, videos, synopses, and other such information. Welcome to July, filming has started, Comic Con on the 20th, and it’s all downhill from there…all the way to Tuesday, September 24th at 10:00 p.m.
If you want to watch the spreecast yourself, here is the address: http://www.spreecast.com/events/person-of-interest-live-chat/embed-large
As always, thanks for reading! Elle2